"Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will --whatever we may think."
Lawrence Durrell

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Finale

Hey All

Figured it was about time to update since I have now been off the road for almost a week. I didn't have a lot of rest time for the first couple of days off, but am starting to get back to a schedule and my body is starting to feel rested again. I ended with almost 14,500 miles pedaled on my bike with gear and a few hundred more on top of that without the gear. I also rode three ferries and hitchhiked a couple of times. Suffice it to say I travelled over 15,000 miles this year.

Once home I got my body fat and metabolism and a few other things checked. I sit at about 7% body fat (8-14 is recommended) and burn through almost 3,000 calories on a normal person's normal day.

My bike is currently in the shop being put back together to be fresh and ready for a new ride. When I dropped it off the guys asked if I've been doing some touring and when I said I just got done with a near 15,000 mile ride their eyes popped out and their jaws dropped and I just smirked.

As I rode into town last thursday I rode up the hill to Paddock Lane Elementary school and was greeted by a row of students, friends, and family, along with the newspaper, for two blocks up to the school. The students were chanting my name and waving signs to welcome me back. I then headed into the school and shared a brief bit about my trip and answered some questions before they let out school. I then did a quick interview with the paper and started my ride home. I parked my bike in the garage and left it there for a few days before I tore into it and got it to the shop.

I plan on writing a wind up of the trip, adding a few pics, and jotting a few more notes, but I want to take some time and figure it out. Hopefully I will have something in a week. Thanks to all those who supported me and prayed for me and did any other sorts of goodwill for me along the trip. I appreciate all the friends, family, friends of family, family of friends, newly acquired friends, and complete strangers who encouraged me along the way. It would definitely not have been possible without you. The magnitude of the trip is still sinking into me. I encourage you all to start or continue chasing dreams and live a life of adventure and meaning.


Monday, August 30, 2010

48 Down

Tomorrow marks the day I reenter Nebraska for the last couple days of my ride.  My mom came and rode saturday and sunday with me.  She made 90 miles the first day from Columbia to Kirksville and then we both did about 40 the next day.  The winds were strong the second day and one of the roads was pretty rough and draining.  I was unsure if I would quit but decided it would be most beneficial to go ahead and ride a few miles to get me back on schedule to finish and allow my mom and grandpa to get back to Nebraska.  It was a good thing I did because at the edge of town there was a 50 mile detour that would have taken me into a headwind for half of it.  

Upon entering Illinois I found my tire tread was peeling off the tire, much like a retreaded car tire does.  I swapped out with a spare set and noticed my rear rim was once again cracked.  This perplexed me since I dropped a lot of gear and have ridden nicer roads and trails since Ithaca.   I also had only gone a couple thousand miles.  I decided to ride to Missouri, where I would meet my mom and have her bring a spare bike for me to finish out the last week of the trip without risking too much on the rim.  When I left St Louis to meet her, I decided to check out a bike shop that was en route - Wheel Sports.  

They were setting up shop as I pulled up and greeted me with warm smiles and much encouragement.  We talked about my trip a bit and I informed them of my rim dilemma.  I had trouble reaching Trek, so I decided to take care of the rim myself if possible.  The shop didn't have a rim for me but called another nearby shop, which had one in stock.  The owner, Kim, drove me over to the shop.   That shop gave me the rim at cost, saving me about 50% of the cost.  We went back to the Wheel Sports shop and got the bike going with the new rim and tuning up everything else.  Steve, the manager/mechanic and I hit it off and worked on my bike together and swapped stories of life on bikes and life in general.  Before I knew it, I had spent 5 hours in the shop.  I needed to get going so I could meet my mom and grandpa in Columbia so we could make Kirksville the next day.

The bike worked great and Steve and Kim were great and very encouraging in my ride.  It was yet another Godwink and encouragement to why I am on this trip and to keep my morale strong to finish.  

Tomorrow I get to my uncle's place in Omaha, then an aunt's in Lincoln, then home.  It should be around 200 miles left.  I'm anxious to have the opportunity to have a break where I won't have to get on the road within a couple of days.  

I hope to update a couple more times before the end of the trip.  I promise to update the map, some photos, and a wind up entry after the trip is over, so keep checking back for a while after the trip is over to find stat updates and a few more surprises.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fire, Fire

The map is updated again, except for a town or two I couldn't remember off hand.  I now have less than a week to go.  My final ride day is set for Thursday, where I will be riding up to Paddock Lane Elementary, greeted by the kids, who will then host a Q&A.  I am excited for the end and can't believe it is so close. 

Today I completed what may be my last century ride for the trip.  I went 105 miles.  It was a fairly level ride and about a third of it was on trails, which made it nice.  The ride could've been shorter had I not take the trails, but then I would have been on busier St Louis area highways.  I rode a portion of the Lewis and Clark trail again, as well as the Missouri River Trail.  I crossed into Missouri where the two Great Rivers converge.  I then shortly had a flat due to road debris, which was highly prevalent on the Missouri side at the beginning.  It slowly went away the further into the state I rode.  

Yesterday I rode about 95 miles to Carlyle Lake, the biggest lake in Illinois.  I rode there from Red Hills State Park, the highest point between St Louis and Cincinnati - 900ft.  The night at Red Hills ended up being free because the camp host was never on duty when I went there.  I even waited for over an hour one time.  

Tonight I tried to wash my clothes.  I put them in the washer and then went to do other things.  I came back a half hour later and found the washing machine smoking and not spinning.  I wrung my clothes out and threw them in the dryer.  They appeared to be rinsed, just not spun dry.  I then waited for a half hour for the washer to stop smoking and borrowed a fan to air out the place.  The people running the place were no help.  Oh well, nothing burned down and my clothes seem to be clean enough.