Tuesday, June 29, 2010

3 Days and counting

Well tomorrow is our last day in Ohio. I love the song Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National. It cracks me up!!! Ohio was our longest stay of the tour. We hit Pennsylvania for 1 day and then are home - yeah!!!!!!

This was a strange tree at Malabar Farm State Park. It had 2 bikes growing beyond it - oh wait those are our bikes!!

Me traveling down the road in Central Ohio. This was a fun hill to rock down. I was hoping we would catch air at the drop off but we had lost too much momentum for that to happen.

A snack at a fruit stand in Cayuhoga National Park. Plums, Apples, Oranges, Bananas. Then I snagged an ice cold Pepsi and some maple corn - yummy!!!

Being on the Erie Canal we are always intrigued when we come across locks on the road. This was how material was transported back in the day and it amazes me at how intelligent man was created yet we do some very stupid stuff!!!

Riding down a Rail-To-Trail path heading towards Austinburg, OH. What a relaxing and enjoyable final 7 miles to a 70 mile day!

Get out and ride your bike!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

4 days of riding left!!!


We have been cruising through Ohio on the way home. Saturday we found an Amish road side stand and grabbed some home made cookies and then about 2 miles down the road we came across an Ice Cream factory with a little restaurant. We stopped, split a Gyro, and ate an ice cream and ponied back up on the bikes for our ride up to Malabar Farm State Park in Central Ohio.

Stream running by our Hostel

So we made it to the hostel and then walked over to the restaurant for dinner and took a walking tour of the farm buildings. This place was amazing. Louis Bromfield, an author, donated the land and the state took it over and are doing a great job running the property. I would definitely recommend staying here if you are ever in the area!

One of 1,000 churches we have passed

There have been so many church sightings on this tour. It is amazing how many different churches there are in the world. I am estimating that we passed 1,000 churches and there have been so many different styles. This is one of my favorites.

Our first covered bridge

We went under our first covered bridge today. Cayuhoga National Park in Ohio was the location and it was cool.

Century Cycles

We stopped at a local bike shop and they took our picture for their blog because of our touring up from Mobile, AL. The guy in the shop was cool and I bought a T-Shirt - Slogan=Define Your Life Ride A Bike

That is my slogan!!

Get out and ride your bike!

Friday, June 25, 2010

What a great couple of days

Rural Ohio early morning Sunshine

We started the week off in Indiana and ended it up in Ohio. We traveled along the Ohio for much of the week and it provided awesome views and wonderful history. We were blessed to meet some awesome new friends and spent time with Todd's family also. What a whirlwind week it has been.

Todd and I on our shortcut across the Ohio River

Part of our journey took us to the home of General/President Ulysses S. Grant. Georgetown, OH was his boyhood home and he was born not too far away down on the Ohio River. What awesome history there was to be seen in the town of Georgetown and we had a great historian - Nancy Purdy who is the Innkeeper at the Bailey House B&B that we stayed at during our stay. She was amazingly knowledgeable in local history and taught Todd and I numerous things about her home town heroes!

After Georgetown, OH we headed over to Circleville, OH for our sabbath. Todd's family came to visit him because his daughter is leaving for the Ukraine before we return home. We stayed at his wife's aunts house and were treated out of this world. Thursday saw us traveling to the family farms and learning the history of those, then we were treated to sunshine and water at a local quarry lake their friend owns. Great times!!!
Todd and I kayaking on our private oasis

Good bye photo - see you next week

We headed out from Circleville, OH heading northward towards the actual route once again. Tomorrow we stay at our first hostel at Malabar Farm State Park in central Ohio. We start our week of lasts - last Friday night dinner was Applebee's. Then they all start falling until we return home next Friday.

We won't have Internet for a couple of days most likely so I will post again when we return to civilization. Thanks for stopping by and seeing how we are progressing. Get out on your bike!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Check in from Dry Ridge, KY

It has been a strange past couple of days lately. We had a super easy day into Corydon, IN, then a brutally tough day into Madison, IN, then a shorter (55+ miles) day into Dry Ridge, KY which we pushed really hard into because a huge thunder-storm was bearing down on us quickly!

