Read Journal HereNumber of Journal Entries online: 15
|Day 28�July 16, 2006�REST DAY, Sioux Falls, SD
|We�ve climbed 24,087 feet (4.6 miles ) over 670 miles in the past 8 days�the most climbing of any leg so far. This is due to the big climb to Mount Rushmore, the lengthy climb out of Mount Rushmore, and the long rollers into Rapid City and Pierre.
Sioux Falls exists as a city today because land speculators who staked town site claims here in 1857 came in search of the cascades of the Big Sioux River. The city�s namesake rapids are in Falls Park, north of downtown (riders will pass by them as they leave tomorrow) and are lighted half an hour after sunset each night. The waterfalls at Falls Park gush over pink quartzite, which is very rare. It is the second hardest rock next to a diamond.
This was a great and much needed rest day with riders enjoying meals out together at good restaurants (I�m sure none chose to eat at a buffet), the ongoing Jazz Festival, Scheels All Sports store three blocks away, the butterfly house and nature center nearby, watching the Tour on OLN, shopping in the mall across the street, and just kicking back and relaxing. Many also caught up on laundry and cleaned and lubed their bikes, though I can�t say that this was an exciting part of their rest day.
The staff completed their usual rest day shopping, vehicle and equipment cleaning and restocking, and rider orientation session before sharing an evening meal together. Tomorrow we begin the Northern Tier Tour (Sioux Falls, SD to Niagara Falls, NY). It will be my last week with the tour as I must jump off in Fond du Lac and return home to take care of some family matters.
posted 2006-07-16 | 15:15:46 | article number: 1
|Day 29�July 17, 2006�Sioux Falls, SD to Worthington, MN�70 miles�1850� climb (somewhere)
|UFF DA! AND WELCOME TO MINN-E-SO-TA . . . STATE NO. 5 WHERE THE WOMEN ARE PRETTY, THE MEN ARE GOOD LOOKING, AND THE CHILDREN ARE ALL ABOVE AVERAGE . . . YOU BETCHA!
This morning after breakfast at the motel (with an optional supplement at next-door McD�s) riders took to the road. I rode the first half of the day and Christine rode the second half. We pedaled a couple of blocks on city streets and then took to the Falls Park Bike Path for 9 miles. Those staff in the vehicles skirted the city and caught up with the riders on Rice Road, about 10 miles into the ride. The paved FPBP runs by the falls and is protected from the low morning sun in most areas by tall trees. We passed a handful of walkers and other cyclists, saw ducks dabbling in the river and Canada geese on the mowed areas, and dodged squirrels darting across the path. I also kept seeing new rider John Shea. He passed me twice, and once I looked up and saw him pedaling across the overpass we were riding under. The last time he came up, he said: �You�ve ridden this several times haven�t you? Maybe I should follow you.� But . . . the man�s built for speed, so this thought lasted only as long as it took to think it.
At about mile 34, we encountered a detour. Now detours in this area can be tedious because the fields run four miles between paved roads. We had all been struggling with a strong crosswind, but when we turned north onto the detour, we hit full frontal headwinds with gusts of 25 to 30 mph. Our turn northeast four miles later brought us back to the crosswind, so all of us were waiting for the turn south back to the original route . . . when we�d have a stomping tailwind. Finally it came, but we were already in Luverne, so we had less than half a mile of tailwind before pulling up to the SS at mile 41 rather than mile 37. Those first four windy miles north were our only bonus miles, but maybe we should count them twice as they required twice the effort.
Our detour (and indeed most of the route) took us through Minnesota corn fields. The farms along the route were impeccable, each situated in a grove of trees and having a neatly painted house and outbuildings, flower beds, and nicely tended lawns. No extra cars or farm equipment lying about. Each farmhouse again sitting in the midst of vast cornfields and soybean fields . . . vaster even than those in South Dakota. With the wind blowing as it was, this sea of green even rolled and had waves like an ocean.
It was Chris Herrly�s 14th birthday today, and since Chris has been right-hand-man to the staff, we all chipped in and gave him an ABB staff polo. His mom had a birthday cake with cowboys and Indians and even a covered wagon on it brought to his table at dinner at the Country Kitchen (see photo above). Bet this is a birthday Chris will remember a lifetime.
