May 21st–The Adventure slowed down a little

This morning we woke up in Casper, Wyoming, amazed that the campsite was covered in snow. Nothing to do there so we loaded the RV and disconnected the utilities. Soon we were on the highway headed for Bozeman, Mt., at least that was the plan. The drive of over 450 miles would take up to 5 hours.

The good news was that the scenery we saw was quite beautiful. First of all, there were very few towns along the way and thus very few houses as well. But there were beautiful rolling hills and amazing green pastures. And occasionally, all along the way, there were cattle grazing. If this part of the country is any indication, we as Americans will never run out of beef.
By the way, we also saw several deer nibbling on the same grass that the cows were enjoying.

Now there were a few problems. Soon after leaving Casper, it started to snow and the further north we went the more snow there was on the ground. The highway was somewhat difficult in the areas they had not yet plowed. And in some areas the snow presented a rather slippery potential.

On the other hand, we had very little traffic. Several times I looked in the rear vision mirror and saw an empty highway for miles behind us and likewise for miles ahead of us. It could have been 3am in the morning based on the traffic.

This continued until after we passed into Montana. Then the traffic picked up a little more and there was certainly less snow on the ground. Finally we made it to Livingston, Mt. We decided to cut the drive to Bozeman short by about 30 miles because we were tired of driving. We found an RV park that had space available. Curiously it was about 9 miles off the main road (Highway 90) that we had been travelling on. As we drove toward the campground, the full view of the mountain range ahead of us became clearer. There were many tall, sharp and snow covered peaks. It was incredible to see. Finally we made it to the campground and it turned out the view from our campsite was one of the best we had all day of these mountains.

So that was the excitement for a less than exciting day. We needed an adventure to close the day out so we packed up all our dirty clothes and marched to the camp’s laundry mat. There we spent about an hour and a half and all the quarters we could find to wash and dry our clothes. Everything worked out and soon we returned to the RV for dinner and relaxation.

And that is why you are getting a post from me tonight because I have time to write it and something actually happened that was worth writting about. See you all tomorrow.

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May 20th–RV Cross Country Adventure

So yesterday we woke up in Lincoln, Nebraska, with our plan to drive to Lexington, Nebraska, and meet my cousin and her husband. And, of course, to make it more of an adventure, we had never met either Lori or Denny before this time. Georgie started communicating with Lori when they found out that my grandmother, Rose, was in both of our linages.

Anyway, we started our 2 1/2 hour drive to Lexington with no intention of stopping along the way. Then as we approached Kearney, Nebraska, my mother’s home for her early childhood, we saw a sign advertising the historical Ft. Kearney. Intrigued, we decided to stop and see what we could learn about this Fort and my mom’s hometown. The Fort itself was merely a stockade of less than an acre. Nothing inside other than a layer of grass. Outside the stockade were tree stumps planted in the ground to display the actual layout of the buildings that one stood as support for the Fort’s activities. There was also a Civil War cannon believed to be one of only three remaining cannons from the Civil War that still worked. Ft. Kearney was a major stop-over for people going west on the Oregon Trail in hopes of reaching Oregon or California. The Fort was also an original site for the Pony Express route, where horses and riders going west and east could rest.

We also made a quick trip into town to see the Kearney arch that had been build as a freeway overpass for I-80. It was very ornate and unusual. After this we got back on the road and headed for Lexington.

When we got to Lexington, we decided to stop at the RV park first to insure that we had a site for the night. This park was located on Johnson Lake and our site was within viewing distance of the lake. Once we confirmed our site was reserved we headed to my cousin Lori’s home in Lexington. Again I had never met Lori and really knew nothing about her until Georgie made contact with her as a result of the DNA match for Lori and me on Ancestry.com. Turned out she was in the linage of my grandmother, Rose, who was the sister of Lori’s grandfather. Anyway, Lori and Georgie agree that we should meet in Lexington and compare genealogy notes and family trees.

Upon arriving at their house, we were instantly greeted by Lori and her husband, Denny. Little did we know after that first few moments that our friendship would deepen greatly. We talked, we laughed, we discussed our families and finally we went to dinner. But first we visited three cemeteries in town and checked out several gravesites belonging to Lori’s family, the Allens. These folks were in my linage as a result of my grandmother, Rose, being in the Allen family.

So not only did I get to meet my 2nd cousin for the 1st time, but we also made two new friends with whom we hope to share many more times of fun and laughter together.

