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Riding4Hope – FOX43 & Boys and Girls Club, 8/9/09, NAS Oceana, VA

 DAILY REPORT:  Weather — Another heat advisory day. Temperatures are supposed to reach 100 deg. Nice not to be riding in such hot weather. 

Today was going to be another full day. 

 We were scheduled to be on WAVY10/FOX 43 morning show at 0740. The studio was over at Portsmouth, so the challenge actually would be getting everyone up and going after all the celebrating last night. We were staying with Maria’s folks and I was able to get Skip a BOQ room at NAS Oceana. Skip arrived on time for a 0600 departure. After a few miss guided directions (hey a lot of things change when you have been gone for a while) we arrived downtown Portsmouth at the WAVY10/FOX43 Station.  Virginia Rideout, the morning Producer met us and brought us into the “green room.”  

We were called to go on the set. It was pretty neat to see how a show is run and broadcasted. The cameras were all automated and there were a couple of different locations on the set that they broadcasted from – news, weather, etc. During a commercial break we were brought on the set and met Cheryl Tan, the morning anchor. She was very nice and confused Skip as being the father. Good for a ice breaker. Then we went live and did the morning show segment. You can watch it here. It all went very well except I forgot to mention our web site. Oh well……

We headed back to Maria’s Mom’s house. Our next event was to meet the Boys and Girls Club an NAS Oceana at noon. We had a couple hours so the boys decided they hadn’t been exercising enough and went for a couple mile run. I took a much needed nap. 

We headed over to the base and were warmly greeted at the Boys and Girls Club when we arrived. They took us around and showed us their facility. What a nice place and huge!! During the school year they were accommodating up to 270 kids and had a staff of 38. Cathy Mead the director runs a top notch program. While we were there, the Regional Director, Nancy Byrne showed up to say hi and thank you to the Riding44Hope Team. The staff, parents, and youth put on a wonderful lunch for everyone. It was a real treat to sit down and eat with kids. They were very excited about us being there and had lots of questions. 

After lunch, the entire youth center got together in the gymnasium for our presentation and question and answer session. The program was kicked off with several of the students coming in with a poster for John & James belated 17th Birthday and singing them “Happy Birthday!” It was very cute. We talked about our trip, the Wounded Warrior Program and what great things the Boys and Girls were doing. The floor was open to Q&A and boy there were lots and lots of questions. It was a great time. At the end, Cathy and several of the youth presented us T Shirts from NAS Oceana and a scrapbook that a number of boys and girls put together. It was terrific!! They even had pictures from yesterday’s arrival at the beach. Wow!! A special thanks goes to Jazmine Wright who spearheaded the whole scrap booking project and sent numerous emails to the Riding4Hope Team while we were biking. 

Afterwards, we stayed for almost another hour while John and James signed autographs, played games with the kids, etc. By the time we left we had been at the club for nearly three hours. This truly was great experience for both the Riding4Hope Team and the Boys and Girls Club of NAS Oceana. Cathy Mead, thanks for all you do; you run a super program!! Cathy Heimer of the Jet Observer wrote up a nice article of our visit to the Boys and Girls Club.

We spent the rest of the day with Maria’s family. The boys hung out at the beach with their cousins, Maria and her Mom and sister went out shopping and the guys went out for dinner. We are planning on spending a few more days in Virginia Beach with family. Skip will be flying back to Silverdale WA on Tuesday morning. Maria flies back to WA on Saturday and the boys and I will start our cross country drive back to WA on Sunday morning.

I am planning on adding one more post wrapping up the trip in the next several days if I can get a few moments to capture our thoughts.

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/14/09; 1530

Riding4Hope – Day 43, 8/9/09, VA Bch, VA

 DAILY REPORT:  Weather — Today there is a heat advisory warning. Temperature is supposed to reach 99 deg. Cloudy in the morning with clear/sunny skies in the afternoon. Could possibly break the record high of 100 deg.

First, my apologies for delaying getting our final day’s ride out. As you will read, there was a lot going on  This is our last day of riding. We rode from Franklin to VA Beach. We ate our last continental breakfast and eagerly started our ride and continued riding along Rt58. For the most part there were good shoulder but it was busy. We made our way into Suffolk. 

