Lewis and Clark Cycling Trek

Monday, July 30, 2007

Day 27, July 30-Tallahassee, FL to Live Oak, FL (Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park)

83.34 miles. N30.24 X W82.57

Congratulations are in order. As of yesterday, I am now a grandfather for the fourth time, the first time for my son and daughter-in-law. But the real congrats go to the new Mom and Dad. What a blessed event!

We spent the night in Tallahassee at the Best Western on the east side. We debated as to whether this was a good idea or not, and it turned out to be a great idea as you will read below. We left in good time after a continental breakfast at the hotel, one of the best, I might add. We biked 18 miles to Monticello hoping to find a little more to eat. Alas, we didn’t find a restaurant in Monticello on our route. We biked on to Greenville, another 15 miles or so. Nothing in Greenville but convenience food and no place to sit. Next stop at the 48 mile marker was Madison, by this time we are starved. Finally a sit down restaurant. I called from this restaurant for our campground tonight and the campground was closed. That meant another 32 miles, making a total of over 80 as you can see at the top. I called the next campground and reserved a spot for the night. We biked on to Lee, got something to drink and that’s about where the sky opened up on us. It rained all the remaining 25 miles of the trip into the campground. With the heat and humidity, the rain felt good and cooled us off. This campground is much like a KOA with all kinds of facilities including a restaurant. We had supper, pitched our tent, and perched on the office porch to blog.

Question of the day: This campground is named after a famous river. Who made this river famous?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 26, July 29-Eastbank Campground, Bain Bridge, GA Near Chattahoochee, FL to Tallahassee, FL

55.11 miles. N30.29 X W84.10

It remained clear all night, so we did not need the rain-fly. This helped the heat in the tent a little. It was still pretty warm but we managed a pretty good sleep. We were also able to keep the ants at bay thanks to the pesticide the camp host loaned us. I did find some woodroaches in the trailer, but I chased them off. We got a late start. We slept in a bit as we were expecting a short day today, but decided before we left to not take the 45 mile bypass of Tallahassee that Adventure Cycling suggests and go directly through the city. This will save us a day of biking, but make today a bit longer. We also lost an hour today because of the changing time zones. Anyhow we didn’t get started until after 10:00…and it was a hot one. Yesterday was 97 degrees, and it seemed hotter than that to me. The only problem was that we needed to find a motel on the east side of Tallahassee. An internet connection would allow us to search by area, but we couldn’t find a connection. We stopped at 3 McDonald’s and one Burger King, but nothing. Finally just outside of downtown Tallahassee, we found a Starbucks that had a connection and we quickly found a motel. We biked directly through the downtown, but since this was a Sunday afternoon, the traffic was fairly light. We pulled into the Best Western at about 6:00 p.m., a little later than normal. I am pretty much whipped today. The stifling heat doubled with the hills (yes, I said hills) of Tallahassee made it a difficult day for me. Spokewrench, however, seemed to get along pretty well. Well, we are in the air conditioning with some thunderstorms booming around in the area. I’m looking forward to a good, cool night’s sleep.

Question of the day: Can you find two words in today’s blog that have a triple-double?

Day 25, July 28-Bonifay, Fl to Eastbank Campground (COE), Bain Bridge, GA.

61.26 miles. N 30.43 X W 84.51

Spokewrench got up today feeling a little punky. We walked next door to the Waffle House for breakfast and both ordered big breakfasts. Spokewrench ate hardly any of his and I actually didn’t do much better, eating about half of mine. I sent him back to the motel room to rest and I gathered the excess baggage we have been carrying around, took it to the Bonifay Post Office and sent it back home. I had a bag full of unneeded receipts and maps, Spokewrench’s bicycle tire he replaced, our never used water filter, some brochures, and a couple of gifts for family. We finally got on the road around 9:30. Today we biked 10 miles and then stopped, rested, and ate or at least drank something. That seemed to help us get through the day. It was 5:00 Central time when we reached the campground and 6:00 Eastern time. We seem to be moving in and out of the Eastern time zone. Also we are just across the state line in Georgia. We will go right back into Florida tomorrow, but it’s kind of cool to say we camped in Georgia tonight. We are in a beautiful campground and have it pretty much to ourselves. I can’t see anyone else around. There are no people in the tent section, but I don’t know about the RV section. Here’s the plan: blog, make pudding, shower, sleep. I’m especially looking forward to the last one.

Question of the day: I mentioned time zones in the blog. Can you find the exact location on Route 90 where the time zone changes from the Central Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Day 24, July 27-Crestview, FL to Bonifay, FL

60.84 miles. N30.46 X W85.41

We had a possible kidnapping today—no, not Spokewrench, but Scout, our little stuffed mascot. Yesterday afternoon, I untied him from my trailer and set him on top while I put my bike in the motel room. That’s the last we saw of him. We didn’t actually miss him until morning. When we got ready to leave, Scout was gone. I asked at the front desk, the housekeepers, and the maintenance man…nothing. So we left Scout-less. It’s a little sad. He has been with us since St. Louis on the Lewis and Clark Trail.

We left Crestview around 9:00 after breakfast at McD’s. We rode on Route 90 all day today. It is a pretty busy road, but there is a smooth, 4 foot shoulder and fairly level terrain allowing us to make good time today. A slight push from a southwest wind didn’t hurt anything either. We pedaled through Mossy Head, DeFuniak Springs, Ponce de Leon (stopped here for lunch at Sally’s Restaurant), Westville, Caryville, and finally Bonifay. Yes, we are staying at another motel. This area is not good for campgrounds. In the last 4 we called, 2 will not accept tent camping, 1 was closed, and the last was expensive and off-route more than we like. So we are at a motel for the 3rd day in a row. Hopefully, we will have more campgrounds in our future. This is getting expensive.