Today, Monday, we are leaving Lexington and heading 450 miles north to Casper, Wy. After a night’s stay in Casper we will drive another 420 miles to Bozeman, Montana, for an overnight stay. Then finally we will make the drive to Spokane, Wa., which is our final destination for this trip. It has been an eventful day and we hope the adventures will continue into next week as well.

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May 17, 2019—Our RV trip across the country

Last night we stayed in a little town south of Peoria, Illinois. The name of the town was Carlock. Apparently, the person that named the town lost his keys and in frustration he named the town after his predicament. Anyway, the RV Park we stayed at was very nice with good facilities. The one minor problem was the traffic on the freeway was less than a quarter mile away and sounded at times like it was at our side door. Oh well.

We got up early on Friday the 17th to start our adventure. The first thing I did was a short bike ride on the road just outside the RV park. It was relatively flat and very little traffic so the ride was good. After a quick 7.5 miles I headed back to our RV, took a shower and disconnected all the utilities. We were then on our way to Peoria, IL, to have a restaurant style breakfast. You know, pancakes as big as an elephant’s ear, thick bacon and scrambled eggs. YUMMM!

Once we finished gorging on this wonderful breakfast, we drove due west to Fort Madison, Iowa. It was a pleasurable trip because most of the earth that we passed by was laden with cultivated fields and lined with green trees. Very relaxing.

After about an hour’s drive, we came upon the town of Galesburg, Ill. As we approached the town’s exit on the freeway, there was a sign that stated “Carl Sandburg’s Birth Home”. Seriously, how could we pass up this adventure? As many of you know we are blessed in Flat Rock to have Carl Sandburg’s adult residence right in our town. So naturally we had to see the birth home of this great man. Off the freeway we followed multiple town signs until we finally found the home of Carl Sandburg’s birth. It was a very simple white house with a white picket fence and a nicely kept yard. It wasn’t opened for viewing but we did get to walk the grounds. Here was placed a monument with a bust of Sandburg’s head. What a thrill this was to see one of our American heroes actual birth home. And later we toured past one of the homes he had grown up in. We also stopped at the local Visitor’s Center and introduced ourselves as Flat Rock residence with Carl Sandburg as our neighbor.

It turned out to be an adventurous trip and a great find. We then headed to Fort Madison, Iowa, to see if we could find the site of my great-great-great grandmother, Mary Dark Farmer. This woman must have been something because she to a ship from England to America with her 7 children. Her husband was already in America. See made it however without any problem.

From Ft. Madison we travelled north/west to Oskaloosa, Iowa. I found an RV Park there that had space for us but it only cost $15. Our site was located 10 yards from the Des Moines river that was flowing swiftly by the campground. We went to dinner in Oskaloosa and then returned to the campground and called it a night. All in all a very adventurous day.

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2019 Cross Country RV trip.

So let me explain. I have not posted on ibike4them for some time. Therefore I am rusty about how it works. You can tell by the way the posts end without a complete sentence, I’ll try and do better. Bear with!!!

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Our first day on the road was relatively uneventful. We covered 502 miles on our way to Cinncinati. Oh! and by the way, I won’t be riding my bike across the country this time. The bike is in it’s rack on the back of the RV. I will only be riding when we have some free time. So yesterday, we headed to

That evening we had dinner with a former business friend and his wife. Mike Michaels is a banker who worked with us on some projects when I was CFO with EDS and then Perot Systems. He was one of the good guys–trust worthy and easy to get valid answers from. Now some 23 years later we are still good friends and enjoying each others company. His wife, Ann, is super sweet and together they make a truly great couple to be with. Good seeing you again, Mike and Ann..

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The Duatholon and the Hit

After several months of recovery due to my fall off the horse in Iceland, I finally tried to compete in a duathalon with my friend, Larry.  Larry is the runner and I’m the biker.  Larry is 80 and I’m 76.  We always win our age group mainly because there is no one even close to our age in this competition.  So after Larry ran the first 2km, I started my bike ride.  It would be a 14 mile ride on a rather hilly road surrounding an airport in Gantt, South Carolina.  I managed to do the ride in just under an hour.  Larry then finished up with another 2km of running.

After the race we headed home but decided to stop along the way to get a cup of coffee.  We parked in a lot in Travelers Rest and started walking to the main road.  I stopped suddenly and realized I needed to see if I had locked my car.  Just then a car hit me in the back of my legs and it threw me to the ground.  Having never been hit by a car I wasn’t sure what to think.  I laid on the ground and tried to move.  It was difficult at first but soon I managed to make some movement.  The woman driver was in a panic.  She wanted to call for an ambulance immediately and get me to the hospital.  I told her that I thought I was okay, but she insisted.  I finally talked her out of it after three guys lifted me up and got me on my feet.  I walked a bit and declared I was okay.  The woman was still very upset so I gave her a little hug and told her I would be fine.

