Thursday, September 25, 2008

2008 And What A Season It Was!

January--Training with Bart Bowen of CDC Coaching
February--Christening of my new Volae in the AZ Tour, 500 solo miles from Tucson-->Wickenburg and back
April--GA Tour on the Volae, just under 1,000 solo miles from home to south Georgia
May--Broken Fork on the Lightning , no injury
June--TOMRV with Dave;


our 5th grandchild, Jet Daniel was born;

open eyes 3

Meet-up Group in Wilton, WI (Elroy-Sparta) with Mark and Jeff; 17.2 moving ave for 100 miles
July--Blue Mounds, WI (HHH route) with Mark and Jeff



Lightning headset bearings died; riding in Sisters, OR with Elizabeth and friends;

OR 2008 005

110 mile Sisters-->Eugene solo ride; multiple Sedona and Cottonwood, AZ rides
August--RUSA 10 year anniversary 200k completed in 8 hrs 5 minutes; began NH Tour on the Lightning
September--Completed NH Tour just over 1,000 semi-solo miles from home to Stoddard, NH

It was a landmark season, I'd say, defining and refining my riding style and meaning, while exploring and expanding my riding opportunities and potential.

How It Was

It was March, 2001 when I asked my physical therapist, Deb, when she thought I might be able to do something physical again. The past 11 years my back disease had defined my life, teetering me on the cusp of disability, racked with pain. Her response? "What did you have in mind? May I remind you your current goal is to be able to roll over in bed." I said I thought maybe I could ride a recumbent bike. "You get the bike and we'll figure out a way for you to ride it."

I got my first recumbent, a Vision R40, on May 4th, 2001 and crashed it May 5th breaking my jaw, my wrist, 4 teeth, internal bleeding, and deep facial and hand lacerations and lots of road rash. It took a couple of weeks for my hands to heal up enough for me to grasp the handle bars once again, but when I could, I was back on the bike. My route was no more than maybe 3 miles around the blocks that surrounded my house in Mount Prospect, IL. It would take several months before I had the courage to cross Route 83, "a busy street." It would be several more months before I had the courage to install clipless pedals.

I had a successful mettle-testing ride that October, 2001 riding the Hilly Hundred in Bloomington, IN. My joy and success encouraged me to set my sights beyond the 4 blocks square that served as the perimeter of my house.

2002 I rode the AIDS Ride from Minneapolis to Chicago. Our son, Daniel, postponed his honeymoon to share the 500-mile ride with me.

2003 I rode my first double century from Seattle to Portland, my husband and physical therapist were at the finish to help me celebrate.

2004 I rode The Cochise, an unsupported 157-mile ride in the desert of southeast Arizona. I ended up in the hospital overnight with hyponatremia and have been a Hammer Nutrition devotee since, having learned from the desert how to manage my fuel, fluids, and electrolytes.

2005 I did the Seattle to Portland double century again, in under 14 hours, and rode with PAC Tour for the first time at their Wisconsin Training Camp in Beloit.

2006 I rode with PAC Tour at Desert Camp in Arizona in the early spring, and then rode with them again in the fall, completing my first transcontinental from San Diego to Savannah, GA in 26 days.

2007 I rode my first 200k brevets under the auspices of RUSA; attended Desert Camp with PAC Tour again in the early spring; created my own 500-mile "tour" from my house to a family reunion in western NY; and attempted Cochise's 252-mile, unsupported ride in southeast AZ, but only made it 27 miles. I had to abort after only 27 miles because of a medical issue.

What Happened

This journey, my journey, from calloused knees from crawling because I couldn't walk, to riding across the country at will, is a testament of my faith in God as the "cure giver," borrowing hope from my legion of care givers when I had no hope of my own, and dogged, disciplined commitment to do my part to stretch beyond my then-shrinking horizon. My back disease taught me to ask for help, accept help, and surrender my life-ending arrogance that "I can do it myself".

At the center of this, my journey, has always been Kirk's unfaltering love, support, and belief that healing is always spiritual and may sometimes be physical; that my riding is a gift from God and that who I am becoming as a person of faith is someone he still really, really wants to have by his side for our shared life together which began in marriage in 1969. It is he who has somehow found and continues to find a way to finance my efforts, both the physical rehab ones and the bike and travel-related ones, and it is he who never, ever complains about having to take care of Fletcher, the cat, sometimes for days at a time when I'm on the road.

