CTN TransAm 09
40 days on the road.
3750 miles by bicycle.
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Chris Nadovich's 2009 Transamerica Bike Tour.

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    Mon, 13 Jul 2009

    Atlantic City, NJ

    [finished] The most common question we were asked during our ride was: "how long will this take?" I found the question to be troubling because it implied that our journey was subtracting something from our lives -- that it was an overhead cost or temporary distraction that was keeping us away from what we really should be doing.

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    Gary Photo Highlights

    Gary carried a camera and took lots of pictures. Click the camera icon to see my favorites from his collection.

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    Sun, 12 Jul 2009

    Sellersville, PA -- Home again, home again

    [HOMEAGAIN] After stopping briefly at Pocono Whitewater to socialize with Gary's friends, we set about conquering the serious climbs up Cherry Hill and Little Gap. These difficulties dispatched, we rewarded ourselves with giant ice cream shakes, shook hands, and parted ways to ride home individually. Tomorrow, we will ride one last time, converging at TJ's for the final ride into AC via the Tacony Palmyra, RT 30, a wheel dunk near Tennessee Ave, then on to dinner at the Pirate's Den in Brigantine.

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    Sat, 11 Jul 2009

    Blakeslee, PA

    [P7110004] Back to Pennsylvania -- and Pennsylvania hills. We tried a new route between Nicholson and Jessup that turned out to be somewhat challenging, hill wise, although it was far superior to the traffic choked route down-in and up-out of Scranton that I used on my shakedown ride. This time I crossed the Wyoming valley on PA 247. The precipitous drop into the valley was great fun on the twisty, two lane road, and I actually enjoyed the very long climb out of the valley on the much quieter route.

    Despite being delayed by unfavorable winds, our goal to camp at Pocono Whitewater seemed within reach till a hailstorm opened up and we ran for the cover provided by the Best Western in Blakeslee. We are about eighty miles from home. The ride in tomorrow will cross some tall mountains, but otherwise should be straightforward. See you all tomorrow!

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    Fri, 10 Jul 2009

    Binghamton, NY

    Its no longer about the riding, seeing the sights in a new town or state, overcoming personal limit, or any of that. The five-hundred pound gorilla in our room now is this: how do we finish this thing.

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    Thu, 09 Jul 2009

    Liverpool, NY

    [P7090044] We began the day with more miles on the pleasant Erie canal path, but gradually the quality of the surface deteriorated, becoming rougher, mottled with some washboarding, and no longer dead level. In Newark, NY, the trail ended and we switched to NY bike route five, which follows highway 31 -- a busy road, but with a very smooth and wide shoulder. Some dead reckoning, with GPS and local assistance, guided us from highway 31 to Liverpool and our host for the night. Thank you grandma R.

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    Wed, 08 Jul 2009

    Pittsford, NY -- Eighty Miles on the Erie Canal

    Today was a spiritually refreshing spin down the Erie Canal towpath. We took our time, riding at an easy pace, had a leisurely lunch, saw the sights, talked to lots of people, and eventually rolled up to the beautiful home of family relatives who graciously volunteered to host us -- Thank You Bob and Shirlee.

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    Tue, 07 Jul 2009

    Lockport, NY -- Back in the USA

    [P7070059] I had some misfortune in Canada. The numbers and some of the letters on my eee PC became non functional. My rear rim began to crack so bad that I was forced to buy a replacement. The rear derailleur shifter jammed again. My cell phone hardly ever found a signal. And none of my bank cards worked in the teller machines.

    But other than that it was great fun, especially today when we passed Niagara Falls. I'd seen the falls before, but not like this. Every other time they seemed big to me. This time they seemed small. Still wonderful, but small compared to the distances we have conquered.

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    Mon, 06 Jul 2009

    Dunnville, ON -- Rock Point Provincial Park Campground

    [P7060031] At long last we had a chance to touch the great Lake Erie. We camped in another provincial park and our campsite was very close to the beach. The water temperature was in the 60s, and there was a stiff wind tossing up two foot breakers.

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    Sun, 05 Jul 2009

    Port Burwell, ON -- Provincial Park Campground

    Tiger lilies and catalpa in bloom, corn and soybeans, turkey vultures, thistle, and that horrid knotweed -- signs of my nearness to home are appearing in the flora and fauna. We completed a hundred ten miles on mostly flat roads along the northern shore of Lake Erie without much help from the wind. Despite the lack of power-boost, we finished up pretty early. There was noplace to stop, so we just kept riding. Services are rare here. It's almost as bad as out west. There are no gas-station convenience stores, and the occasional cafe is most likely closed on Sunday.