I received a call from my wife, Maria in the morning around 0930. She had taken a red eye the night before and was scheduled to arrive in Norfolk later this morning around 1020. She asked me to pull over so we could talk. It turned out she had passed out while on the plane and was taken to the emergency room in Newark NJ. She was dehydrated and nauseated. The hospital was going to monitor her for awhile and then make the determination if she could be released.  She had already called her folks in VA Bch and they were looking into options for her to catch a connecting flight to Norfolk. This is one of those times of feeling completely helpless and having faith in the Lord that everything will work out. All we could do is keep riding our remaining 50 miles and check-in with Maria and her folks to check on her status. 

As we were passing through Suffolk, James got his first flat tire for the entire ride. Not bad considering he traveled 3850 miles on these Continental Gatorskin tires. I have been really impressed with them. Especially since I haven’t had a flat either on the same brand of tires. 

We met Skip for lunch in the vicinity of our old house in Riverwalk which we are currently renting out. Stopped by to make sure everything looked good and say to our neighbors. Surprised our neighbors Loretta and John who had not seen the boys since they were 4 yrs old. It was a good meeting and of course they told a few stories to twins about when they were young. It’s hard to believe they are both over 80 yrs old. Where has the time gone??

We biked through Chesapeake, across the intercostal water way and into Virginia Beach. We biked the roads that I used to train on back in the 90’s when I was stationed here in Norfolk some 15 yrs ago. One of the most notable changes in the area is the amount of traffic. There was a lot. We arrived at Maria’s folks house to a warm welcome from her family. It was really great seeing her family again!! And good news, Maria had been released from the hospital was trying to get on the next flight to Norfolk. If everything worked out she would be arriving at the Norfolk airport at 1700 which would allow her Dad and sister pick her up and still be able to attend our arrival celebration at the beach.

After getting a chance to cool down (it was really hot out) and have a nice lunch that Maria’s Mom made it was time to finish our final 6 mile ride to VA Beach ocean front. The traffic was quite heavy at the waterfront which delayed our 6 PM arrival by a few minutes. We were greeted with an enthusiastic crowd – Maria (she just made it!), family, friends, the Boys and Girls Club from NAS Oceana, a large representation from First Command, WAVY10/FOX43 TV, the base newspaper, boardwalk onlookers, etc.  It was great!! After all the congratulations we walked our bikes to the surf where we dipped our front tires into the Atlantic Ocean completing our biking trek of over 3,900 miles in 43 days. As a final act, John poured the Pacific Ocean water we had carried into the Atlantic symbolizing the completion of successful journey!! The boys took advantage of the beach and cooled off in the ocean.  We did a couple of interviews w/ the TV station (see news and info) and the base newspaper and then headed over to Murphy’s restaurant for some more celebration and dinner.

What a great day!! I would like to thank everyone who showed up to make this such a special day – Maria, her family, Tom Seifert and his family, the Markle’s who traveled from DC, Mike Itamura also from DC, Nancy and all her youth from the Boys and Girls Club, and anyone else I might have forgotten. Thanks so much for all your support and encouragement.

Today we also received a Silver Sponsorship from DOMA Technologies, LLC which allowed us to reach our goal of $10,000!!! We really appreciate all the contributions and support received to raise monies for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Boys and Girls Clubs! Thanks so much!! 

Tomorrow (Monday) we have been asked to be on FOX43 morning show at 0740 and then at lunch we will meet the Boys and Girls club on NAs Oceana for lunch and a presentations.

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/12/09; 0530

Riding4Hope – Day 42, 8/8/09, Franklin VA


DAILY REPORT:  Weather — It was predicted to be cloudy in the morning and then sunny and hot in the afternoon. High 80’s. 

We were a little slow in getting on the road this morning. I needed to spend a little time to get yesterday’s journal out. We knew we would have about 6 hours in the saddle today so we weren’t too worried. Before we left we had the opportunity to meet the owner, Grover of Sheldon’s Motel and Restaurant and thank him for his generosity. 

The ride in the morning was cool and over cast on secondary back roads. In general, we had small rolling hills and were continuing to head towards sea level. Lots of farms, horses, corn and tobacco fields. It was a nice easy morning. We stopped at Lawerenceville for lunch. 

Today we met Walker and Josh who were riding cross country. This was unexpected since we left the TransAmerica route over two days ago. They started from Florence OR on 15 June and were planning on finishing tomorrow as well in VA Bch. They were in a hurry since they were also supposed to catch a plan tomorrow. All the best you guys! Congrats on a great accomplishment.

