TRIP 2012

Update #18 - September 03rd
Tipp City, Ohio
2,049.14 miles (3,279.62 KM)

The sixth and sevemth week of the trip have been pretty good. The distances each day were longer because I'm no longer in the rolling hills next to the Mississippi River. I'm basically back to my average miles per day.

Tuesday (August 21st - Decorah, Iowa to Prairie du Chen, Wisconsin) - I got on the road around 7:20 AM from Decorah, Iowa. It was cool in the upper forties so I had to get my jacket out and put it on. There was a pretty long hill to get up. I rode two thirds the way up and then I had to walk the rest of it. The hill must have been two miles long. The terraign was flat for about three miles and then there was another hill to coast down and another hill to climb up. I walked this one up.

Once I got up to the top of the plateau, the terraign was pretty flat. There was a narrow shoulder. The miles went by fast. I got the first 23 miles in my 10 am. By noon, I got a whopping 35 miles in. About 6 miles out of Marquette, there was about a three mile downhill coast in sections down to the Mississippi River. Once I got down to river level, there was about a three mile ride into Marquette. The ride was a bit tricky because I rode through a rock slide zone and there was no shoulder because there were some train tracks between the road and the river.

I got into Marquette around 12:30 pm. I stopped at a gas station to get some lunch and I ate it at the park next door. I walked up to the bridge across the Mississippi River. I was happy to see that there was a wide paved shoulder. I walked the first way across the bridge so that I could take some pictures and then I rode the rest of the way into Prairie du Chen, Wisconsin.

 Wisconsin State Sign

I rode through the downtown area and I stopped at a motel that I had stayed at two years ago. I've got about a 56 mile ride to Dodgeville tomorrow. .

Wednesday (August 22nd - Prairie du Chen, Wisconsin to Dodgeville, Wisconsin) - I had a better night. I went to bed around 10 PM. I slept till around 5 AM. I got on the road around 7:10 AM. It was cool in the low fifties so I had to get my jacket out and put it on. I walked for about 3/4 mile and then I got on the bike path. I stopped at the local Walmart to see if the cellphone was there but it wasn't. The road was pretty level until I got across the long river bridge at Bridgeport. Between Bridgeport and Patch Grove, there was a pretty long hill to get up. I was able to ride two-thirds of it before I had to get off and walk up the rest of it because it was a little steeper. I stopped at the gas station in Patch Grove for a break. I took off my jacket.

After Patch Grove, the terrain was a lot flatter. I got 27 miles in by noon time. The temperature got up into the low 80s. I got into Fennimore around 12:30 PM. I stopped at the train exhibit to take some pictures.

 Train Exhibit in Fennimore, Wisconsin

I went down the steet to the Kwik-Mart for some lunch. From Fennimore, I had an okay ride to Cobb. In Cobb, I stopped to take a few pictures of Peace Lutheran Church where I had met Rev Dave Sorenson for the first time thirteen years ago.

From Cobb, I had a good ride to Dodgeville. I got into Dodgeville a little before 5 PM. After stopping for a break at a gas station, I rode around the downtown area to see if one of the churches had an evening prayer service. None of the churches were so I stopped at the police station to see if anybody knew a local minister but nobody was there. I backtracked to US 18 and found the motel that I had seen on Microsoft Streets and Trips earlier in the day.

Thursday (August 23rd - Dodgeville, Wisconsin to Verona, Wisconsin) - I had sort of an off night. Three flies came into the room as I was getting Alice into the room and I was just able to kill one fly. The curtains were really thin so there was a lot of light coming into the room. I had a hard time getting on the internet.

I left the motel around 7:35 AM. The temperature was already in the low 70s. They say it will get into the 90s this afternoon. I stayed on the county road that the motel was on and took it to it's end before I got back on US 18. US 18 was a divided 4-lane highway but there was a paved shoulder that was separated from the traffic lanes by a rumble strip. I stayed on US 18 for six miles before I was able to get off it on country roads. I stopped at a grocery store in Blue Mounds for a break. There were some hills between Blue Mounds and Mt. Horeb.

