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 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!

We Interrupt This Blog to Bring You Random Thoughts From the SAG Team (Squirrel!)

  1. Thank goodness for checklists … So far they have kept us from leaving the important items behind, including the spare bike. We also use them every morning to “launch” Michele to make sure she has all the necessary gear and information.
  2. Scoobert is not an RV size dog …. He takes up nearly a third of the RV. We’re sure he is thinking that “I like car rides …. But this is not what I had in mind!”
  3. Carrying your restroom with you is handy … Now if we could just get Scoob to use it too.
  4. Planning meets reality. Planning on a computer is good, but it lacks knowledge of the actual ground conditions. The road we thought the woman could take, turns out to be a gravel road with ghost towns along it.
  5. Daily Schedule … Get up, help Michele get ready, lunch the her on her way, clean the RV, get provisions, drive ahead slightly, replenish her, drive ahead and set up camp, recover her, feed everyone, sleep, and repeat. We have become the living version of the “Groundhog Day” movie.
  6. Driving on Highway 50 reminds me (Mr. SAG) why most of Nevada is bombing ranges for the military and landing sites for aliens.
  7. Stopped in Eureka, NV and had lunch at the only open restaurant … Was not sure what was going to happen. Ms. SAG said I was being judgmental…. And I was. But out came a wonderfully spiced, pan-fried pork chop and great salsa.
  8. The life of a SAG person is hours of waiting for a few minutes of support …. Move up the road and repeat. Fix flats as necessary. Our motto is LRRR .. Launch, Replenish, Recover, Repeat.
  9. WIND!!!! The wind and been blowing non-stop all day. It made driving difficult and I can only imagine what it has been doing to the woman.
  10. Do you ever wonder if God ever thinks …. “Really? Again?” when we screw up.
  11. WIND!!! … Got up at zero dark hundred and the wind was already blowing. The woman is going to have another tough day battling the wind.
  12. Nineteen days into this … LRRR and waiting has become a way of life.
  13. Had a nice drive into Lincoln, NE and then drove around the town for a bit with Ms. SAG. An RV is not a good tour vehicle.
  14. Riding out a severe thunder storm with straight line winds in an RV is not our idea of fun.
  15. Dog barf in an RV … Somethings should be missed.

SQUIRREL!

MAA – Day 17 – It’s All Up and Down

Today felt like a roller coaster. Up and down. Up and down. I climbed nearly 4000 feet today – and I descended nearly 4000 feet. Rolling hills on back country roads with 8-9% grades and a temperature of 98*F.  I’ll take it any day over the wind! I drank almost 2 gallons of water too! There was some meandering along the Platte River thrown in for good measure as well.

Before I even got started – 15 miles into the ride – Mr. SAG saved the day again! Flat #4.IMG_4907

Camp got set up as the rain started rolling in. And then it hit! Wow! We’ve never ridden out a storm like that – in an RV. The thunder and lightning and sheets of rain, we could take. But when the wind started rocking (felt like throwing) us to and fro… Even Katie Comfort Dog’s Top Dog, to the west of us now, checked in to see how we fared! Thanks for the prayers! We were saying some too! Thanks for the welcome Iowa!

Off in the distance:

It’s here!

Pics of the day:

Song of the day:

Ride on!

MAA – Days 11 and 12 – So Comforting

Day 11 we left Wyoming and headed into Colorado. What a great ride! Beautiful vistas and nice smooth road (a little hairy with the semis at times). I was making great time too. It looked like I would make it to Fort Collins by 2:30 pm. A nice early day (rest day)! The only problem was, we had no campsite reservation and couldn’t find anywhere with an open spot. Mr. SAG had started calling as soon as we changed routes heading into CO.

Back home, we are part of a Comfort Dog ministry team through Lutheran Church Charities. Mr. SAG is a handler for Aaron Comfort Dog and I am one of his photographers. Aaron is one of about 150 Comfort Dogs deployed around the country through LCC. Luckily for us, Cubby Comfort Dog is in Fort Collins! So our “Top Dog” helped reach out to Cubby’s “Top Dog”. We connected and were able to set up camp in their church (Redeemer Lutheran) parking lot. What a great group of people too! We met several from Cubby’s team, were able to worship with them, and went out for a wonderful dinner. It turns out that a couple of people have MS and were excited that I am raising funds for MS research and assistance through this ride.