Observations of Virginia. One of the things we noticed over the last several days was the number of churches. It appeared there were more churches than houses!! Also almost all the drivers have very little patience for bikes. Unlike KS and MO; the VA drivers speed by regardless of the location (hill, valley, curve, etc.) Everyone seems to be in big hurry. And this is on the rural back roads. Made us feel a little uncomfortable.  Lastly, the amount of litter along the road ways. There was a tremendous amount of trash. Of the 11 states we have been in, VA appears to have the most roadside trash. But I digress……

The afternoon ride was along RT 58. This was a four lane highway that was pretty busy. There was a small shoulder that had a fair amount debris on it. This required a lot of concentration the entire time to prevent having an accident. On the good side it was a fast ride and in general we felt safe. We will be continuing our ride on this road tomorrow for aprox 30 miles before we get back on some secondary roads in Deep Creek.

We want to thank Days Inn for giving us two rooms for our final night. We really appreciate your support for the Riding4Hope Team!!

Tomorrow is our final ride in to Virginia Beach. It is supposed to be very hot; near 99 deg and muggy. Seems like a perfect day to head to the beach!! We are planning on stopping by Maria’s folks first since they are on the way to the board walk. Maria my wife, will be taking the red eye and will be arriving in the morning. It will really be nice to see her. And yes I do miss her!! Love ya!!

We will arrive at 24th street access at 6 PM. We have our celebration there on the boardwalk. We are aware of a number of family, friends, sponsors, media and Boys and Girls club planning on being present. Should be a great way to close out a 3,900 mile trip. Tom Seifert (my old Soutmaster from many, many moons ago) has been invaluable in coordinating all the logistics here in VA Bch for our arrival. I expect tomorrow there will be a number of emotions as our trip comes to a close. Elation of a major accomplishment and the remorse of it being over. This has been a great opportunity for the boys, myself and Skip. I have been very proud of the twins for their stamina, perseverance, and accomplishment. I doubt they will really appreciate (or comprehend) what they have just accomplished for another 10 years or so. But we’ll see…..

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/9/09; 0130

Riding4Hope – Day 41, 8/7/09, Keysville VA


DAILY REPORT:  Weather — Sunny and the high 80’s; should be a great day to be out riding. 

Yesterday when we were unloading our gear, Ron Jerina stopped by and introduced himself. It turns out he’s the ride director for the Palmetto Peloton Project which is biking relay to promote the advancement of cancer research.  The ride is from Greenville SC to Austin TX. He expressed an interest in riding with us in the morning. He met us in the morning while we were having our continental breakfast. He’s is a great guy with three sons ranging in age from 6 to 11. His oldest has already competed in several triathlons and is scouts. Oh, and his family has a ball python!

We had to compete with the morning commuter traffic and because of the location of our hotel; it was simplest to ride through the center of Roanoke. Right from the start we witnessed a near miss/car accident at an intersection that we had just passed through not less than 30 sec before hand. Re enforced the need to be careful while riding w/ city traffic. Ron was familiar with the roads in town so that really helped out. It was great riding with him and we wish him the best of luck with his Palmetto Peloton Project bike relay this year.

The ride today should really be the end of any major hills. We passed the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway and began our roller coaster of hills. the Virginia country side was very beautiful and once we got on the secondary roads little to no traffic. We stopped for lunch in a small town of Rustburg. The town deputy stopped by to visit with us. Turns out he is an avid cyclist and would love to ride cross country. When we discussed our route this afternoon he advised against riding on one of our planned roads and recommended an alternate route. Always good to have local advise. It was a good call. 

While in town, Skip took advantage of getting the car/trailer washed in preparation for our arrival to VA Bch. The Southern Pride Car Wash was nice enough to give him unlimited use of his pressure washer. We appreciate it; especially Skip who loves to keep his cars spotless!! 

While riding today, both John & James got stung by bees. John had a yellow jacket fly down his jersey and James had honey be sting him through his jersey. the day before I got stung when a bee struck me while riding. Must be something about the bees in Virginia!! Now mind you we have ridden over 3,000 miles and in the last 100 miles we have all be stung. What gives??