How It Is Today

I am fully aware that I will be 63 in less than a month and that my years are surely numbered for open-ended assaults on ultra-distance climbs. So, I must choose wisely the where, the why, the with whom, and the for whom I ride.

The why and the for whom is easy. It is a celebration of gratitude for my physical and spiritual healing as well as a means to maintaining my recovery in a way that allows me to embrace life fully. If my story, my riding gives hope to someone else whose knees are calloused and whose spirit is broken, then my journey through suffering and the joy of being back have been doubly blessed.

The where is part of each year's end: fun, dreaming, planning for the next. I'd love to be able to put a gold star in each of the 50 United States on my wall map. 31 states are already starred, 19 to go. It would be fun to add a few countries as well. Canada, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, and France are top on my list.

2009 will include another spring PAC Tour Desert Camp in Arizona, kicking off my training for my second transcontinental with PAC Tour from Portland, OR to Savannah, GA in July. I want to ride this transcon as a fund raiser giving hope to the women residents in this remarkable home in Woodstock, IL, Rebekah's House. Rebekah's House, founded in 2003 by Shari Shaver, is a sober house for women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bookend Tours

April 8th I set out on a solo Tour to Georgia. I was in a quest for Spring as I left the gray bluster of winter's last fury. I found my first evidence of new life in Martinsville, Il. That tour covered just under 1,000 miles and a lot of hills the southerners call bumps.

August 23rd I set out on a semi-solo Tour to New Hampshire expecting to find first evidence of Fall. I did--swamp maples in Massachusettes. This tour covered just over 1,000 miles and a lot of hills the northerners call hills.

Next year I think I'll do another transcontinental with PAC Tour, just under 3,500 miles with a lot of hills everyone calls mountains--Portland, OR to Savannah, GA.

Honoring Differences

I stopped at the NH state line to take a picture of the "Welcome To" sign. I suppose it was fitting that there was a bar also on the state line marker and a car in the lot with a window sticker I had never seen in my and Barack's home state of Illinois.

This whole tour seemed to be an immersion in appreciation of personal and regional differences and eccentricities. Barb and I are one at the level of heart and core values. But how we make decisions, renew our personal energy, and decide how to spend the time allotted to us in each God-given day, is about as different as different can be. Such a formula could have spelled disaster, but instead it spelled deep appreciation that there is another way that is equally as good as "my" way. And, I don't need to change my way if I don't want to, but I do need to honor Barb and the guy with the startling window sticker the right to their way.

This honoring of differences extended to what, for lack of a better word, I'll call a state (NH) life style. I kept thinking I was in Alaska and needed to remind myself I was actually in NH one of the lower 48 contiguosities. Lack of cell phone towers, dial-up Internet, septic tanks and related concerns re: the water table and whether or not today was a good day to shower or do the laundry. Resplendent, relentless, and resilient mosquitoes, bears, and instructions on how to flush the toilet and find the candles should the power go out (which if does often) also knocking out the water pump. These were some of my clues I was not in Chicago. Maybe I should be thinking about these issues in Chicago, but I am one of the 80% of Americans who live in or near cities.

As memories of road construction detours, climbing hills, and descending their other side w/o a rear brake fade, what I learned from Barb, Janet, Lindsey, Betsy, and NH will be carried close to my heart for a long time, I hope forever.

Pix: Barb's wonderful little house big enough just for one + Fergus, one of a field of perfect spider webs in her woods, a tree scarred by bears sharpening their claws, and the 2nd amendment intact.

Zip Code Tour

I hadn't set out necessarily for this to be a zip code tour, but as the miles drifted by, I realized that, indeed, it had become just that--visiting friends along the way:

Mike and Cindy in Auburn, IN
Walt in Erie
Fred and Becky in Chautauqua
Barb all the way from Chautauqua to Stoddard, NH
Bev in Springfield, MA
Janet from Danville, VT but visited in Lebanon, NH
David and Pam in Salem, MA
new friends Lindsey and Betsy in Stoddard who gave me the chance to take my first kayak ride
and last, but definitely not least, Fergus--Barb's 10 month old Labradoodle

How much better does it get than that?

Albany--It Is About The Bike

Thanks to Mark and Jeff back home in Chicagoland, they tracked down a bike shop (Down Tube) in Albany that could take a look at my absent rear brake. Not only did they find a shop, it was literally right on my route and only 6 miles from my hotel. Wow!

Mike, the mechanic at Down Tube, had me fixed up for real in about 30 minutes. Quite frankly, I think the young wrench in Jamestown did more to un-fix than fix my issue. But, all is now well with my brakes and I'm good to go.

