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Riding4Hope – Day 34, 7/31/09 Ft Knox

 DAILY REPORT:  Weather: Possibly a rainy day. The weatherman was predicting 70% thunderstorms later in the day. Temp was 70 and expected to be in the mid 80’s. Also looks like we might have a slight tailwind today. 

First off; Happy Birthday John & James!! Not sure if there is a better way to celebrate your Birthday Day than biking across this great nation of ours. If nothing else you will definitely remember what you did on your 17th birthday. For the life of me I couldn’t tell you what I did for my birthday when I was 17!! Your Mom & I are very proud of both of you. For what you have done and what you will do in the years to come.

We had a really nice continental breakfast at the Hampton Inn. Probably the best one since we have been on the road. We loaded up the luggage and bikes & Skip drove us out to Whitesville where we were supposed to go yesterday. This would give us an ~ 100 km ride to FT Knox so that we can get in soon enough for our presentation to the Boys and Girls club. For the next two days we will be staying with John Scott my mother’s cousin. He has a really nice place on a golf course.

So Skip dropped us off in Whitesville and while we were unloading the bikes a car went by and its front tire fell off!! The rim was still there but the tire itself was bouncing down the road, sparks were flying; it was just like the movies! The car came to a controlled stop and everyone was OK. The kids thought it was way cool!! I was thinking; thank goodness we weren’t on the road just then!

The ride was good. We enjoyed the Kentucky rolling hills and farm lands. It was an easy ride for the most part along the country roads. Several roads were busy w/ truck traffic but only for 10 miles or so. Rt 60 into Ft Knox could use some better shoulders.

I called the Boys and Girls club to confirm our presentation this afternoon and talked with Sandy Hinerman of the Devers Youth Center. They were looking forward to meeting the boys. We were on schedule to talk w/ everyone at 1630.

While we were passing through one of the small towns I notice the bank clock was an hour ahead and then a little later confirmed we were now on Eastern Time zone. Well that ate up some of my “float time” I had factored in for the day. We were biking over to John’s house so that we could shower before our presentation. 

It was great to see John Scott. He looks great and doing well. It had been several years since I last saw him in Millington TN. He showed us around his place, we showered and were off to the Youth center. When we got to Pass & ID there was a huge line (ie like Bangor), so we left Skip there and John took us over to the youth center. 

We met Sandy and some of her staff and then we got a chance to talk w/ the boys and girls. They had lots of questions and enjoyed talking w/ John & James. Eventually Skip arrived and we took everyone  outside to talk about the bikes and have a group picture. The Post newspaper, Turret also conducted interview and took several photos.

Afterwards we took all the bikes over to Outdoor Ventures for a tune-up. The owner Mike Wheeler was kind enough to squeeze us in and take care of our bikes. As a special bonus we found out that he also acted as a Boy Scout shop. Mike is a great supporter of the Scouting ideals and programs. The bikes should be ready tomorrow afternoon. Thanks Mike!!

We headed back to FT Knox for a birthday dinner at the base club. It was a great meal and then we took John’s pontoon boat for a nice spin around the lake followed w/ a little birthday cake to close the evening out. All in all just a great day!!

Tomorrow we will be taking a day off as our final rest day of our trip to recharge our batteries and to get caught up on a few errands.

As always, thanks for joining us…..ride safely and keep the wind to your back!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 8/2/09; 0305



YOU DON’T SAY:James – While unloading the bikes and the near accident occurred when the car’s tire fell off. “I sure wish I caught that on film; I could have made big money with that!!” 

Skip – “If my battery goes dead in my camera do I loose all my pictures?” Yep Skip has been hearing that one from the boys now all day! You got to love Skip & technology.

David – “I think we just crossed another time zone.” James replied, “That’s not good; I hate loosing an hour.”

James – while holding the turtle we found trying to cross the road; “Hey take my picture so it looks like my head is on a turtle!”