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    Sat, 04 Jul 2009

    Walaceburg, ON -- Canada on the Fourth of July

    [P7040030] Maybe it's unpatriotic for us to be in Canada on this big US holiday, but the emigration made finding a hotel room easier. Our two-hundred klik ride today had about twenty kliks of wasteful detour around a broken bridge, but we met our goal to be in Canada on the fourth, crossing the Saint Clair River on the Blue Water Ferry at around four PM eastern time.

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    Fri, 03 Jul 2009

    Caro, MI

    [PERE] After stopping at Cops & Donuts for second breakfast, we rolled onto what may be the nicest rail-trail, in terms of facilities, that I've ever seen: The Pere Marquette Rail Trail. They must've been funded big time, but they also spent their money to excellent effect. Each junction has multiple signs giving nearby points of interest, a "you are here" map, trail etiquette rules, and more. There were bathrooms every few miles, park benches, beautiful rock fascia on bridges, and a nice smooth road surface. Sweet trail. I could almost forget how straight, flat, and generally boring the thirty miles of riding was. We fairly zoomed through at near twenty MPH in just an hour and a half.

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    Thu, 02 Jul 2009

    Another Weird Bird

    [WB1] We've been seeing these weird birds running through the fields. They look like a miniature ostrich to me, especially when they are running. I've never seen one fly. What could they be? An egret maybe? [WB2]

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    Clare, MI

    Disaster strikes. The number keys on my laptop are busted -- exclamation point. Cutting and pasting numbers is not fun. The backspace is busted too. I guess near three thousand miles of vibration finally broke something.

    Anyway, another hundred-twenty mile ride in cool, drizzly weather. All in all it wasn't bad, but there were times when I just couldn't get warm enough in all my parts simultaneously. My Showers Pass rain jacket works admirably keeping me both warm and cool, but there's only so much a jacket can do for you in those contradictory tasks. I kept altering my wardrobe to keep up with the changing conditions and topography -- there were rollers most of the day. At various times I had booties on, long fingered gloves, helmet cover, tights, etc... And at other times I had none of these on.

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    Wed, 01 Jul 2009

    Ludington, MI -- City Campground

    [P7010027] Our trip today included a ride on the SS Badger across Lake Michigan. We rode our bikes from our motel just east of Appleton to the dock in Manatowoc, rode the Badger across the lake, then back on the bikes for a short ride to the municipal campground just north of Ludington. That was 100K on bike, 100K on ship. We are now in the eastern time zone. Goodbye Wisconsin. I never had a brat or a decent squeeker.

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    Manatowoc, WI -- Boarding the SS Badger

    [BADGER] Maybe you think we cheated, but I think Lake Michigan is just a rather wide river -- 60 miles wide, to be exact. We boarded the SS Badger, a coal fired steamship, from the port at Manatowoc Wisconsin, and rode her to Luddington, MI. If you combine our 55 mile ride in from Appleton, and 5 miles to camp in Ludington, total milage for the day was our usual 120. Half of it was on board ship drinking beer and playing bingo, but never mind that.

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    Tue, 30 Jun 2009

    Kaukauna, WI -- Northeast of Appleton

    The North West wind of the last few days advanced a little more to the North, bringing us continued easy riding and cool weather. Our 85 miles from Stevens point into the Appleton area was relatively easy. We checked into our Motel at about 2:30 in the afternoon. Tomorrow we ride to Manitowoc and take the ferry across Lake Michigan.

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    Mon, 29 Jun 2009

    Stevens Point, WI

    The North West wind continued to push us along and we rode a relatively easy 125 miles zigging and zagging through Wisconsin dairyland till we reached the Wisconsin River. Temperatures were in the high 60s, with occasional drizzle. No problem finding food today, in fact, we finished the day in Stevens Point with dinner at Grazi's, an upscale Italian Grille. We both had chicken parm. Very tasty. We are no longer in North Dakota. Yes!

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    Sun, 28 Jun 2009

    Square One Bar and Cafe -- Prarie Farm, Wi

    [SQUAREONE] This was the very nice bar we stopped at in Prarie Farm. I had my first Leinenkugel! I should have had something to eat along with the beer as it wasn't till 7PM that we found another place open.

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    A Train For Tyler

    [FORTYLER] This train was in a park in Chippewa Falls. Gary called it a saddle tank engine.