I got into Mount Horeb around 11 AM. I was looking forward to see the
Wooden Trolls again but when I got into the downtown area I only saw a few. I stopped at the visitor center where I saw a couple of them.

 Mt Horeb (Wisconsin) Troll

I was told that a lot of them had been moved into other locations and a few of them were being repaired. Back in the mid-80s, local woodcarver Michael Feeney made 17 trolls. Several of them like "The Chicken Thief" are no longer on display. There were a couple new ones so I took pictures of them. Before leaving the downtown area, I stopped to get some lunch at a Kwik-Mart.

It took a long time to find the way out of town and to get on County Road PD. I got on the Military Ridge Bike Trail and rode it for about a mile before I could get on Bus Rte 18 going into Verona. According to what I saw on the internet last night, I should be getting into an area where my cellphone should get connected again. I charged it last night. I was very surprised and happy when I saw that the phone worked again. I stopped to call a few people.

When I got into Verona, I stopped at the St. Vincent de Paul store. The store was really nice. I was able to find a thin pull-over windbreaker. I got it at a quarter discount.

I rode around town some. The temperature was in the low 90s and I didn't want to go any farther. I rode around town some to check out the churches. On the Southern edge of the downtown area, I found the St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church. Before going inside, I helped a lady outside putting a garden hose away. The secretary was friendly and she told me that the pastor was out at a meeting but should be back. She gave me a couple of chocolate chip cookies and a glass of water while I waited. After about an hour's wait, Pastor Kirk Billings came in. He offered to get me a room at the Super 8 motel on the Eastern edge of town.

Tommorrow, I'll be heading south the Janesville. If I feel up to it, I might go farther and stop in Beloit just north of the Illinois state line.

Friday (August 24th - Verona, Wisconsin to Machensey Park, Illinois) - I had an okay night at the motel. I slept till around 4:30 AM. There was a good free breakfast and I got some hot waffles. I left the motel a little before 7 AM. I rode back through town and passed the Lutheran Church. Between Verona and Oregon, I rode along county roads. The ride went pretty good. The miles went by pretty fast. I stopped in Oregon for a break. A few miles out of Oregon, I was able to get on US 14 for the ride to Janesville. I got 22 miles in by 10 AM and 34 miles in by noon.

I stopped at a Burger King in Janesville for a late lunch. Before getting back on the road, I had a sort of odd conversation with a kid from the Chicago area who looked like he teens. The kid said that his name was Eric. He told me that he left the Chicago area on some kind of bus to go to a concert festival in Wisconsin. He didn't make it to the concert because from what he told me he was beaten up, robbed, and thrown off the bus because he didn't want to get into the alcohol and possible drugs. I didn't see any damage to his face like he said he had. I really don't know if his story is true and it didn't add up that he was hanging around the Burger King. I was at a bit of a lost at what I could do for him other than tell him that I would pray for him. He did say that some friends were possibly coming to get him on Sunday. What he is going to do till then I don't know.

From the Burger King, I got on US 52 for the ride south to Beloit. At a gas station near the south end of Janesville, I met up with a lady from Germany who was to be finishing up a cross-country tour in Janesville. The ride to Beloit went okay. The temperature was supposed to be in the low 90s but it didn't feel hot because there was no humidity and there was some wind.

The ride to and thru Beloit went okay. There was a motel at the south end of Beloit but it didn't look so good so I decided to keep on going into Illinois. After taking the traditional pictures of Alice beside the state sign,

 Illinois State Sign

I got on IL 251 to Rockford. I had an okay ride going south even though I hit some road construction.

Around 6:30 PM, I decided to stop at a motel in Machensey Park. The rate was in the mid $40s.