When we stop at Pass & ID to get our vehicle a pass to get on post, they have a tank that is a great picture shot (see above) of which I take. On the way in, the security guard ask if we were the ones taking the picture of the front gate and guards.  I said no I was taking the picture of the display and not the guards. He informed us we weren’t allowed to be taking pictures. We said we were sorry and didn’t know and wouldn’t let it happen again. Hmmm you would think I would know better……While we were at Pass & ID, I saw three other groups taking pictures w/ their families in front of the same display. I think they need to post a no taking picture sign!!


Riding4Hope – Day 33, 7/30/09, Owensboro

DAILY REPORT:  Possibly a rainy day. The weatherman was predicting 70% thunderstorms later in the day. Temp was 70 and expected to be in the mid 80’s. Also looks like we might have a slight tailwind today.

Since we weren’t able to stay in Marion last night, Skip was going to drive us back to were we left off yesterday. We had a quick continental breakfast and we loaded up the trailer w/ bikes and gear and had a 25 min drive back to Marion.

The weather looked pretty ominous with some dark clouds on the horizon. The temp was cool which was a nice change but humidity was still high. The roads were wet from the rain last night. Today’s ride was expected to be somewhat easier with a few less hills and the quartering tailwind. We also had to adjust our route slightly. There are no hotels in Whitesville so we have accommodations in Owensboro. We made a couple of road modifications that would effect us after lunch.

The first 40 miles were on back rural roads. It was a very nice ride. While out riding we met a local rider – Bobby. We had a nice conversation. We also met Philip who is biking the TransAmerica route. He is also from WA; Vancouver WA. We had a nice conversation w/ him in town. He is riding a recumbent bike of which we have only seen one other. He started the beginning of Jun and is expected to be in Yorktown the middle of Aug. All the best to both of you.

We had lunch in Sebre. Skip was having some issues with his cell phone (technology and him are like water and oil). Every time he called it sounded like fighting cats in a paper bag. It turns out he was lost again; stating that the GPS unit had moved Sebre 5 miles from it’s current location to some empty field. Oh Skip……

While we were having lunch in the church parking lot; we had a local visitor stop by. Bud wanted to show off his “Chopper” bike. He built it himself. He was nice enough to give James a chance to try out his ride. It was a lot harder than it looks!

We had another 40 mile ride to get us to Owensboro. It was actually a fun ride through the farm lands. We had a nice tailwind. We even had an opportunity to draft behind a tractor. The farmer was having fun with us and ultimately left us in the dust has he zipped over a hill. We stopped in Utica and met MA Bell in JR’s Market. We had stopped for water and ice cream. While talking w/ MA she was concerned with the route we were taking and convinced us to change final route into town. What a nice lady!

It turns out Owensboro is on the Ohio river just south of Indiana. So we thought we would be over achievers and decided to add one more state to our list!  We biked through town crossed the Ohio River and stepped on the Indiana soil. State number ten!!

Megan the manger of the Hampton Inn was nice enough to comp our rooms. Thank you very much for your support of the Riding4Hope Team!!

For dinner we ate at the Texas Roadhouse. The boys rated the restaurant as one of the top three places we have eaten so far. Not bad.

So we really lucked out today and missed all the rain. We had a few sprinkles but that was it. After dinner though the skies let loose and it has been raining since. The weather is supposed continue through tomorrow morning and then clear up. Tomorrow afternoon we will be meeting the youth at the Boys and Girls club at FT Knox. We also will have the good fortune to stay with family; John Scott who has opened his home to us for the next 2 days.

It is John & James birthday tomorrow. If you get a chance please wish them a happy 17th birthday!!

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/31/09; 0130

Riding4Hope – Day 32, 7/29/09, Marion KY

 DAILY REPORT:  The weatherman was predicting 50% thunderstorms all day. Temp was 65 and expected to be in the mid 80’s. A southwesterly wind and high humidity.

So let’s see how far I get on today’s journal. I’m a little tired and the the hotel’s WIFI is proving to be problematic…..It is hard to believe that we have been gone now for a month. Wow, time share has flown by and we are eating up the miles with only a little over 1,000 miles to go!!

