Day 25, Moving On #TransAmRide4TBI 8/2/17

Woke up a bit groggy, but feeling good and ready to ride. I had a great time last night but I was feeling no ill effects from it. We got packed up fairly quickly and were ready to ride. We said our good byes to Michael, thanked him for dinner, drinks, and a good time and hit the road. 

We didn’t get very far before hitting our first detour of the trip. It only took us a mile out of our way though. It figures my birth state would try to block us. 

We got around the detour and made a stop for breakfast. While we were stored Jr noticed his rear tire was done. It was pretty much worn through. He debated riding until it fully gave, but after discussion decided it wasn’t going to make it far and better to just change it now. 

Back on the road the riding was easy. Weather was perfect and miles rolled by. It would be a very nostalgic day for me. We were taking Rt 26 all the way across Indiana. I drove that route countless times in college, first when I was at Ball State doing my under grad making weekend trips to visit friends at Purdue, and then when I was at Purdue working on my Master’s to visit friends at Ball State. Lot of good memories.

Wasn’t long though before we hit our second detour. Again this didn’t take us very far out of the way, but my home state want being very welcoming. However, it didn’t put us on a very quiet and pretty road that was quite enjoyable to ride on. 

Eventually though we found ourselves back on Rt 26 and rolling into Fairmount, In, home of James Dean and Garfield. As we came into town we passed a guy on a recumbent bike coming out of his drive and said hi. Continued on into town looking for a place to eat since it was lunch time. 

We found a Mexican restaurant and pulled into the parking lot. As we did so we came across another guy on bike (road bike with aero bars). We stop and chat with him and are soon joined by the guy on the recumbent bike. Both start asking about our ride, and we have a nice long conversation with them both. They leave and we go in to get lunch. 

While we were eating, the guy on the recumbent bike comes back. He comes in and we start talking again. We had both given him our cards and he was asking questions about our charities, and why we picked them. Had a great time talking to him. 

Shortly after he left we finished eating and went to pay our bill. That is when we found out that the guy on the recumbent bike had paid for our meals. As he was leaving he paid for us, and never have us a clue he was doing so. We never got to thank him, but greatly appreciate his generosity and won’t forget him. 

 The rest of the afternoon continued the same steady parade of corn field and basketball hoops we’d been seeing and passing all day. Indiana at its finest. 

Late afternoon we crossed I69 and saw the sign pointing way to my hometown of Ft Wayne. As we continued on we passed about 10 miles north of Muncie, IN and Ball State. Would loved to have hit the Chug (is it still around?) for a beer and seen the campus, but wasn’t in the cards. Was within a few miles of both my alma maters on the day and didn’t see either one. 

We didn’t ride much further before cruising into Ohio and leaving my home state in our rear view mirrors. It was a short but good visit. 

As afternoon progressed toward evening we started thinking about where we were going to stop for the night. Before we came to a decision fate stepped in. I had a flat. And like Jr earlier in the day, I found that my tire was done with its journey.
As we were stopped on the side of the road changing my tire, the property owner came out to check on us. Ron had a son who was a cyclist and triathlete, and had recently bought him a bike. He asked if we needed any help and we had a great talk with him. One thing lead to another and next thing you know we are setting up our tents in his yard. He and his wife, Carolyn, let us shower in their house, and fed us dinner. We had a great evening talking with them. Absolutely wonderful people.

 We would have loved to have loved to keep talking with them, but the days ride finally caught up to us, and we had to call it a night. I think we both slept sounder though knowing we were safely sleeping with land owners permission. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please help them and make a donation. All money goes to charity and donations are still being taken.

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Day 24, Homecoming #TransAmRide4TBI 8/1/17

Morning came, and after a quick breakfast we were back on the road. Both of us were feeling better after having had a shower, a good night’s sleep in a bed, and clean clothes. Amazing how simple things we take for granted can be so important when we don’t get them. 
We were riding much better today due to the better spirits. It didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful day. Forecast didn’t look like it was going to stay that way, but we had another hotel waiting for us in Indiana, thanks to my friend Mark. Plan was for him and another friend of mine, Michael (they’re brothers) to meet us in Lafayette, IN. Gave us, at least me, an extra incentive to put the miles behind us.

Jr was in such good spirits he spent most of the early part of the ride working on an idea for a video for his charity and followers. I think the sun got to him and he started heading the corn talking to him, but evidently the video was pretty popular.