Rural Indiana

My legs have been feeling pretty good, but last night I was sitting on a veranda overlooking the Ohio River in Madison, IN and I just thought that if my wife were in town with a vehicle I would just hop in with her and drive home. Luckily this morning I just got on my bike and headed back out!

My contemplative view of the Ohio River

We had some great fellowship over the weekend with some awesome people. First up was Mike and Joanne in Corydon, IN. Mike and Joanne leave at the end of the month for a ride on the Underground Railroad and I look forward to meeting back up with them in Buffalo when they come through town. They blessed us with an awesome dinner and then we had some great fellowship after wards. I wish it could have continued but we had a long day the next day and needed some rest!

Sunday we met with Mike and Kit who we met at Cave-in-Wind, IL on Tuesday of last week. It was pure and simply a God meeting and we were blessed abundantly by them with dinner and a hotel room in Dry Ridge, KY.

Our Dinner Hosts with us - thanks Mike and Kit

We headed out for Dry Ridge, KY and beat a nice thunderstorm into town. Tomorrow we are off to our first Bed and Breakfast in Ohio - that is right we are 1 state closer to home!

Fog over Ohio River on the way to Dry Ridge, KY

View from Folsom Ridge, KY on the way to Dry Ridge, KY - Tough Hill!!!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great evening. Get out and ride your bike!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things I Miss About Home Today

We are officially 2 weeks into our tour which is 1/2 way through day wise but we are over 900 miles total so far and we are estimating ending up around 1800 or so. I am contemplating today about things that I am missing at home. It has been a great 2 weeks and I am not complaining one bit, but after being gone from home longer than any other time in my marriage, I feel obligated to mention some things:

My family first and foremost. This is from Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA. We will be riding our bikes by this spot on one of the last 2 days and that will be quite interesting. Notice how pale I am in this photo? That has changed!!!

I am very grateful that they gave up 30 days of time with me and allowed me to go on the tour and I will be indebted to them for a long time to come! I am very interested t0 see what God has in store for all 4 of us, not only the rest of this year but for years to come. I want to see how Amelia develops her musical interest. I am excited to see Jake grow athletically, musically, and scholarly. Jane loves so easily and I want to help her utilize that as a team in the future - something we have never really done in our marriage. And me, well I am just interested in seeing what adventures are in store around the corner - physical and spiritual!

Ahh - the winter. It has been so hot and humid down in the south so far - I look forward to riding my bike in the snow again. Not too soon, but soon enough! I love the feeling of getting dressed to combat the elements and seeing how far I can push myself on the bike that day. I love skiing as well and cannot wait to get Jake involved in that this winter!

Mountain Biking. My true love. This is from the time when my son and I went camping this spring. It was a great time and he is turning into such a strong young God filled man! I hope to do a 6 hour power race and maybe even a 100 miler later this year. I am waiting on the approval for either one but I would love to give those a shot after recovering from the tour.

Well in 2 more weeks we will be home or on our last night before riding into Western New York that Friday morning. It has been an awesome journey so far and I look forward to how God is going to utilize these days and what He has in store upon return.

Thanks for stopping by and in the immortal words of Guitar Ted - Get out and ride your bikes!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Sabbath #2

Well we pushed to Owensboro, KY today because my bar end shifter is giving me trouble and they have a bike shop. It meant 90 miles today but it also means a very easy day on Friday.

This is from Grand Rivers, KY the other day. The marine on the lakes - stunning!

Todd on the ferry to Cave-in-Wind, IL

Cave-in-Wind, IL - pretty cool place if you ever get a chance to see it!

The thunderstorms blow in!!!

We stayed at Cave-in-Rock State Park, Illinois last night and saw an awesome storm blow through and sunrise this morning! We started off at 6:00am and caught the first ferry out of town!

The 90 miles started off somewhat hilly but it flattened out after 15 or so miles and was pretty boring from there on out. I don't think I have ridden that many flat miles in quite a while and it felt nice. There was a slight head wind but nothing too horrible.

Tomorrow is rest and relaxation but I am sure I will post something.