We were staying at the Sheldon’s Motel and Restaurant. The owner Grover was very supportive of our cause and provided the rooms for the Riding4Hope Team. the staff were exceptionally nice and posted one our posters in the restaurant and even were helping sell some of our “Honor Who Serve” bracelets!! Just a super group of folks. We thank you very much!!

We also had the pleasure of having Mike Itamura, a friend from Sandia Labs met us. He drove down from Washington DC were he works. He was taking the weekend to explore some of the civil war sites and decided to spend the night. He had dinner with us and then the guys talked him into a friendly game of poker. It was a fun evening. Thanks for taking the time and meeting with us Mike!!

So tomorrow we ride to Franklin. It will be another century day but the weather looks good and we are starting to run out of hills. 

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/8/09; 0645

Riding4Hope – Day 40, 8/6/09, Salem VA

 DAILY REPORT:  Weather — After the thunderstorm last night, the weather was cool and slightly foggy. No rain the forecast for today. Yea!! Starting temp – mid 60’s with expected temps in the mid 80’s again.

I am behind a day; so lets see if I can get caught up tonight…..

Today we have a meeting w/ the Roanoke Boys and Girls Club starting at 1600. The mileage for today was a little over 95 miles. In reviewing the maps last night it looked like I could shave off some mileage by departing from the TransAmerican Route and taking RT11 for most the way. This would reduce our trip today to ~75 miles. We needed to be on the road a little earlier than what we had been doing. We had our normal continental breakfast basically loading up on what was available. Today their pastries and waffles were the hot items.

It was cooler more than usual this morning and I decided to wear my arm warmers. The ride began with our normal roller coaster of hills and 15 miles later we were climbing Draper Mtn to get over to Pulaski. As we were passing through the outskirts of town John broke a front spoke. The repair of the front wheel while on the rode is pretty easier if you have a replacement spoke (which we did). John was back and riding in no time. 

We met Skip for lunch in Christianburg. Our lunch was a little shorter than usual so we could get on the road. We were making good time. The plan was to be at the Hampton Inn NLT 1500 so that we could take a quick shower and be heading over to the B&G club. On the way out of town John hit a large pot hole and blew his front tire (#6; but who’s counting) and upon inspection had also shredded the rubber of the tire. I gave Skip a call and asked him to come back to our location so we could get a replacement tire out of the trailer. Skip was back in no time, we swapped out with our spare front tire and we were on our way. Fortunately for us, the remaining 25 miles was mostly down hill. As such we were at the hotel by 1430. 

Skip had talked with the Hampton Inn Hotel and had gotten us 2 free rooms. Thank you very much! The Hampton Inn was just perfect. Very nice place. Skip had already checked in but was now out looking for a bike shop to have them “true” John’s front and back rims and to replace the broken back spoke. John found the East-Coast Bicycles. Not only did they immediately start truing the wheel; once done they wouldn’t take any money. They appreciated what we were doing for the WWP. Thanks so much for your help!!

We arrived at the Boys and Girls Club right at 4 PM. As we pulled into the parking lot, there were 20 or so youth holding signs welcoming us!! We unloaded one of the bikes and went into the auditorium/cafeteria. We talked about our bike trip and the boys answered questions. There were a lot of good questions. We then went out to take a group picture of everyone and then the boys finished up by signing autographs w/ all the kids. (Made them feel like rock stars!!). After that we had a Skype teleconference with the Boys and Girls Club of NAs Oceana. They are getting ready for our arrival. Some of the youth are going to met us at the beach and then on Monday they are hosting a luncheon for us and then we will do our presentation. Tyrell McElroy is running a great program and the kids are just awesome!!  

Tomorrow we will be traveling to Keysville. The weather looks like it will be good as well.

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/8/09; 0100

Riding4Hope – Day 39, 8/5/09, Wytheville, VA


DAILY REPORT:  Weather — The weather front passed through during the night and the morning was clear and sunny. The roads were still wet. Good chance of a thunderstorm later in the day. Starting temp – 69 with expected temps in the mid 80’s again.

I am starting on this a little late so I doubt it will get finished before I have to call it quits. We have a presentation to give at the Roanoke Boys and Girls Club tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM. Thus we need to leave early enough to get there on time. Plus we are expected the end of day traffic will slow us down a little since it looks like the club is down town.