Question of the day: Take a look at the picture above. Ponce de Leon is the name of a Spanish explorer who came to Florida looking for something special. What was he looking for? (There’s a clue in the picture.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 23, July 26-Pensacola, FL to Crestview, FL

64.23 miles. N30.44 X W86.34

The day divides itself into 2 distinct halves today. The first half was busy, noisy roads with lots of traffic. This was coming out of Pensacola and traveling to Milton on Route 90. Just to make it more interesting, after biking for about an hour, we encountered a downpour. The heavy rain followed us for about 30 minutes completely soaking us. We didn’t put on raincoats because of the heat. The big problem was the traffic. Every 5 seconds, a car would pass us spraying us with road water laced with sand. We were literally covered with sand. In Milton we found a Sonic to eat. The good thing about the Sonic is that we could eat outside under a covered area out of the rain and we didn’t have to drip all over the restaurant. The rain pretty much stopped by the time we were finished eating.

The second half of the ride was dryer and much, much quieter. We picked up the Blackwater Heritage Trail out of Milton. It was a wonderful, wide, smooth biking path. We followed that for 5.5 miles. I even spotted a box turtle crossing the path in front of us. The trail ended all too soon, but we continued on quiet, county roads for almost the rest of the mileage. We stopped at Holt at a restaurant for an early evening meal. I called the campground where we intended to stay for the night…bad news…they no longer have tent campsites. We called the other campground near Holt and same answer. 13 more miles down the road was Crestview, but no campgrounds. The nearest campground was 43 miles away…way to far for us today. Crestview does have motels, so we broke down and took another motel. Oh well, it’s a good chance to shower away the sand coating we are wearing.

Question of the day: If you have been in my classes at Washington, I have told you the answer to this question. Today we saw a box turtle, like Tilly and Boxer, in my classroom. Tilly is a female and boxer is a male. What is the unique way male and female box turtles can be told apart?

Day 22, July 25. Dauphin Island Campground, AL to Pensacola, FL

58.71 miles. N 30.25 X W87.13

We didn’t get into a good rhythm today. We started out without breakfast, so we could make the first ferry off the island. We have a 60 miler to do today after the ferry and the earlier we can get at it, the better. The ferry left the island at 8:00 and put us back on the mainland at 8:40. By the time we got on the road, it was 9:00. Late to do 60 miles but do-able if one keeps at it. Tonight is Pensacola and, as is our usual policy, we stay at a motel when stopping in a city. The ride was flat as a pancake today, except for bridges and there were several of those. Most of the day was spent biking along the coast. We have seen more condos along the beaches than I thought possible. There seemed to be one after the other, for hour after hour. We left Alabama and entered Florida around 2:00 p.m. without fanfare…in fact we didn’t even know we were in Florida until we noticed the road number changed. No picture of us under the “Welcome to Florida” sign this time. We ran across a bike shop shortly before arriving at the inn. Spokewrench was able to find a match to the front tire he bought the other day and a kickstand to replace the one that exploded in Gosport, AL. The inn in Pensacola added to this unusual day. The first room where we were placed had serious, and I do mean serious, toilet problems. The front desk person changed us to another room. In this room, the remote didn’t work and the shower was cold. We complained again and the lady gave Spokewrench the codes to calibrate the remote. He was able to correct that problem…but the shower is still cold. We walked several blocks to check out a couple of restaurants for a burger. One was very expensive, we found out, after we were seated, so we left. The other was a pub and it didn’t quite feel right. So we walked back to the hotel and order out for pizza. Things turned out pretty well. We have a room that has a working toilet and remote, we have enough pizza for both supper and breakfast tomorrow morning, and the air conditioner is keeping the room “sleeping cool.” All we lack is a hot shower...oh well, 4 out of 5 isn’t bad.

Question of the day: The picture at the top of the page was taken from the ferry this morning. What is the function of the structure in the picture?

Day 21, July 24-Mobile, AL to Dauphin Island Campground, AL

46.98 miles. N 30.15 X W 88.05

We left Mobile at 9:00, 3 hours later than we had planned. We wanted to get an early start to miss the rush hour traffic downtown…but…it was raining. The weather said it would clear soon so we decided to leave around 9:00 after rush hour instead of before. It worked out pretty well. The traffic wasn’t too bad. We are actually traveling off-route because we are between the Underground Railroad route and the Southern Tier route. A gentleman at the bicycle shop in Mobile gave us a route down to Dauphin Island and it worked out quite well. Thanks, Mike. We made it to Dauphin Island in good time after crossing one of the longest bridges we have biked over yet. I don’t know exactly, but it was somewhere between 4 to 6 miles.

And now…three foot breakers wash up into the white sands churning the clamshells and pebbles over and over. The beach is rather isolated with only 5 or 6 families enjoying the summer sun and the warm Gulf water. Every few minutes I see a pelican skimming along the water searching for fish, I assume. The beach itself is dotted with tree stumps to my left but mostly white sand on my right. Back from the shore a ways, clumps of beach grasses and another plant I can’t recall, agave perhaps (see the picture above). All this, right behind our camp. Awesome! Spokewrench and I even took a dip in that delightfully warm water. Spokewrench’s claim to fame? A possible jellyfish sting.