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    Chippewa Falls, WI

    [LEINENKUGEL] Once again we arrive in a town with a brewery -- and it's closed. Oh well. Earlier in the day I did drink my first Leinenkugel, so it wasn't a total loss.

    Anyway, closed breweries not withstanding, riding in Wisconsin is sheer pleasure. We were on roads today that did not have painted lines -- the first time since Oregon. On many of the roads there was hardly a car. There are nice, tidy, scenic hills that are fun to climb, not long, featureless grades. And we continued to have good riding conditions. There was a stiff west wind, puffy clouds, and moderate temperatures.

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    Sat, 27 Jun 2009

    St Croix Falls, WI

    We crossed the St Croix River into Wisconsin at the end of the day. Goodbye Minnesota. I'm a little sad that we didn't give that state more attention. We fairly zoomed through without hardly touching the ground. No doubt it's a wonderful state with many sights to see, but I didn't even have time to buy and mail a Minnesota post card. Oh well!

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    Fri, 26 Jun 2009

    Royalton, MN -- Across the Mississippi!

    [MISSISSIPPI] When I first saw the Old Man, he appeared to be flowing northward. That rocked my world for a minute. How could the Mississippi be flowing North? Could we be above its source? Did we cross it earlier and I didn't notice? Was there some strange Twilight Zone spaciotemporal inversion happening? Back in Montana, Gary claimed he could move US 2 with his mind. Could this reversal of the Mississippi be an unintended consequence of his meddling?

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    Thu, 25 Jun 2009

    Battle Lake, MN

    Goodbye South Dakota. Hello Minnesota. Almost the instant we crossed the Red River (even today still bloated from the flood) we could sense a positive change. First of all, the terrain was simply more attractive. There were hills, trees, and real lakes. Lakes with people living on them. We saw boats. Big sailboats and jet skis with people on them. We even saw nice looking bars and restaurants built (and open for business) in random places, not just in towns. The convenience stores still sell fan belts and udder balm, but they use modern laser scanners at the checkout. Did I mention that there were people around.

    We have returned to civilization.

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    Wed, 24 Jun 2009

    Pelican Rapids

    [P6250012] Thanks to the ornithological geniuses (bird brains) who have helped us identify some of the species of winged critters we have been seeing. Particularly surprising was seeing so many pelicans, but the bird experts have assured us that we shouldn't be surprised, American White Pelicans are plentiful in this region.

    That's good. But hold on to your plumage. Today I think we've spotted what certainly must be a heretofore unknown species of pelican. I think we should call it the American White-Water Pelican, as we've only seen it near river rapids. In fact, we have observed some of these birds get to be really big. Could this be one of the largest birds in North America -- maybe the world?

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    As The Crow Flies

    I've added two numbers to the top of the blog. They are the great circle distances from our start point on the beach in Pacific City, and the remaining distance to Atlantic City (to Tennessee Avenue, to be precise). Is the Greater Pittsburgh still there?

    These are great circle, so called "as the crow flies" distances based on the spherical law of cosines (not the haversine formula). It's interesting to note that today we are 1301 miles from Pacific City, but my bike computer says I've ridden 1876 miles. So our zigging and zagging has cost us about a 44% distance overhead relative to the shortest path on a spherical earth.

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    So Done With Fargo, ND

    [CHRISDAYTWENTY] We've had our rest and are anxious to get moving again. Fargo, as Gary say, hasn't even been "wealming". We've cleaned our bikes, done some laundry, napped, and eaten our way twice around through the desert menu at Applebee's. It's a sad statement when the best sit-down meal we can find in a city is at a chain restaurant.

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    Tue, 23 Jun 2009

    Fargo, ND

    After a 120 mile ride with generally favorable winds, we reached Fargo, ND, on the Red River, the border with Minnesota. This was our 20th day on the trail and by several measures we have passed the halfway point in our journey.

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    Mon, 22 Jun 2009

    McVille, ND

    The accursed southeast wind is gone! Today we rode 130 relatively comfortable miles. We received some good advice for a change and were led to an alternative route that was both a short cut and a beautiful rolling road through pretty lakes, farms, and wetlands.

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    Sun, 21 Jun 2009

    Indian Reservations

    Today we passed "Devil's Lake" and through the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation. This is the second major reservation we have crossed.