En route to Albany is the Dibble Family's home with their proclamation of belief that is worthy of sharing. Click on the picture to zoom in on the message.

Cooperstown--I Had No Idea

I truly had no idea all of Cooperstown was about baseball. I naively thought it had a museum and that was it! Cooperstown is baseball. Oh, there are other museums in the environs, but they pale in the shadow of the pomp and circumstance of the boys of summer. Oh, how I wish Kirk could have been there.

Barb visited the Fenimore Art Museum while I tried to take in all I could of the lore of baseball.

Today I also "got it" that this was a wonderful way to see the country--ride 80 miles and then sightsee. Always I had been about packing in the miles to get there. Barb was teaching me there was another way. Slow learner that I am.

Coming into town on my bike I passed the Glimmer Glass Opera House, a funny name I thought. But all of Cooperstown is on Otsego Lake, which is an Indian word which when loosely translated means to glimmer as on glass, which the lake does when especially calm.

Our Lake 'N Pines Motel was nestled in a valley between two grand ridges on Otsego Lake, itself. It was foggy when we awoke but it had burned off enough by the time I was ready to leave ahead of Barb. All that came to a grinding halt when I reached US 20, my primary route all the way to Albany. The traffic light was not visible, nor could I see as much as a bike length ahead of me. How would I be seen, even with all my lights on?? I headed back to the motel for breakfast with Barb to give the day another hour to wipe the sleep from its eyes.

Re-routes, Detours, and Bonus Miles

Need I say more?

Monday, September 08, 2008

ONYA Day 3--Cazenovia—Second Mechanical

Today will be remembered as a hilly day. In fact, there were over 5,000 feet of climbing in 25 miles, the last 25 miles of an 83 mile day. These were long, 1-3 mile climbs at a 6-12% grade. That there was an equal amount of descending is when it became eminently apparent that I basically had no rear brake. Yes, the lever moved, albeit sluggishly, but no matter how hard the lever was squeezed, nothing did it do in terms of stopping, or even slowing the wheel from going round and round.

It’s kind of funny: one of my worst fears was not having brakes during mountain descents. Maybe these weren’t truly mountains, but the effect was nearly the same; and I wasn’t scared. It was one of those: “It is what it is” things and you just deal with it. I think, quite honestly, I hadn’t had a rear brake since I left Jamestown. But, the descents were just not severe enough that my reality had not been brought to bear.

After our share of Triple C rated motels, it was a special treat to land in a Zaggat-esque historic hotel, The Lincklaen House. Not sure how to say it, but ALL the amenities were there to comfort my weary body.

Pix: Hilly Day and Lincklaen Hotel

ONYA Day 2--Canandaigua—August 30th

My first day w/o re-routes and bonus miles. Good roads. Barb and I arrived at the same time at our next memorable motel, The Lafayette Motel. We were greeted by a monstrous stick bug on our ceiling, a “kitchen” table in the center of the room whose legs would fall of if slightly moved; more postage stamp-sized soap; no plugs for the sink drains, and evidence that there were permanent summer residents who lived at the motel—maybe they were summer workers at the local horse track? Or other summer, tourist industry?

We had time to wander the streets of town, find a Starbucks and lots of beauty to counter balance the eccentricities of the motel.

Re: the pix--the bug, (I rescued it and put it outside and Barb accidentally stepped on it), the note was posted by the owner on the door to the kitchen used by the resident summer workers, and the table, well there it is balancing on its dismembered 4th leg.

ONYA First Night--Colonial Motel -- Portageville, NY

Barb had the thankless job of selecting/reserving motels along our ONYA route. The first turned out to give us much about which to laugh and ponder.

For starters, several nights before we arrived, the owner called Barb to ask if a King bed would be ok instead of two Queens. No, Barb said, the King would not do.

Registration began to tell the story. First, the lobby was filled with Christian tracts, flyers, and feed-the-hungry-children-in-India posters. The proprietress was a 30-something mother of a 6 month-old, and terribly weary from the labors of life. The motel was up for sale. Despite living 3 miles from the famed Letchworth Park, a wonderful place that surely would have been claimed as a National Park had the East been settled after the West, the proprietress and her husband had never it yet visited—life was too full of busy-ness, but maybe not business.