Question of the day: The flags of 4 different countries have flown over Dauphin Island. What are those 4 countries?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 20, July 23-Hubbard Landing Campground to Mobile, AL

64.10 miles. N 30.41 W 88.03 Elevation:42 feet

Good-by to the great little cabin at Hubbard and hello to the hustle and bustle of the city of Mobile. We breakfasted at the Stagecoach Restaurant in Stockton and then headed toward Spanish Fort. The hills and forests were much the same as we have been biking through for the past 4 or 5 days. All that changed dramatically when we hit Spanish Fort, AL. Suddenly we were on a 4-lane highway with lots of traffic. Gone were the pine forests…and we were surrounded by water everywhere. Rivers coming into the Gulf of Mexico on our right and the bay on our left. Our route into Mobile followed a truck route which was heavily traveled. Luckily we had a good sized shoulder on which to ride. 2 tunnels take most traffic into Mobile, but since bicycles are not allowed in the tunnel we had to take a circuitous route to a large bridge over the Mobile River to the north of the city. Unfortunately, this also took us through the Mobile Docks which wasn’t such comfortable biking. We finally worked our way through that and into the downtown area of Mobile. There were found the Ramada Inn where we planned to spend the night. The next problem was that we needed to get to a bicycle shop. We have pretty much worn out our bicycling shorts and Spokewrench’s back tire is all but bald. We called 3 but all were out of the city quite some distance. The Cadence 120 Bike Shop owner thought he was only about 4 miles from downtown. I called about a cab but it was $18 one way…so we decided to bike there. It didn’t look too difficult to find, so we took off our trailers and headed out. 8 miles later we found the shop. That means a 16 mile round trip ride. But we did get the tire, shorts, and Big Mac at McDonalds.

Question of the day: As we biked into Mobile, we came across the battleship pictured above. It is memorial to the Veterans of WWII. What is the name of the battleship?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Day 19, July 22-South of Grove Hill, AL to Stockton, AL (Hubbard Landing Campground)

54.58 miles. N31.04 X W87.52

Today’s issue was lack of services…We left our guesthouse in good time and headed down to the Gosport Grocery for coffee, poptarts, peanut butter crackers. We didn’t find a convenience store for the next 22 miles. This is Sunday, so many convenience stores are closed. There are no restaurants at all on the route and only a few gas stations showing on the map. It turns out there were only 2 convenience stores on the route open, but thankfully that provided us with lunch. We biked on to Hubbard Landing Campground and when we inquired about cabins and campsites, the owner, Harold, said that since we were biking the Underground Railroad, he would give us a cabin for the night free of charge…and a very nice cabin indeed, complete with stove, refrigerator, shower, sink, microwave, and air conditioning. I can’t get over the kindness of that we have seen in the last few days. It is overwhelming! Tomorrow is Mobile!

Question of the day: Our cabin overlooks the Tensaw River. At certain times of the day, the river runs toward the Gulf of Mexico like it should, but at other times of the day, the river runs backwards…upstream…why?

Day 18, July 21-Coffeeville, AL (Service Park Campground) to 13 miles south of Grove Hill

38.89 miles. N31.35 X W87.37

The Adventure Cycling Map has us doing something weird today. We are supposed to go south to Jackson, then back north to Grove Hill, some 35 or 40 miles. Rt 84 on the other hand goes directly to Grove Hill from Coffeeville in 20 miles. I asked a local gentleman about Rt 84 and he said that he would cry if someone made him bike all the way to Jackson and back up to Grove Hill… by all means we should take 84. That settled it, we would take Rt. 84. We had no traffic issues, some cars but only 2 trucks in the 20 miles and we arrived in Grove Hill by 11:30. We stopped at the local Burger King for something to drink. Apparently a church bus full of church camp kids had arrived just before us, because there was quite a long line of youngsters waiting to order. I struck up a conversation with the chaperone/bus driver. Harrison was very interested in what we were doing and where we planned to spend the night since this town has only a city park in which to camp. As we got ready to leave, Harrison walked back over to us and asked us if we might want to camp in the backyard of friend of his that lived 13 miles south on our route. We jumped at the chance. Harrison called John Moore and John was agreeable. He said we could put up a tent in the backyard of an empty house he owned. After having lunch at Gloria’s Restaurant, we biked down to the John’s empty house. We called John and he met us there and gave us a great deal. He gave us the house for the night! It had air conditioning, shower, stove, refrigerator, and TV. He told us to use anything we wanted. So Spokewrench and I camped out on the floor in front of the TV after a meal of Spam and Cheese with smoked sausage. What a wonderful act of kindness. Thank you so much, John. And now, we only have a 50-some mile ride tomorrow instead of a 70-some!

Question of the day: We thought of a few reasons that Adventure Cycling may have routed us on the longer route rather than the more direct road. Name 3 reasons why you think we were routed the long way.

Day 17, July 20-Linden, AL to Coffeeville, AL (Park Service Campground)

59.76 miles. N31.45 X W88.09.