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    Italian Food

    There are no Italians out here. Consequently, there are no Italian restaurants. For weeks I've been jonesing for a veal parmigiana dinner, or some lasagna, decent pizza, or a canolli. Not possible. All we can find are burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and convenience store slop.

    One of Gary's friends (of Italian descent) told us that there are no Italians out here because it's too wide open. Without a wall to keep their backs to, they'd be uncomfortable worrying about which direction the hit was coming from.

    I don't know if that's true, but I sure would enjoy a bowl of spaghetti.

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    Gary Speaks

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    Rugby, ND -- The Geographical Center of North America

    [CENTER] Hooray! Maybe we are half way. We reached Rugby, a town that claims to be the geographical center of North America. So, in that sense, we are half done. We've ridden about 1625 miles so far, but I don't know the total distance. Another way to measure is longitude. Today we crossed longitude 100 degrees West, having started at 122 degrees and are destined for Atlantic City at about 74.5 degrees. So, we have about 25.5 degrees to go, but we've been doing a degree and change per day, so the midpoint, longitude wise, is still a day or two away.

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    Sat, 20 Jun 2009

    Minot ("Why not?") ND

    Today was a tough day.

    Months ago, when planning this trip, I knew there would be times when I was miserable. Today was one of those days. All things considered, it was a good day, but there were a couple hours that challenged our resolve.

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    Fri, 19 Jun 2009

    Williston, ND

    [NORTHDAKOTA] Montana. Been there; done that. We're now in Central Daylight Time and a new state: North Dakota.

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    Thu, 18 Jun 2009

    Culbertson, MT

    We're still in Montana, but only 59 miles from Williston, ND. Our stopping point after about 100 miles, Culbertson, is a very nice town, just outside the Indian Reservation. We camped in the town park.

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    Wed, 17 Jun 2009

    White Crosses

    [P6160013] The American Legion of Montana places a white cross at the location of every fatal highway accident.

    I passed through a section of road near the Judith River that was dotted with so many crosses that it looked like a cemetery. It really started to rattle me.

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    Circle, MT

    Today was 120 miles through scenery that reminded me of a cowboy movie. I expected bloodthirsty injuns or outlaws to spring out from behind a sagebrush thicket or butte. There were hardly any towns, no shade, and a relentless series of stream crossings that had us diving down a rim into these pint-sized Grand Canyons, just to climb back up the far rim a mile further after crossing some muddy trickle they call a creek. Any of a dozen of these "negative mountains" were worse than the Continental divide. Ultimately we arrived in Circle, MT, a dusty nothing of a town that made Winnet look like Paris. The town park wasn't very enticing, and we haven't had a real shower in a few days, so we checked into a beat-up looking but reasonably adequate motel with a dinosaur out front.

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    Tue, 16 Jun 2009

    Rt 200 Highway Rest Stop, Mosby, MT

    [TAJMAJAL] Our goal today, originally, was Winnet, MT, a dusty, rancher town of 100 inhabitants in Petroleum County. However, when a day of tailwinds and favorable grades brought us to Winnet at 3 PM with only 95 miles in our legs, and we saw how "austere" the town was, we both wanted to push on. The man at the general store told us about the new "Taj Majal" they built along Rt 200, about 25 miles east of town. It was a highway rest stop with beautiful new bathrooms, running water, historical markers, the whole shebang. We could camp there easy, he said.

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    Mon, 15 Jun 2009

    Denton, MT

    I saw another antelope today. It ran across the road in front of me and made a wierd squawking sound. I didn't know they made sounds. "Ran" isn't quite the right word, either. Antelopes bounce along with a hopping motion. Maybe they can really run if they want to. I haven't seen that.

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    Sun, 14 Jun 2009

    Great Falls, MT

    [P6140023] After dropping down from the mountains, the landscape changed dramatically. This is high plains Montanna. There are no trees except near creeks, and there are hardly any creeks. Most of the land is grassy, open range. We saw lots of cattle, some heards of horses, and a few antelope.

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    Sat, 13 Jun 2009

    Across the Continental Divide

    [P6140009] A couple hours after rolling out of Lincoln, MT, we crossed the Continental Divide at Rogers Pass on Montanna Route 200. This pass was even easier than Lolo; Gary and I shook our heads when we saw that the slight grade was coming to an end at a gap between two apparantly (from our view) small peaks. That's it. The dreaded Rocky Mountains are behind us. It's downhill from here.