Tomorrow we�re off to Mankato on a century ride. All riders are hoping for a favorable change in wind direction. Two things will be in their favor, however: 1) The route is not challenging, and 2) the temps are supposed to be in the 80s rather than 90s. Tune in tomorrow and see how the ride progresses.
OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �This is an awfully corny day!� *** �It�s so green. Are we in the Emerald City of Oz?� *** �I don�t know, but I�m pretty sure we�re in the tornado that carried Dorothy there.�
posted 2006-07-17 | 21:12:20 | article number: 2
|Day 30�July 18, 2006�Worthington, MN to Mankato, MN�102 miles�1030� climb
|What a beautiful day. We started in cool (almost chilly) temps after breakfast at the Country Kitchen, though several eager beavers ate breakfast in their rooms and left immediately after luggage load . . . spurred by thoughts of heat and wind. But, really, the day brought neither in any quantities that we couldn�t handle.
We started the ride with 30 miles on Rt 60E and ended it with another 22 miles on Rt. 60E, before getting off at Frontage Road in Mankato and following Riverfront Drive to the hotel. The rest of the day was spend on very quiet farm-to-market roads through vast fields of soybeans and corn. Chris was riding with me and remarked that the scenery varied from cornfields on both sides of the road to soybeans on one side and corn on the other to soybeans on both sides of the road. These fields run for miles, and each has a farmhouse and outbuildings sitting in its center protected by tall tree windbreaks. These islands are all that break up the monotony of a sea of green soybeans and/or corn.
After the first SS, which Jim set up at McDonald�s in Windom, a good group of riders sailed past a right turn. A couple in the back looked at their route sheets, but all followed the lead rider, who obviously hadn�t looked at his. Chris and I know this because we, too, missed the turn. We�d discovered our error and were sitting at the intersection with our turn signal on when the riders sailed past.
After the second SS at mile 64, I switched with Christine and took to the road while she took over the SS. At mile 75.8, I saw a left turn but no CR 216 sign per the route sheet, so kept on pedaling thinking the left turn would be just over the next rise. Andy in Box, and Daun and Bill, on their tandem, did the same. We all discovered our mistake a mile or so later. Our turn was at CR 24�maybe the route has been renumbered. We came up on Main Street in Madelia and riders at first thought they were going to repeat the tar and oil quagmire we faced when entering Wall, but this time the sticky stuff could be avoided by riding a parallel street.
After Madelia it was a pretty straight shot on Hwy 60 to Mankato. I stopped once at a little fruit farm called Welch Heritage Farms, expecting a juicy apple or something good, but found a young boy and a nearly empty salesroom. There were several delicious looking pies, but I knew I could not carry those on my bike. Wanting something cold, I bought a half gallon of cold apple cider, drank half of it and put the other in my water bottles. This was just the tonic I needed to get me to the hotel.
All arrived safely at the hotel by 3:30 and immediately dispersed to the pool or a nearby restaurant. Congratulations to Cathy who rode her first century today. Tomorrow she�ll get to repeat her feat as we cover the 100 miles to Rochester, MN. See you then.
OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �We limit ourselves to two Dairy Queens per day.� *** Whew! For a minute there, I thought I was going to get the chance to build another tarbaby in the motel parking lot.�
SHOW & TELL: 1) A man stopped his car at the intersection of CR 1 and asked what we were doing. When he started out again, he opened his car door and out popped his black dog, which took off like a bullet running in the fields alongside the slow moving car for a half mile or so. Guess this was how he exercised his dog. 2) We were passed by a mother and her two daughters with balloons and ducks on their helmets. They were riding their triple to RAGBRAI.
posted 2006-07-18 | 18:16:53 | article number: 3
|Day 31�July 19, 2006�Mankato, MN to Rochester, MN�102 miles�2710� climb
|This was a tough day for riders and staff alike. The first challenge of the day was climbing the hill out of town, which was three blocks from the motel and came upon cold mujscles and just after a big breakfast. The climb was a good punch up, but it was a little like climbing San Francisco�s hills or even biking to the Astoria Column because there were two cross streets that gave riders a little flat on the way up. I�d judge the grade toward the top at over 12%. The climb behind them, riders looked forward to a fast century to the hotel in Rochester. This was not to be.