Breakfast at Church’s Chicken and on the road by 7:45. We biked 20 miles to our only service stop of the day until our destination town of Coffeeville. We had a BBQ sandwich and a Gatorade and were on our way. We had 36 miles to go and they were a rough 36. We haven’t seen hills like this since Tennessee. Granny was used consistently today after she had been asleep for some time. With about 6 miles to go, we were both pretty well beaten. We stopped under some shade trees with houses on both sides of the road. We sipped at the hot water in our bottles trying to get the motivation to continue…enter Roy Pervus. Roy lived in the house to left. He came out and asked if he could get us some water. We told him we had water but it was pretty hot. He practically ran back into his house and came out with 3 ice-cold bottles of water. Nothing, and I mean nothing, ever tasted so good to me! It gave us the motivation to continue on to Sally’s Dairy Bar for supper. From there we biked another 4 miles to the Park Service Campground. We secured a site, but noticed dark clouds on the horizon. We set up the tent quickly and got the camp ready for a possible storm. We were located on a point right above the Tombigbee River. I did a load of laundry and both of us were still in the small laundry room when the storm hit. It was quite a storm. As we stood and watched, a tree blew down shattering the sunroof of a car in one site across the street from the laundry. In another, a limb broke the side window of car. We finished up the laundry and hurried back to our campsite to see if our tent was still standing. It was fine and had not even taken on any water. It rained until after midnight as we sweltered inside the tent, but when the rain stopped, the air was cooler and we were able to sleep fairly comfortably for the remainder of the night.

Question of the day: For the first time since we have started the trip, we are now seeing a parasite on some of the trees around here. I have taken a couple of pictures of this parasite. What is its name?

Day 16, July 19-Aliceville, AL (Cochrane Campground) to Linden, AL

75.63 miles. N32.18 X W87.48

We were on the road today by 7:15, after a short bite to eat in the campground. We have 70 some miles planned. Our breakfast stop according to the map was 23 miles away. After we had biked about 10 miles, we came to a small convenience store that had refrigerated sandwiches. We each bought a sandwich and something to drink. No place to sit down, so we stood around and ate our sandwiches. We moved on to the next convenience store which had much the same thing. We just bought something to drink. The next stop promised us a restaurant, and sure enough there was a restaurant, Gert’s Restaurant to be exact. Gert’s has a place to sit down, great food, a restroom, but no air conditioning…but at least we are out of the sun. We stopped 3 more times during the afternoon at convenience stores, plenty to drink and sometimes eat, but no restrooms. We decided on a motel tonight. We expected to be tired and we were…hot showers, soft bed, TV. It was a long day.

Question of the day: We have noticed that about every other tree along the roadside is a Sweet Gum. Did you know that the gum tree is a Biblical tree? The resin from this tree is used to make something precious to the people in Bible times. What is this precious substance made from the resin of the gum tree?

Day 15, July 18-West Point, MS (Town Creek Campground) to Aliceville, AL (Cochrane Campground)

69.30 miles. N33.05 X W88.16.

We left in decent time again today (before 8:00 a.m.). We biked to Columbus for breakfast at McDonalds. Spokewrench even took advantage of the wifi that most McDonalds have and did some internet work. After breakfast, we headed out of Columbus, but not without some difficulty. Try as we might, we ran into a confusing section of our Adventure Cycling maps. We ended up making a 6 mile mistake. Then the flat tire. As it worked out, we had ridden 25 miles and we were still in Columbus. After this start, we finally got down to the business of biking. We passed through Pickensville, Aliceville, and finally Cochrane and the campground. This was our second COE (Corp of Engineer) campground and once again we were impressed. It was a pristine site and everything was well maintained and clean. The campground host stopped by while we were trying to pump up Spokewrench’s back tire and he said he had a compressor. We followed him back to his site where we were able to pump up all of our bike tires. Thanks, Campground Host!

Question of the day: Our tires on the bikes and trailers hold about 100 pounds per square inch (psi) each. What do you think happens if we try to inflate our tires that are down to 75 psi from a compressor that can only produce 50 psi?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Day 14, July 17-Amory, MS to Town Creek Campground –COE- (Near West Point, MS)

52.15 miles. N33.37 X W88.30

This was a stressful day for me. We started out on Rt. 278. It was a very busy highway with many big trucks. Someone yelled at us right off the bat…but after about 3 or 4 miles we turned off on a county road which was much better traffic-wise but seemed to have dogs at every house that were interested in escorting us along. The road was very rough to boot. We arrived in Aberdeen and immediately were placed on Rt. 25, another very busy road with just a small shoulder covered with rumble strips…more stress. Our next road was Alt 45, dual lane with a small shoulder but carried as much traffic as U.S. 30 at home. This took us into West Point, MS where we rode on Rt. 50, a highway that was very rough, had no shoulder, and was fairly busy. I was glad to have this day finished safely. The good news today…we pulled into a beautiful secluded campground with clean showers and a laundry station. A long, hot shower was a great stress-breaker!

Question of the day: You will see a couple of pictures posted with this entry of a tree we see often as we bike along. This tree is not seen often in northern Indiana. Can you identify this tree?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Day 13, July 16- Tishomingo State Park to Amory, MS

61.96 miles. N33.59 X W88.29

Once again we got a decent start: Out of the campground by 7:45 – Grabbed a breakfast sandwich at the convenience store at the entrance to the park – On the road by 8:30. After about a mile, our route took us on the Natchez Trace Parkway. What a beautiful stretch of road: No buildings, no commercial traffic, no billboards. It’s just a shame that after building this wonderful road, a little more money couldn’t have been spent to make it a little more bicycle friendly by making a bicycle shoulder to ride on. Anyhow, there is very little traffic, making it a pleasant ride. Sadly, we left the Parkway after about 10 miles and went back to Mississippi country roads. We biked about 30 miles of the doggiest roads we have ridden. Every farmhouse seemed to have 1, 2, or 3 dogs running loose and ready to chase us. Most are contented to just run to the road and bark, some, however, are more interested in chasing. Thankfully, we haven’t come up against any really aggressive dogs. We biked 30 miles to Fulton for lunch and then on to Amory. We arrived in time at the motel for me to find a Laundromat and get a load of laundry done. We ordered out for pizza tonight and Spokewrench spent some time in the pool while I blogged.