Have a great day and get out there and ride your bike!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Back to Back Centuries

Well we did something that I never thought I would do in this heat and humidity and HILLS. Friday was 104+ miles and Saturday was 120 miles. There are heat index warnings out because the temperatures with humidity are in the 105-110 range. My friends that is hot. I have done further than that 2 times before - 1 time in Western New York in April and one time in Iowa and I can tell you it was about 50 or so at the most. I miss those days!!!!

I calculated that I drank 400 ounces of gatorade/powerade/water on the bike Saturday. Then I ate dinner and the poor waitress brought me 3 glasses of water and 4 Arnold Palmers. Then I drank more water at the hotel before bed.

Our bodies are amazing vessels that can take a lot of stress but boy was I glad to get off the bike yesterday. Then I woke up and we had to do 60 in the heat, humidity, and hills again. This is the first time that I contemplated taking a taxi - LOL. Humbling, but we made it.

I have pictures but I don't have the energy to download them. I will do another picture day soon. Tomorrow is supposed to be 45 or so, down the trace so it should be a pretty good day to catch up on stuff.

Until then have a great night and go out and ride your bicycle.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Week #1 Recap

One week ago today we were flying down to Panama City Beach, FL and then driving over to Mobile, AL as we prepared to leave the following morning for our 1700 mile adventure north along the Underground Railroad. The first day was as smooth as any day could ever be and we felt confident heading into Friday morning's departure.

Friday we grabbed some breakfast and headed out. We first met Dre and Eldred at the hotel. They are 2 union iron workers working on a new steel plant in Mobile, AL. They thought (and probably still do think) that we were crazy for doing what we were doing and they kept telling us we were rich. Rich in the Lord was our response. What other rich is as awesome as that? Lunch was great at the Stagecoach in Stockton, AL and then we settled in for the night at Little River, AL post office campground. It was not a very restful night because of 3 dogs that felt barking all night long would be helpful to our sleep. 70+miles 5hrs 10min

Saturday was hot right from the start. We knew we had a hotel waiting for us so we pushed off. We made a wrong turn right off the start and I "felt" it was wrong because of the sun placement. I checked the maps and we had to back track a little bit but got back on track. We made it to the Econolodge in Jackson, AL and the staff offered to do our laundry for us - that was awesome. 72+ miles 5hrs 53min

Sunday was a trying day. I knew there was a long distance with no services so we loaded up in the last town and headed out. There is a service station marked on the map and when we got there it was closed on Sunday. Oh boy. Rationing time now. I even called the emergency number to see if the owner would could open up for us but I had no service. We were getting closer to our stopping point so I pushed on ahead of Todd just so I could get some cold fluids ready for us. I made the first gas station and went right to the cooler and bought 2 gatorades and waited outside for Todd to pull in. How refreshing is that after going 55 miles with warm water and gatorade only at your disposal. It was better than nothing though. 75+miles 5hrs 41min

Monday was the long day of the week. We could not find anywhere for breakfast so we made it to Jefferson, AL and had a great chat with the store owner, her friend, and grandson. We got to see some church history with them and then continued on. The one thing that stuck out to me about this was the still very strong prejudice aura that you could sense. We decided that if it is something that you are taught from such an early age that they must think it is right. We wondered if God could even break that stronghold in their hearts. 80+miles 6hrs 3min

Tuesday was a shorter day and we took it a lot easier knowing so. We were heading to West Point, MS and a new state which was exciting. We saw a church that started the year the Civil War ended and just contemplated what the members had seen and done in their lifetime! Amazing. 63+ miles 4hrs 45min

Wednesday was another short day and we were headed to our second night of camping but the southern storms fired up so we skipped that and made a bee line for the Days Inn in Fulton, AL. Nothing like taking rest in A/C and protection from a southern doozy. 65+ miles 4hrs 59min

Be checking back in tomorrow night after our 100 miler. Have a great day and go ride your bike!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 7 in photos

The morning sky was dark but we felt it was moving out towards the north (the direction we are heading of course). We got out of West Point, MS and took refuge in a shell station, then a church overhang, then we had hot and humid all the way to Fulton, MS. Pulled in just ahead of some wicked storms - after a lady up the road said no rain in the forecast. Guess she did not take weather 101 because I saw it coming!