We got our coffee and headed home.  Spent the day in bed with an ice pack on my knee.  Today the leg feels better but still had some pain.  I think all of that biking has made my legs strong enough to withstand the bumper of a car.

Ride on.

Mike

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Starting to Rebuild

Well, 2016 was a difficult year with two operations.  In June 2016, I had my hip replaced after suffering severe leg and back pain for about 3 months.  Shortly after that operation, my leg was still hurting.  My doctor got me an MRI and discovered a golf ball size cyst on my spine that was pressing on the nerve that went down to my leg.  I had it removed in September 2016 but continued to have leg pain.  Apparently nerve damage can take up to a year to totally recover.  So I spent much of 2016 on my back or moving around very slowly.  And the doctor said “Don’t lift over 10lbs.”  Good luck with that.  We moved into a new house December 16, 2016, and guess what, we had like about 1000 boxes that had to be moved and unloaded.  Needless to say, I did not get on my bike once during 2016.

BUT YESTERDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2017, I RODE MY BIKE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A YEAR AND A HALF AND COVERED 10 MILES.

It felt good and I felt good after doing it.  So I’m back and the REBUILDING is starting.  My friend, Larry Rostetter, was the one who suggested I get out with him for a ride.  He has also asked me to do a “duathlon” with him in March.  This would involve me riding a 14 mile course around an airport in South Carolina.  Larry would do the running.  At this point it may be possible.  We’ll know in two weeks if I have REBUILT enough.

We have also signed up for a ride in Spain in September that will follow the Camino from Leon to Santiago.  It should be an interesting trip.  And then in 2018 I plan on doing another cross-country bike ride to celebrate my 75th b-day.

So that’s it.  I will probably be posting more often now that I’m able to get back on the bike.  Hope you follow my adventure.

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Day 5–Little Orleans to Cumberland (Continued)

Once the flat tire was fixed and we got back on the trail headed to Cumberland, the appearance of the Canal began to change somewhat.  In this particular area there were many lillypads.  Made it all look very interesting.

Before reaching Cumberland, we stopped in a little town named Old Town.  We stopped there for lunch and followed the “food” signs to the old elementary school.  They had converted part of the building into a restaurant.  On the walls were class pictures going back to 1936 and forward to the 1980’s.  Very nostalgic.  Food was good too.

Given that they had converted this part of the school to a restaurant, I was interested in seeing what the rest of the school looked like.  And just down the hall I found this—a collection of antique cars.

   

Who would have thought?  Right here in the heart of Old Town.

Back on the trail the landscape along the trail started to change again.  There was more farm land than we had seen thus far.

And in one of these fields I saw a flag so I decided to investigate.  It turned out to be a small family cemetery for a soldier who apparently served in the CSA–the Confederate Army–during the Civil War.  An impressive tribute to a good man.

Soon we began to see the skyline of Cumberland, Md., the end of the C&O Canal trail and the start of the GAP (the Great Allegheny Passage).

  

   

After checking into our hotel, we headed to downtown Cumberland.

The restaurant we ate at had good food and the downtown area was interesting.  There might have even been a stop at the local Ice Cream Parlor for a biker’s pep-me-up.

      

It wasn’t that we all needed ice  cream, it was more of a tradition that guests in the city do this.  So we did it.  YUMMMMM!

And that was Day 5.  Tomorrow we start our trek up the GAP to Pittsburgh.  Come along for the ride and the traditional YUMMMM!

 

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Day 3–Harpers Ferry to Williamsport, Pa.

I probably would have started this blog a lot sooner but I have been working like crazy to get all the things done that Georgie told me to do while she was out of town.  Of course, she also said to rest.  “LIKE WHEN.”  Also I just talked to Frank, my roommate on the C&O Canal ride.  That is never a short conversation.  And now I find out that Georgie is stuck in Dallas as the result of some heavy rain showers.  Whew!

So lets get going on the bike trip.  We overnighted in Harpers Ferry.  In the morning we left the hotel and headed back to the trail, first passing by the old town of Harpers Ferry.

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Lots of tourist cruising the shops.  Then we headed for the towpath but first we had a group picture.

