Sunday, March 11, 2007


Thanks for stopping by. This blog chronicles my journey across the United States on the TransAmerica Trail in the Summer of 2006. I would recommend using the navigation bar on the right to start at the first entry: April 4, 2006. Enjoy the adventure!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Day 54: Sunday, May 28

It was great to be able to sleep in a real bed with air conditioning last night. After Sunday morning meeting, we had lunch with Chuck, Joel, and Dale, before Chuck dropped us off again in Carbondale. We have now completed the ninth section of maps. The route took us through the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.

Today was a light day as a thunderstorm moved in and it began to rain. We set up camp early at the Ferne Clyffe State Park, just south of Goreville.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Day 53: Saturday, May 27

We crossed the Mississippi River and into my home state of Illinois this afternoon!

We met Dale and Joel at Chuck and Patty Garner's home this evening. Shayne had a problem with his derailleur this morning where he couldn't switch gears. Thankfully, Chuck picked us up in his pickup truck and drove us to one of the bike shops in Carbondale. Otherwise we wouldn't have made it there before they closed. With the holiday tomorrow, we would have been stuck until they reopened on Tuesday.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Day 52: Friday, May 26

We met more west bound riders this morning: a couple from England and a newlywed couple on their honeymoon. We stopped for lunch in Ellington where the locals told us that we are almost out of the Ozarks. It is funny since we had only been riding for a little more than three hours. It took us three days to cross the Rockies, and three hours to cross the Ozarks.

With the heat and the humidity, we decided to take a break at the library in Ellington. In hindsight, that break probably was the wisest decision. We are hoping to meet one of our friends, Joel, in Southern Illinois on Sunday. To stay on schedule, I was hoping to make it Farmington by tonight. We were about seventeen miles from Farmington as the sun was setting. We decided to push on in the dark. However, it is Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend, and there was a lot of traffic. On top of that, my rear light stopped working. We finally arrived in Farmington just after 11:00 pm where we set up camp in the city park. It was a harrowing experience, but we are here nonetheless.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day 51: Thursday, May 25

Today was a great day. This morning we met a rider who just graduated from Indiana University. There was a tower that we stopped to climb and enjoy the view.

In the afternoon, we stopped to check out Alley Mill in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

On a slightly disgusting side note, it has been interesting to see how the roadkill changes across the country. (Don't worry... I don't have pictures!) Up until halfway through Kansas and into Missouri, almost everything was small and furry and, now as it gets more humid, we are seeing more snakes and turtles and even an occasional armadillo.

Today is the first time that I rode over 80 miles without really feeling tired. There are several private campgrounds in Eminence. This is the first time we have stayed at a private campground in a while, and this one leaves a lot to be desired. I think there are actually more bugs inside the shower building than outside.

In keeping with the state themes, I would have to say Colorado's theme is the turning point of the trip. Not just in terms of miles, but realizing that we will indeed be able to complete the trip on time. While Wyoming was the state that could have been worse, I think Kansas is the state that could have been better. (No offense, Holli!) After not having any problems with my bike the whole trip, I got a flat tire and a broken spoke in Kansas. Also, the wind was supposed to be at our backs across Kansas, but it never seemed to be.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Day 50: Wednesday, May 24

It was great to see my Grandparents today as we met them for lunch in Fairgrove. My cousin, Troy, happened to be in the area on a business trip so he was able to join us.

We met several more west bounders today, and they continue to warn us about the upcoming mountains. Obviously I don't expect the Ozarks or the Appalachians to be easy, but we have already ridden over the Rockies. As Shayne pointed out it is a matter of perspective. We could tell them horror stories about some of the mountains in Oregon and Idaho, but by the time they get there, they won't have a problem getting over them. It's crazy to think that judging from how many miles the cyclists we met today have ridden so far, we have less than 1,500 miles to go. We only rode 74 miles today, but since we haven't taken a day off since Colorado, we are still ahead of schedule. Tonight we are camped in Hartville at the designated camping spot: the front lawn of the Courthouse, right in the center of town. Hopefully there won't be much traffic at the town's main intersection, which is right in front of the Courthouse. We had difficulty falling asleep in the heat, so we went across the street and hung out in the post office lobby for a little while to try and cool down.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Day 49: Tuesday, May 23

It was hard to leave the comfort of Holli's air conditioned home this morning. We didn't get started until after 10:30. Less than six miles later, we crossed the border into Missouri.
All of a sudden there is no more shoulder as the white line on the road disappeared when we entered Missouri. The hills are continuing to increase as we approach the Ozarks.

The roads here in Missouri are identified by numbers instead of letters, and I saw one sign today with my brother Mikael's initials on it. It is amazing what a shower, a good night's sleep in a real bed, clean clothes, and a home cooked meal can do for one's morale. It is almost as good as a day off! Despite the late start this morning, we rode over 70 miles and tonight we are camped in the city park in Ash Grove. It is a nice park and we have access to the showers in the pool locker rooms. I am getting spoiled... this is now two nights in a row where I have been able to take a shower! One of the bridges on the route just outside of Ash Grove was closed. Thankfully we were able to talk to some of the locals and find a way around without taking the official detour which would have led us several miles out of the way. Tomorrow we will meet my Grandparents for lunch in Fairgrove.