Old Flying Farts Bicycling Club
We can start to sense the finish.  Yesterday, we got dropped off where we had finished the day before outside Marshfield, Missouri.  From the van we immediately started a long winding climb. On some sections, I had to stand in my very lowest gear to keep the pedals turning.  At that point we were about 20 miles from the Mississippi River.  We dropped down a little and then hit a milder climb.  Neither Pat nor I felt in top form.
After the second climb we dropped down to the Mississippi flood plain.  An easy 10 miles brought us to the bridge.  Due to construction, traffic was down to one lane.  Pat shouted back to me that we had a green light and had to  move with the traffic.  I had to dig deep to catch up with Pat and flow with the slow moving traffic but we got across.
The Mississippi was a major milestone in our crossing of America.  As an added reward, on the Illinois side was a statue commemorating Popeye the Sailor Man.  The creator came from Chester, Illinois.
Popeye has one of my favorite sayings, "I y'am what I y'am and thats what I y'am...".  It's a handy saying when I do something stupid.  I use it a lot.
One more good climb out of Chester and we hit a nice relatively flat road that paralleled the Mississippi.  The road would have been great with the exception of monster trucks passing both ways every few seconds.  We found a levee road between that road and the Mississippi.  It was flat with practically no traffic but there was no shade.  The road surface was a little rough and we had no legs.   Okay too much complaining.  Not done yet.  My rear tire had a slow leak, which I discovered at our lunch break.
So fix it!  No, I just pumped it up and continued on.  About every six miles, Rod would jump out of the van with the pump and I would be good for another six miles.  Fortunately, our day was a short 63 miles into Murphysboro, Illinois.  We drove to nearby Carbondale where Pat had his bottom bracket worked on and bought a new chain.  While that was being done I bought a new tube and fixed my tire.
At last it was time to relax and recover at a fine motel.  Oops our fine motel turned into one of the two worst dumps of the trip.
This morning we were glad to be on our way.  Pat rerouted us and picked a great road.  It was mostly flat, with a good shoulder.  We easily covered the 53 miles to the Ohio River, another milestone.  This time we chose to be driven over the River.  The bridge was narrow and busy.  After lunch on the opposite side we had a pleasant fast ride to Henderson, Kentucky for an 85 mile day.  When you are moving quickly you know its hot but the air flows over your body.  When you slow down you really feel the heat.  The temperature was 84 when we started and got into the 90s with high humidity.  Rod heard on the radio that the heat index was 105 degrees.
After Henderson, we drove into Owensboro for a motel.  We're planning to reach Berea, Kentucky on Sunday.  Some of Pat's family will meet us there and we will take a day off.  From there it will be just 700+ miles to the finish.  Beginning to smell salt water.
P.S.  At lunch today I downed a 32 ounce gatorade and didn't even feel an sloshing.
7/22/2010 09:37:14 pm

It must be strange crossing Ol' Muddy on a bike... especially when traffic is both fore and aft.

Wow! Nearly finish with the grand adventure. Unfortunately, you are going to get hit by hot box weather. Temps on Saturday will at or over the 100 degree mark in Virginia, and that traces westward for quite a ways. Next Tuesday we might actually dip below 90 degrees here (88 is predicted).

So, drink lots of fluid, look out for each other, and don't be afraid to stop and sit under a tree.

Call or email me with your target date for reaching Yorktown. I will meet you down there.

Hi, Sal!

7/23/2010 02:10:29 am

Hi Don and Sal,
Glad to hear you are on the back stretch. Any thoughts of making a left turn and heading north yet?? of course not! The weather hear today is 80 something and extremely muggy. Severe weather is supposedly heading our way. Your last obstacle besides failing tires and other parts are the Appalachians,correct? Hopefully nice weather will accompany you guys the rest of the way and your bikes will stay in one piece. Keep on peddlin'! say hi to Sal,


7/23/2010 06:29:19 am

Hi Don and Sal,
Glad to hear all is well-other than weather and tires. Where is your final destination and when do you expect to be back to White Lake? It doesn't sound like you are going to catch any breaks with this heat and humidity. All is fine here. Still working on the sewing room. Playing cards for the first time with Manns on Saturday. Have a safe last leg of your journey and anxious to see you.


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    Don Ballingall

    I am a retired elementary school teacher.  Married with a daughter and two wonderful grandchildren.
    I have ridden across the United states at  ages 38, 50 and 60.
    So why not try it again at 70.


    August 2010
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