Speaking of dinner, we nearly had a huge catastrophe! We followed Cubby’s handlers to the restaurant in the RV. About five miles out, a car pulled up beside us honking away. As soon as we heard them, we knew what it was about! My bike had just been bungee corded to the bike rack on the back so it wouldn’t fall over in the wind. It wasn’t secured for driving! Mr. SAG and I were sick all of a sudden. We stopped the RV and ran around the back to survey the damage. Nothing! The bungee cord had held the bike up enough to where it never actually touched the ground/dragged. Wow! God surely was looking out for us! Of course He was shaking His head thinking “Seriously? What’s next?” We needed Cubby Comfort Dog after that! Thank you Kathy, Denny and everyone at Redeemer Lutheran for your hospitality! God is good!

Pics of the day:

Songs of the day:

Day 12 – Onward! Nothing much exciting today except lots of rolling hills and more wind! I dealt with a 10 mph straight on headwind for most of the day. One of the toughest centuries I’ve ever ridden! And according to Mr. SAG, we were on “alien abduction highway!

Pics of the day:

And for Janice – Song of the day:

Ride on!

 

MAA – Day 9 – It’s All About the SAG

Day 9 of this grand bike tour was interesting to say the least. It started out with a wonderful peaceful ride over rolling hills through big green lush valleys. Almost perfect! Almost. At about the 9-mile mark, my tire started losing air. I pumped it up and it slowly lost it again. Since I was only 9 miles out from camp, I called in the SAG Wagon. They met up with me about 20 minutes later. We decided to just switch out wheels rather than change the tire so we could take a good look at it later (it was the same one that went flat yesterday. And off I went. Several miles later, I was concerned about a rubbing noise that had developed. I wasn’t sure what it was, but the bike just didn’t feel right – wasn’t shifting well. I called ahead and had the SAG wait for me. After inspection, it turned out that the wheel was never quite seated right. Once that was corrected, everything was great again!

On to Wyoming! DSC01252

Was cruising along just fine until we learned a couple of the roads I was supposed to be on were washed out. The rivers are all running really high! Unfortunately, we learned there are no other viable roads through the area. So…I hitched a ride with the SAG for 30 miles to our stopping point. We are going to re-position tomorrow and head out on an alternate route. It looks like I’ll be dipping into Colorado for a couple of days after all.

Thanks for the help all day, SAG Team!

By the way, it ended up being a small piece of glass that was imbedded in the tire that gave me the flat both days. All cleaned out now!

IMG_4516

Song of the day: Went back to an old favorite of mine.

Ride on!

MAA – Day 7 – All Roads Are Not Created Evenly

When I headed out today, it was smooth sailing! I was going downhill and even had a bit of a tailwind! What a difference a day makes! And then I hit the service road I would be on for most of the day. Turns out it was a road that is not maintained. They weren’t kidding either! For the most part, keeping up a good pace depends on your fitness level, weight of/on the bike, wind speed and direction, elevation gain and road surface. I learned quickly today that road surface is a really big factor. The road was bumpy and gravelly and beat me up for 30 miles.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I met some really good humans. Work crews were out doing major work on the Union Pacific railway which ran parallel to the road I was on. At one point, a truck stopped near me, and the supervisor got out and came towards me. He asked if I was riding all the way through on the road. When I answered in the affirmative, he radioed along the work line and warned them all that I was riding on and asked all the guys to keep an eye out for me especially when coming out onto the road. How kind! Then, every time one of their trucks passed me, they stopped to ask how I was doing and if I needed anything! LaVoy, stopped to give me cold water and a couple of ketone packs (Pruvit Max). And the last one I saw, offered me a cold Gatorade, a package of nuts, and use of their portapotty. What a great group of guys!