Our room was memorable. Neat and clean it was, but the essentials and amenities were sorely lacking. The good news was that the Gideons had found The Colonial, something that could not be said for La Porte’s Mayflower several nights before. There was no bedside table, and therefore, no bedside lamp; no alarm clock, no phone. There were electrical outlets, but for some reason they were about 4 feet off the floor and in the oddest locations around the room. Postage stamp-sized soap was again the soap du jour, and towels were sized for 4 year olds. But funniest of all were the four framed pictures on the wall—they were all the same picture; I kid you not, the same picture.

Barb and I concluded they were truly in the process of selling the place and had only a couple of tourist-ready rooms. When we declined the King bed room, they had to quick ready, best they could one that had already been put to bed for the sale. Maybe?? Maybe not. Best we could come up with.

A quick visit to Letchworth Park and a 13 mile test ride of the bike after all the futzing at the Jamestown Bike Shop; snacks for dinner and to bed, thus ending Day 1 of our shared ONYA.

Pix: Letchworth Falls and Barb

First Mechanical

I did my quick, nightly bike check before retiring for a planned 7:00 a.m. start on Friday, August 29th, Chautauqua to Portageville, NY.

Ooops, my rear brakes were rubbing the rim. Seemed like maybe a broken/frayed cable issue. Tried to replace the cable, but my wire cutters had been shipped to Barb’s house in NH and Fred’s were nowhere to be found.

Plan B: Barb and I would drive to Jamestown, 15-20 miles in the opposite direction of needed travel, to the bike shop at the time it opened. It should be a rapid fix and she’d advance me forward up the road 40-50 miles.

Not a quick fix. The sous-mechanic thought it was a fatigued spring in the brake lever. He messed with it, messed with the cable housing feeding into the rear brake calipers, and hammered on the spring in the caliper. After all of that the brake pads did not rub. Seemed to be a good thing. It’s 1:00 p.m.

Barb wanted to go to the Roger Tory Peterson Museum, also in Jamestown, Peterson’s boyhood home, which we did. Thoroughly enjoyable. But now it’s 2:30, we’re lunch-less, I’m beginning to get crabby from hunger, and I’m 7 ½ hours behind schedule. Fish soup in Jamestown was quite good, but after averaging 100+ miles per day for 6 days, I’m into some volume and the restaurant was into portion control. I finished still in a grazing mode looking for more. Glad for nutrition bars to fill in the empty hole.

3:30 p.m. and we’re ready to start the day. Hmmm. Seems best to call this a rest day; SAG to Portageville, catch up with Barb (we haven’t seen one another for 5-6 years), and have some needed discussions about how we would team up, communicate, and assure that each of our daily needs and some of our daily wants would be met on this Tour, which Barb dubbed long ago as ONYA (Our New York Adventure). Love acronyms so that worked, but for me this would be a 7 state adventure—IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, MA, and NH.

Pix: Car loaded for bear on the way to the Jamestown Bike Shop and the Roger Tory Peterson Museum

Erie Today, Chautauqua Tomorrow

That I didn’t finish dinner and get back to the Super 8 till 9:30 p.m. helped me decide to break today’s 130 miles (and that would be if there were no re-routes), into a more relaxed two day ride—90 miles to Erie, and 50 from Erie to Chautauqua. T’was a good plan.

Hooked up with Walt and his 90 year old Dad for dinner at their house in Erie swapping stories of transcontinental rides completed and rides yet to be ridden. There's something twisted about a municipality (Erie) that "solves" its issue of road rage by simply posting a sign to warn potential victims. Hmmm

The next day, the on-to-Chautauqua day, the 50 mile day, woke with a fierce steady 30 mph steady head wind that would need to be fought against up and over the continental divide between Westfield, NY and Chautauqua.

The view of Lake Chautauqua descending around the curve of Rt 394 is not impressive to the uninitiated Chautauquan. But everyone who made their annual pilgrimage to Chautauqua approaching from the west, prior to the construction of I-86, lived for their first view of the Lake. That first glimpse gave rest to their souls that they had lived another year and had come home again.

I pulled into Fred and Becky’s at Chautauqua about 12:30 p.m. Barb would be meeting me at Chautauqua, but I had about 4 hours to get cleaned up and walk the Grounds before she arrived. It had been about 50 years since I’d been at Chautauqua “off-season” meaning the summer, daily population of 10,000 had gone home till next year. There were probably 1,000 folks there, still, but by the end of October the numbers would be down to its winter count of 200 of hearty souls.

It was fun to share Chautauqua with Barb, after all it had been summer home for my growing up family since 1954; Kirk and I were married there in 1969; and Dwain and Emily were buried there in 2000 and 2006 respectively.