To begin, we had a nice continental breakfast at the Super 8 Motel. They had a waffle maker which is always a treat — not as good as home but not bad 🙂 We had to prep the bikes for wet weather so on went the fenders and we packed up the rain gear. As with most teenagers, James couldn’t remember/find his rain jacket and the mysterious loss was directly related to his brother. Hmmmm….. Eventually we hit the road. The weather was the coolest in the last week but still really muggy.

The route today took us along a number of lakes and hills. In fact lots of hills. If you look at the summary data sheet we climbed over 7,000 feet today. That’s a fair amount of climbing considering that there are no mtns here. All in all, the boys rode really well. We had one close call when a dog ran out in front of us and nearly caused a three cycle pile-up. 

Some of the more interesting things, at least for me; I finally spotted a flock of turkeys. I had been looking for some since Missouri. There were about a dozen to a dozen and a half; out in a field following a tractor path. I wasn’t able to get a good picture but they were neat to watch. Later on in the morning we came across a rat snake sunning himself on the road. A quick dismount of the bike and he was caught. He was a little feisty trying to bite me on more than one occasion. Took a few pictures and put him back in the woods to make sure a passing car didn’t get him.

Skip did meet us for lunch in Eddiesville. By then the skies had cleared and it looked like we had missed the rain 🙂 We had another 45 miles of riding to Marion KY. We biked along the Ohio River and even took a ferry across the river to get to Kentucky. This our ninth state. One more to go!!

As we were biking into Marion, the final stop of the day; the three of us were sprinting up the last hill of the day. I believe the police officer who was looking for speeders as we rounded the corner into town must have gotten a chuckle to see these three hot and sweaty bikers mashing gears. James was victorious and was awarded the yellow jersey for the day!!

Our hotel was about 15 miles south in the next town, so we loaded up the bikes and headed for Kuttawa, KY. The manger Nick of Relax Inn had given us one free room which was much appreciated. We took showers, did some bike maintenance, and then headed out for a Chinese dinner.

As I write this it is raining outside and the prediction is rain all day tomorrow. We will be heading for Whitesville. 

I also wanted to thank everyone who has donated to our two charities – Boys and Girls Club and the Wounded Warrior Project. We are getting real close to reaching our goal of $10,000. I have updated the donation page with our business and individual sponsors. (If I missed anyone please let me know.) Thanks again!!

Also as a reminder, Jason Parker, president of Parker Financial LLC is hosting a client appreciation wine tasting and charity event on Thurs., July 30 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Monica’s Waterfront Bakery in Old Town Silverdale. He will be collecting donations for the Riding4Hope Team. Thank you!!

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/30/09; 0130



YOU DON’T SAY:Skip – during a phone call we received in the morning. “David, I think I’m lost!” David replies “How can that be, you have the GPS?!” Skip continues “There are two Eddyville’s, two Marion’s; I think the GPS is out to get me!!”

John – during lunch “And I thought that dog was going to be friendly!” during our discussion of being chased by a big black dog.

James – “You know, I would know where all my clothes were if it wasn’t for John.” Sure….

David – “Good thing I was wearing sunglass today; I could have lost an eye with get hit by all these bugs!” James adds, “And I had one fly in my mouth. Yuk! I need to keep my mouth closed while going up these hills!”



So I thought I would include a few trials and tribulations for Maria my wife who was left behind while all of us men folk are out having fun and taking it easy on this cross country bike trip. This reminds me of days of old when I would leave on a submarine deployment and that is when everything would break and/or fall apart —


1. The microwave has “blown up.”

2. The black jeep will not start.

3. A black bear walks through our backyard. I wonder if I will have any bee hives left when I return.

4. Mice are found living in the kids bathroom down stairs.

5. The red jeep will not start.

6. Numerous science experiments were found in the kids bedroom while cleaning.

7. The worst heat wave ever and you’re not here to experience it!

Riding4Hope – Day 31, 7/28/09, Carbondale IL

DAILY REPORT:  The weatherman was predicting a storm front moving in w/ thunderstorms in the afternoon. Conditions a southwesterly wind and the temp should be in the mid 80’s. High humidity.

