Call Tennessee done… Check!

2/27/11   I’ve already smashed my GPS, it still works and with David doing some magic with duct tape everything is good!  My bike was blown over by the wind today, in the Willow Oak Elementary School parking lot, while I was trying to remove the battery out of the smoke alarm that was going off in the car because we had not changed the battery since 2008.  Remember to change batteries in your smoke alarm at least once per year!

Having completed 80 miles cycling around the City of Memphis I will claim Tennessee as one of my fifty states.  It was an interesting ride and a great training experience!

The starting locations for the Memphis Bike Trail Perimeter Ride - the Pink Palace
Driving to Georgia tomorrow!

Training for the 1966 Dream Tour

2/26/11   Was able to cycle about 20 miles today, a bit brisk in the mid-40s and cloudy, way better than the reported 5-6 inches of snow that fell overnight in the Cleveland area.  Attempted to follow the City of Memphis Bike routes, it was not as easy as I had hoped; it could be me but I did not see the bike signs frequently enough so I depended on my GPS that directed me in a little different way. I had a great time discovering Memphis, walking down
Beale Street
, riding next to the Mississippi River and catching glimpses of flowers blooming and many interesting neighborhoods.

Looking toward the Mississippi River and Mud Island

First blossoms of the year -- for me!

Elvis! at the top of Beale Street

What the Rock Hall of Fame?  No, it's the Pyramid in Memphis TN

We’ve eaten well, while here and had some nice dining partners and conversations – Interstate BBQ with the teaching staff, CC, Vicki, Sean and Ed.  Mexican with Sean, and Red Robin with Dean and Lynn from the Mid-South Chapter.  Dean shared his trucker experience regarding the Georgia portion of our route and introduced us to the Trucker’s Atlas – Thanks Dean.


We’ve made Memphis, TN

2/25/11   Stopped by the Mid-South Tennessee Chapter and met Vicki, Ed, CC, Sean and Dean to check out the classroom facilities for the DST Equipment Hands-On Training class.  Staying in a hotel near the Airport, I was able to cycle around the area for about 4 miles came in due to darkness and tornado warning for the Memphis area.

American Red Cross Mid-South, Memphis TN Chapter building

Jo Ann, David, Vicki, Sean, and Ed with a Pink Cadillac

We have departure!

Whew, that was rough… David and I are still speaking to each other; it was a bit iffy for awhile. We left late on Tuesday night, 02/22/2011.  Made it into the Dayton area early Wednesday morning. Visited with my Mother, and niece, Ariel, also was able to have lunch and nice conversation with my older niece Amber and her youngest daughter Jasmine. 

David finished the customization of my car… RV/Cycle-mobile, which he has christened “the Chuck Wagon”.  I’ll attach a couple of pictures of my niece Ariel testing out the sleeping quarters.  Hopefully this trip is not a practice for living in our car… I promise I’ll be more serious about finding a job when I get back!

Ariel testing sleeping quarters

"The Chuck Wagon"


There’s no free lunch!

Had a nice visit with David’s mom and dad, we forced them to eat leftover turkey and take most of the open containers from our refrigerator/freezer (we kept the Girl Scout Cookies).  They also left with a batch of my houseplants – only the ones that fit in the car.  This will be an opportunity for D-Mom to get her revenge,  I cared for/killed her plants last year while they were traveling…

Current plans are to stop by my mother’s home in southern Ohio for a couple of days.  Complete a project or two for her and catch lunch with my niece Amber.  Then to Memphis TN where David will teach an American Red Cross, Disaster Services course for Disaster Response Technology.  I’ve checked out some bike trails in Memphis for pre-ride conditioning while he teaches; the City does a nice job promoting the bike trails and providing maps, etc.  I’ll let you know how the routes are in a later posting.


The big push – 4 more days to departure!

We’ve been spending the last few days packing and completing “everything” that needs done before we leave.  We’ve decided to unplug the refrigerator while we are gone… which means everything in the refrigerator and freeze needs to be eaten or shared before we go.  The other night we invited our neighbors across the street over for a turkey dinner. It was a delight to get to know them better.  It was the first time I’d ever cooked a turkey (21lbs), turned out kind of dry but there was plenty.  Tomorrow, David's parents come for leftovers - Turkey Junk!


Countdown: 9 Days to Departure

Started scurrying around finishing all the details of packing and seeing friends and family before we go.  If we miss anyone, we are totally sorry and hope you will follow us through this blog!

My cycling experience is 10 States of significant distances in:  Ohio, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Michigan, and not so significant distances in 6 states: Maryland, Washington, DC, Texas, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii.  – So I’ve done some riding!  The first 7 mentioned were organized large group tours all very well planned, organized and supported. I've attached link to their site, if you want to know more about them.

Some people have asked about my training schedule.  Sorry to say the weather here in Ohio has not been optimal for my preparation though I have done some stationary riding in my basement, I am walking some, I've even enlisted my neighbors dogs, just to give me some company and a reason to be out in this cold, snowy weather. I've done a little cross-country skiing with Joan and some contra dancing, oh and there's Zumba on Wednesday nights with Kim.  My real training will begin when I begin riding west.  Starting with about 30 miles per day or whatever feels comfortable; then moving up to 50 miles per day and more as I get stronger.  We plan to take one day off per 7 days and might even get to stay in a motel one night per week, otherwise we are planning to camp.


The countdown starts -- 11 days to departure.

 I picked up my finely tuned bike(s) from Shaker Cycles – owner, Mitch Paul.  Mitch is one of the most detailed oriented bicycle mechanics I have ever met.  He has adjusted and fitted my bike so that it will provide the best ride possible.

I am a solo rider, by choice and by circumstance. Even in the largest group rides, I could often look ahead and behind and not see another rider… either due to the terrain or my bike of choice – 1998 hybrid with fat tires -- Bianchi Boardwalk.  Only in the past couple of years have I found anyone willing to ride with me for any real distance – thanks Joan! -- My Michigan Bracelet tour buddy and support.  Speaking of support, I’ve got the best!  My husband David is better than you could ever imagine, we’ve done South Carolina, Maryland and DC together.  He is the most considerate and pampering support that I could ever wish for and will be with me on my big adventure across the Southern US – 1966 Dream Tour!


The Perfect Form of Transportation -- Cycling

Twenty-five years later I discovered the perfect form of transportation for experiencing the world around me – cycling.  I have enjoyed riding a bicycle since I was 10 years old, but never considered it a method for long distance travel until I participated in GOBA (The Great Ohio Bike Adventure).  While annually traveling throughout Ohio multiple times for two to three hundred miles during a week, the idea began to formulate that there was more to see besides Ohio.  Getting acquainted with other riders from other state I realized I wanted to do more.  So I resolved to cycle in all fifty states and cross the United States on a bicycle. 


Fulfilling a Dream

I am fulfilling on a dream that started in 1966 while crossing the country with my family as a child. My parent’s plan was to take a four-week camping vacation, looping around the country from Ohio to California and back.  There were five of us; my mom and dad, my brothers Jim and Frank, and I the youngest.  While traveling the new Interstate Highway system, it occurred to me, even at this young age that I was missing perhaps the best part of the trips because we were going too fast!  Too fast to see things in detail, too fast to hear the sounds and smell the scents, to touch what was real and beautiful about this country.  Being a young girl the only alternative I could think of at the time was to travel by horseback.  – I never got the horse!