Question of the day: Between what 2 cities does the Natchez Trace run and how long is it?

Day 12, July 15-Pickwick Landing State Park to Tishomingo State Park

42.85 miles. N34.37 X W88.12

We continued on our off-route short cut journey after a good breakfast buffet at the Pickwick Landing Inn. We wished that the campground had been as well taken care of as the Inn. It was spotless and a very beautiful building whereas the campground toilets and showers left something to be desired. We rated it a 4.5 out of 10…not quite good enough to actually take a shower. We pedaled on down to Tishomingo, stopping once for a shake at Hardee’s and again at a convenience store in Tishomingo for deep fried delights for lunch. Tishomingo State Park is a large, beautiful park with its own lake called Hayes Lake. It is very apparent that this area is under drought conditions because the lake is down some 8 to 10 feet according to the next door camper. We can only see 2 other campers on the grounds tonight, making it very quiet indeed. Our campsite is huge extending down to the lake edge. Our tent is dwarfed by towering pine trees and we have a smoky, little campfire going. There is almost no breeze but the lake has some riffles caused by several ducks that have taken up residence here. It is quite an idyllic scene. I have failed to mention that we are in armadillo country now. We see 4 or 5 roadkills along our route every day about like we would see opossum along the roads in Indiana. We have yet to see one alive, however. Well, time to prepare supper. No roadkill tonight… I think a spaghetti dinner is in order. Bon appetite!

Question of the day: Tishomingo refers to a person in a Native American tribe. To what Indian group did this person belong and what was his job?

Day 11, July 14-Saltillo, TN to Pickwick Landing State Park (Near Pickwick Dam)

33.92 miles.

We managed a much earlier start this morning. We had eaten breakfast and were on the road shortly after 8:30. We joined Diane and Ron at the breakfast buffet down the road and then we headed south and they headed north. Our destination today was Crump, TN by noon about 15 miles away and Shiloh Battleground State Park by early afternoon. Ah, but how often do our plans go awry. We both watched the map carefully today and were very confident we were taking the correct roads. The turns matched up well and, even though there were no roadsigns, it looked like we were right on course. Strangely we came across a surprise flat area of about 5 miles that wasn’t apparent on the map. That is the first time we have hit this much flat land in our 10 days of travel. Imagine our surprise when we rolled into the town of Savannah, TN instead of Crump, about 5 miles south of where we hoped to end up. That explains why the flat land was not on our maps. Well, when you have lemons, make lemonade. Neither Crump nor Shiloh had a public library, but Savannah does, so we went to the library and uploaded yesterday’s blog. South of Savannah about 12 miles, is Pickwick Landing State Park which was recommended to us by Diane and Ron. We headed down to Pickwick State Park instead of Shiloh Battleground State Park. We can rejoin the route in several different places tomorrow. Diane and Ron were right, it is a beautiful park and we are glad we are here. We are only about 5 miles from the Mississippi border. It was quite warm and humid today with bright sunlight all of our traveling time. It has clouded up some since we made camp late this afternoon, however.

Question of the day: The paternal grandparents of a famous author are buried at Savanna, TN. Who was this author?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day 10, July 13-Mousetail Landing State Park to Saltillo, TN

34.16 miles. N 35.30 X W88.13.

We again got a late start from the state park and biked down to Linden to Fat Man’s Convenience Store and Restaurant for breakfast. Within 2 miles of the restaurant, my chain dropped off into the frame again and bent the chain…but this time we were ready, or should I say Spokewrench was ready. He put some of his wrenching skills to work and had us back on the road in 20 minutes. Great job, Spokewrench! We biked on to Decatorville, TN to the Decator County Library. We asked about and were given permission to use the wireless system there. I dug out the computer and am pleased to say that it connected just fine. Apparently, it wasn’t our computer’s problem at the Imperial Lodge in Waverly after all. We had lunch at Decatorville and here it was, 1:15 and we have only biked 13 miles. At this point we abandoned hope for making it to Shiloh and decided to stop at Saltillo, TN at a landing campground there. We arrived in Saltillo and stopped at a restaurant for something cold and wet. I struck up a conversation with Shannon Hayes, who was very interested in our trip. Thanks for the drinks, Shannon! When we arrived at the campground, it was a bit run-down and I wasn’t feeling too good about it, when another couple came pedaling in. Ron and Diane were touring around western Tennessee for a 3 week vacation. This was there 2nd or 3rd day out. I felt better immediately. I needn’t have worried anyway, because the owner who had just taken over the campground was completely accommodating, even offering us free pontoon rides on the Tennessee River. We had a wonderful evening chatting, sharing stories, and laughing through the evening. It was good to find kindred spirits. While we were chatting, a couple of stray pups came up to our camp. We were told that these were “Coydogs”, half coyote and half dog. They were still too wild to catch, but, as you can see in the picture, it is easy to see that they had coyote blood in them.