Last night I was studying the TransAmerica route and bouncing it against Google maps and decided to modify the route to save some time today. We shaved off nearly 25 miles and saved ourselves from a major climb. In retrospect it worked out very well. I have done something similar for tomorrow’s ride but I am getting ahead on myself.

We left in the morning w/ the roads still wet from last night’s front that passed through. I watched several fronts on RADAR and it looked like we would be fine in the morning but later on in the afternoon we might get hit with a storm.

The morning ride was very enjoyable. We started out with in the first 10 miles having a major climb to get over a pass. We normally like to take the first 10 miles and warm up/stretch but not today. I was able to take a couple of cool shots of the low clouds over the tops of the mountains.

At our first break we met a couple (Bonita & Al) who were SAG’ing for two riders coming from Southern CA (Brent & Dwight). We had a nice chat and said maybe our paths would cross. Well sure enough just as we were finishing lunch 25 miles down the road we met Brent & Dwight coming into the town of Marion. We compared stories, routes, etc. Turns out they ended up taking my advice that I had left w/ Bonita and took this alternate route which shaved off 25 miles and saved several thousand feet of climbing. Dwight is keeping a blog as well if you are interested in their trek. Interestingly they started the same day we did on 28 Jun and are expecting to finish on the same day of 9 Aug in VA Bch. Although they will have travel several hundred miles more. All the best to you guys!!

We had a nice afternoon ride into Wythesville that was until John stood up to ride over a hill and we heard “ping!” We pulled over and he had a broken rear spoke. Unfortunately those are the most common and the hardest to fix while out on the road. We removed the broken spoke and adjusted the rear brake so John could ride the bike to remaining 10 miles or so to the hotel so we could fix it there.

So as we are entering the town of Wythesville we can see dark ominous clouds moving in. The race is on to get to the hotel room before the skies open up. We stop at a gas station to get direction. It is starting to spit and the wind is howling. We can see a wall of water heading our way. We stop and put on our rain jackets and just then a wall of water hits us. It is a torrential rain fall. We take shelter about a 1/2 mile up the road but by now we are soaked to the bone. A quick inquiry inside and our hotel is just a 1/2 mile down the road so we jump back on the bikes for a soggy ride to our Super 8 Hotel.

Super 8 was nice enough to give two rooms to the Riding4Hope Team. Thanks, you guys are the greatest!!

After dinner we spent the rest of the evening cleaning up the bikes and repairing John’s wheel. We have a spare front and rear wheel; so John changed out the rear cog and used the spare wheel. Tomorrow when we are in Salem we’ll find a bike shop to replace the spokes and true the wheel. Also tomorrow we will be stopping by the Roanoke Boys and Girls club to meet with the staff and youth; should be a great time!! I expect we will have lots of pictures.

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/7/09; 0030

Riding4Hope – Day38, 8/4/09, Lebanon VA


DAILY REPORT:  Weather — looks like we will be seeing rain today. 70% chance of thunderstorm. Cloudy and in the mid 80’s.

As our normal routine we started out w/ the hotel continental breakfast. I really think the hotels loose money when feeding three starving bikers who pretty much eat anything and everything!! This is a good thing for us.

Because of the distance (143 miles) and the terrain (very hilly), we decided it was unrealistic to make it to Lebanon VA. We had to choose that city because there were no other hotels/motels in the general area. That did take us off the TranAmerica route but allowed us to follow it most of the way. We opted for ~100 miles and loaded the bikes and bikers into the car and Skip drive us out to our starting point of Bevinsville KY. We stopped and got gas and the three old timers sitting on the gas station bench asked a few general questions and said you know if I were you I would go 4 miles down the road so you wouldn’t have to climb that mountain over there. I learned early on on this bike trip that the “local” have the inside scoop and it is worth listening to. They also mentioned “you know it supposed to rain today. I recon’ it will happen about noon.” We said thanks and drove 4 more miles down the road (and up over a huge mtn!!).

We started out. In fact this was one of the coolest morning yet. I was almost tempted to put on a jacket or arm warmers. So right off the bat we are biking down roads that don’t look much more than driveways. They are all very narrow and barely two cars can pass one another. Because of the terrain, all the roads seemed to run along streams and creeks. And a lot of these had portions of the road washed way. We learned later that morning from a local that they had some sever flooding this spring a fair number of homes and roads suffered as a result of the all that rain. In fact everyone commented on how wet this summer had been and that this had been a exceptionally cool summer.