After Fred and Becky’s gift of dinner at Webb’s in Mayville (also where Kirk and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner and where we had the post-burial lunch for both Dwain and Emily) Barb and I settled into figuring out our car packing system. After all I would be riding the last 550 +/- miles (Chautauqua to Stoddard, NH) in luxury—the luxury of having my gear sagged in Barb’s car.

Fremont--Mentor, OH –125 miles—August 26th

There is a saying in the 12 Step Program—“Plan but don’t plan the outcome.” I’ve been learning anew about that this trip with everyday re-routes, bonus miles, and today’s steady 20 mile head wind with gusts to 30, thanks to Gustav who finally made his way this far north.

Additionally, my Garmin (GPS) was not my friend today. Today’s route, which I had loaded into my Garmin from my computer back in the route planning stage of this trip, involved more than 50 data points (my failure to check that out when I built the route) so it would not navigate for me. That’s a helpless feeling given my trip history of losing my routes due to construction. And, sure enough at mile 4.5 my “blue” road was closed and I was re-routed onto US 20.

Now US 20 can be bike friendly in parts of the country, but this part was not. It, too, was under construction, one lane in places, with many, many 18 wheelers bustling by with their loads. I, next to them, was no more than the many frogs I saw hopping across the roads; and they were the lucky ones, those that were still hopping.

Glad to see Clyde (a town) where I was able to buy a useful map of eastern Ohio’s County roads. After only a few more miles on US 20 I found County 113—a good road, a safe road, and one which I soon realized I had ridden last year on my way from home to Chautauqua, NY.

Noon came in Amherst, a western suburb of Cleveland. I was falsely wooed into believing I was making good time and progress, after all I was on the west side of Cleveland and only had to go to the east side. So, I treated myself to an actual stop for lunch at the Quarries, a restaurant highly recommended by the locals. Quarries was the place for social lubrication for the stubble-bearded old men who daily harvest memories of their farming days. I routinely forget, despite a simple order in places like the Quarries, the food preparation time is huge. The only thing I could eat on the menu was mashed potatoes, green beans, and peaches; order-to-table time was at least 25 minutes and came to a total of $8.44, cash only. Oh, and the green beans and peaches were both canned. Not my favorite meal, but indeed memorable.

Equipped with no Garmin and my County Road map I braved Cleveland on the early side of rush. I ended up in Whisky Island Park almost close enough to touch the Cleveland Indian’s Progressive Field. But close enough is not good enough when I needed to be on the OTHER side, east side of the field. An SOS call to Walt, a PAC Tour friend who lives in Cleveland and works in Erie, who got me off the island and back on the road. But, I still had to negotiate downtown Cleveland essentially mapless.

Given 25-30 mph head winds, route-seeking, and following the coast’s curve of Lake Erie it had become 5:00ish and I was only half-way across Cleveland with 30 +/- miles to go before I sleep barring no further unforeseens.

Alas, there was another unforeseen. Believing I was only 10 miles or so from this night’s Super 8 Motel, I turned on the Garmin to guide me in. By this time I had been on the road for 12 hours, and had had only 2 nutrition bars, long ago mashed potatoes, green beans, and peaches. I am now hungry, anxious, lonely, and tired—a variation of AA’s well known H.A.L.T. (hungry, angry, lonely, tired), if unaddressed, the ingredients for relapse. While not vulnerable for relapse, I was clearly vulnerable to decision making errors. And that’s just what happened. The Garmin said something about OH RT 2 West, which is basically an interstate. Desperate to get to the hotel I got on RT 2 West now to be told by the Garmin to get off RT 2 West and go on RT 2 East. I was in a never-ending exit interstate loop. I did get off RT 2, found the piece of paper with the address of the motel, but no phone number.

I called Kirk blubbering and blundering through my story of tired woe and ended with please, please help me find my ^&*($^$)&&))&^(%&^$) hotel. He was awesome. I gave him my location; he Google Mapped the solution and talked me through the last 4 miles without my having to get back on RT 2.

A humorous note to my long, wearisome day: the street sign for the road on which the Super 8 lived was on the opposite side of a 4-laned, islanded, busy street—making seeing the sign difficult in the waning civil twilight. Decided to pull into the Comfort Suites and ask directions, but then saw a single story, low budget looking motel next door and a patron in the parking lot. Thought that had to be the Super 8. Rolled up to the patron and asked if, indeed, this was the Super 8. Well, it turned out to be an extended care facility. I figured that would be a good fit. The Super 8 actually turned out to be directly across the street behind the Bob Evans. But, there was no street level or sky scraper signage for it. Hard to find even not being H.A.L.T.