Question of the day: According to the campground owner, today's location is within 10 miles of the suicide of an important person related to the past 3 year's rides. Who was this person?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Day 9, July 12-Waverly, TN to Mousetail Landing State Park (Linden, TN)

53.26 miles

N35.40 X W88.00.

Finally, my first café latte of the trip. We biked back to downtown Waverly, and visited the Waverly Café. The menu included espresso coffee, so I enjoyed my first café latte in a week. Not as good as Courthouse Coffee, but good! At the Waverly Café, we met Sue and Charlie. They were biking the Underground Railroad northbound. These are experienced bikers having done the transcontinental Northern Tier, SouthernTier, and the original transcontinental route, plus the Great Rivers route. We enjoyed swapping stories with them. Today’s bike was a little calmer. The hills were there with several challenging ones, but we also had some places where the grades were not so steep and long allowing rest between the challenges. It was a much more pleasant ride today. We did come upon a snake today. Of course, I (Clarkwheel) can’t pass up a snake. It was about a 2 footer, very dark with even darker spots. I stopped and went back for a better look. I’m not about to pick up a snake that I can’t identify, but I can’t help but study it a bit. I touched it with a stick and it immediately flattened its head and formed a hood like a cobra. It also hissed loudly. So I’m stumped. The worst hill of the day was inside the Mousetail Landing State Park. The road to the campground was the steepest I have ever encountered. I couldn’t stay in the saddle and pedal because my front wheel would lift off the pavement and I don’t have the stamina to stand and pedal over a long distance…so, yes, I walked or rather pushed with all my strength. Of course, Spokewrench refused to walk and, after several stops and starts, managed to pedal up that monster. Upon reaching the top of the hill, he found his pulse to be 184.

Today’s question: Based on the description above, what kind of snake did we find today?

Day 8, July 11-Big Pine Campground (Dover, TN) to Waverly, TN

46.53 miles

N36.05 X W87.49

By the time morning came the rain had stopped, but everything was quite wet since it had rained most of the night. We packed up and went back over to the Catfish Kitchen for breakfast. We started out climbing a long hill and at the top we made our first turnoff. The map warned us today about getting confused on the first turnoff, so we carefully watched our mileage and turned when it was exactly correct. We biked about 4 miles and came right back to the Catfish Kitchen. Second try…this time I asked someone. He gave us exact directions, so after the 4 or 5 mile warm-up (including the long hill twice), we finally found the right path. And a hilly one it was today. This was monster hill day. They came after us all day long, one after another. By the time we reached Waverly, we were both exhausted. There were no campgrounds within 20 miles so we stayed at the Imperial Motel. When I call ahead, and I usually do, I always ask in this order: price, wireless internet, pool, hot tub. For this one I got $50.00, wireless internet, no pool, Jacuzzi. Turns out the price was about the only thing correct. The wireless wasn’t working properly at least with our laptop, the Jacuzzi was in a room that one could rent for substantially more money. I guess I’ll have to learn to reword my questions. Anyhow, hot private showers and a soft bed in air conditioning…that’s worth a lot.

Question of the Day-

This picture is significant in the cycling world as there is a component company mentioned here. What cycling component are they most famous for making and what is the top model they make of this component?

Day 7, July 10 - From Grand Rivers (Hillman’s Ferry Campground) to Big Pine Campgrounds (Near Dover, TN)

Mileage: 46.29

Coordinates: N36.29 X W 87.56


hanically, things went somewhat better today. Our task was to ride the Land Between the Lakes Trace. It is a 40 odd mile ride between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley through a national recreation area. We saw places to do almost every outdoor activity. The only problem was that there would be no services through this 40 miles, so we stopped at the camp store and bought some snacks to tide us over until we could reach a restaurant at Dover, TN on the other end. The entire 40 miles was heavily wooded and went up and down like a roller coaster. We saw deer, w

ild turkey, and one lonely buffalo.

The only problem I encountered was near the end of the ride. I somehow bent a tooth on the middle chain ring. I was able to get to the campground using the small ring and was also able to tap the tooth back into place after borrowing a small hammer from the the campground host. Rain began around 8:00 and lasted pretty much all night. I had added some seamseal to my tent the night before and the tent was completely waterproof.

Question of the day: What is the structure in the picture?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Day 6, July 9-Grand Rivers (Microtel Inn) to Land Between the Lakes (Hillman’s Ferry Campground)

Mileage: 18.53 miles
N 36.57 X W 88.53

The famous motel continental breakfast: have you ever wondered what it really is? We have been in 3 motels and they have all had about the same:
2 or 3 kinds of cold cereal
2 kinds of juice
Bagels with toppings
Toast or raisin bread
1 or 2 kinds of muffins
Sweet rolls
Coffee or tea
Out west we almost always had a waffle machine as well. I miss my morning waffles.

Notice the low mileage today. We did laundry in the morning and it took up most of the morning. After a delicious lunch in Grand Rivers at the Iron Kettle…fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, veggies, pies, etc. we headed over to the local bike shop called Wood n’ Water. My shifters had been acting weird and I wanted them checked. We also were looking for some high pressure tires for Spokewrench’s trailer. We were able to do both at the shop. Spokewrench got his tires and mounted them. I had my shifter adjusted. We took off for a 20 something mile ride as it was already 2:30. I hadn’t gone 6 miles when my chain got caught between the frame of the bike and the inside chainring and bent the chain. We didn’t bring extra chain links, so I called the bike shop back. They were extremely accommodating. Chase drove out to where we were and picked us up and brought us back. My chain was repaired by 5:30. We decided on a campground 3 miles away instead of 20 and headed there. We had no sooner set up our tent at Hillman’s Ferry Campground when a thunderstorm descended upon us, dumping a half an inch of rain in about 15 minutes. We took cover in the tent and played Lewis and Clark gin until it past. I cooked some ramen and we hit the sack.