So we climb some mountain of a hill that I have no idea of why it was built or why the folks of TransAmerica would even ask a normal biker to consider riding over. After that I was no longer cold.

About 20 miles into the ride James needed to use a restroom in a bad way. We asked a driver and it looked like it was still some distance before we would get to a gas station. As we were passing a church; James did a quick U turn and pleaded his urgent case. As John & I sat there we heard the distant thunder and watch the sky turn black as big swollen clouds came our way. The wind picked up and there was no doubt we were in for a soaking. James came out and the lady he had talked to told us we should stay here at the church and wait this out. With in a couple more minutes large drops began falling from the sky. Yep sounded like a good idea to us to wait this out. The time — 1205!! you got to believe in those mountain men.

There we sat listening to claps of thunder and watching the bright strikes of lighting. It was a great thunderstorm to watch but sit on the church steps to watch all the glory of Mother Nature. Well it continued to rain, rain, rain…..So a better bike than me would have no doubt headed out to conquer the remaining 80 miles; however we did say one of goals was to have fun and be safe. Soooo we called Skip who was waiting at our designated lunch spot and asked him to come pick us up. He replied “Are you sure; it’s not raining here.” I replied “Yep, because it is raining here!” Just then a close bolt of lighting struck and we got cut off must likely from the generated EMF for the bolt of lighting.

There were several workers remodeling the chapel so we took a nap while waiting for Skip to arrive. Our plan was to drive to Lebanon and check into our hotel and reassess. By the time we had go through all the mountain passes, over raging streams, winding turns, etc Skip was beginning to get the onset of car sickness. We arrive at Lebanon at 1600 and it had stopped raining. 

We got cleaned up and went next door for a Chinese buffet. Food was good and as we sat there we watched the dark clouds roll in again and begin to rain. Nothing quite as dramatic as earlier today but it was definitely we.  We learned that earlier today that Louisville KY had some serious flooding from a major storm cell that had passed by. It was that same cell that had rained on us earlier in the afternoon.

So tomorrow it looks like more rain. We’ll see and evaluate it then.

I have also made some modifications to our trip route. The google route maps have been updated. We have a presentation with the Boys and Girls Club on Thurs at Salem VA. This should be a lot of fun again. We have really enjoyed the kids, staff, and all their questions. When we leave Salem Friday morning I straightened out our route and our next night will be in Keysville followed by Franklin. This gives our last day on Sunday 9 Aug only 72 miles which will make our ride in much more enjoyable than the previously planned 115 miles. We are working on the local press release; but we will be meeting at 6 PM and the 24th street access to the beach for our arrival party. 

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/5/09; 0300

Riding4Hope – Day 37, 8/3/09, Hazard KY

REPORT:  Weather — supposed to be great weather today. Sunny and in the mid 80’s. I used lots of sunscreen this morning 🙂

We started off a little slow this morning. I woke the boys at 6:40 and when I checked on them after 0700; they were still in bed. We knew that this was going to be a century day ride w/ lots and lots of hills to include some major climbs. So we didn’t get on the road until 0900. Of course we did have a little time to just lounge around a little!!

The ride out of Berea was really nice. We were immediately out in the farm country. There was a fair amount of wildlife. We saw several flocks of turkeys with all their chicks following along. And of course there were more turtles crossing the road.

Today was our biggest day so far for being chased by dogs. I would estimate that it was nearly two dozen or so. Some were more interested in just running along side you and then there were those that were eyeing you up as a tasty treat! Normally a stern voice would stop them in their tracks. John and James almost had an accident while speeding away from a big black dog when they touched wheels. I was really impressed with a number of small terriers and beagles; they had some good speed and endurance!! There are a number products on the market to keep dogs at a distance. I reviewed all the products and have seen a few that other cyclists carried….but since there are three of us we figured it would be a good way to keep everyone motivated. As you know you don’t necessarily have to out bike the dog, just those you are riding with!!

We did meet two other cyclists going the opposite direction during one of our breaks. they had started in Boston MA and dropped down to VA to catch the TransAmerica route with their ultimate destination being Astoria OR. They had made some interesting modifications for their bike; like ash fenders. They looked good.