We wanted to be on the road by 0700 and try to out run the storm that was heading our way. We had a nice continental breakfast from the Tradition Inn Hotel. They had a staff baker that actually made their own pastries and squeezed their own grape juice. Talk about fresh!! Mary, the hostess who was keeping everything stocked and clean was very nice. She was very concerned about our safe travels. She was very nice.

We left w/ the sun shining and the temperature was aprox 65 deg. The humidity was so high you could cut it with a knife. Our sun glasses were continually fogging up. Other than that is was another nice morning bike ride. We had a few hills, gentle rollers and then we were in the Mississippi flood plane which was nice and flat.

We crossed over into Illinois via the Chester bridge spanning the mighty Mississippi. There was construction going on the bridge so traffic was slowed which was perfect for us cyclists. Even allowed me to take a few pictures as were passing over the bridge. I never knew before today that Chester, IL is considered home to Popeye. The cartoon creator,  Elzie C. Segar was born in Chester. They have all the charters through out the town. It was pretty neat.

We had lunch in the first bit of shade Skip found when coming into Chester. Turned out to be the Evergreen Cemetery. Hopefully no one minded. We didn’t hear any complaints!

We could see the thunderheads building in the sky so we were off for another 50 miles. Our route took us along the Mississippi and out along the Levee system. Pretty interesting. By then the wind was really picking up and unfortunately turned into ahead wind. We were almost out of water and happened to come across the “Bottom Up Family Bar and Grill.” The owner, Kristie was kind enough to give us some water w/ ice. We would have loved to spend more time talking w/ everyone in the bar but we were trying to stay ahead of the storm.

Once we got back on the road, it was obvious it was raining in the direction we were heading. Nothing much you can do about the weather but keep going. We ended up really lucking out. For the next 25 miles or so the roads were wet but we saw no rain. Looks like the storm dumped and was being pushed to the North. Lucky for us; the report from Chester was there was 3 inches on water on the streets!! We never did get rained on but we were sure dirty from all the road grime. Today we completed our 13th century. Yahoo!!

We arrived in Carbondale a little before 1600 to the Super 8 Motel. The manager was nice enough to give us two free rooms. Turns out her husband is in the Army and is currently deployed to Afghanistan.  God Bless!

For dinner we headed over to Steak & Shake because Skip had gotten a tip that they had the ability of putting two shakes together in one glass. That REALLY impressed with! When we got there Skip talked w/ the manager and before we knew it he offered to pickup our tab for the evening. Very nice of Dustin. The entire staff was very friendly and they were a pleasure to talk to. The food was great and the shakes were perfect. The boys had Red Bull iciers and Skip wasn’t satisfied with just one shake so he had another.

On the way back to the hotel room we stopped at Barns and Nobles so James could pick up some reading material for one of his class this Fall. While we were driving I was hearing an abnormal noise w/ the trailer so when I investigated I had found the nut for the trailer ball had come loose. Glad we found that out early otherwise that could have been bad!!

The weather is not looking good for tomorrow. All day there is a 50% chance of thunderstorms/showers. Oh well, builds character!! Tomorrow we cross into our ninth state, Kentucky! On the way we will come close to my Dad’s hometown of Eldorado IL. As a young boy when we used to visit my grandparents in the summer; I remember it being stifling hot and humid. The state hasn’t changed!

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/29/09; 0115




YOU DON’T SAY:John – on the way to Steak & Shake for dinner and after Skip mentioned he was REALLY excited about having a 1/2 and 1/2 shake (two different shakes in one glass); “Skip I believe you have a drink fetish.” Skip, “What is a drink fetish?” John, “You know, all you think about are drinks!”

James – referring to our bike ride today “You know, I was really confused about our route today…..I never felt like I knew where we were!” We’re not in Kansas anymore Dorthy!!

