Traveling by Bicycle Across America

Month: July 2012 Page 1 of 2

Erie Canal

I am riding the Erie Canal this morning toward Rochester, New York. It is sprinkling rain.

Trail Angel

Trail Angel Julie


Wednesday afternoon I was nearing North East, Pennsylvania. A lady on the other side of state road 5 was jesturing as if using a water bottle. I stopped. She asked if I needed water. I did not, but I did need a restroom. She said it was okay. I met her nephew who was listening to blue grass music. She offered fruit, and got out the peanut butter and jelly with whole grain bread. As we chatted, she told me about a young Japanese man with limited English speech who had visited. She asked if I knew where I would stay that night. It was one of the few days I wasn’t sure, when I started. She called her friend Sean who owns RJ’s Campground a few miles inside New York. Julie sent me on the way with a bag of fruit.

Sean made dinner for me! Barbequed ribs. He told me that a storm was coming with expected high winds. He put me in a cabin instead of me setting up the tent with the storm coming. The winds was strong that night. There was a thunderstorm in the morning. I started late and came to Hamburg, south of Buffalo.

I am thankful to have met Julie.

Sites in Cleveland

Cleveland Skyline

Cleveland Syline from Bikewaty

I enjoyed this view of the Cleveland skyline from the bikeway yesterday. I have more pictures of the area I hope to share later.

Cleveland Browns Stadium

Cleveland Browns Stadium

The route went right by the stadium. I had some problems understanding the map at this point. After I got back on track I went by Burke Lakefront Airport where I took the picture of a Blue Angels jet.

Urban Riding

Cable car in a yard along Lake Erie

Cable Car at Lake Erie house

Day 58 – Monday, July 23 started in the country southwest of Huron, Ohio. It didn’t take long before I was seeing the lake in backyards. Eventually the houses became massive with a variety of landscaping. The Aspen cable car was one of the off-beat. I met a cyclist from Lakewood who was about 15 miles east of home, riding a titanium Seven with Campy Chorus equipment. I asked him if he had any advice on the route. He said I should try to get east of Cleveland. He suggested I get to atleast Willowick. I was there a little after 8:00pm, but the clerk at the motel had no idea how to tell me how to get there. It might not have even been in that suburb. I used my phone to checkk online. I need an app for that. I went of the route, made some inquires and ended up in Mentor. I am east of my plan for the day. The total was 87 miles. I back tracked when when I was off the route in Cleveland.

The houses along the lake in several of the suburbs were amazing. Another unique decoration was a British phonebooth. I had a southwest wind thet was a big help in making the mileage today. It was still 96 degrees just before 7:00pm. There breeze helped some. While I made good time on some of the roads, eventually the stop signs and traffic signals made for a slower overall time.

British phone both

Finishing the Ride Across Illinois

Kate Koss and Shular Scudamore

Kate and Shular

On Tuesday July 17, after two days of rest my daughter Kate joined me to finish out the ride across Illinois. It was about 100 degress that day and the heat index was higher. We did have a little tail wind. The pictures shows that I rode without the B.O.B trailer for a while. We averaged about 15mph. Kate rode almost 50 miles with me. The longest ride she has ever made.  The day was so hot, the tar seeping through the chip seal was popping like pop-corn.  It was great to have company for the day. The time passed all to quickly. I put the trailer on, riding another 17 miles to Iroquois, Illinois, just over three miles fromn the Indiana border.

Wednesday I rode to Fletcher, Indiana after a detour. Thursday I went on to Roush Lake, south of Huntington, Indiana. Friday was a shorter day to Monroeville, Indiana. That day the head wind, a few minor hills, and a sore right foot slowed me down. It was about 45 miles for the day. Monroeville was the 2005 Adventure Cycling Association June Curry Trail Angle award winner. I stayed inside, with air conditioning, had a shower and did laundry! I was supposed to call the fellow in charge when I arrived. As has happened all too often, t-mobile did not provide service there. The city hall was closed. I stopped at the library, where they knew who to call without me telling them and gladly made the call. A few minutes later, I was enjoying the air conditioning. I was just a few miles from Ohio at that point.