As the day progressed the forecast started closing in on us. Each mile closer we got to Indiana, the closer the storms slowly got to us. Got to the point where we just seemed be narrowly riding between them. Never quite riding into them but never fully getting away from them either. 

About 10 miles from reaching the state line, a car pulled over in front of us and a woman got out. Out was obvious she wad trying to get our attention so we pulled over. 

Mickey was a cyclist too with a dream of riding coast to coast someday herself. She saw us and my signs and knew we were riding for a cause and wanted to make a donation. We chatted with her for a while, before she had to leave for her next appointment as a hone therapist. Wonderful lady. 

We continued on, and about 40 minutes later we reached the IL/IN state line. I was back home again in Indiana. I don’t miss living there, but there was still something that got me deep down inside crossing that state line. It will never be home to me again, but yet it is still home.

We took some quick pics, and ride on. The rain was closing in quickly at this point and we needed to get moving. We’d been lucky with it so far, and wanted to keep ahead of it. 

Unfortunately we didn’t make it much further before it finally got us. Iron came down pretty heavily for a while and we started arrying lightning around us. Rain was one thing, but lightning was not good. Unfortunately we didn’t any option but to ride on. 

We did get away from the storms fairly quick, but light rain followed us the rest of the way to our hotel. As we rolled into Lafayette, IN, and were just a few mikes from the hotel, a woman pulled alongside of me. She rolled down her window and asked if we were from the area and offered us her house, which was nearby,  to get out of the rain and dry off for a while. I thanked her, but declined her offer explain we only had a couple miles to our hotel. Another wonderful lady, and another gesture of kindness. 

A few minutes later  we arrived at the hotel. We checked in and had a drink while waiting for Michael to join us. Unfortunately, by that time we had learned Mark want going to be able to make it due to work. 

Once Michael arrived we had a couple more drinks. Then we took quick showers and headed out for dinner and more drinks. Made for a great evening. Mark despite not making it, picked up our hotel, and Michael took care of our dinner and drinks (they had prearranged the split).

Jr sensibly went to back to the hotel before Michael and I. The two ood us stayed out a bit longer catching up. Eventually though I ran out of steam and called it a night. It was a good end to a good day of riding. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please help and make a donation. All money goes to charity.

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Day 23, #TransAmRide4TBI 7/31/17

Due to all the tall weeds and no clear ground around us, we do with whatever we had that didn’t require cooking for breakfast. We weren’t even going to heat water for my previous little French press I’d been hauling with us. I had some jerky, finished some chips, and had a granola bar, before breaking camp and seeing out on the road again. 
Fortunately we didn’t have to ride long before we find another Cassie’s and were able to get some coffee, and a slightly better breakfast. Would have preferred a cafe or diner, but this did the trick. 

Our riding had been a bit slow most of the morning, but we finally got on track and the pace stated picking up. Wind being slightly behind us helped. We were actually moving along pretty quickly when we rode by a woman stopped on the side of the road. I could tell she was tying to get our attention, and braked. Jr, in front of me realising I was stopping did the same. 

Shiela introduced herself and said she had a pizza place in the next town, about 15 miles up the road. Said her husband was a cyclist to and told us if we stopped she would feed us, and get us something to drink.

This wasn’t an offer either one of us could turn down, so gladly accepted. The next few miles went by quickly knowing we were going to be getting a good lunch. Before we knew it we were in Rushville, IL, and pulling into the parking lot of Pizza Unlimited. Shiela pulled in right after we did and welcomed us into her restaurant. 
She quickly made us feel at home. We were gotten something to drink, food order taken, and were chatting away with her. Her husband, Tim, joined us, and we kept chatting. We talked about our, his riding, our route, and so much more.  while we talked we enjoyed a nice salad and a wonderful pizza. It was a much longer than normal stop for us, but well worth it between the food, the friendship, and great advice we were getting. 

Unfortunately, we did eventually have to say good bye, and get back on the road. Shiela gave us each a big bag of snacks she had stopped at home to make for us. Bananas, bars, raisins, trail mix… She didn’t allow us to pay for lunch, and was now giving us even more food. Such wonderful people! 