The next excitement for the day was a torn out portion (2 miles) of Hwy 22. The riders and the support vehicles could get through, but the cyclists had to walk a good portion of it. Some riders took Hwy 83 and bypassed all but a short section of construction. Others found other routes. Riders were coming in to Waseca from every direction . . . but come in they did and enjoyed the repast at SS#1, which Chris and I set up in a picnic shelter in a little park on Clear Lake. (Thank you to Bob who donated some delicious chewy candy to the SS!)
All this time it had been darkly overcast and even a bit chilly. I rode from SS #1 behind Ken and Rob. We were only 7 miles from the SS when a fierce, black storm struck with heavy rain, wind, thunder, and lightning (see Ken�s photos above). We knocked on a farmhouse door and the farm wife opened the �shed� (a big tin bldg. housing their cars, tractor, plow, skidoos, fuel, etc.). We waited in the shed for a long time (see photo of me and Rob above). Every time we�d decide to leave, a bolt of lightning would rend the sky. Finally we decided to get out and go. Not too much farther down the road, the rain rained down and the lightning lit up the sky. I took shelter in another barn and then rode on to mile 50 where many were gathered keeping the counter help at a McDonald�s busy.
It continued to storm and thunder and lightning all day and well into the evening. Groups would ride from barn to barn. I�ll bet nearly every barn on the route sheltered cyclists for a bit. (See some of their experiences in S&T; below.) Most cyclists were met with very kind and trusting people. We thank them all . . .
The second SS was set up in the road in the town of West Concord. The road had been newly surfaced and was barricaded. First Christine doled out PB&J; sandwiches from the back of Box and then Chris took over as sandwich chef and whipped up a big pile of PB&Js; from Orange while Box delivered soggy saggers and luggage to the motel. Flower was on the road picking up bikes and cyclists who�d had enough of the rain and lightning. The second SS was operational for seven and a half hours (maybe a record). . . from the time the first riders arrived until the last ones did. A big thank you to Kirk and his wife, Francis, who served as �supplemental SAG,� ferrying riders to Rochester from SS#2.
The last riders got to the hotel in Rochester at 7:30 pm . . . looooooooooooong day�s journey.
OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �It�s raining, it�s pouring, the old man is snoring. . .� *** �This raincoat could be used as a wetsuit.� *** �Are we having fun yet?� *** �I�ll take rain over heat any day.�
SHOW & TELL: 1) Don and Bill reported that the barn where he and a group of others took shelter raised chinchillas (small winsome animals raised for their very soft, fine fur or in this case for the pet trade. They had a baby chinchilla that fit in the palm of the farmer�s hand. Also a basket full of newborn dachshund puppies. Aaaww! 2) Dana reported that the farmers at a barn where they stopped had just finished artificially inseminating their cows. A lot of tired bovines lounged about. 3) John reported that the husband/wife at a barn they stopped at seemed a bit weird. They had several pets, including a rat that ran around the wife�s head and shoulders. 4) Bob reported that at a barn where he and Dave and Lisa took shelter there was what Lisa judged to be a �constipated� duck gazing skyward. Lightning struck very, very close by. Afterward, Bob reported, the duck was not constipated. 5) Many saw the yellow lab that bit people last summer. This year it was tied up, but that did not stop it from lunging to the end of its chain and barking frantically at riders as they passed.
posted 2006-07-23 | 10:07:06 | article number: 4
|Day 32�July 20, 2006�Rochester, MN to La Crosse, WI�89 miles�1690� climb
|GALLOPING TOM MIX WE�RE IN STATE NO. 6 �WISCONSIN . . . WHERE THEY EAT BRATS AND CHEESE, DRINK BEER WHEN THEY PLEASE, AND THE �DAIRYAIR� WAFTS IN THE BREEZE.
A beautiful day on the road. Sunny but not too warm, breezy but not full frontal headwinds, great scenery, great roads, little traffic and only one detour (of about 300 yards) through a turkey farm (see photo above) just before SS #1, which Jim set up at Bucksnort Park, a pretty roadside park with a waterfalls.
I rode from SS#1 to SS#2 today, a very lovely ride up and down on great rollers past two big white and ornate country Lutheran churches. I also rode the Root River Trail (a Rails to Trails trail) from Rushford to Houston. It is a very pretty shaded trail along the Root River. In the areas that are not in forest, wildflowers bloomed in profusion along the trail. At the end of the Root River Trail is the Houston Nature Center and Alice, a Great Horned Owl. Alice broke her wing as a fledgling and is now a pet who is used to teach environmental education. Also very interesting sculptures made of bike parts, even a swing made of bike parts.