David – After we arrived at the hotel; “You guys really road well today.” John replied, “We should have since you pulled over 50% of the time today!” James piped in “Hey, I pulled too.” John “Really? I must have missed that!”


I thought today I would list a number of “1st” for our SAG driver, Skip;


1. Eating a pop tart

2. Doing laundry himself (really!!)

3. Catching a firefly

4. Eating a 1/2 and 1/2 shake

5. Traveling only 100 miles per day

6. Sleeping in bunk beds

7. Sleeping w/ a towel

8. Using a GPS receiver (and having troubles w/ that)

9. Eating a chicken fried steak

10 Seeing a bear in the woods

11. Actually carrying a cell phone

12. Eating at the Golden Coral buffet

13. Eating at a place called “Yummies!”


Riding4Hope – Day 30, 7/27/09, Farmington MO


DAILY REPORT:   We’ll have a southwesterly wind and the temp should be in the mid 80’s. Another great day for riding!! 

So we started off the day with a nutritious breakfast of yogurt, granola, pop tarts, and Nutella spread on bagels. Thank goodness we are burning all these calories so we can eat pretty much anything!!

We briefed the ride, route, safety, etc and were off. Right out of town were climbing hills, catching our breath and climbing more hills. We actually had a pretty good time. Skip drove by about an hour later. We flagged him down for water and my crank was making an annoying clicking sound. Made a couple of adjustments and the problem seemed to go away. I’ll watch it and see what happens.

We stopped at a rest stop in Ellington and when we started riding again; John discovered he had a flat rear tire. So that is number four for him. He found a little wire which no doubt came from one of the hundred blown out steal belted radials we have passed along the shoulder of the road. In reading a number of other cross country biker blogs; this is normal. In fact I remember reading that on one day a guy had 20 flats from these wire shards!! Hopefully we won’t ever come close to that record!!

By the time we got into Centerville; Skip was starting to get worried about. There was no cell coverage so he couldn’t verify how far out of town we were. Just as we got into town; Skip was getting ready to go find us. We had a nice lunch and then were on our way.

After lunch we were studying the map; and a nice lady offered a few suggestions. She gave us a little short cut that ultimately shaved off 10 miles from our ride. As Martha would say; This is a good thing!!

The rest of the afternoon was nice riding. Nothing really out of the ordinary happened. Stopped for an ice cream and water at a bait shop. Very nice folks. Filled our water bottles and the attendant was a prior Marine….or as they say; once a Marine always a Marine!

We arrived into Farmington and called Skip for directions to the Hotel. It turns out we made good time because Skip was just checking in. Must have been that short cut we took!!

 We had dinner at Pizza Hut and while we were there we met JR and Netta who were very nice. They gave us a very nice donation. Thanks!!

Well, tomorrow we leave Missouri, cross the mighty Mississippi and enter our eight state – Illinois. The weatherman is predicting rain in the afternoon, so it will do us well to leave early and get into Carbondale IL soonest. 

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/28/09; 0130

Riding4Hope – Day 29, 7/26/09, Eminence MO

 DAILY REPORT:  Another great day for riding!! We’ll have a southwesterly wind and the temp should be in the mid 80’s. Who could ask for more?!

We started the morning with a continental breakfast from the Seymour Motel. The sun was up and the air cool but you could feel the humidity. Right off the bat we had to change a flat tire. Guess who? Yep John. He thought he had a slow leak last night and confirmed it this morning when we took the bikes out of the trailer. He was planning on just pumping it up and fixing it later……never put off maintenance otherwise you’ll pay for it later. Changed the tire and we were off. John’s getting very proficient at this!

The first 30 miles or so were gently rolling hills. We were in Mennonite country, although we didn’t see any horse drawn carriages there were a number of signs indicating the need to share the road. We did find a number of box turtles on the road and picked up two so at lunch we could try our hand a turtle racing. Thought it would be fun!!