Saturday (August 25th - Machensey Park, Illinois to camping out on Fox River Trail near St Charles, Illinois) - I had an okay at the motel in Machensey Park even though I didn't have internet access. The room was cleaner than what I expected. I left the motel a little after 7 AM. About 2 miles down the road, I came across a motel that had rates $12 cheaper but I was okay with my choice since it was getting late and I was tired. There was another motel $7 cheaper than this was but it looked like a fleatrap.

From the motel in Macheney Park, I had about an eight mile ride into Rockford. A few miles from the downtown area, I got on the bike trail along the Rock River. Along the way, I took some interesting pictures. Iook a lot of pictures of some large stone sculptures of men that were called the "Rock Guardians".

 Rock Guardians of Rockford, Illinois

In the downtown area, I had a bit of a time getting on BUS 20 going East. There was a long climb and I did some of the climbing on sidewalks because there was nothing much of a shoulder and the pavement was rough.

Once on top of the plateau out of the Rock River valley the ride went really well. There was a paved shoulder most of the way. I stopped at a McDonald's in Marengo for lunch. The ride to Elgin went okay. I got within three miles of the downtown area when I had to stop at a gas station to get directions. I found a pretty good route that was mostly downhill to the Fox River. At the bottom of the hill, I rode passed the train station that I got off two winters ago from Chicago. Just beyond the station, I crossed the bridge over to the Fox River. Before getting on the
Fox River Trail , I stopped at a grocery store to get some supplies. About a mile heading Southwards down the trail, I had to carefully get across a bridge that was closed because part of the entranceway was washed away from the river.

 Fox River Trail Bridge

After riding six miles down the trail, I stopped to find a place to camp out in a nature preserve because it was getting dark. I thought that I had picked an out of the way spot but it turns out that I had picked a spot that was just across a gulley from a road. As I was putting up the tent, a police car stopped and an officer came by to check me out. He told me that he I could camp there even though it was dark. Also, he told me that I had to be out of the area in fifteen minutes. I packed up as quickly as I could. I had a hard time finding the way out of the woods. At one time, my computer bag was lost. It had fallen off the bike because I didn't fasten it right because I couldn't see. It took a while of praying and backtracking to find it. The new headlight also fell off but I was able to find it. It was really great to be back on the trail.

I stopped near some streetlights to fix the bags and also put the headlight back on. About a couple more miles down the road, I found some more woods that was away from things. I think I remembered the spot because I might have camped out there before.

Sunday (August 26th - Camping out on the Fox River Trail near St Charles, Illinois to Crest Hill, Illinois) - I had an okay night camping out even though I set the tent down on an incline in the ground. It was around 9:30 PM when I crawled into the tent. I kept on having the sleeping bag slip out from underneath me. I slept pretty throughout the night until around 4 AM when I crawled into the sleeping bag because it was cool. I woke up again around 5:45 AM.

I got back on the trail around 6:40 AM.

 Fox River Trail in Illinois

I rode down the trail a couple of miles and I saw some cars going into a church. Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church was having a 8 AM service. In one of the windows, there was a sign that they were having a fundraiser for a Habitat house. I met the two ministers before the service. I stayed on through the sermon and the passing on of the peace. There was communion after the offering but I didn't feel like staying because I didn't now whether it was going to be open or closed. There wasn't any mention in the bulletin.

It started to sprinkle around 9:15 AM. Back on the trail, I took my time getting up hills because there were leaves that had gotten wet and the pavement was a little slick. In Batavia, I stopped at a McDonald's for a break out of the rain and a late hot breakfast. After lunch, I hit some more construction on the trail through Geneva. It was a slow ride along the trail because of the rain. I didn't find the motels that I had seen on Streets and Trips. In Geneva, I had a bit of a time getting back on the river trail to Oswego.