The ride to La Crosse from SS#2 included riding through a beautiful valley and then climbing a steep mile to the top of the bluffs where the vistas were long and so was the downhill off the bluffs and into the Mississippi River Valley.
Tonight I said goodbye to the riders as tomorrow night I will be busy tying up loose ends and boxing my bike etc. I gave each rider my version of Johnny Cash�s �I�ve Been Everywhere� which was meant for the final banquet but . . It is hard to leave something like this in the middle . . . it gives me a feeling of incompleteness, but leave I must. I will miss the daily routine and the riding and the riders and the staff.
OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �I think this was the prettiest route we�ve had on the road.� *** �What a beautiful trail.� *** �That trail made the day!� *** �We need to change the route so that we can ride more of this trail.� [All trail comments about the section of the Root River Trail between Rushford and Houston, MN.]
posted 2006-07-23 | 10:21:18 | article number: 5
|Day 33�July 21, 2006�La Crosse, WI to Wisconsin Dells, WI�92 miles�2850� climb
|Another day that could be divided into thirds. 30 miles to SS#1 at the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail trailhead, 30 miles on the bike trail, and 32 miles after the bike trail to the motel in Wisconsin Dells. It was my last day to ride. I rode the to SS#1 at the trailhead and then supported the riders as best I could by riding Hwy 71 parallel to the trail. Every once in a while the trail and riders were visible. Chris and I also parked at the trailheads in the various small towns we passed through so that we�d be there for the riders. It was overcast and cool all day, but we got no rain.
At Sparta (advertised as the Bicycle Capital of America), riders picked up the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail. It�s a Rails-to-Trails route of 30 miles that takes riders through several small whistle stop towns with plenty of places to eat and sights to see. The trail was a hard packed limestone surface and was basically flat (or no more than a 3% grade) since it was a railbed, but the main attractions were the tunnels . . . three of them ranging from a couple hundred yards to about 3,800 feet in length. To say it was dark in these tunnels is understatement. Close your eyes in a dark room and put your hand about 6 inches in front of your nose. That�s what riders could see in the longest tunnel. It was also very drippy in the first tunnel, which had a little gurgling stream running along each side of the path. When riders weren�t in a RR tunnel or a tree tunnel, they would break out into beautiful farmland nestled in a backdrop of large rolling tree covered hills . . . very pleasant and visually stimulating.
We set up SS#2 at the Elroy Commons on the picnic table under their pavilion there. At one end of the Commons were the bathrooms and at the other a little store selling cold drinks, a small assortment of snacks, bike pumps and CO2 cartridges, postcards and other touristy stuff. Several curious asked us about ABB, and I gave out catalogs and left a handful of them in the Train Shop so that the woman there could hand them out to interested riders.
To say this is a bike friendly area is also an understatement. With all the trails they have around here, cycling is not only for the hard core, but for families as well . . . young and old alike. Everywhere you looked someone was either riding a bicycle or carrying one on the back of their car.
After the trail, our last 30 miles was again out in the Wisconsin countryside with several hills made the last push to the motel pretty difficult, especially after casually noodling along the trail. Now riders had to work to get to the motel. This last leg was maybe the longest 30 miles riders have ridden so far. The last riders got in just before Route Rap and dinner.
OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �I�d ride a mile for pie.� [Several did ride back a mile to the Cherry Tree Cafe] *** �Is Lois running for office around here or something?� [re: the many encouraging signs that Lois�s sisters and family posted along the route today] *** �Would you like some? Here�s a fork.� [from a group of four trail riders at the Commons who were all dipping their forks into a large cherry pie in a box.]
posted 2006-07-23 | 10:22:04 | article number: 6
|Day 34�July 22, 2006�Wisconsin Dells, WI to Fond du Lac, WI�84 miles�1740� climb
|This was a beautiful day through picturesque farmland and with two very nice SAG stops, the first at the little Swan Lake near a grocery and the second at a Subway sandwich place.
