MAA – Day 28 – One Wedding, Several Graduations and a Funeral

Life rolls on when you’re out on the road. I suppose it’s what a travelling sales person must feel like – at least back when you couldn’t just hop on a plane to get where you needed to be. I’ve missed a wedding, several graduations and now we’ll be having a funeral. My Aunt Fran passed during the night. I would have seen her tomorrow, but alas, it was not in His plan. So today’s ride was for her. It was just what I remember of central New York too. Lot’s of rolling hills – steep rolling hills, beautiful farmland with crops other than just corn (sorry Nebraska!), cool looking barns and thunder storms rolling in and out all day.

Storms surrounded me all day but I didn’t actually get wet until I hit 70 miles. A quick deluge rolled through after that point about every half hour. It was cold too! It never got above 68 degrees today – it was the first time I wore my jacket all day since riding through the Sierras.

We took a small diversion at the end of the day to see Joseph Smith’s homestead in Palmyra, NY. We had stopped at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City and I had mentioned there is a huge pageant every year at Hill Cumorah. Since we were right here, Girl SAG was very curious and wanted to check it out. We met a very nice family from Utah who were on the tour with us. They were very helpful in answering questions the girl had and were very excited and curious about our adventure. 🙂

Pics of the day: (Click on any image to enlarge)

Song of the day: RIP Aunt Fran!

Ride on!

 

MAA – Day 27 – Full Moon Rising

Yesterday, I forgot to tell you that I got mooned! It was from some guy riding in the back of a pickup. I thought that I got sent back to 1980 for a minute and we were going to have to go streaking or something too! Not that I know what that is! So my song starting out the day was this!

 

I only had about 35 miles to ride through Pennsylvania before hitting NY, but it was going to be interesting! A big ol’ thunder storm was building and getting closer and closer all morning long. Just as I took my obligatory pics at the welcome sign, I looked across the road and a motorcyclist stopped because he was headed into the storm. Unfortunately, the wind came up and knocked his very heavy bike over. He asked if I could help him lift it up since it was so heavy. It turned out that he was from The Netherlands and is riding across America the other way!IMG_5337

Just as I started out again, the storm found us. Nancy happened to be running along the road and she yelled to me to come back to her house to hold up until the storm passed through. It was starting to thunder pretty good, so I followed her advice. Good humans are everywhere! She had the cutest little house right on the lake! We chatted away and I found out that she is a cyclist too, and she has a good friend with MS! It seems to touch everyone in some way!

The SAG team was monitoring my progress and the storm and caught up with me not too much later.IMG_5346

The storm blew through pretty quickly, and the rest of the day was a beautiful one along Lake Erie.

Other pics of the day:

Song of the day:

Ride on!

MAA – Day 26 – Comfort, But Not From Dogs

I never knew the area around Cleveland was so pretty. You don’t get a sense of it at all driving 70 miles/hr. on route 90. I drove it back and forth for years and never knew! I did seem to forget there were hills. Lot’s of them! I climbed up and down nearly 4000 feet again today.

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I’ll never complain about rumble strips again either! I rode this for 10 miles and I think my teeth are still chattering!

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I had great weather all morning, then the afternoon hit. Storms were threatening with increased winds and a few sprinkles. I never heard any thunder though.DSC01660

Once we got to the campground, we were lucky to meet up with my cousin Brian and his wife Sandy. They live in North East PA. We hadn’t seen each other for years! It was so great to catch up with them and have them meet the SAG team. They brought us a case of water, treated us to a wonderful dinner, and took us to see Presque Isle State Park where we had some yummy soft serve ice cream! It was so comforting to see family!IMG_5287

Pics of the day:

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Song of the day (thanks to an old friend, I’ve been listening to Fleetwood Mac):

Ride on!

MAA – Day 25 – What to Eat?

Day 25 was tough. This is the second day in a row I’ve slept through my alarm so I got sort of a late start. I blame it on the time change. We are now 3 hours ahead of California. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I sort of slipped and fell in the shower last night and cracked my head good on the tile floor. I ended up with a nice bruise on my right hip and a golf ball sized bump on my head. There was no LOC or other concussion symptoms and I woke up this morning, so I lived to ride another day! Phew! Even the bump was gone.

It turned out to be an excellent riding day – especially after all the rain yesterday. It even started off somewhat chilly! It started in the high 60’s, stayed in the 70’s most of the day, and only got up to the low 80’s while being sunny and partly cloudy with very little wind. The road was mostly good too – didn’t get beat up too much. And we closed the day out in the best campsite yet – Streetsboro, Ohio KOA. Mr. SAG even made a campfire and the girl finally got to make s’mores. She now has had a full camping experience!

Since the scenery didn’t change much, I thought I’d let you know what I eat to keep going every day. This is for John H and the RD’s back at KP, and Joni R, my nutrition experts. Don’t laugh/judge! It’s working so far! 🙂

I usually have a good breakfast – starting with coffee! I had one day where I didn’t have my coffee and it was not good! I have eggs and sweet potato mash or scrambled eggs and sausage, or steel cut oatmeal with raisins and nuts. I’m not even above having a Jimmy Dean egg and sausage croissantwich. It’s quick and easy!