Back on the road we started out moving well. Our pace was about as good as just before lunch, but it didn’t last. As the day wore on we started faltering. I had definitely had my share of bad days, so only fair that Jr was having one. He kept at it though and I did my best to keep him going, but it became evident that instead of getting to McLean, IL and the riding on past it a few more miles before finding a place to camp as we had planned wasn’t going to happen. McLean was going to be our new destination, and a well earned night in a hotel. 

It was a grueling last couple hours, but we made it into town and checked in to a hotel. We had a couple beers from gas station by hotel as we settled in. There weren’t many options for dinner, and we settled on the all you can eat buffet at the truck stop across road from the hotel. Turned out to be a good choice and we got our money’s worth. 

After dinner we wandered back to hotel, had a couple more beers, did laundry, and turned in for some much needed sleep. 

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Day 22, The Land of Lincoln #TransAmRide4TBI 7/30/17

Our sleep was disturbed multiple times during the night by passing trains. This didn’t stop us though from getting up early and getting on the road. We did delay a bit though so that two of the world’s biggest nuts, a pecan and Jr, could check each other out. After that, it was a quick stop at Cassie’s for breakfast and coffee, and then we were on the road. 

The miles steadily melted away all day as the beautiful Missouri countryside rolled by. Weather was favorable and the riding easy. Our plan was to make it into Illinois, and then see how many miles we could get before dark. 

We made our regular break stops approximately every 20 miles whether there was a town or not, but tried for towns when possible. We were low on good so needed to get what we could when we could, which mostly consisted of Cassie’s gas stations for the day. 

As evening started approaching we slowly closed in on Quincy, IL. Unfortunately we found that our river crossing was going to be on a very narrow bridge, with heavy traffic, and no shoulder. Less than ideal, but we made it safely across. 

In Quincy we made a brief stop hoping to restock some on food. Struck out, since little was open that late on a Sunday. We had enough to get through the night and morning so we would be ok. 

We continued on part Quincy, hoping for some more miles, but we were starting to run out of light. Our ride quickly became a search for a place to camp. Unfortunately, everything was very clearly private property, and there were no places we could safely hide. We finally passed under highway that had a big cloverleaf of on and off ramps. We initially rode past it but circled back and found a place hidden inside the clover leaf in the tall weeds behind some bushes.

Camp wasn’t in an ideal spot with noise from highway all night. However, the long weeds provided nice padding under the tents and proved quite comfortable. Ended up being a good night’s sleep. 
#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please help and make a donation. All money goes to charity.

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Day 21, Rough Start #TransAmRide4TBI 7/29/17

A little too much fun the night before made waking very difficult, but I did finally drag myself from bed. As I got ready to ride I kept expecting to get a call from Jr wondering where I was (his company had gotten us our own rooms). So I scrambled and finally got myself and my bike and gear down for breakfast a little before 9am. No Jr. 

I texted him and few minutes later got a response that he was awake. Half hour later a text he was moving. I knew at this point it was going to be a tough, but short day of riding. It wasn’t until around 11am that we were finally off and rolling. We earned that night of fun, just meant a little more work.

The first few miles were easy and pretty. Our best route out of town was on a nice little bike path. It was quite an enjoyable start, but unfortunately that didn’t last long. We were soon on the city streets getting stopped at light after light, and were going nowhere fast. Over an hour into the ride we entered Missouri and took a short break. 

Once back on the road we were still stuck on city roads and plodding along. The continual traffic lights were annoying. It seemed like forever before we finally got out of town and started to actually ride. 

One the city slipped behind us our progress was much better. Jr was feeling better and we finally were making good progress. The riding was scenic, but uneventful. 

Late in the afternoon we came across a nice little country farm store, and made a stop. We bought some fresh fruit, and I got the first Sarsaparilla in years. Very tasty. Jr was less than impressed by it. 

Back on the road we had a goal of riding just over 100 miles for the day. There was a free camp site we were trying to reach for the night. Unfortunately, we were running out of daylight and still had a ways to go. Both of us were getting tired, but I managed to find a little reserve and put in a big pull the last 10 miles to get us there. 

We ride across a train track just before the camp ground. We no sooner got off our bikes when a train came rolling through and stopped right on the tracks we’d just crossed. If we’d been one minute later we would have been stuck on the other side for half an hour waiting to get there. Got lucky on that one. 