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    Lincoln, MT

    [CHRISDAYTEN] We made an early start out of Missoula and were on the road by 6AM. The day was a long gradual climb toward the continental divide through sparsely populated range roughly following the path of the Blackfoot river via Route 200. There was an option to push on over Rogers pass today, but as we neared Lincoln, we encountered riders from the Helena Cycling Club that invited us to camp with them at the local high school.

    They tell me that this town, Lincoln, was the home of the Unabomber.

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    Fri, 12 Jun 2009

    Our Goal -- Decided

    A few days after we left Pacific City, OR, it suddenly dawned on us what the natural endpoint for this ride has to be: Atlantic City, NJ. The naming parallel is too good to pass up. So there you have it. Our end goal is now decided. All that remains is to ride there. This is now Chris and Gary's Pacific City to Atlantic City ride.

    I know that some of you reading this would like to meet us when we come in. Unfortunately, it's hard for us to say just exactly when that will be. All I can predict thus far is that we will try to maintain our 100 mi/day progress. That would seem to imply that roughly a month from now we will be rolling into AC. As we get closer to the end, our ETA prediction should improve, but this far out we are too affected by weather and other random factors to give a better guess.

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    Rest Day in Missoula

    [BELAIRE] After arriving in Missoula, we checked into the Bel Aire Motel, took real showers, and headed out in search of beer. Just a few blocks away we found an adequate brew pub. They had Guinness, Moose Drool, and some sort of smoky Scottish ale. The NBA playoffs were on and the joint was jumping with kids half our age, drawn there by 2 for 1 well drinks. What seemed to be the drink of choice was called a "Dirty Girl Scout", a green and brown layered combination of Creme de Menth, Kahlua, and Baileys. When people bumped into you, they said, "Excuse me, pardner."

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    Thu, 11 Jun 2009

    Bel Aire Motel -- Missoula, MT

    [MOO] The dreaded Lolo pass was easy.

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    Wed, 10 Jun 2009

    Wilderness Gateway Campground -- Bitteroot Wilderness, Idaho

    Today we left front country civilization. The day began with an exhilerating descent from Winchester into the Clearwater River valley. We then followed the Clearwater upstream to its middle branch, then upstream further to the Lochsa Creek.

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    Tue, 09 Jun 2009

    Winchester, ID

    They don't have hills here. Theey have grades. Today we finished climbing the Alpoa grade, descended into Lewiston, crossed the Snake river, went through "Hell's Gate" into Idaho, then climbed the Old Winchester Grade Road up to the tiny town of Winchester and Winchester Lake State Park.

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    Mon, 08 Jun 2009

    Pomeroy, Wa

    [CLOSED] Today was a long grind. About 96 total. There was a very moderate (5MPH) head wind, and a very moderate slope (up 1300 feet over 30 miles) and together they made for a very moderate speed on the bike and a moderately annoying ride.

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    Sun, 07 Jun 2009

    Umatilla Plus 30

    Primitive COE camp 30 past Umatilla. No water! The Army COE builds these mammoth dams, but cant make a simple well for their parks?

    Update: Today I actually met a CoE guy and complained about the park with broken water faucets and showers. He informed me that that particular park had been turned over to the local Indian tribe for maintenance. The only maintenance I saw Indians doing was rifling through the dumpster for aluminum cans. Of course, later today I expect I'll meet an Indian who'll tell me a different story.

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    Good Bye Columbia

    [THEROAD] The CoE camp straddles the conflux of the Walla Walla creek and the Columbia. Now we follow Rt 12 along the creek to the city of the same name. Adios Columbia. What a grand river and gorge it is! Besides the magestic beauty it generates, billions of watts of electricity are generated from wind and hydro plants along the gorge.

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    The Columbia Gorge

    [nogas] Our first century day -- 115 miles total -- and very few rest stops, but all in all a very easy day.

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    Sat, 06 Jun 2009

    Maryhill State Park -- Washington State

    [MTHOOD] What a tour de force today! I have trouble comprehending the scope of it.

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    Fri, 05 Jun 2009

    Zig Zag, Oregon -- Southern Flank of Mt Hood

    [beforeafter] Big climbing day, but not as big as planned. Our goal was to summit 4000 feet (starting at near sea level) on the side of Mt Hood. 8000 feet total climbing. Unfortunately, we got a bit of a late start (7AM) and it rained most of the day. When we reached Zig Zag, 80 miles in and still a half mile vertically below our planned high point, there was a congenial cafe, motel, and bar. Instantly, we jetisoned our plans to sleep on snow in the rain.

