Monday, August 5, 2013

After the ride

When the hoopla at the finish was done, we met back at the truck for one last time to sort the gear and give our final farewells for now.  My sister and niece took me up to Baltimore where we went out to a very nice dinner and then stayed the night at Paige's nice little house.  It was so good to be with family and sleep in a bed.  I was  very, very tired.  The next day we went for a fun jet boat tour through the harbor and around Chesapeake Bay, then out to a great lunch with Paige's boyfriend.  Too soon it was time for my sister and I to catch our prospective flights home.
Now as I sit on the plane to Seattle, I ponder the emotions of having to say goodbye to the people whom I have experienced the last seven weeks with on the road. Then I had to say goodbye to my sister and niece.  This trip has been many things.  I have encountered the nation by bicycle - the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings.  I have been through two family deaths and an accident that left me with bruises and a concussion.  I will miss my dear fellow riders.  But I am ready to go home.  Home to my dear husband and children and friends.  I am blessed.

Kathy and Paige on the jetboat tour

Emergency relief ships anchored in the harbor.

Jetboat spray - we got wet!

Fort McHenry -that was under attack when the Star Spangled Banner lyrics were penned

Day 48 Washington DC!!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! The day started early for me, as I started dealing with more dizziness and nausea around 2 am.  After we stopped at McDonalds for some breakfast (I could only drink coffee) we headed out to finish our ride!  Even though I was feeling crappy, I must say it was a very pretty ride through some nice natural areas and beautiful neighborhoods, then continuing on a nice trail into the city.  I even managed to get in a few more "bonus" miles on a wrong turn, then backtracking.  Once in DC, Olivia, Melanie, and Jenny managed to find me, and we quickly rode down towards the Capitol Building to get some pics.  Before the big finish, a former alumnus fed us great greek food from his restaurant near the finish line.  Then we queued up and rode in one by one to reap our glory.  Such sweet success!  Charlton, Lynn, and Tom presented us with medals, certificates, and hugs.  My sister and niece were there to cheer me in and welcome me.  They had printed up some Big Ride posters as a gift for each of the riders.  How sweet.  Thank you Kathy and Paige!

Luke at the finish

A happy bunch


Washington DC!!


Sharkbait thinks the water looks nice

Queuing up for the big finish

Kendall rides in with his Monster.....

....and finishes

Day 47 Gettysburg PA to Poolesville MD - 60mi

Another new state

Headed out of Gettysburg on the road we started our tour the day before, so we passed through the battlefields and some monuments on the way out.  It was a pretty morning with some fog in the bottoms.  Felt good and made good time.  When some of the group caught up with me when I stopped briefly, we all decided to hit a nearby McDonalds for 2nd breakfast.  Good decision.  Soon after that, Luke and I had trouble finding a turn we needed to make and ended up traveling the rest of the day together.  Which was a good thing since soon after the lunch stop some quick hills we travelled over made my head start to spin.  I was feeling rather awful after that, but Luke stayed with me and helped guide me in.  Thank you Luke!  At camp the dizziness continued.  Tom lent me his chair, Olivia gave me some Advil and ginger ale, Tim put up my tent and cot for me,  Lynn put a pad down in the van for me to lie on, and others asked if they could help me.  I am so lucky to be traveling with such a caring group of people.  Dinner was a nice get together at a restaurant in town with everyone to enjoy each others company before we part tomorrow.

Luke chillin at Mickey D's

Time for 2nd breakfast
Olivia, John, and Jim

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Days 45 & 46 Gettysburg, PA - 101mi, 7260ft of climbing

Today is our rest day in Gettysburg.  This is a fascinating town, with old civil war buildings, many restaurants and pubs and shops.  The local bicycle club welcomed us into town yesterday, gave us a great dinner, and three of the members took us on a cycling tour of the battlefield today.  All very very nice.
Yesterday I started out the ride figuring I would take it easy and see how far I could get before I started feeling bad again, then stop for the day.  Well I got to about mile 25 and still felt great, so I rode on.  At 50 miles I was starting to be sore, but felt ok so on I went.  At 75mi I was starting to get tired, but still felt ok so I figured I would see if I could do a few more miles.  At 90 miles I WAS tired and sore, but I figured I had come this far, and my head felt ok, so on I went.  Well, to my delight, I was able to finish the ride!!  And I accomplished a personal climbing record!  It felt so good to finish the days riding with the group again.  Hopefully I can ride the full 2 days of riding left to reach DC.
The road through a beautiful state park on the way to Gettysburg

Pennsylvania woodlands

Gettysburg battlefield

Exploring Gettysburg park

Jeff E, Luke, Jeff S, me, Tom

Our bikes from the tower

Original civil war Gettysburg cannons

Thank you Hanover bicycle club!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I am very sorry for not updating this blog for so long.  I had a mishap while riding into Cleveland.  After a rest day in Sandusky, I was riding along West of Cleveland across a RR bridge when my front tire got sucked into an expansion rail, which sent me flying off the bike.  My head landed first, followed by my shoulder, then I rolled a bit on the pavement.  Thank God for helmets!!  I was stunned and could not get up for awhile.  Help arrived very soon and Tom (our mechanic) took me straight to a nearby hospital where they took CT scans of my head & neck, and x-rayed my shoulder.  Luckily I had no major damage.  They patched up my scrapes and sent me off. 
I have to say I have not been feeling too well the past few days.  I have been dealing with pain, dizziness, and nausea.  Took 2 full days off of the bike, then rode 60mi yesterday and 31mi today.  After yesterdays ride I felt sickly, but today I just felt a bit dizzy.  I will try to ride some more tomorrow and see how much I can do.  I seem to be feeling a bit better tonight so if I get a good nights rest maybe I can get in some miles.  Tomorrow is the big 100mi day into Gettysburg!
The beginning of the Rails to Trails for us.

The trail went under roads...

and over rivers.

part of the trail

The wall of names at the Flight 93 Memorial

Looking down the flight path to the impact site now marked with a boulder.

A tribute from the BSA

Big riders listen to the presentation.  In 1st row is Olivia, Nelle. Melanie, Kendall, and Tim.  Cara is in the 2nd row.

Day 37 Kendalleville IN to Napoleon OH - 72mi

The ride today was as good as yesterday was bad.  Beautiful weather, downhill slope, and tailwinds.  We were giddy with the ease of the days miles.  Olivia, Tim, Allie, Luke, and I rode in together finding ways to be silly on a nice road with almost no cars on it.  It all ended up as a water fight with our water bottles.  We stayed at the fairgrounds and enjoyed nice showers and plenty of power outlets.  I tried to nap in the afternoon, but ended up having a bit of a meltdown instead.  The stress of riding everyday must be telling on me.
riders rides at lunch stop

mmmmm FOOD

Ohio rivers are brown

Stopped at the park for some silliness - Kendall cannot resist the half pipe

at the ice cream shop

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 36 Valpairaiso to Kendallville 109mi

Hard hard day for me.  My legs were hurting from riding hard the day before.  I figured once they warmed up they would be ok, but they screamed at me all day.  Add that to the other issues I was having with my feet and my unmentionables, and it was a pretty miserable day.  109 miles of misery for me today.  I could not enjoy the day.  We went through some neat areas, including an amish area with horse pulled carts and buggies.  One nice thing was the cars in this area were used to having to pass the buggies and the amish on bikes, so they were very tolerant of us also.  In Kendallville the town put on a nice BBQ dinner for us with the mayor and the press and all.  Lots of mosquitoes in the park we camped in.

Isles of corn one way.......

and the other.
The Amish country was very peaceful.