We always call this day vegetable soup day because the roads are a mix of letters from �GO� to �XX� to �ZZ� and all combinations inbetween. The route directions might read: �GO� to the Y and take �PP� to the T, etc. Christine and Christopher who rode together this morning took a photo of themselves near CR �CC.� Unfortunately it never got transferred to my computer so I cannot display it.
Since my bike was already boxed and ready to transport to the airport later in the afternoon, I could not ride today, but I did set up SS#2 at the Subway Sandwich shop. We ran the SS until Box took over. Then Christine and Chris and I headed for Appleton Airport. Had only an hour wait there before flying to Chicago where I had a four hour wait. Twenty minutes before my flight was due to board at 8:30 pm, the flight was cancelled. Thus, I presently sit in a hotel room in Chicago. Will try again to get out tonight(Sunday) at 8:30.
This is my final good-bye. I will miss every single rider and will also miss riding through my home state of New York. I will also really miss writing this journal! Bye for now. Hope many of you ride with us again. Ride safe; ride smart. Susan
posted 2006-07-23 | 10:36:43 | article number: 7
|Day 35�July 23, 2006�Fond du Lac to Manitowoc, WI�57 miles�1,300� climb
|Greetings, from the road, America by Bicycle Across America North Web Journal followers, sorry for the delay in posting, a small computer glitch has infected our system since Susan�s departure, but HORRAY!!!!! We are back up and online.................Thanks so much for your paitents. We�ve still got plenty of mileage to go to New Hampshire But today we�re heading from Fond du Lac to Manitowoc, WI
It was a shorter day today, blue, sunny skies with temps in the mid 70�s. A great day for cycling. Once out of Fond du Lac we headed around Lake Winnabago and out into the great Wisconsin country side. The terrrain was rolling as we passed by many family farms and dairys. Beautiful green fields and rolling countryside, WOW! The photo opportunities continued especially as we reached Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of water. Annie of the �Final Four� Kicked it up a little today to ride as she rode with the �Wolf Pack�. The tour is really making progress, we�ve come 2,600 miles and have 1,000 miles to go. As we arrive at the Holiday Inn, the group seems excited to have a day off and intreagued to see the great ship that�ll take us across the Great Lake of Michigan.
Overhead on the road, �Where�s the DQ?!?!� �Let�s go downtown, are they giving samples at the Budweiser plant?� �Lake Michigan is HUGE!�
posted 2006-07-30 | 13:51:49 | article number: 8
|Day 36 - July 24, 2006 - Manitowoc to Luddington, MI - 8 miles
|Today was a treat! Everyone slept late and took an easier pace. Some folks went downtown to do a little sightseeing or have a second breakfast. Manitowoc�s a cute town with plenty of shops and coffee joints for a cup of joe. It was fun to get a look around. This is definatley FOOTBALL Country. And you can tell we�re close to Green Bay there are Packers signs and cheseheads everywhere. especially the last few days. Ultimately we all met at the town dock @ Noon and boarded the SS Badger for the 5 hour cruise across Lake Michigan to Ludington. The SS Badger is a 400�+ car ferry that�s been taking passengers and vehicles back and forth across the Great Lake since the 1930�s. Back then there were many ferry companies doing shuttle duty, today the SS Badger is the last one remaining. Once underway we all had a chance to relax and enjoy the ship. Many folks caught up on sleep and played cards and Bingo. During the crossing we entered into the Eastern Time zone and lost an hour. We�ve crossed 3 time zones across the country. We are now officially in the east. Welcome to Michigan!! Once docked, many gathered at the Michigan sign for photo opps. An approaching storm made dinner a quick one so we could cycle the 3 miles to the hotel and stay dry. Off to bed early, we prepare for our final century day of the tour.