Question of the day: We camped in the area designated as "The Land Between the Lakes"...the lakes are Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. These are actually reservoirs resulting of the damming of two rivers. What are the names of the rivers?


Monday, July 09, 2007

Day 5, July 8. Cave in Rock State Park-Cave in Rock, IL to Grand River, KY. N37.03 X W88.16.

I am having difficulty with my front derailleur. The shifting is not working well at all. Spokewrench worked on it until after dark but it was still not working so we decided to get some sleep and try again in the morning. When the alarm rang at 5:30, it was very foggy. We slept in a little and then we got up around 7:00, Spokewrench went to work on the derailleur again and got it working. We went up (and I do mean up) to the State Park Lodge for breakfast. We left the restaurant and headed down to the Ohio River ferry and crossed the river. Watching the driving of the tugboat is interesting. It must take quite a bit of practice. Matching up the ferry with the dock perfectly must be quite a trick with the river moving and the ferry moving. Anyhow the driver managed to get it done, so we rode off the ferry into Kentucky. Although it was another hot day (very hot), we got along pretty well with the hills of Kentucky. The hills didn’t seem as steep and long. We were riding on pretty much traffic-free roads most of the day. We had originally planned a shorter day because of campground availability, but we decided that we would go for a longer day and a motel. So here we are at the Microtel Inn and Suits after a refreshing shower and a swim in the pool. Ahhhh!!!!

Question of the day: Living in Indiana, we are called the Hoosier State, what is Kentucky called?

Day 4, July 7: Ferne Clyffe State Park (Goreville, IL) to Cave in Rock State Park (Cave in Rock, IL) N 37.26 X W 88.10

63.34 hilly miles today.

We managed to get going a little earlier than yesterday. We biked back up to Delaneys, about 1.5 miles out of our way for breakfast. I ate the best Western Omelet I’ve had in a long time…literally loaded with ham. Then off for the day and into some huge hills right from the get-go. I personally felt better about the hills today and handled them better than the previous two days, at least in the morning. We biked on state highways most of the way to Eddyville. This means that the hills are a just a little gentler and a whole lot smoother. Smoothness seems to make a big difference for me in hill-climbing. I was pretty well shot by the time we reached Eddyville. We had a late lunch there and that revived me somewhat. The waitress at Eddyville recommended a boathouse restaurant in Elizabethville, our destination tonight. We biked on the Elizabethville under about the same conditions. We looked up the restaurant on the Ohio River. It was packed but we waited and had a great Ohio River all-you-can-eat catfish meal. We headed on about 8 miles to the Cave in the Rocks State Park. This last 8 miles were the most difficult of the day…steep hills, rough road, and tiredness…even when we got to the campground, the road to the sites seemed straight up. A long day!

Question of the day: As I mentioned, we ate actually on the Ohio River. What states does the Ohio River touch on the way to the Mississippi River?

Day 3, July 6: Murphysboro Lake State Park (Murphysboro, IL) to Ferne Clyffe State Park (Goreville, IL N 37.32 X W 88.58

45.69 miles.

Late start this morning. We are not in the “packing up and getting out” mode yet. We packed and left the campgrounds around 8:45. We biked the short distance into town and had breakfast at Tippey’s. Consequently, we didn’t really get on the road until almost 10:00. It was already pretty warm. We had a good breakfast, though and good thing because we didn’t eat again until 6:00 p.m. As we left Murphysboro, we mistakenly followed the signs to Carbondale rather than follow the Adventure Cycling maps. Turns out it was a shorter way to Carbondale, but a busier route. We would have been fine, had we know which way to get downtown to the bicycle shops. We ended up going 3 miles out of our way. We finally figured out where to go after questioning a bus driver and a UPS driver. We visited the 3 shops looking for high-pressure trailer tires, but to no avail. We headed on down to our route and managed to stay on route until our arrival at Goreville. We biked to the main district and had “all you can eat” fish at Delaneys. Delaneys keeps a record of bikers coming through. They take a picture and asked us to write something in their biker log book. Then they give us a free piece of pie to go with our meal. I left very full. We biked on out to the Ferne Clyffe State Park and set up camp in a very beautiful campground with a friendly host. It was late so without too much ado, we showered and hit the sack.

Question of the day: Carbondale is the home of what university?