Pix: Passed through Milan, OH, the boyhood home of Thomas Edison; sacred corn fields, and finally entered Cleveland--map-less. Click on each of the pix to zoom in.

Sign Spotting

I find great humor and pleasure in signs that use our language creatively or malaproperly. Today I passed the Butt Hut (featuring smokes, not the other kind). I also stopped in a Rite Aid to use the restroom. Not seeing it right off, I asked an employee where it was. She directed me to the door just below the large sign on the wall which read: Healthy Solutions.

Here are some pix of a few other signs of joy. Be sure to click on the picture to zoom in to fully appreciate the signs.

Auburn, IN August 24th

For many, especially mountain goat cyclists, the flats of the mid west are nothing short of boring. I, however, since a small child driving over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we did go through the fallow fields for Thanksgiving in Nokomis, IL, have found the fields of corn and bean a sacred space, a holy place. The velvet ribbon that was my road, bordered by now elephant eye high corn and blankets of beans so verdant and soft I could be restored simply by imaging a brief rest on their tops.

After 111 miles in the heat and humidity similar to the day before (a lot), and 11 bonus miles of re-routes thanks to construction, I pulled into Auburn’s only full service grocery store to pick up some essentials. Now what’s the chance that I would bump into Mike, Katie’s father-in-law, there to pick up some ingredients for dinner!! And, you know what else? He carried my purchases home in his car saving me having to load them on my bike. Mighty nice.

Pix: Mike and Cindy in Auburn and a landmark totem for an Indiana Post Office.

La Porte's Mayflower

I chose the Mayflower as my Port in La Porte ‘cause it was on the route--also on the west side of La Porte, a welcome position since my 90 miles in 90 degree heat had taken about 9 hours given all the slow-go’s in Chicago and Hammond/Gary.

You know you’re in for a treat when The Gideons had not even been there to rest a King James Bible in the bedside table. Maybe they hadn’t done so because there wasn’t a bedside table or lamp. There was, however, a 50 watt ceiling light along with a fridge decorated with an American flag decal and an 8 ½ x 11 paint by numbers seascape on the wall.

There were more “have nots” than “haves” at this Mayflower Port in La Porte. There was NOT:
* Molding around the door--glad it was summer, not winter
* A bath tub
* A sink drain plug; some rusted out razor blades and blade covers were down the drain, doing a their best to plug the hole.
* Ice

There was dimensionally challenged soap--smaller than the largest current 42 cent stamp and as thin as Communion Wafers. There were rusted out heaters in both the main room and bath room. There was stuffing coming out of the ripped bed spread.

Nana, the proprietress, was probably my age but appeared at least 15 years older. She was eating disorder thin with a deep, throaty, whisky voice. Her hair was straight and as white as the Monsters’ hair was black; her skin matched her hair. A scary looking person, you might say. As I left my room to walk ¾ of a mile up the road to the nearest restaurant (which Nana had told me was ¼ of a mile away), she stopped me to comment on my address in Wilmette. She had lived about 4 blocks away 25 years ago. She recounted her other, former north shore addresses she had once held. You know she has quite a story to tell going from Chicago’s north shore to La Porte’s Mayflower. I chose not to engage her in a recountence of How It Was; What Happened; and How It Is Today.

Safe I felt at The Mayflower. If The Gideons couldn’t find this place, probably neither could the bad guys.

Leaving Home For La Porte, IN--August 23rd

Today’s destination would be La Porte, IN. I met Dave, at Swedish Covenant Hospital. We rode out together to the South Shore Cultural Center at 71st and South Shore Drive.

I had accidentally happened on to the fact that the lake front would be teeming with Accenture Triathletes both Saturday and Sunday. So, Dave and I routed through Chicago’s city streets till we got to Roosevelt when we cut east for the Lake Front Path. What neither of us knew was that the AIDS Walk would be filling the Path all the way to the South Shore Cultural Center. We slalomed through a sea of passionate, slow walkers, many questionably blessed with steatopygia.

92nd street greeted me with a raised draw bridge. Fun to watch the tug and barge, but oh my, getting out of Chicago was a slooow go.

Hammond is always a blight, but today it was both blight and just the beginning of what would be a recurring theme--re-routes due to construction--which would add anywhere from 4-20 miles to my daily fare.