Saturday night was a Jane Thurston State Park in Ohio. Sunday night, I am at a private campground, too close to I-80 noise ( I like small towns, corn fields and soy beans – all very quite ). I do have wi-fi so I can give you an update.

A few more photos

Tuesday’s Plan

Tommorrow morning, I get back on the road. The route goes to Iroquois, Illinois before crossing into Indiana. My daughter Kate will ride with me in the morning. If you’ve seen the forecast, you know it will be hot.

I have to repack and put the bike in the van tonight to be ready. I am hoping I will have connectivity to keep everyone up to date on my progress. I really appreciate you thoughts, prayers and encouragement through you comments here and at my Facebook page:


worn tire

worn tire

More than 3000 miles seems like a reasonable life for this set of tires. The red is the Kevlar belt under the tread. I rotated the tires at about 1500 miles while camping in Circle, Montana. The rear tire was just starting to show a red spot when I arrived at home. Many of the cycling tourists I meet are using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. I have heard some people get very high mileage from those tires, which would offset the initial cost of the tires. The old tires were 700c x 32. I replaced them with a set of Continental Contacts which are 700c x 28 ( found on C-list). They are noticeably narrower than the 32s. The weight is about the same. I am hoping for a lower rolling assistance. With 1460 miles remaining in the tour, I expect this set with last me to Bar Harbor, Maine.

People You Meet

I met Peter McKay several weeks ago in Shelby, Montana. I has med Ken a little earlier that day. We were about to get something to eat when I saw another cycling tourist a block away. I walked over to meet him. He ate with us and then I road with him for several days.

We met Dylan Atkinson after Havre, Montana. We all road together for a few days. Actually we camped together, since we all ride at different paces. Dylan is from San Francisco. He is a teacher. We camped together for about two weeks. I hope to catch him when I get back on the road tomorrow. Dylan Atkinson

Robert Kirkpatrick

Robert Kirkpatrick

I met Robert Kirkpatrick in Wisconsin just before crossing into Red Wing, Minnesota. We met again later and camped together.

The day after Muscatine, Iowa, a fellow yelled out the window of his Blazer that he would see me in Reynolds. I only averaged around 10 mph so he though the would miss me. I was looking at the map across from Casey’s when he showed up. His name is Brian Parkinson. He bought me an iced tea. He is an enthusiastic cyclist, farmer and sailor ( Chicago to Mackinac solo and on a team ). We talked nearly an hour. He is riding across one state at a time as he can schedule it.

It has been fun to meet various people and hear there stories and interests. Two more people to mention now. Outside Dakota, Minnesota I was off the route using US Highway 61 to shorten the day. I missed the last turn and ended up on Interstate. I took an exit in about a mile. I met Lauren and her dad Robin right away. They directed me to a path that put me back on the route in a few miles.

Lauren and Robin

Lauren and Robin

The Bike Bunkhouse

It has been almost two weeks since I met Donn Olson at the Bike Bunkhouse in Dalbo, Minnesota. Donn is a very special guy. He was recognized as the Adventure Cycling Association 2011 June Curry Trail Angel Award for the providing the Bike Bunkhouse for cyclists touring on the Northern Tier route. I stayed there on July 3 and 4. It was a great place for my rest day.

Donn showed me around his property while I was there. He is a steward of the woods that have grown behind the crop fields since the land is no longer used for pasture. He manages a porable sawmill for a Baptist conference. He has used wood from the area to build up the bike bunkhouse. I wanted to include some more photos and to recognize Donn for his effort, providing for cyclists.

Here are a few pictures of the facility to give you a better idea of the bike bunkhouse.

The people in the last picture are Meg and Justin from southern California. They started from Chicago, riding to see family in Wisconsin and then on to Minnesota. Meg helped me get out of the barn by moving the B.O.B. She has one. It was a great help to make to corner. Lane and Pierre started their ride in Philadelphia after finishing college.

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