From Oswego, I had an okay ride along some county roads to Plainfield. Along the way, I stopped to take some pictures of a miniature train system that went around a yard. There were three tracks. In downtown Plainfield, I rode a bit on historic Route 66. On the East side of Plainfield, I got on US 30 and had some shoulder to ride along. On the Western edge of Joliet in the small town of Crest Hill near I-80, I stopped at a Motel 6. The stay was okat but I did have to switch rooms because the heating unit in the room that I was given didn't work. I got moved to the room next door.

Monday (August 27th - Crest Hill, Illinois to Merrillville, Indiana) - I had an okay night at the motel. I would have liked to get on the internet but I wasn't going to pay and have some kind of tracking cookie put on my laptop. I spent the night watching tv and working on the photos that I took the past couple of days. It was good that the room got warm so I was able to dry off my wet things. I went to bed around 10 PM and I slept through the night till a little before 6 AM.

I left the motel a little after 7 AM. The sky was a little overcast so it was cool. The ride into the downtown area of Joliet went okay. I stopped to take quite a few pictures. The ride out of Joliet went okay even though there were a few hills. I didn't see the trail head for the Old Plank Bike Path Trail.

Between Joliet and New Lenox, I was came across a Walmart. I needed to get a new cellphone because mine finally died a couple of days ago after coming back alive after 8 days being broken. I looked all around the electronics department for the cell phones. The accesories were there but the phones were up front. I got a better cellphone for $19.45. I do have to reload all of address book because they were not on the sim card. I put my old sim card in the new phone and I got a new sim card for emergencies.

After New Lenox, US 30 turned into really bad construction zone. US 30 was a 4 lane highway and the east bound lanes were torn up to be remade. They were putting in a concrete roadway and it's going to be a foot taller than the west bound lanes. In some areas, you could see three layers of asphalt on top of each other. Riding was hard for me because there was no railing for me and I had to deal with all of the construction debris and barriers.

Because of all of the problems, I only got 16 miles in by noontime. After about seven miles more on US 30, I was finally able to find somebody who could tell me where the
Old Plank Road Trail was. I rode through some residential area to a park that had a path down to the trail.

 Old Plank Bike Trail - Illinois

There was electricity at the pagoda so I charged up my new cell phone so that I could call my friends in Louisiana. Tropical Storm Isaac is heading towards New Orleans and it might become a Cat 2 hurricane before it makes landfall.

I was able to ride maybe six miles on the bike trail before I had to get back on US 30 in Chicago Heights. Riding on US 30 to the state line was a lot better. There was no more road construction and there was some shoulder. I was so happy to get into Indiana. I stopped to take the traditional pictures.

 Indiana State Sign

There was a smooth paved shoulder going east.

I rode through Merrillville. I used a coupon to get a room at a motel east of I-80. Hopefully, the ride will be a lot better tomorrow.

Tuesday (August 28th - Merrillville, Indiana to Plymouth, Indiana) - I had an okay night at the motel. It was good that I was able to get on the internet since it has been three days. I slept till around 6 AM. I checked out around 7:20 AM. There were just pastries and orange juice.

A couple miles down the road, another touring cyclist passed me going West but he was looking downward so he didn't see me until I yelled at him. The ride going East went really well. The ride to Valperaiso went okay. I was really surprised when I saw the motel that I stayed at a couple years ago closed and deserted. The parking lot was in really bad shape.

By noon, I got 27 miles in. I stopped in Wanatah for lunch. There was some road construction on a bridge. When I crossed the Kankakee River into Starke County, I crossed into the Eastern Time Zone and lost an hour of daylight. The ride from there was a little tough because the wind that had been at my back for most of the day was now coming at a cross-headwind.

I got into the Plymouth area around 6 OM. I stopped at an Aldis grocery store to get a few things. From the grocery store, I rode into the downtown area. I rode passed the city park that was being prepared for the annual blueberry festival this weekend, I went around the churches in the downtown area but I didn't see anybody around them. I stopped at the police station to see if I could be connected with a local minister. At the police station, I talked with a friendly lady officer. A room was donated at a motel north of US 30 through the local ministerial association.