For lunch, I either catch up with the SAG team or have a sandwich on the road. My favorites are peanut butter and jelly, or a turkey, ham and cheese sub with lettuce and tomato.

I’m usually good for about 2 hours after breakfast and then I nibble something about every 20 to 30 minutes. I have a variety of snacks that I can choose from in my trunk pack. RX Bars are great. They are all natural and I have about 8 different flavors. I made my own trail mix (cashews, walnuts and raisins – simple). Then there are Cliff Bars from Team Aaron Comfort Dog. I have fresh fruit (I like cuties and bananas) and packets of almond butter. If I find I need an energy boost, I do have Cliff Bloks and Nuun Tablets available. Pave Bars are new from chef Chris Constantino. I picked up a few at his Campo Velo ride in Napa Valley. They are all natural too – with a date base. Remember, I just have a nibble of any of these.

Back at camp at the end of the day, Mr. SAG usually cooks. He’s a good cook too! (and a good father, dog owner, launderer, clothes washer, bike mechanic, fire starter, handy man, shopper, and all around cheer leader!) Our dinners have included tacos, spaghetti, chicken salad, steak and potatoes, pizza, and more! When I get in, I sometimes have a small chocolate milk (Thanks for the habit Penni!) for an occasional treat, I’ll have a scoop of ice cream, a s’more, or a Lucky Guy Brownie!

And of course there’s water. Lots and lots of water! When we were at 7-8000 feet of altitude and doing a lot of climbing, I was going through about 200 oz. or more per day. It’s now about half of that unless it’s really hot (then it’s close). There you have it!

Song of the day:

Ride on!

 

MAA – Day 24 – Wetness Abounds

I’ve always been one to not start riding if it’s raining, but if I get caught in it, it’s OK, I just keep going. When I started out this morning, it was not raining, but within five minutes it was a different story. So, I dug out my rain jacket, and onward! It stayed with a pretty mild to moderate rainfall for about four hours. And then off and on for the rest of the day. Mr. SAG was happy when I asked him to use the shoe dryers again tonight. 🙂

One of the benefits of riding a bike across the country is that you don’t miss much. You don’t have to do Batman turns when you see a roadside stand. You just slow down and coast right in. Many that I’ve seen are like this one – honor system. I got some honey and maple syrup today (love a little in oatmeal). IMG_5171

I even made it to the destination a little early today. The SAG Team was happy – they got to make an unexpected side trip to check out Fort Meigs. It is the largest reconstructed wooden-walled fort in the nation and helped secure the Great Lakes region during the War of 1812.

Anna Comfort Dog came by the campsite tonight. Well her team did. Anna was actually working – providing comfort to a needing family. Linda and Charn represented, though, and they made me an honorary team member just like Katie Comfort Dog did. Anna is Katie’s sister after all. This really is becoming a Comfort Dog tour. The network is incredible!

Scoobert thought he would step in but it didn’t quite work out. He was very distracted.

Other pics of the day:

I did reach Ohio today. And if you haven’t noticed, some good friends gave me a lanyard with a #micheleacrossamerica medal and state pins to add every time I reach a new one. Well, when I got to the Ohio sign, it was raining and windy, so I just did a quick pic and moved on. About ten miles down the road, I noticed I still had the lanyard on! All I could picture was some old athlete riding around with his/her medals on and this tune popped in my head…

So, song of the day lol:

MAA – Day 23 – Old Stomping Grounds

Thank you Indiana for reminding me what humidity is! I will never again refer to any California day as humid! Of course, the rain, first thing in the morning, and last thing on the way into camp helped cool it off a bit. I loved riding through the mist of the crop watering thingys too. (That’s the technical term, by the way.)DSC01622

It was fun riding today through the area I lived in almost thirty years ago. Some things looked exactly the same. Others, not so much. The Indiana Dunes area is quite beautiful and peaceful. And since Mr. SAG calls me Wrongway  Woman, I’ll let you know that I got lost in them with a friend while cross country skiing many years ago! Ahh! Memories!IMG_5118

I made a quick detour up into Michigan today because the roads had changed a bit. I guess that will happen over 30 years! We stayed along the Southern tier on Rt. 12 until we were past Elkhart, IN and then we swung back down into Indiana again. Much better riding than the urban sprawl of yesterday. In Indiana, we were riding mainly through an Amish community. Lot’s of buggies and a few bikes. I even drafted behind one for a while and then passed it pretty easily. Does that mean I put out more than one horse power? lol.DSC01620

Not many pictures from today because the internet connections aren’t great again. You’ll have to catch up later…

Song of the day will have to be a shout out to Kathy W. She’s dying about the fact that I am riding so close – yet so far away from Purdue U.

Ride on!