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    Thu, 04 Jun 2009

    On The Road At Last -- Pacific City, OR

    [P6040022] It begins. We dipped our rear wheels at the beach at Pacific City, OR, then rode 75 miles back to Mike's place in Newberg. That's 75 real miles, most of them Eastward, directly through the Coastal range, including a 20 mile climb.

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    Wed, 03 Jun 2009

    Arrived at Newberg, OR

    [P6030001] We made it. Our bikes and gear made it.

    Our host Mike and his wife Arlene are very nice. I understand that Arlene spent some time schlepping around our UPS packages. We owe a debt of gratitude to her.

    So far, the trip has been pleasantly uneventful. I was worried that my bike would be damaged, or I would be missing some essential part, but so far as I can tell the everything is fine.

    Tomorrow morning, Arlene will take Mike, Gary, and I to the sea and we'll ride back here. That will really be the first day of riding.

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    Tue, 02 Jun 2009

    Roads Reported Clear

    I talked to the Adventure Cycling people in Missoula, MT this morning. They reported that they'd already had riders on the Lewis and Clark route come throught eastbound and none had complained of snow on the road (Lolo Pass).

    I guess we're good to go.

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    Mon, 01 Jun 2009

    Geocoding the Arts

    Gary's friend told me about this cool web site where you can convert list of addresses into latitude/longitude pairs suitable for plotting on maps or loading into GPS receivers. He sent me this link where he had geocoded a bunch of ballet studios near our transam route. It's interesting how they tend to cluster more to the east of the Mississippi. This is just an academic example, of course. I don't know why we'd have any serious need for the locations of ballet studios. I may try my hand and geocoding a more useful list, like Starbucks locations.

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    Merci Pour Le Bon Voyage Partie

    [dscn2111] Thanks to all of you that stopped by yesterday to wish us well on the eve of our trip. I particularly want to thank Joanne for the tequilla cream. [Correction 1: Actually, Carol made the tequilla cream. Thank you Carol -- ed] My daughter commented that "the pudding" tasted a little funny, but she liked it. I quickly warned her that developing a taste for tequilla was a dangerous road to travel. Specifically, I quoted this to her:

    "Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!"
    [Correction 2: Ok, J, I didn't specifically quote that, but I thought it, and now I have quoted it. OK? -- ed]

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    Fri, 29 May 2009

    Packed

    The bikes and gear are all packed and shipped to our host out west, Gary's buddy Mike in Portland. Oddly, it cost more to ship my bike UPS ground than it will cost to ship my body on Southwest Airlines. Not sure why. Maybe it's that UPS insures delivery. Southwest does not.

    Some people have asked what I'm bringing. I give a rough list below. Together, the front panniers are 15 lbs; the rear panniers are 22 lbs.

    See more ...

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    Wed, 27 May 2009

    Four Day Shakedown Trip to Binghamton

    After a comfortable overnight to Lancaster, I wanted to finish off my training with a long, multi-day trip. Although there were 400K and 600K brevets running these weeks, I dismissed them. somewhat for scheduling reasons, but more because longish brevets aren't representative of the kind of riding I want to do on the TransAm. They wouldn't teach my what I want to learn about my capabilities with a heavily loaded bike on a multi day tour. I needed something around 100 miles a day.

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    Warm Showers

    [Cat guards bike]

    Recently, a cycling friend pointed me to WarmShowers.org, a hospitality site for touring cyclists. The site is a way for touring riders to find a place to sleep on the road. In exchange for free lodging away from home, you promise to host other cyclists when you are back at home.

    When planning a recent multi-day tour, I was looking for a good stopping point a little over a hundred miles from home. Checking the WarmShowers site, which has some nice searching and mapping capabilities, I easily found a family living in a reasonable spot. I figured I'd give it a shot. I contacted them, they agreed to host me.

    I had fully prepared to camp in their yard and ask for nothing more than access to potable water. I brought my own food -- a dehydrated Mountain House meal -- and carried a tent. I honestly was going to camp. Honest.

    But then my host mentioned the fresh strawberry-rhubarb pie she had baked. And the spare bedroom. Here, let us help you with your bike. Lean it on the piano. And look, the shower is right over there. And won't you have a glass of wine?

    I may be able to ride 100+ miles on a loaded touring bike over the ridge and valley Appalachians, but I was unable to surmount their hospitality -- not to mention the thought of strawberry rhubarb, one of my favorite pies. I crumbled into blissful submission.