Day 2, July 5: Red Bud, IL to Murphysboro, IL (Murphysboro Lake State Park) N 37.46 XW 89.22

We awoke this morning and enjoyed the continental breakfast provided by the Country Inn of Rosebud. The news that morning told of lots of rain and thunderstorms overnight, with unofficial reports of up to eight inches. However, upon going outside, we found very little rain near the hotel. Road signs told us we had 24 miles to get to Chester. As we progressed, we noticed more indicators that places south of us had received significantly more rain than we did. We stopped for a bite to eat in the small town of Ellis Grove, where the rumors were confirmed of the eight inches of rain received in some areas. Upon inspection of the Adventure Cycling maps that we were now part of, but technically not on the route, it looked like there was a road that paralleled the busy and rough route 3. The road was mainly used to get to Fort Kaskaskia State Park. We entered the park and followed the roads that were near the campground in which we were going to camp at last night had we not gotten so tired. It was clear that Fort Kaskaskia had received a lot more rain than we did in Red Bud. There were trees down and washouts that had probably flooded the road during the storm. For the most part, there were no longer any parts of the road covered by water. We came to the conclusion that it was a good thing we stopped in Red Bud last night, because the heavy storms and strong winds could have been a hazard to us. Continuing further, we saw a large bridge spanning the Mississippi river. The road went into Chester and was part of the Adventure Cycling route. Soon we got on the route and stopped at a McDonalds where we got some food to eat and drinks to cool off. Outside of Chester, the route split into a main route and an option that took us along the river. The Adventure Cycling maps informed us that the river option was not a good idea if the river was high. The roads are sometimes closed due to high water. Judging by the recent storm, we thought it was obvious that we should take the main route, which was described by the Adventure Cycling maps as “slightly hillier”. Hmmm, “slightly” was one of the great understatements. The first 15 miles had some of the steepest we could recall during the previous 3100 miles of the Lewis and Clark trail. Keep this a secret…but I (Clarkwheel) had to walk and push my bike and trailer on one particularly steep section. From there on, the road leveled out somewhat and made going a bit easier. Then…we encountered something we had never encountered in the past 3 years. RAIN! We have been waiting 3 years for this! We both were perspiring profusely and the cool, refreshing rain was welcomed addition to the trip. We stopped at the town of Ava for lunch at Bruzeks, a delicious meal I might add, and continued the remaining 13 miles or so to Murphysboro Lake State Park, making a total mileage of 66.74 miles, a pretty decent total for the second day out. We had several wildlife sightings today. We spotted deer on two occasions, a turkey…not sure whether it was wild or tame, a fairly large blacksnake…dead, and two turtles…a box turtle and a musk turtle, and were visited by an owl at dusk. Spokewrench calculated the next week’s worth of travel and, if all goes well, we should be in the state of Mississippi.

Question of the day: We often hear mockingbirds singing in the evening and sometimes into the night. We don’t have many mockingbirds in northern Indiana but we do have another mimic. It is the catbird. The mockingbird and catbird have similar sounds, mimicking other birds, but there is a basic difference that allows one to tell them apart. What is the difference between the mockingbird’s song and catbird’s song?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Day 1-Pontoon Beach, IL to Red Bud, IL-50.44 miles

38.12 N X 89.60 W
We left the Best Western around 7:15 a.m. after having a pretty skimpy continental breakfast. I guess that was one reason why this hotel received only a half a star out of five in the ratings. Anyhow we ate what we could and headed out. We really didn't have a bicycle route. We are about 70 miles north of where we can intercept the Adventure Cycling map of the transcontinental bicycle route. We ask the limo driver what he thought and he gave us the best route he knew. We started with that. We had only gone about 5 miles when we realized that there was a bicycle path just to the right of us. We jumped on it at the first opportunity. It was a great paved path and it carried us for about 10 miles of traffic-free biking bliss. Of course, reality set in when we arrived at Route 159...a historic highway, but very busy. (Speaking of historic highways, the Best Western was located on historic route 66. However, we only rode that route for about 1 block). Our original plan was to bike near the city of Chester, IL and stay at a nearby campground. We will be able to pick up the transcontinental trail from there. That was a 70 mile shot and turned out to be a little too robust for me to handle. After 50 miles, I was ready to throw in the towel for the day. We inquired. The nearest campground was still 26 miles south. There was the Red Bud Country Inn...the only motel in Red Bud. The weather was deteriorating and I was shot, so we took a room there for the night. The temperature was 93 degrees and very humid with approaching storms.
Question of the day: While biking on historic route 159 today, we passed a man-made object that turned out to be the world's largest of its kind. What object did we pass and what city was it found in?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Best Western Hotel, Pontoon Beach, IL

38.46 N X 90.04 W

Welcome, Adventurers. Spokewrench and I (Clarkwheel) are starting phase 4 of our bicycling adventure. Briefly, phase 1, (summer 2004) was from St. Louis, MO to Kansas City, KS; phase 2 (summer 2005) was from Kansas City to Lewistown, MT; and phase 3 (summer 2006) was from Lewistown to the Pacific Ocean. Our goal this year is to begin at St. Louis (actually Pontoon Beach, IL just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis) and pedal to St. Augustine, FL and the Atlantic Ocean, completing a transcontinental ride. Once again we are posting daily journals to our blog www.lewisandclarkcyclingtrek.blogspot.com . This pre-ride entry will be posted on the blog as well. Starting tomorrow with the first day’s ride, we will again post a question a day. The student with the most correct answers by the end of the trip (approximately 30 days) will receive a $100 gift certificate to Trailhouse in the Village at Winona. Adults are encouraged to participate as well as students, however, only students are eligible for the prize. We will report the correct answers to all questions upon our return from the tour. Do not report the answers to the blog as everyone will be able to read that. Instead, reply to this email with your answer. We will save and compile correct answers upon our return. Also keep in mind that since we are camping most of the time and may not have an internet connection, there may be time lapses between entries, but there will be an entry (and a question) for every day of the journey. If you have questions or comments, please reply to this email or post to the blog. Good Luck!

Spokewrench (Tai) and Clarkwheel (Pardee)