We had planned to meet up w/ Skip for lunch in Huston about 60 miles into the ride. When we arrived we gave him a call but no answer. We tried several more times w/ out success. We headed over to Taco bell for lunch. Turns out Skip was having some problems w/ is phone and about the time we were done eating he arrived. He had been waiting for us down at the local park. It appears that the phone battery was loose and shutting down the phone. We taped the battery to the phone and hopefully that will solve the problem.

The day had warmed up a bit and the humidity was getting thick. The rollers were getting bigger as we approached the Ozarks. On the way to Eminence we met Sonny who was riding a recumbent bicycle and was riding East to West. He was self contained; meaning he was carrying his sleeping bag, tent, stove etc. What was really impressive he was cycling using hand cranks and towing his wheelchair behind him. WoW!! He left on the East coast the middle of June and was planning on being back in Seattle by the beginning of Sept. He is from Seattle. a very inspirational guy. If interested check out his website. Pretty cool; good luck Sonny!!

About 5 miles from our destination of Eminence we had a truck w/ two fellows throw something out the window and hit James. They yelled some obscenities and then sped off up the hill. I didn’t realize until we got to the top of the hill that they thrown something out the window; otherwise I would have taken a snapshot of their truck. Fortunately James was fine. You just have to wonder what folks are thinking when they do something like that. It is just so easy to cause a bike accident!!

We had some good climbs and arrived in Eminence. We called Skip and got directions to our hotel for the evening. As it turns out we had a nice little cabin on the river called River’s Edge. Jennet the owner was nice enough to give us a cabin for this evening. Thank you!!

What had a nice little dinner in town at an old soda shop cafe. It was very nice. Back at the cabin I met our next door neighbors who are from Kansas City. I chatted w/ Carry the mom and Teddy and Tommy (Eagle Scout) are both actively involved in Scouts. Next summer their troop is planning on going to Seabase which is in the Keys. A super nice family!

Well, tomorrow’s ride is to Farmington MO. This will be another hilly day of riding. 

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/27/09; 0030

Riding4Hope – Day 28, 7/25/09, Seymour MO (rest day)

 DAILY REPORT:  Rained this morning. Stopped around noon and overcast.  

Spent the morning working on the website and the donations. In the afternoon did some work on the bikes and the Skip and the boys played poker. Everyone did laundry. We also fixed a little girl’s bike chain which had broken. 

An easy, relaxing afternoon. 

For dinner we went to the Amish Country Inn and had a very nice dinner. The place is actually a B&B w/ a restaurant. Great food and the owners are good folks. If you are w/in 50 miles of Seymour you are encouraged to stop be for lunch or dinner. You won’t be disappointed.

In the evening I had a good conservation with the Dexter the hotel owner. We had fun swapping sea stories from our days in the Navy. It is hard to believe he is nearly 85 years old. All the best!!

We are off to Eminence MO tomorrow. Should be seeing a few more hills as we get closer to the Ozarks!

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/25/09; 2359

Riding4Hope – Day 27, 7/24/09, Marshfield, MO

 DAILY REPORT:  The weatherman predicted a good day for biking. The high 80’s and the winds from the SW.  

During dinner last night we had our Navigation meeting and discussed our ride today. We will be crossing the state line into Missouri early in the morning and then there will be a fair number of hills. In fact it would be more like one continuous roller coaster of hills. Should be a fun day of riding. This will be the most “ups and downs” we have done since we left Silverdale. We will be following the TransAmerica Bike route again beginning today. 


We had  a quick breakfast at Super 8 and were off riding the earlier morning streets of Pittsburg. It was nice and quite. As soon as we left town we crossed into Missouri and were in farm country.  We spent the first 30 miles riding along rows and rows of corn. We had a unique opportunity to watch a crop duster fly over the corn and spray some type of herbicide. He was just skimming over the corn’s tassel. It was neat to watch. Then at the last moment we would pull up and just clear the trees at the edge of the corn field. Looks like a fun job!!