There wasn’t much to the camp ground, it was mainly for fisherman using the access to the river there, but it was enough for us for the night. We set up camp, ate, and were soon in our tents for the night. Another day of riding complete. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please help and make a donation

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Day 20, Easy Street #TransAmRide4TBI 7/28/17

After a well earned and great nights sleep we got off to a fairly easy start. We only needed to do about 115 miles to reach our next stop in Kansas City, KS. Jr’s company, airshare, which is based there, was going to put us up in a hotel and feed. Couldn’t pass that up. On the way we were going to stop in Topeka and have lunch with his uncle. 

We had favorable weather and winds were mild, so miles melted away fairly quickly. We passed what looked like the mystery machine from Scooby Doo in one town, but was just clever marketing. Other than that the riding was fairly uneventful, but the scenery pretty. 

Coming into Topeka 24 got a little bigger, and busier than was really comfortable, but we managed to move along it anyway. The restaurant we were meeting Jr’s uncle at was right off of it, so we didn’t really want to get off 24 anyway. 

We had a nice lunch and a great chat with Marty. We got back on the road with full bellies and plenty of energy. It was now time to get to KC and a little well earned R&R for the evening. 

We made good time rest of the afternoon, but toward the end my energy started flagging. I hadn’t been doing a very good job getting calories in again (may have also been some fatigue still from long day yesterday). But, we arrived in our hotel a little after 5pm. 

A quick shower, a little rest, and then we were off to Joe’s Kansas City BBQ at its finest. Several of Jr’s co-workers met us there for dinner. The food and beer were excellent, and we had a great time with them. 

After dinner Jr and i went to Power and Light District for a few beers. There was a free concert going on when we got there. A band called Platinum Rock Legends (out of St Louis)  was playing. They were kind of corny. There were several lead singers that rotated through, each coming out dressed as lead singer for group who’s song they were playing. They were quite entertaining and pretty good. We “saw” Prince, Queen, David Bowie, Poison, and many more. It turned into a later night out than planned, but we had a great time. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please help and make a donation.

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Day 19, Winded #TransAmRide4TBI 7/27/17

Waking up and looking at the weather forecast we knew we were in for a long tough day. We were going to face 10-15mph winds from the north east. Not a direct head wind, but enough that it was going to make the going tough. 
We got on the road and it didn’t take long to figure out that pace line was going to be our M.O. for the day. Started taking turns pulling a couple miles at a time, but that didn’t last long before we were switching every mile. The wind was going to make us work hard for every mile we gained. 


We stopped frequently and took breaks. It was too hard fighting the wind to also take in enough calories and fluid. Plus giving the legs a like rest was needed to. Despite all of this we were putting steady miles behind us. The riding was uneventful but pretty. About mid afternoon I suddenly lost my legs. I was riding along great and then in the course of my next to turns in front I started struggling, and that was it, I couldn’t hold on and quickly dropped back. 

Jr saw me, and slowed down to wait. He rode in lead for a while and patiently leaf me along. We eventually came to a nice shady place and stopped to rest in the grass. We both realized I had low blood sugar and needed to eat. I was concentrating so much on pushing through the wind that I had stopped eating. 

So while we rested there I ate everything I had that didn’t need cooking. While I was eating I made a new friend. A little butterfly joined me and stated with me whole half hour we were there. He was never more than 12 inches away from me. First he was on my back, then the grass beside me, then my crackers, then my knee, my hand, my foot… When it was time to move on I was sad to say good bye. I took over near some bushes and gently coaxed him into them.

Once we were back on the road my strength steadily returned, and I started taking my turn at the front again. And it pace puked back up. We ride about another 15 miles before coming into Clay Center, where we stopped for dinner.

While eating we were looking at map of where we were going. We were going to get in another 20+ miles, and realized if we did 40 more we could stay in a hotel. It had been several days since we had last showered, washed clothes, etc. And since we wouldn’t have to find spot to camp, set up, and cook we could use that extra time to ride. A hot shower was too good too pass up so we decided to try for it. 

We got back on the road and steadily ground out the miles. The sun was slowly setting, and we pulled over and turned on our flashing lights, and continued on. As the last daylight faded we reached the outskirts of Manhattan. Manhattan, Kansas that is. Our hotel was on far side of town, so had to ride a couple miles after dark, but there were now street lights in addition to our bike lights and we made it there safely. 

We were exhausted, but bellies full of pizza, clean bodies and clothes, a nice bed, and we slept happy as could be. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please help and make a donation:

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