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Monday, May 21, 2007

A great day for ridding but a sad sad night

May 21

Let me begin this post with what weighs heavily on my mind. Tomorrow
morning we part ways with Heather's parents. As I have said before, this
trip is incredibly difficult. We have considered several times just giving
up and catching a bus or something. This last week or so, having her
parents with us has really lifted our spirits. It is wonderful to know
there is someone on the road who cares about us and is taking care of us.
They stop pretty often and refill our water and feed us and give us a
comfortable place out of the sun to sit and relax. The most common
question we hear from them is "Do you need anything else?" Wow, what a
great thing to hear! In addition to all this pampering we got a ride into
Janice's house and were totally taken care of there as well (see our
earlier post for details).

So from both Heather and I, thank you two sooo much for taking care of us.
We could not have done it without you (I am actually all misty eyed typing
this now).

So tonight we pack up BoB (the trailer) hook him up to Lisa (my bike) and
get ready for the long heavy ride tomorrow into Carbondale, IL. Although I
have been riding hard these last few days I think I am ready for the weight
and a slower pace. Tomorrow we hope to get to Carbondale, IL where my
cousin lives. I have not had a chance to call her yet due to little or no
cell phone coverage at night. I know my dad spoke with her. I really hope
it is ok if we just sort of show up and say "surprise! You have
houseguests" she is pretty cool though so I don't anticipate any problems.

As for today I did about 80 miles and we are just east of Farmington, MO.
We woke up about in the middle of the Ozarks.

Oh here is a quiz for you. Everyone who has heard of the Ozark mountains
raise your hand (my hand is up now which makes typing this a bit slow),
come on, really get yours up there. Now every one who knows the Ozark
Mountains are in Eastern Misery (or maybe that's Missouri) keep your hand
up. The rest of you put your hands down, you are off the hook. Fyi, my
hand is down now. Now those of you who have your hands up bring thm down
smartly on your heads (not too hard, we don't want any injuries there)
Shame on you! One of you should have warned us there is a mountain range
in the middle of our flat midwest area!

Ok, after the Grand Canyon and the Rockies, the Ozarks are kind of
pathetic. I think I topped out once at 1,200 feet. The problem is all the
climbs are darn steep (we are talking 18%- 22% grade here) and the climbs
just keep coming. You go up and down, up and down, up and down, up and
down. You get the idea. I think today I climbed 3,000 vertical feet in
150 foot increments. The down hills are nice though, I must admit. Some
of the hills were so steep I am not sure I would have been able to drag BoB
up them. Well that is how the morning started right in the middle of the
steepest part. Thankfully after about 26 miles of ouch they started to
decline. According to a local guy here we are officially out of the Ozarks.

I know the Appalachians are coming up but I have no idea when or what to
expect. So those of you who do know, we expect comments on our site with
details of where they are in Kentucky and Virginia and what kind of hills
to expect.

I learned a little tidbit yesterday you may find helpful. First you should
know that in this part of our route dead animals on the road are becoming a
more common occurence. I think this may be because there are just more
animals in this part of the US. Well, if you want to know which way the
wind is blowing, here is a trick. This works well on a bicycle in
particular (and yes, I know to look at flags, grass, trees and such, but
this is a better bicycle technique) because often you are creating a false
wind depending on your speed.

Step one: locate a nice juicy and fresh dead animal on the road up ahead.

Step two: start breathing with your nose about 20 feet before you reach
the animal.

Step three: take note of when you can smell the animal, before, next to, or
after you pass it.

Step four: If you can smell the animal before you get to it, you have a
headwind. If you smell it as you pass it, you have a sidewind or no wind.
If you smell the animal after you pass it, you have a tailwind. Now you
know where the wind is from.

I find this works even when you are not paying attention as long as you can
identify the origination of the olfactory offense.

Well that is it for now. You all take care and thanks for reading. Feel
free to share our blog with random people. We always love to get new
readers. Thank you to all of our faithful readers out there now, keeping up
on us.

Just a thought, what will we write about when our trip is done? We are
open to suggestions.

-dana
___
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1 comment:

Tania said...

Dana & Heather,

I am so excited to see both of you! I am sure the two of you are exhausted. Whenever you can, let me know where you are and I can come and pick you up wherever you need me to. I have class from 1-4, but can be available anytime before or after that. See you soon!

~Tania