While biking the back roads we had our first detour of our trip. Fortunately it ultimately didn’t effect our over all route. A quick check on the Blackberry Google maps confirmed we were sill on track and didn’t add any mileage to our trip. That is a big concern when you already know you will be biking 100+ miles that day.

We stopped for lunch at a small little town of Everton MO. Skip had found a nice park. It had taken him a while to find the town. Turns out that Garmin didn’t have the town in it’s data base. Go figure.

The afternoon temps had increased significantly and so did the hills. They (hills) actually were a lot of fun. There were a few lactic acid burners but nothing too bad. Everyone of those peaks in the above graph was a hill….quite a few hills you might say!! We found that the Missouri drivers are very courteous. They would stay behind you until they were absolutely sure there was no traffic coming and then carefully pass you. It was nice.  

One of the small towns we passed through was Ash Grove. It’s claim to fame is that Nathan Boone, son of Daniel Boone live there. We passed by the old homestead but didn’t want to bike down the 3/4 mile gravel driveway. 

We arrived in Marshville to find Skip sitting in Taco Bell waiting for us. In fact I believe he said he was on his 14th iced tea. We weren’t too, too late; it was only 6 PM. We decided to have dinner there at Taco Bell (Thanks Peter!!) It turns out that our hotel was going to be in a town 15 mile south – Seymour. I wasn’t going to be able to convince the boys for an other hour ride, so we loaded up the bikes in the trailer and headed off.

We are staying at the Seymour Country Inn. Dexter the owner is a WWII and Vietnam vet and gave a very nice discount on our two night say. Go Navy!! Thanks much!!

We have a welcomed and much needed rest day tomorrow. Over the last six days the boys have ridden over 625 miles. Pretty impressive!! Next week the mileage will drop off a little to account for all the climbing we will be doing through the Ozark Mountains.  

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/25/09; 1200

Riding4Hope – Day 26, 7/23/09 Pittsburg KS

 DAILY REPORT:  Should be another great day for riding. We’ll have a southwesterly wind and the temp should be in the low 90’s. 

Slept in a little this morning and then worked yesterday’s journal article. Felt good to get 6 hours of sleep for a change 🙂 At breakfast I had the opportunity to meet Pam’s husband, Lynn who also served in the 101st Airborne. A very nice gentleman. We wish Pam and Lynn all the best!!

Since we only had a little less than 70 miles to ride today (it’s hard to believe that when we started 70+ miles was a long ride, now it like nothing to the boys.) we were not rushed to get on the road. So we didn’t actually start riding until 1030. We had a gentle tailwind coming from the SW which was nice. It was basically a straight ride to Pittsburg via RT 47 with gentle rolling hills. Today we had our fastest overall ride with an average speed of 19.9 mph. Not too shabby; the boys road well.

Several observations of things that I have noticed while cycling in Kansas are that 1) Everyone and I mean everyone is very friendly. I swear that every person along the road, every tractor out in the field, every home owner sitting on their porch would wave and say hi as we go by. It was just the coolest thing. 2) The drivers have been very courteous. They will give you a wide berth when they pass you, on coming truck traffic moves to their right to minimize the wind blast. Car drivers would wave and give a little honk to make sure we knew they were coming up from behind.  3.) And lastly, I have seen more American flags flown in Kansas than all the other states we have been through combined. Patriotism runs high here.

Since the ride was short, we only had a couple of quick rest stops and opted to forgo lunch and have a big dinner. We are staying at the Super 8 tonight thanks to Bill Wixon who is providing the rooms to Riding4Hope Team for free. We thank you very much!!

After we got in and unpacked, Skip took the boys over to the Lamplighter Hotel who had offered the use of their pool so the boys could cool off and beat the heat of the afternoon. After they returned, we went out to dinner. The boys wanted Chinese and the recommend place was Yummy Buffet. It was actually a nice restaurant and good food.

Back in Jackson Hole I purchased a new pair of cycling shoes because my old pair were being held together with Shoe Goo. Well if you recall I had some problems w/ the cleats, so while I was in Colorado Springs getting John’s bike repaired it was determined that I had the old style Look pedals and needed a different pair of cleats. So for the last several days I have been trying to adjust the cleats. They are getting better but my feet fall asleep after 30+ miles. 

