Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Dunes National Park

So one of the consequences of the recent budget agreement is the transition of the Dunes National Lakeshore to the Dunes National Park.  I haven't heard that there will be any substantive changes, aside from changing the signs,  but I'd like to offer some suggestions without any knowledge of whether they're realistic or not!  Here goes:

  1. Partner with the county parks department or anyone to fix and maintain the Calumet Trail!  This is a east/west linking trail that allow access to the state park from the Prairie Duneland Trail without resorting to roads!  As is the trail is pathetic!
  2. Make the trail between the Cowles Bog parking lot and Waverly Road an official trail!  
  3. Find somewhere to add some camping!  The current campground is inadequate.  These could be walk in or canoe camps?!
  4. Expand!
That's all I've got off the top of my head.  I'm sure I'll think of more and time goes on.  

Monday, October 29, 2018

How I Spend My Time

Since 1999 I've been an assistant cross country coach at the high school where I ran cross country!  When I started this I took pride in being able to keep up with the team, if only on the long run runs.  I still run but more often it's alone or with the coach who has decided to go at my pace rather than his pace.  We plan and troubleshoot the competitive season on those runs.  From June until the end of October I'm immersed in the day to day lives of these young men. Today is the first day of the "off season", the time between cross country and track.   I'll see the team only occasionally between now and June, although I may drop in on track since I'm retired now.  I reminisce about this season during runs on the dune trails.  Fall will always mean cross country.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

TA Post Mortem

I've been home three weeks (July 8th).  My bike made it back home on July 19th.  I have been searching for things to do with all the unscheduled time I have now.  I realize that prior to my departure I wasn't really retired.  I was involved a few hours at my work right up until a few days before we left.  Now aside from cross country practice, and a week of cross country camp, I have very little scheduled.  This might sound like a happy problem to have but I'm not happy about it.

I've run about 75 miles in the past three weeks after not having run for three months.  I've biked about 370 miles since I got back home; some of it on my mountain bike.  I've gone to two exercise classes.  If you know me at all you'll know that physical activity is a big part of my daily life.  I suppose it's part of the reason I could accomplish this long ride.  When I returned home I had this notion that I could maintain the fitness level I enjoyed on my trip.  I wanted to maintain this level of fitness.  I know this isn't realistic.

I still think a lot about my bike trip.  I'd talk a lot about it as well, but aside from Steve, I'm convinced I'd bore anyone else to death long before I ran out of things to say.  Everything relates back to those three months for me at the moment.  I go back and add details to my blog entries where I can and relive those days.

People have asked if I would do this again, ride across the country.  The answer is a definite yes!  I've also been asked "What's next?"  I take some pleasure in knowing that I'm seen as someone who might take up another challenge because when I began I wasn't confident I could accomplish this one.  Also I found out that there are people, lots of people, challenging themselves with these self-chosen undertakings.  I've got no deep wisdom or insights to share.  I don't know what's next but I know it will be something!

Looking forward to a fall filled with family and high school cross country!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Trans Am Numbers

I'll add stuff here as I crunch the numbers:

Days: 81
Miles: 4336.74 (updated 7/12/18)
Daily Average: 53.54 (updated 7/12/18))
Longest mileage day- 81 miles on 4/17/18; 80.8 miles on 6/22/18
Shortest mileage day-9.83 on 4/30/18
Longest cycling day-8:53:10 on 6/12/18
Shortest cycling day-55:29 on 4/30/18

Total Ascent in Feet=171,145
Daily Average Ascent in Feet=2194
Most Ascent-4530.8 on 4/22/18
Least Ascent-78.7 on 6/28/18

Days camping=43 (updated 7/13/18))
Days motel=20 (updated 7/13/18))
Days hostel=18

Days Off: 3

Bits and Pieces, Part #2

I'm home!  Steve and I left for the east coast on April 14th so it's been 85 days since I slept in my bed!  It was fun hanging out with my nephew and daughter and son-in-law in Seattle for a couple days being a tourist.  I ran about 2 1/2 torturous miles along the Puget Sound.

Here are the links to some of the players in our adventure saga.  Each of these blogs or Facebook pages is impressive in it's own way.  They put my meager efforts to shame for sure!

Jules' Blog

Finley's Blog

Phil's Blog

Richardo's Facebook Page

Alan Baker's Facebook Page

Susan's Facebook page

Anna's Blog

We rode many miles in the company of Rich; Nick; and Mike but none of the three of them was keeping a record of their trip.  They were relying heavily on the narrative provided by Donna Lynn Ikenberry's 1993 book Bicycling Coast to Coast to plan and followed most of her suggestions for mileage; places to stay; and other details.

As I mentioned in my last post I will be "enhancing" many of the pages about the trip.  This post in particular will get expanded as I come back to it and add things.  Stay tuned!  Thanks!  Tom

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Bits and Pieces, Part #1

  1. It’s tradition to save turtles that wander on the road during a TransAm trip.  Steve and I saved about a dozen, at least temporarily.  Several more at the side of the road, we yelled at.  Several in the road we left to succeed or not. There’s a philosophical issue here somewhere!
  2. We went "off the route" three times.  First after Jules found a bridge closed, we took a direct route to Springfield, KY.  We cut some distance off.  Second we took an alternate route out of Pueblo to the Royal Gorge area based upon information that the official route had no shoulder to ride on.  I think it was slightly shorter than the official route.  Third, we took an alternate route into Astoria.  We’d  added distance by camping 4+ miles off route.  The Adventure Cycling Association allows that as long as we rode 90% of the mapped route, we’ve completed it.  We met that condition.  
  3. We heard from Richard and Mike, you may remember them as two of the three cyclists we met after they started the second half of their Transamerica ride in Newton, Kansas.  We camped several nights at the same locations, especially in Kansas.  They just finished in Florence, Oregon.  Florence is the endpoint of an alternate route.  They’re headed back to Texas tomorrow.
  4. I’ll be adding information to the daily entries after I get home.  In particular I’ll try to put links to information where I can.  I’ve never quite figured out how to do this with the phone app!  This may not be of interest to those of you who followed along.  This is more for anyone planning to do this themselves.

Day #81-Astoria

It was a rainy 4th of July.  We pack our wet tents and make the short ride to Astoria over a perilous bridge across Young’s Bay.  Astoria is a seaport on the Columbia River.  A huge cargo ship moved up the river as we rode along side it.  We later found out that many ships here are loaded with Midwest grain bound for China!

After a stop at a downtown coffee shop we fortunately got into our motel, the Columbia Inn, early. Then we took our bikes to be shipped at Bikes and Beyond, a local bike shop.  Steve’s shipping his belongings as well.  I’m checking my belongings.  It’s amazing how few belongings I have.  It’s true. Not to wax too philosophical but we, most of us, have much more than we really need.