Wednesday (August 29th - Plymouth, Indiana to Huntington, Indiana) - I had an okay night at the motel. The room was a bit run-down. I was on the edge of the wireless internet signal so I couldn't get connected. The sun didn't rise till around 6:30 AM. I left the motel around 7:30 AM because I wanted to see what was happening with Hurricane Isaac. It came ashore east of New Orleans, Louisiana in Placquemine Parish. There was a lot of flooding in the parish SE of New Orleans. One of the flood walls was being overtopped by water. Two pump operators had to be rescued by boat. Several people were trapped in either their attacks or on the roofs. New Orleans was pretty well dry. The new floodwall system seems to be holding up. There is flooding clear over to Bay St Louis, Alabama. US 90 between Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi is flooded. There is flooding in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

I stopped at a gas station to get some milk before getting back on US 30. Once on US 30, the ride went really well. For the first 15 miles or so, I stopped every once in a while to pick up road manna. In all, I must have picked up around $2 in loose change. There was some tailwind that blew me along. In some places, I was cruising in my high gears at 13 mph.
,br /> I stopped at a gas station in Etna Green to call my friend Don in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was doing okay despite having the electricity go out at midnight. He strung a long extension cord to the neighbors to hook up to their generator so he could keep power going for his refrigerator and freezer.

The ride to Warsaw went okay. I got in almost 31 miles in by noon time. I stopped at a Wendys for some lunch. Before leaving, I struck up a conversation with another custormer. He surprised me by slipping me $4. I got off US 30 at Larwell and headed south on IN 5 to Huntington. There were some hills between Larwell and South Whitney.

It was around 5:40 PM when I got into Huntington. I rode around town for about a half hour checking out the churches to see if one of them was going to have an evening service. I finally found some activity at the United Church of Chr-st. A lady there told me that their pastor was away in Seattle, Washington but she gave me directions to the parsonage next door to the Trinity United Methodist Church.

Rev Bob Lamb at the Methodist Church had only been their a couple of months. Last month he was in some kind of accident so his left knee had a brace on it. His youngest son had strepthroat. He did offer the use of the youth room in the basement of the church. I had to carry everything down a flight of stairs. While I was getting things situated, he came with his wife to ask me if I had any supper. They arranged for a hot turkey and cheese sandwich and a pasta salad to be delivered to the church. As I was waiting upstairs for the delivery person, Bob came back with a change of plans. They were going to put me up in a motel west of town back on US 24. I packed up the bike and took the elevator upstairs. By the time I got upstairs, the food had arrived.

I strapped the bag with the food in back and rode to the motel. The motel was okay and there was a wi-fi signal. I hadn't been on the internet in 3 days. I got some of the stuff done before going to bed. I'm going to have a late start tomorrow since I don't have to ride far.

Thursday (August 30th - Huntington, Indiana to Ossian, Indiana) - I had an okay night at the motel. I stayed up a little late getting some of the stuff done on the internet. Went to bed around 10:45 PM and slept till around 5:45 AM. The sun didn't rise until around 6:30 AM. I had the second half of last night's sub sandwich for breakfast. During breakfast, I took the time to update the website. Around 8:00 AM, Tim called and gave me more accurate directions to his and Sherry's house. Sherry is the sister of my pastor friend in Chittenango, New York.

I left the motel around 8:40 AM and I backtracked through town to get on US 224. Before leaving the downtown area, I stopped to get interviewed at the Huntington Press-Journal. I did some shopping on the way out of town. Since I was only going a short distance today and my hosts were not going to be home until around 2 pm. Iook my time going Eastward. At a gas station, I did stop to talk with my friend Don in Baton Rouge. All is well in the neighborhood except for the power to be still out. No flooding. The storm actually tracked Northwards to the East of Baton Rouge so they only got some wind and rain.