Tomorrow’s ride is to Marshfield MO. We will be entering our 7th state. This will be 100+ mile ride. I also have added some new articles in the news section that had been recently published. Enjoy!!

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/23/09; 2330

Riding4Hope – Day 25, 7/22/09 Fredonia, KS

 DAILY REPORT:  The weather was supposed to warm up back into the 90’s. However the winds were supposed to be light and variable. A nice change. This would be a welcomed change. 

It is 2300 and I just finished talking with Maria (my lovely lonely wife who has Spike the guard dog keeping her company) and I am exhausted. I am going to try to get six hours of sleep and write this tomorrow morning since we have a short day……..

So we started out the day with a very nice continental breakfast compliments of the Grand Prairie Hotel. That had lots of good things to eat and there was a good selection. Skip was even to make himself a Belgian waffle.

We had been on Rt 50 for the last two days and would continue for another 35 miles. It was nice and cool at 60 deg. The shoulder was good for the most part and Kansas drivers continues to be very courteous to bikes giving them lots of room. It was a nice morning ride. We made it to Newton in no time and needed to jump on I135 south for several miles to get us to our next secondary road that would take us to El Dorado. Unfortunately when we getting on the freeway there was a notice that no bicycles were allowed. We held an ORM (Operational Risk Management) meeting along the road and based on the large wide shoulders, we’ve bike on the interstate before (I90 & I80), it was a short four miles distance and the fact our map didn’t have another way to get to our next road – we went ahead w/ the interstate.  No problems and a very nice road to ride on infact.

Well this was officially the end of Kansas being flat after the last 200+ miles. In fact, for the last two days I had not shifted out of my medium chain ring! So on the first rise the boys were like “What’s that?” We had rollers for the rest of the day.

We planned to meet up w/ Skip in El Dorado and have lunch. On the way into town John got his second flat. This time he had a puncture in his tire so he had ridden over something sharp. After fixing the flat we found a Taco Bell in town and had Skip meet us there. We had a nice lunch and talked w/ a number of local folks about what we were doing. In fact one gentleman whose name was “Fox” and was out riding; saw us and chased us down just as we got to Taco Bell to talk w/ us.

After lunch we had another 30 miles to go. The temp was now in the 90’s but still no real wind to speak of. We were heading to Eureka. This ride took us through large cattle grazing lands. It was a nice ride.

We found Skip in Eureka and he informed us that he had talked to all the hotels in town and that they had not been supportive of our cause but did find a nice hotel at our next town down the road in Fredonia. We had already biked over 100 miles so the boys were not interested in biking another 40 miles so we loaded up the bikes in the trailer.

It took a little hunting and a phone call to find our next hotel; Bacnai Hotel. What a friendly and wonderful staff. Very pro military. Pam the manager had talked with the owner and they donated the rooms for us. Pam had lost Bryant, her son over in Iraq a little over a year ago and was very supportive of our cause. We are saddened for her loss. SSG Bryant was a tank commander when his tank was hit an RPG. The town came out in full, lining the road w/ US flags for miles for the funeral procession. There is some special about local small town pride/patriotism that you don’t see elsewhere. The owner, Mrs. Bacnai later that evening gave us a call when she got back in town just to make sure everything was OK and to say thanks for what we were doing. If you find yourself passing by this way, this is a worthwhile stop and saw hi to the staff. Thank you very much!!

Pam had called the local paper and after we had cleaned up a bit we met with Dale Fritz from the newspaper. We had several  nice conversations and told us a lot about the community and the local folks. Very interesting. The community was hit hard He took several photos and wished us well on our cycling adventure.

Today we will be riding to Pittsburg KS (Not PA as someone asked). Looks like another nice sunny, warm day. Check back later tonight for the adventures of the Riding4Hope Cycling Team…….

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

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/23/09; 0900