The morning sky from our Shell Station hideout!
The church where we took cover. Todd waving to cyber world! We left our card and hopefully they follow us that would be cool!
The history around here is unbelievable. But just think what Europe has on us?
More history
Mission work done back in the 1800's. God has always been at work through willing vessels!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Freedom Tour Day #6

Here are some more pictures from Day #6 of the Freedom Tour. It was an enjoyable 65 miles today. We were in no rush so we saw a lot of sights, braked often enough but not too much, and then got some awesome pool time in!

We hit a new state - that is always exciting right?

Local Lock and Dam on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway. A sailboat was coming up river to use the locks but we pressed on!

Steamship that was used to clear river debris. One of the last active ones but it is retired now!

This church began right after the Civil War ended. That is one long church history filled with some interesting stories I bet. They had just recently built a new building right next door so it must still be flourishing!

The Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway from Mississippi this time.

All in all it was a great day on the bike again. I don't think I fully appreciate and/or understand what a blessing it is that I am able to do this. I just smile and pedal onward to home.

Thanks for stopping by - now get out and ride your bike!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Freedom Tour 2010 - Days #1 & 2 (Only 1 on the bike)

I am going to do a quick recap of our first 5 days away from home. This has incorporated 4 on the bike and I am feeling good so far. This will mainly be pictures. I will tell the story in July when I get back. I am keeping a journal and I look forward to sharing it with you when it is finished. You can track our progress at our blog or my spot page or here! Enjoy the pictures!

The flight down - this picture is my favorite of the trip so far. It is impressive with the lighting and the clouds. It looks like the ocean or the sky. So cool!

Mile 0.0 in Mobile, AL. All loaded up and ready to go!
Thank you for your service - USS ALABAMA (BB-60)
Thank you for your service Mr. Woolf

Our first nights camping area - Little River, AL. This is the post office so you have an idea of how rural this area truly is!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tomorrow is the Day

I cannot remember what month we actually started discussing the Freedom Tour but it is upon us. Tomorrow is departure day for Panama City Beach, FL and then we drive over to Mobile, AL.

Good thing we get in early because we have to rebuild our bikes back up, test them out to make sure everything is working, pack all of our gear, get some food, and sleep.

We know we are without lodging Friday (our first day on the road) but we have also heard of a possible situation that we are praying works out. Then we start to rotate hotels/camping/camp grounds the rest of the tour. They are calling for hot temps and thunderstorms but hopefully they miss us for the first couple of days until we get our legs! But at the end of the day we know we don't control the weather and it is what it is :)

You still have time to follow us - just click on the link above, go to the blog section, enter your e-mail address, and you will get e-mailed about blog entries we have made.

Thanks for your prayers and I look forward to sharing an incredible story when I get back!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pictures from the weekend

I have done the major write up so now I shall post some photos from over the weekend:

The weekend started with my son's 12th birthday party with his buddies. We went to the high school field and they played football, soccer, and other fun games. It was nice to see these young boys outside enjoying the beautiful weather instead of withering away playing games inside!

Single track came to play over the weekend. I love riding single track and being on my mountain bike.
This is my training meadow during the winter. It looks a lot different without 2' of snow on top of the grass. I love both seasons but I always miss the other season when it is away - so now I am missing my snow time. The winter picture is the same area.
Happy Memorial Day and thanks for your service to the veterans out there (which I am one of) and thanks for your giving to those that never came home.
The kids after dinner on Sunday night. Yes that is my goofy (but beautiful) daughter hogging the frame and my son comparing his calves to mine - he still has some work to do - LOL
Creek crossing at Sprague Brook - if you zoom you can see my wet tire tracks on the gravel and the single track starting back up across the water. It is awfully low because it has been dry but that keeps my shoes dry!

Sunshine - plenty of it this weekend!
One of my favorite pictures from the weekend. Looking up through the tall tress on the single track performing a perfect sun filter.
Good night - Sunset in West Falls, NY Sunday May 30th, 2010. I took about 5 different shots on the way up the hill but this one stood out.