I got to the house in the country about 1:50 PM. Tim and Sherry actually passed me on the road. Tim and Sherry don't farm but they do have a flock of a dozen free range chickens.

 Indiana Free Range Chickens

Sherry washed my clothes. Home cooked food always makes a good meal. After supper, we went to a home Bible study. There were about a dozen people there and the oldest person was in the upper 90s. I spoke most of the time. Afterwards, one of the ladies slipped me $80.

Friday (August 31st - Ossian, Indiana to St Marys, Ohio) - I had an okay night at Tim and Sherry's house. Before falling asleep, I did some sewing repair on my cycling gloves. I slept maybe 6 hours. I woke up around 5:30 AM. My clothes were done when Sherry got up. I packed them up and got Alice packed up before breakfast. During breakfast, Tim slipped me $20. Before I left around 7:30 AM, Timn and Sherry took pictures with me. Sherry sat on Alice for her picture.

I walked the stone road a third of a mile back to US 224. I headed East to Decatur. After a break at a gas station in Decatur, I got on US 33 for the ride to St Marys. The ride went pretty well. I stopped for breaks in Willshire, Rockford, and Neptune. I got about 31 miles in by noontime. Before 1 PM, I crossed into Ohio

 Ohio State Sign

I got in St Marys around 2:30 PM. I rode around the downtown area to check out the churches and I stopped at the Evangelical Lutheran church. I talked with the secretary. She told me that the pastor was out of town. She suggested that I go to the police station because there is a ministerial association program. At the station, I talked with a friendly lady officer. She arranged for a room at the Americas Best Value Inn about a mile to the West. The room was pretty good. There was a Dairy Queen across the street so I went over there to get me some supper.

Saturday (September 01st - St Marys, Ohio to Tipp City, Ohio) - I had an okay night at the motel. The room was comfortable. There was an okay free breakfast. Around 7:20 AM, I left the motel and backtracked into the downtown area so that I could get on US 66. I had a good ride to New Bremen. I stopped at a gas station for a break. I went across the street to check out Lock #1 of the
Miami and Erie Canal .

 Miami Erie Canal

Next to the park was the
Bicycle Museum of America

 Bicycle Museum of America

I was just going to look inside and maybe take a few pictures but it was open early because a cycling club from St Marys was coming through. I got to go in for free. Most of the collection was from the Schwinn Cycling collection from Chicago. There were three floors and the collection was pretty interesting.

 Cow Bicycle in Bicycle Museum of America

There were a couple recumbents. I took some pictures and talking with some of the people of the cycling club. One of the members was riding a Tour Easy long wheelbase. Went over to the canal lock and took some pictures.

I had a pretty good ride in the morning. I got 27 miles in the morning. I stopped for breaks in Minster and Houston, At a gas station in Minster, a guy slipped me $8. I stopped for another break in Pique. I tried the Miami River bike trail but I didn't go far on it before I turned around. Once I got off the bike trail, I had a hard time getting out of Pique heading south to Troy. I got on OH 25A. The overcast sky let out some rain sprinkles so I got on my jacket for a bit.

When I got in Troy, I called up Jason to get better directions to his house in Tipp City. I got to Jason's house around 3:45 PM. I've got a couple days of rest off the road planned. For several months, I've been in communication with Jason. He is in charge of the
Shifting Gears Cycling Ministry , which is part of Ginghamsburg Church in Dayton, Ohio. Jason gave me one of the Shifting Gears Ministry jerseys.

I will be heading out from Tipp City tomorrow (September 04th) to start the next leg of my trip. This leg will take me to Buffalo, New York. There will be a shorter fourth leg to Chittenango, which is NorthEast of Syracuse. From Tipp City, I am about 700 miles (1,120 KM) from Chittenango, New York.

I'll try and add a new update every week or two weeks along the way so the next one will be posted sometime between September 10th or September 167th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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