At the end of the day we did end up climbing over 10,000 feet. That is the second largest amount for the entire trip. What is even more impressive is that we are just getting into the Appalachians. It is apparent the farther into the mountains we go, the poorer the homes are looking. Now there are some really nice homes along he way; but we are seeing a lot more trailers/mobile homes. We have seen a few confederate flags as well.

I would still say for the most part all the folks we have met have been really great. Lots of questions, great recommendations on routes, and big hearts. We talked with a farmer who was the fifth generation who lived in the same home. The house was built in the early 1800’s. He was pretty neat. I will also point out he has never used the internet…..see John & James, it is possible to live w/ out the internet!

Well tomorrow we will cross into Virginia and ride as far as Lebanon. There are possible thunderstorms so we’ll keep our fingers crossed. We may see a few more trucks on the road carrying coal as we continue into VA. 

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/4/09; 0045



YOU DON’T SAY:David – waking the boys up a second time “The goal here is that you get up the first time I call you…..this way we can leave on time!”

John – “This ride today would have been a lot more fun if we weren’t being chased by all those dogs!”

John – After climbing a major hill “I don’t think I have ever sweated so much before!”

Skip – I receive this phone call after lunch. “David we have a problem. The hotel we reserved is not here in Hazard it is in Pennsylvania!” Yep I doubt I’ll be able to convince the boys to ride any farther than Hazard today. 

James – commenting on the scarecrow/voodoo doll tied to the sign; “That’s just wrong!”

DID I REALLY DO THAT? So we have had a little problem with Skip getting lost and then blaming it on the GPS, so this morning I had our biking maps copied and Skip was given a set so that he would know the exact route we were taking to our destinations. There was a shortage of water stops this morning so we asked Skip to meet us at the 30 mile point so we could refill our water bottles. An hour into the ride Skip passed us; this was a good sign. Two hours into the ride I get a call from Skip that he was lost! Hmmm…see a trend here!! And it doesn’t have to do w/technology either!!


Riding4Hope – Day 36, 8/2/09, Berea KY

DAILY REPORT:  Weather — well the storm blew thru last night so we had clear sunny skies this morning. Temps in the mid 80’s later today. Looks like good biking weather!!

John Scott was nice enough to get up and make a fine Southern breakfast of eggs, grits, & toast. It was the perfect morning breakfast while sitting out on his deck watching the sun come up and all the birds come to life. Now if I had just gotten a little more than 3 hrs sleep I would be just great. John thanks for the outstanding hospitality of allowing us to stay with you for two days. You’re the Man!!

We loaded up the trailer and were off after a few more pictures and some handshakes. We’ll actually be seeing John in a week in a half down in Florida. We are all flying down for my mother’s retirement celebration on 14 Aug in Ft Myers, FL.

Skip drove us out to Bardstown and we started our ride from there. The first 10 miles or so really sucked (sorry). The traffic was high, no shoulders, but mostly they were doing road work and had stripped off the top 2-3 in of pavement so it was very rough and uneven. Once we turned off that road life was good!

We just had  a great time biking today! There were a few steep climbs but all n all it was gentle rolling hills surrounded w/ horse farms, cattle ranches, corn, tobacco fields, etc. There were numerous barns in different forms of repair that added to the uniqueness of the farms. We were all in high spirits. Adventure Cycling had really done their homework when they selected these roads. Minimal traffic, great scenery, and nice roads. Now we did have to travel on quite a few small different roads, so the Navigator had to stay on his toes to make sure we didn’t miss the next road. John did well and we never did get lost.

We did run into Philip from Vancouver WA on the road. We had met him back on Day 33. He is on his way to Yorktown VA solo. He too was planning on staying at Berea this evening. He was doing well. He really likes his recumbent bike. We chatted for a bit and then met again at the nearby church for water. We had planned to get water at a number of different locations, but because it was Sunday they were closed. So thankfully the Kirksville Baptist Church was open and allowed us to get some water. We got to chat w/ the Pastor Butch Pennington. And several parishioners offered prayers to keep us safe. Amen!

We arrived in Berea at 1830. We are staying at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel. They just finished a major remodeling/renovation. the place looks spectacular. They worked with the Berea college and designed this to be a “green” hotel. They actually had done some pretty neat things like there is a master switch that turns off all the power in the room to minimize wasted energy, every room has  a fan so you don’t have to run the AC as much, special non petroleum based soaps, etc. It just has a great atmosphere! And the management compt our rooms which made it all the nicer. Thank you very much!!