Overheard on the Boat, �Who said this was a THREE HOUR CRUISE?!� �How old is this boat anyway?� �What movie�s playing today?� �Let�s eat!!� Hey it�s no DQ, but not too bad!�
posted 2006-07-30 | 14:01:40 | article number: 9
|Day 37 - July 25, 2006 - Ludington to Mt. Pleasant, MI - 115 miles - 2120� climb
|Here�s we go again! The day started out a little challenging for our last century. Weather was rainy and wet to start but was sunny by noontime. We headed south from Ludington along Lake Shore Drive and passed many beautiful homes along the water. Soon we were heading east again and out into the country. On our ride thru Michigan the terrain is generally flat but today we had some occasional rolls to keep it interesting. As the weather was drying out, cyclists were beginning to get into the day. At SS#1, Stu and Lois were playing the water cooler bongos right along with the music playing. The local folks sure are friendly. At Grandpa�s Nursery, Grandpa came out and moved the picnic table out of the rain for us.......NICE! Theresa, Lil�s sister from Michigan rode her lst century today on the triple bike with Ray and Lil. And Chris rode his 1st metric century on a single......he did Awesome! The �Final Four� are keeping a Dairy Queen count and it�s averaging 1 per day! On more challenging days its twice. The day rolled by fast and faster as the sun came out and the wind picked up and gave us a gentle push into town. Mount Pleasant is a neat little city. It is home to the Chippewa Indian Tribe and the Largest Casino in the midwest. We were all happy to get in. After riding 116 miles, we were all happy to get to town and the overnight hotel. Whew...............another day conquered!
Overheard on the road, �Any place to do laundry around here?� �I can hear those slot machines calling my name!� �Where we eating, I�m ready NOW!� �Can I have wine with mine?!�
posted 2006-07-30 | 16:16:54 | article number: 10
|Day 38 - July 26, 2006 - Mt Pleasant to Birch Run, MI - 75 miles - 700� climb
|Up in the AM. a little slow today after the long ride yesterday, we�re all happy its only 75 miles today. The weather looked a little scary on the TV, but out on the road we never did get wet. Must have gotten started in an open pocket of dry and it stayed over us for the ride. The terrain today is very flat, almost a pancake with 700� of climbing. Still out in the county for most of the day, we are enjoying the beautiful scenery. AH............country riding. I did note the roads were a little more bumpy than the last few days. Oh I wish they�d spend those road tax dollars here. Seems everyone got into the hotel early. Most got a chance to do a laundry, visit the many outlet malls, head up to Frankenmurth (A German village north of Birch Run) or eat a good lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area. The group had dinner at Tony�s Italian, good pasta. Rest up and get ready for our last Michigan day to Port huron tommorow.
Overheard on the road, �Does anyone see a Dairy Queen?� Let�s get some lunch, NO not at the buffet place!� How many flats have you had?.....NONE!!�
posted 2006-07-30 | 16:17:29 | article number: 11
|Day 39 - July 27, 2006 - Birch Run to Port Huron, MI - 89 miles - 500� climb
|Rolling, rolling, rolling along............Last Michigan day! Today we head over to Port Huron, a northern part of metro Detroit. Weather was again on our side as it looked like rain for agood part of the day, but never seemed to catch up with us. The roads were very rural and flat with one nice roll in the middle of the day. The route was on nice country roads and we passed many farms that were large and stately, set back from the road and made of brick or stone. As we cycled we saw a lot of white Queen Anne�s Lace and blue chicory. As we neared Port Huron, we had a chance to cycle along Lake Shore Drive and pass the many mansions on the way into town. Port Huron is home to the oldest lighthouse in the state. The bridge we cross tommorow into Canada is called the Blue Water Bridge and it spans the St. Claire River between Port Huron, Michigan and Point Edward and Sarnia Ontario, Canada. We shuttle down to the buffet house for dinner and get ready to International tomorow!
Overheard on the road, �What is the Macinac Island race?� �A sailboat race from Port Huron to Macinac Island held every summer, very high profile!� �Anyne see my helmet?� �What that growing in the field?..........Ginsing!�
posted 2006-07-31 | 15:04:45 | article number: 12
|Day 40 - July 28, 2006 - Port Huron to London, ONT Canada -76 miles- 1,100�climb
|Here we go....International!! What an exciting day! Everyone packed up and lined up at the Port Huron Holiday Inn Express all wearing our Red, White, and Blue America by Bicycle jerseys for our ride together into Canada at 8am. Pretty neat looking sight!!! The staff had arranged for us to all ride together in an escort across the Blue Water Bridge. We took off and climbed up to the roadway, 210� above the St. Claire River and rolled along into Canada. We took up our own lane across the bridge and right thru customs. Once cleared we were given special attention by the Canadians, who rolled us along right into town and past some road construction and ultimately back on our bicycle route..........WOW! What a sight! Once out into the Canadian countryside the riding was rural and fast. The weather cooperated and we had a great tailwind that had everyone screeming thru the miles. Some folks had to slow down to make SS#1. We tucked into London the back way and enjoyed the night intown.The Final Four continued their quest form fresh fruit by stopping and picking blueberrys and sharing them during Route Rap. Great day!