    What incredibly nice people my hosts were! My first experience with warmshowers.org was totally positive. I'll use the system again if it fits my plans. And I look forward to showering warm kindness on the first guests that come our way through the site.

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    Wed, 20 May 2009

    Overnight to Lancaster, PA

    [gary] Gary, Hammerhead, is a machine. He tells me that his choice of gears is limited, forcing him to ride faster than me. Personally, I think he's riding faster than me because his average distance covered per unit time is greater than what I cover -- particularly on hills.

    But that's OK. He doesn't seem to mind waiting for me, and I do have a GPS with the coords of every go-go bar in the northern tier. Gary and I may form a symbiosis not unlike the interdependence between Vic and Blood in A Boy and His Dog. Yeah. I'm the dog.

    In any case, we had a glorious overnighter to Chris G's place in Lancaster -- a very nice house, I might add. We explored some local brew pubs and Mexican restaurants. Round trip distance about 140 miles.

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    Sun, 17 May 2009

    You Are Invited to the Bon Voyage Party

    If you are reading this blog, you are invited to our Bon Voyage party. Click this link for all the details.

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    Kasachstan?

    [kasachstan2] When it rains, it pours. In my last post I was commenting about how many todo items seem to be popping up before my TransAm departure. Over at JTAN, we had one of our main servers self destruct and I've spent most of the weekend dealing with that, Lafayette still needs my attention as the students don't seem to understand the word "finish", my engineering consulting customers suddenly all need something ASAP, and even my car inspection is due. This doesn't even touch my preparations for the TransAm itself which aren't complete. I just discovered that my Thermarest has four punctures.

    And now another velodrome? Dale calls me with a super rush job in Kasachstan. Unbelievable. My civilization-lag is going to be brutal the first few days on the trail.

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    Thu, 14 May 2009

    Nothing To Do But Ride

    Classes are over at Lafayette. The student project I was mentoring is wrapping up. All that's left for me to do is to ride the bike. Right?

    Not quite.

    I'm rediscovering that disentangling ones self from a complex network of responsibilities is difficult business. My pre-departure TODO list is growing. There's only 19 days left and it seems impossible that I'll be able to accomplish all I need to get done in the remaining time.

    Fortunately, I've experienced this pre-trip overload before, although not in as large a dose. I know that a lot of it isn't real -- that it's a manifestation of anxiety about exiting ones comfort zone and venturing out into the wild. It'll pass the moment I step on the plane and begin the journey. By day three, I won't even be able to remember what was so important back at home --- compared to the immediate needs of water, food, and shelter for the night.

    In a sense, when he was "escorted from the building", Gary began his journey. I'm already 19 days behind him and we haven't even left Pennsylvania.

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    Sun, 03 May 2009

    Third Bad Thing

    Gary and his whole department at Siemens were terminated -- that's the third bad thing. I just talked to Gary and he seems upbeat about it. Since I know several of Gary's collegues from New Years Eve^2 parties immemorial, and I know at least some of them read this blog, I hereby wish you all the best as you set off in your own adventure later this month. There's still limited space available on our bike ride, if anybody want's to join us (How about it Adam? What do you say to a transcontinental bachelor party?)

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    Water Gap 300K

    [p5020790] I completed my first 300K brevet in good form. Mercifully, the heat exhaustion that pwned me last week has left no ill effects.

    The ride started out in 55 degree temperatures, in the dark, with a light rain falling. By noon, the sun broke through the clouds and it became a glorious day. The route sent us up from Quakertown to climb Blue Mountain at Little Gap and over across Cherry Valley to Delaware Water Gap. From the Gap we went up and back to Dingmans Ferry. Crossing The Dingmans Ferry Bridge is a treat -- cyclists are rarely allowed to ride on bridges, let alone toll bridges. But at this bridge, I was welcomed by a smiling toll taker standing under a wood canopy. He just waved me through and didn't even ask for the buck! Of course, Dingmans Ferry Bridge is the last privately owned toll bridge on the Delaware River and one of the last few in the United States. All the other Delaware bridges are government owned and have "NO BIKES" signs with grumpy officials who sit there all day to enforce the rule. Our tax dollars at work.

    The return from Dingmans was on Old Mine Road, the oldest continuously used road in the USA. The trek home from the Gap was through the "Alps of New Jersey", finally seizing on the Muscenetcong river valley as our route back to Riegelsville, 611, 563, and done.