MAA – Day 22 – Comfort from Dawn ‘Till Dusk

Short post today…

I made it to Indiana! This is the area where I really cut my teeth on long distance cycling. I can’t tell you how many times I rode from Hammond to South Bend and back. It was our century training ride (with Dave N). We would ride it nearly every Saturday and Sunday – March/April to October (depended on when the snow hit). We would push to make the time shorter and shorter, or race certain segments. We got the hundred miles down to under four hours at one point! Not happening today! 🙂IMG_5088

This post is short because I also got to hang out with my college roomie again last night. She told all kinds of stories about our college days. I told Ms. SAG that most of them must have been made up – it couldn’t have been me she was referring to! lol! Fun times, though! She even made/brought us dinner! How cool was that! Thanks Deb!!DSC01611

Aside from getting to city traffic yesterday which was more nerve wracking than any day I’ve ridden thus far, I had Comfort Dog visits to see me off, and welcome me to camp! Sure was great seeing Shami and Barnabas! They calm the nerves so well! Scoobert thinks he’s a comfort dog in training! Ha!

Other pics of the day:

Song of the day (since I’m back in John Cougar territory):

Ride on!

 

MAA – Day 21 – Three Weeks Down

Twenty one days. Three weeks in the bag. Over 2300 miles ridden and 2.5 times the equivalent of Mount Everest climbed! Onward. Getting Closer.

Now I remember why I loved riding in the Midwest so much. It’s days like this when you feel like you can ride forever! The road surfaces were great. The temperature stayed in the high 70’s. The hills reminded you that this was work but were not enough to make you curse. Besides, the downhills were long and fun! And the corn isn’t quite high enough to make you feel like you’re stuck in a Steven King novel, but it’s getting there.DSC01561  Not much has changed since Iowa – except the barns just aren’t as interesting (sorry Illinois!). Most are just big and white. They are nice, just not as interesting. DSC01562

The best thing about Illinois so far…no rumble strips! Thank you! And there were American flags flying everywhere! Either they are getting ready for Fourth of July early, or they are just very patriotic. I know what the Colonel would say!DSC01563

All was great until the end of the day. I had been feeling like my brakes were less and less effective over the last couple of days. And today, I realized that my front break pads were all but gone (I have mechanical disc brakes). I had started searching for a bike shop a few days ago in anticipation of needing new brake pads. I sent myself some to my brother’s house, but he wasn’t set to meet up with us until tomorrow or the next day so SOL! Every time I searched, I found something 80 to 100 miles away, and not on our track. Well late today, I asked the SAG to wait ahead for me so I could replenish water. It happens that they stopped in Peru, IL. When I caught up to them, I searched for bike shops, and found Bike Works! I called ahead to see if they had brake pads that would replace mine. They did not. And there wasn’t another bike shop anywhere nearby – or even far by for that matter. They weren’t sure if they had anything that was compatible either! Since I was in town, they told me to stop in and they would take a look. It turns out they had one set of pads that would fit! They changed mine out and sent me on my way. What a difference too! They were the nicest guys and are keen on getting people interested in riding. Great Shop too. Remember – Bike Works in Peru, Illinois!

Then we got to the RV park just in time for…you guessed it…another storm! Gotta love the Midwest! 🙂

No additional pics of the day.

Song of the day – since I was listening to 80’s tunes today…

Ride on!

MAA – Day 20 – So Long Iowa

Today was another beautiful day, but it was one spent staying ahead of the storm. Luckily the roads were good and I encountered a gentler, kinder Iowa. Still rolling hills, but not nearly as steep as the last couple of days. I could easily use the momentum from the descents to get up and over the next hills. I even had a slight tail wind for most of the day. The only hard part was getting across Iowa City. Somehow I ended up going right through the University of Iowa’s campus.

Then, just as I was rolling into Davenport (about 5 miles out), the storm hit. There was a lot of rolling thunder – no lightning, thank God. And then the sky opened up and I got soaked! Glad I had my rain jacket, but my feet got wet through and through! I happened to catch up with the SAG team just as it was stopping. I decided to catch a ride with them since we were only a few miles from our initial destination anyway – and there were more storm clouds headed our way. Our first stop was on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River to meet up with Gracie Comfort Dog – perfect timing after the storm.

We left Gracie and her handlers and got back to the RV when this happened…

It lasted about 15 minutes and then we crossed the Mighty Mississippi and said “hello” to Illinois. 🙂

Thought for the day: I’m sure glad Mr. SAG decided to get that shoe dryer!IMG_5031

Other pics of the day:

Song of the day:

Ride on!

MAA – Day 19 – What a Beautiful Day!

Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day! I couldn’t get that song out of my head all day. Because it was! Bright blue skies. Temperature around 75 degrees. Slight breeze. And I was on this wonderful bike trail for about 60 miles of my ride today. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It surrounded the greater Des Moines area.

The latter part of the ride was great too. Just more hills, though. Makes it interesting!

Other pics of the day:

Song of the day, of course:

God is good! Ride on!