Overheard on the road, �Let�s go to Tim Horton�s..eh?� �if you�re riding across the USA, you�ve made a wrong turn, You�re in Canada Now!! (Lady at the fruit stand, when riders told her of their goal.)
posted 2006-07-31 | 15:06:49 | article number: 13
|Day 41 - July 29, 2006 - London to Brantford, ONT - 64 miles - 1350� climb
|East Bound and Down, Loaded Up and Riding!! Great Breakfast at the hotel, we all came down and took over the Breakfast room, just cyclists, we loaded up. Nice day on the road today, super weather, sunny with a nice tailwind. Group is in good spirits and really enjoying the Canadian section of the ride. Once out of London the route goes rual again. Still pretty flat terrain with a fun gentle roll. Upon arrival in Springford we geared down for a SAG stop at the local ball diamond. Unlike most days we had a little company at our break spot. There was some sort of baseball tournament going on. While the players were doing their thing the fundraisers were setting up the post-game refreshments. A hand-written sign read �Bar tickets: 7 for $20�. Nothing about how much for a single drink. Glad we were well on our way before those guys hit the road! Post-SAG everyone enjoyed playing �Name That Crop� as we rolled along. Carrots, hay, Soya Beans, Tobacco, Ginseng.......the list went on. As we prepared for descent into Brantford (home of Wayne Gretzky 99, and Alexander Graham Bell) some riders followed the cue sheet while others ventured forth and found a bike path into town and came to a final stop at the Holiday Inn.
Aside: The jockeying for position continues as rival factions �The Final Four� and �The Three Amigos� appear to be recruiting new members. Who will reign supreme when we hit the Atlantic ???
Overheard on the road, �its like riding in Pennsylvania...without all the hills�
�why ride 64miles when you can say �I rode 109km?� �when asked �Are these fresh picked blue berries� by a rider at the SAG, Michelle responded �Yeah...yesterday at COSTCO�
posted 2006-07-31 | 16:13:21 | article number: 14
|Day 42 - July 30, 2006 - Brantford to Niagara Falls, NY - 72 miles - 1650� climb
|Back in the U.S,........Back in the U.S., Back in the U.S. of A.......
No back bacon (aka Canadian Bacon) at breakfast this morning, but The Echo Family Restaurant did have breakfast all ready to dive in to when we arrived at 0630h post-load.
Heading south east, we stealthed through the serenity of a south central Ontario Sunday morning with the topography beginning to offer a few gentle rolls. With the exception of all the green grass it almost felt like we were riding past the infamous Cadillac Ranch of the Southwestern USA when we rode past a fleet of rusted out pickups in a field.
Those who don�t inventory navigating with their strong suites enjoyed a morning of lengthy legs separated by the well loved T-Stops. Unfortunately a last-minute relocation of the SAG stop caught more than a couple riders by surprise. We were meant to stop in a church parking lot, but being Sunday morning the decision was made to yield to the faithful. Without getting a speeding ticket Michelle was able to track down those who blew past the new location and offer refueling from her van.
One rider took on a bit of gravel turning into the SAG stop and hit his shoulder. After some ABB TLC and a once over from a couple of ambulance attendants, he brushed off his bike, took a drink of water and continued on to the Niagara River. Talk about your survivors! Eat your heart out Reality TV producers.
As we moved towards a more built-up area the navigating was dialed up a notch, but before you knew it all riders had vanished into the crowds that line both sides of the Niagara River Gorge on a summer weekend.
Overheard on the road �Bill...you forgot the flowers, but a solid effort (Chris offering constructive SAG critique� �Do they have 911 in Canada?..Man...I looked down and were going 27mph in no time flat� (Rider Tom after taking a test flight as stoker on The Arizona Tandem). �Ur goin� the WRONG way. that road will take you to Niagara Falls� (a local rider mistaking an ABB rider for one of his peloton). �Thats OK we�re going to New Hampshire and Niagara is on the way!!!�
posted 2006-07-31 | 16:14:05 | article number: 15