    The night before, I had attended a wonderful performance of Sunday in the Park With George at DeSales University, and all through the ride the musical's catchy Sondheim tunes were stuck echoing in my head. The fact that one of the Controle stops was at "Louie's" didn't help.

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    Thu, 30 Apr 2009

    More Bad News

    Bad things happen in threes, and I think we may have the third bad thing. I don't have details, so I won't post anything more than to say that if anyone was waiting for the third bad thing after me getting abused by the heat, and Gary getting abused by a truck mirror, I think we may have the third thing....

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    Gary Hit By Truck Mirror

    Bike OK. Gary will need Vicodin.

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    Sun, 26 Apr 2009

    Eighty Degrees of Pwned

    When it became clear that the mercury would cross 80 degrees for the first time in 2009, I concocted this seemingly brilliant plan to do a gran tourisimo on the bike, ending up at Doug's traditional G&T party.

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    Sat, 11 Apr 2009

    Randonneuring

    [Brevet] is a French word for which we have no direct translation for its cycling usage. In general, it means a "patent", "certificate", or "diploma". [...] This is typically a challenging 200, 300, 400, 600, 1000 or 1200 kilometer ride, each with a specific time limit. The [rider] carries a brevet card, which is signed and stamped at each checkpoint along the way to prove they have covered the distance successfully.

    Last Saturday I rode the 200 kilometer brevet out of Quakertown. A month before I rode one out of Ephrata. Previous to these two, I'd never ridden this type of event before. I had no idea what to expect. Now, after the experience, I think I really like them.

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    Mon, 23 Mar 2009

    First Ride With The Dynohub

    I am no longer emasculated by Gary's studly headlight.

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    Wed, 18 Mar 2009

    Gary's St Patrick's Day Party

    [p3180731] As a shakedown of the bike with a full load of gear, I hauled my sleeping bag, a change of clothes, plastic 1.5L bottles of tequilla and triple-sec, two pints of lime juice, and a 5 lb bag of ice over the Kohlberg in Springtown, through Hellertown, Coopersberg, Milford, Trumbauersville, and on to Gary's party.

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    Sun, 15 Mar 2009

    The Schmidt Nabendynamo and SuperNova E3

    [p3150685] A mediocre bike rider can sustain a mechanical energy production rate of 100 watts for an hour or more; a good bike rider can sustain 200 watts; racers sustain 400, 500 or even more watts. The Schmidt Dynamo front hub or SON (Schmidt's Original Nabendynamo) diverts just 3 of those many watts, converting them to electrical energy.

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    Tue, 17 Feb 2009

    Save The Date: 30 May Bon Voyage Party

    Gary and I will hit the road sometime in early June. To kick-off our adventure in good style, I'm hosting a Bon Voyage party at my place, Saturday 30 May, noon till whenever. I'll have good beer and good food. Some tunes and games. Maybe we'll burn something. Ride in guests are welcome. There's plenty of room out in the yard for camping if you want to stay over.

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    Mon, 16 Feb 2009

    Installing Fenders and Racks on my Atlantis

    [p2060581] Don't get me wrong, the Atlantis is great. I don't regret getting it. There are just some minor issues that kept the experience from being perfect. One of them was installing fenders and racks.

    When I ordered my Atlantis, I ordered it with brakes, handlebar, wheels, gears, and fenders. I paid a stiff "assembly fee" and, indeed, almost everything was assembled when I received the bike. Of course, for shipping, some parts needed to be partially removed from the bike in order to best fit in the box -- the handlebars were popped off and the front wheel was to the side. But other than the the shipping rearrangement, everything was assembled. Everything with one exception: the fenders.

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    Sat, 24 Jan 2009

    My New Bike

    [atlantis_drops] I received my new Atlantis from Rivendel in late December, but given it's arrival so close to Christmas, given how busy I was with holiday stuff, and given that it was so nicely boxed, I just wrapped it and put it under the tree. It's only today that I've gotten around to unboxing it. The weather is decent enough to ride in (38 degrees and sunny with little snow or ice on the roads). I was hoping to take my first spin.

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    Sat, 27 Dec 2008

    Riding a Bike Across the USA

    Now that I've announced my intention to pedal across the USA on a bicycle during the summer of 2009, I think it's my obligation to go on record with my reasons. Given the vast array of potential accomplishments and adventures I might choose to crowd into the diminishing remainder of my life, why did I choose to spend a precious summer on a bike trip? If for no other reason than self curiosity, this question demands an answer.

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    © 2009 C.T. Nadovich