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Not sure who took this but one of the seven is missing.  That’s his shadow at the lower right of the picture.  Then we crossed over the river using the old railroad bridge.  It is actually a cool scene.  Here is the bridge.

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That’s me admiring the unique structure presented here.  Two railroad track entering the Harper’s Ferry tunnel at the base of a big mountain. I’m standing on the towpath. Quite an amazing feat of engineering.

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This is located a Lock 33 on the C&O Canal.

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Then it was back to riding the trail.  A beautiful coverage of trees lead the way along the trail.

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Along the way we encountered this small dam.

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Couldn’t resist a photo op as I looked over the side.

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And a map explaining the dam.

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A bit further up the trail we were surprised by the change of surface.  Suddenly the sandy base we were riding on changed to concrete.  No particular reason why, it just changed.  But I must say, it was a relief.  We could pedal faster and we had a full view of the river.

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Some really nice view along this stretch of the trail.  This picture is looking back at the concrete trail we had just encountered along that curve in the river.

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Finally we arrived in Williamsport, Pa., our official stop for the evening.  We peddled off the trail and up the hill to the town.  A bit of a tough climb after a long day.  But soon we arrived at the Candle Light Inn B&B where we were greeted by Tonya, the very helpful and resourceful Innkeeper, and her daughter, Sophia.

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Upon everyone’s arrival,Tonya opened the garage door and instructed us to hang our bikes on the hooks provided.  Good way to save space and keep the bikes secure.

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After checking out our rooms and taking a little break, we asked Tonya for a recommendation of a place to eat in town.  She directed us to the Desert Rose Cafe.  It was within easy walking distance of the B&B so we headed out.  The Desert Rose was a nice local cafe.  We received a friendly greeting upon entering and were ushered to a table for 7 in the back room.  Once we had ordered and the food started to arrive, I asked the waitress her name in case we needed to contact her.  She said, “It’s Rose”.  And I said, “I suppose your first name is Desert”.  She replied that it was.  Then she preceded to tell us the story of her birth in a camouflaged bus in the Arizona desert where her parent lived (in the 70’s).  Ergo “Desert Rose”.  Turned out she was the owner of the cafe and was very nice to us.  As we were leaving we asked if she would let us have a picture of her out front under the cafe sign.  She agreed.

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Desert Rose and Tonya, the Innkeeper, were friends.  They had obviously learned good hospitality from each other.  They made the customer feel welcomed.

You can always meet someone who has an interesting story if you are willing to take the time to ask.  Rose was certainly a credit to her name and the food we were served was very good.  Tonya likewise provide great service in her B&B.

Thus ended our ride from Harpers Ferry to Williamsport.  Tomorrow we head for Little Orleans.

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St. Mary’s Winter Ride–Day 4 Okefenokee Swamp ride

It’s not all about biking.  Sometimes you have to use a kayak to see the beauty of a place like Okefenokee.  But curiously, Jenny and I had never kayak together much less individually.  And so here we go.  Smiles on our faces and oars in our hands.

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Into the swamp we went.  Jenny in front and me in back of this two person kayak.

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Things were going well until Jenny got “out of sync” with her rowing.  She would lift the oar out of the water and let it dry for a while and I was doing all the rowing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Eventually we worked it out so that one or the other of us would row and the other would site see. The swamp was really nice.  Lots of varying vegetation.  Moss was a very popular decoration on the trees

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There were also some beautiful cloud formations overhead and some nicely arranged lily pads in the water.

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Eventually we returned to the main channel and headed back to the dock.  The sky again presented a wonderful view particularly with the multiple contrails that marked the sky.

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In prior years, we have been able to see alligators along the shore line.  But with the colder weather they were apparently curled up in their warm dens.

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After Okefenokee we headed home to Flat Rock.  The BRAG Winter Ride is always fun and full of adventure and its great to spend it with a friendly group of bikers.

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By the way, in my post for the Day 1 events I failed to describe what was in one of the pictures.  If you click on this image it will open it larger in a separate window.  What you will see is a biker on a recumbent bike.  This young lady and her husband had been in a serious car accident a few years back and both lost the full use of their legs.  So she rides in a horizontal position and uses only her arm power to move the bike forward.  She is ahead of me in this picture and that was where she stayed as long as I was riding with her.  She was very strong.  This was a very impressive biker.

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We thank Jerry and Gloria Colley for all their efforts in putting BRAG bike events together.  They are always fun and often adventurous.  The only down side is putting up with Jerry’s humor.  Thanks guys.  We had a great time.

Mike, Georgie and Jenny

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