I met up with the Sag Team at 40 miles and then I was off again. The road was nice and smooth and I was making up time – For 10 miles. Then the road turned to gravel. It got deeper and looser the further I went. I made it about 5 miles as it went uphill and then disappeared all together. Needless to say, I backtracked, called in the Sag team, and they gave me a carry of about 20 miles around it until the route connected with us again. Smooth sailing into Salt Lake City! Phew!

As a side note, our coffee maker stopped working so no coffee this morning. Not a good thing if you know me (or Mr. Sag). Poor girl! I had to get my coffee from an Rx bar. I think it saved me from a full blown head ache! IMG_4477

Song of the day: I had to go back to Journey for motivation –

Pics of the day – You’ll see the road surfaces!

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Next up…more mountains!

Ride on!

 

 

MAA – Day 4 – The Loneliest Road

It sure is the loneliest road in America! There ain’t nothin’ out there! There was a stretch through the day where I didn’t see any cars or other humans for 61 minutes. And yes I was tracking that. How else does one keep their mind occupied?

I started out the day from Fallon. After navigating through the back streets for about a half hour, I met up with Route 50. Once I turned onto 50, the next prompt said “In 100 miles, turn right. So I turned it off. I think I could find my way. 🙂

The rest of the day was just pure nothing! A lot of long slow relentless climbs, though! 97 miles with 3970 feet of elevation gain. I did get a nice max speed of 36.7 mph coming down from the last pass. The whole reason you climb!

Speaking of descents, this is what it looked like coming down from Spooner Pass yesterday (view from the Sag).

Lessons learned today…

Don’t ride over cattle grates! (Luckily I didn’t)IMG_4354

The rumble strips are nasty!IMG_4364

And here are the other pics from today. Don’t get too excited

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Song of the day…

Ride on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAA – Day 1 – Let’s Hear it for the Sag

Think Let’s Hear it for the Boy and you won’t be able to get the song out of your head either! Day 1 turned out to be a great day to ride and a great day to learn! Cool, but not cold in the morning, turning to perfect temperature and mile breeze (not windy) in the afternoon. We headed up through Sacramento towards the Sierra foothills.

Before I left, I kept having the feeling of forgetting stuff. This would be the last day to pack things from home that I needed. Extra lights, charging cords, etc. Turns out, the first duty of The Sag (the girl) was to remind me that I hadn’t eaten breakfast! Good thing. With 100 miles staring me in the face, that would not have been good. I’m learning.

With everything packed and breakfast eaten, I pushed out. I made pretty good time all day except for the few navigational glitches again! It seems that when surface streets and bike paths run parallel, I’m not really sure which to be on (until I get the “off course” alert. I’m learning.

Day 1 had a familiarity to it. I had ridden the route a few times before up till Dixon (50 miles). The last half of the day was all new. My favorite ride so far was the American River Parkway bike path from Old Sac to Fulsom. I even met a few new friends on the path.

This is Al. We had a great chat at one of the rest stops. He was well aware of the bike path and rides it routinely to stay in shape now that he’s retired. Love it!DSC01063

This was my other new friend. I don’t just have random squirrel thoughts, they actually exist! (Scoobert’s jealous, though).DSC01073

Then I headed into the foothills. So much fun to climb for the last two hours of a century plus! I nearly bonked. I stopped at a CVS to get some much needed water and sugar boost only to realize that at my last stop to pull some snacks out of my pack, I had left it open! Somewhere along the way, my pouch with cash, credit card and id, fell out!! No replenishing now. When I met up with the hero Sag, they broke camp, and we drove back along my route to see if we could spot it (I knew a 10 mile area where it would have happened). No joy. As we gave up and headed back to camp to cancel card, etc., I checked my email. A kind soul, a fellow cyclist had found it! Charlton went to my blog – I keep business cards with that info in the pouch as well – in case new friends are interested. He connected with me through the blog and let me know he had found it. We texted back and forth and learned he was only about 10-miles away – so we retrieved it last night. My first Good Human story!IMG_4194

I’m learning! God is good! Your prayers are working!

Day 2 – hear I come! Ride on!