After we took showers and got settled in we went out for a drive to check out the town. This is a place where you really could have fun checking out all the signs, pottery, galleries, etc. I ran into an lady from Erie PA (my home town) who was here visiting just because. Small world. We had dinner at the Cracker Barrel. the food was great and everyone was quite full.

When we got back to the hotel, I took a quick look at the hitch. It had started making some loud squeaking noises. I cleaned the ball and hitch, a little Teflon lubricant and problem solved.

Well tomorrow we are off to Hazard. Berea is known to be the gateway to the Appalachians so we a looking forward to seeing some major hills. Fortunately we are now in pretty good shape after four weeks of riding. And then Hazard is know for its coal; so we’ll need to be careful of the coal trucks. 

Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/3/09; 0150

Riding4Hope – Day 35, 8/1/09, Ft Knox (Rest Day)

 DAILY REPORT:  Weather — Hmmm over cast and the mid 80’s. Great day for just laying around and taking it easy!!. Actually any day is good for that!!

OK, Let’s see if I can capture a few items from our rest day:

We slept in until 0900. At that time John was up fixing a pancake breakfast w/sausage. Soon the aroma had wafted through the house and everyone was up. 

After breakfast we got the laundry going and we were ready to head out. Skip’s back was still bothering him so he decided to stay at the house and rest his back. The rest of us headed out to FT Knox. We first swung by the post barber so I could get a haircut. I had been getting a little shaggy and wanted to clean it up. Besides, short hair is much cooler while wearing a bike helmet. A quick stop at the commissary and we had all our supplies for the next week. 

I had called about the bike and they were scheduled to be complete by 1530; so we had an hour plus to kill and decided going to the Patton Tank Museum. They had all sorts of tanks from yester year to the present. They had great static displays.  It was a very well put together museum.

From there it was off to pick up the bikes at Outdoor Ventures. Mike had done a great job looking over each bike and tuning it up for the rest of the trip. He had even found water in my crank. Mike wouldn’t take any money for his work saying it was on the house for what we were doing for the Wounded Warrior Project. Way nice. If you find your self in the Ft Knox area please stop by and thank Mike. Thank you very much!!

We had dinner that evening at the Doe Run Inn. They had really good “home cooked” food. Originally called Stevenson’s Mill, construction on the taller part of the Inn began around 1780 and finished around 1790, the smaller part was added around 1800 and was finished in 1821. Hand-hewn timbers and native limestone were the principle building materials, and each wall is over 24” thick. An old record book shows a payment made to Tom Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s father), who worked as a stone mason on the newer part of the building. More history can be found at their website.

After dinner we went back out on the lake to try our luck at catching some blue gills. The fishing was hot and everyone was able to catch a few. It turned out that this was another first for Skip – to actually go fishing. He must have had a sheltered childhood. So we were all quite excited for him when he landed his first fish!

 Spent the rest of the evening working on the website. Really started too late since I didn’t get to bed until sometime after 3 am and we were supposed to be up for breakfast by 0630. As my old Executive Officer used to say “Sleep when you die!”

The plan for tomorrow is that we will drive over to Bardstown and then bike from there. Distance from where we are staying and the fact that we would have to bike around Ft Knox made this to be the right decision. The weather was looking a little wet in the morning but as it turned out; it blew through faster than expected so we missed some more thundershowers. This is a very good thing!!

 Thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/3/09; 0150



YOU DON’T SAY:Skip – while doing his laundry. “I can’t figure out how to work the dryer.” James replied, “Is that because there is more than an on/off switch?”

John – While heading out to go fishing on the lake; “I think we should have a little wager on the fishing – first, biggest, most, etc.” Guess who caught the first fish – John did!

James – referring to the gift John gave him; “John, this Red Bull rocks!!”




So while we were out on the boat getting all the gear set up, Skip asked what we were going to use as bait for the bluegills. John Scott pulled out two containers of 50 wax worms and said we will be using these. I replied that in order to liven up the wax worms that they needed to “warmed up” so they would be lively for the fish. And to to do that you place them between your cheek and gums. Skip was like no way am I doing that!! Then James gave him a demo (wished I was quicker w/ the camera) and I thought Skip was nearly going to pass out!! It was just too funny!!