Friday, June 29, 2012

Swimming hole ...

Homestead, FL to Marathon, FL
Staying at First Baptist Church
81 miles today, average pace 16.5 mph
The route was flat again, just like my rear tire that exploded about 10 miles from the finish. 
Just two days ago, while Emmalilly and I were changing one of her 4 flat tires, she asked me how to tell when a tire is bad. I looked at her tires, telling her that when they get flat on top, they should be changed. Then after looking at both of my tires, I showed her a good example (my rear tire) of a tire that’s flat on top and, yep, should be changed. Then of course I forgot about my tire, probably thinking subconsciously that I only have a couple days left, and would be able to change it at home. 
Well, most tires just go flat, but I’ve now had three tires explode, like somebody shooting a gun, so I was looking for the blood. No blood, nobody down, just the rear tire that I should have changed, now totally blown. A rear tire that had literally come apart about a fourth of the circumference, and me with no spare tire. Plenty of tubes, but no spare tire. The sweeps carry a spare tire, but we were a long way ahead of the sweeps, as they had been dealing with their own flats. 
So we had 4 riders waiting for the van. I tried to get Alyssa, Emmalilly, and Christian to just keep going, but since we had been riding together all day, they decided to hang out with me. We climbed over the barricade to get some shade, while we waited for the van. Next thing I knew Alyssa had her feet in the water, and she was soon followed by Emmalilly. As Alyssa step by step inched her way farther into the water, followed by Emmalilly, they were soon both immersed in the ocean, in all their riding clothes (except for socks and shoes). Alyssa quickly realized she could float in the salt water, and started singing, "I'm floating in the ocean," over and over. I had had enough trouble navigating the rocks to just get to the shade and sit down, let alone getting down into the water. And Christian was not going in. However, after at least 30 minutes, I decided it just looked too good to not get in. And, as soon as I started taking off my shoes, Christian did the same, and of course beat me into the water. Soon they were all thanking me for not changing my flat, which allowed them time to take a dip in the ocean. Life is just so good as we bike, enjoying our time together, but yet in doing so, helping in our small way to give some dignity to families in need.
Allen got a phone call from a reporter during rest stop yesterday, who said she wanted to interview me. So I had a nice interview with a reporter from Marathon, FL. I guess I’m up for interviews and/or whatever it takes to get Fuller Center’s name out in front of people.
Scott and Heidi took us all to dinner tonight at a nice place on the water (terrific and thoughtful surprise from them), and they had a small dessert brought out as a "cake.” And, they all again sang that ol’ birthday song to me. Typical acts of kindness from the people one meets on the Bike Adventure -- just great folks, and such fun to be around.
Now I gotta start....stopping....eating so much....and soon!
Peace ...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 25 riding ...

Ft. Lauderdale By The Sea, FL to Homestead, FL
Staying at Homestead Mennonite Church
67.11 miles today, average pace 14.9 mph
Like a fickle friend, she left me. She sneaked away in the middle of the night, like a tenant who can't pay the rent. Debby was a no-show this morning, so no more wind, and of course no hills here at sea level. I will miss her! It seemed strange to be leaving the church this morning with no wind and no rain. But, as they say in Colorado, "sea level is for sissies".
I forgot to mention yesterday that a rider joined us about 15 miles from the finish yesterday. Scott said he had been following us on the Internet, hoping to meet up with us. And he did catch up with us at the last van stop. I saw he had his bike on the back of his car, so I invited him to ride with us for a while. He drove ahead to find a place to park, and rode with us all the way to the church. He seemed to have a good time riding with us, and I enjoyed talking and visiting with him. He talked with Allen a while, and ended up writing a check to the Fuller Bike Adventure, which he told Allen to put to Carmen’s account and my account, since we are both going to ride the West Coast.  
A short day today, with only two van stops. Near the end of the ride we were on something called the Dade Trail, which consists of about 14 miles of a wide sidewalk, with a long traffic light about every 3/4 mile. And of course we caught almost every one of the lights, which made for a long and slow 13 miles, when we were actually trying to hurry and finish the ride, all the while it was getting hotter. 
We had a list of 42 turns to make today, and with that many turns to caulk, I was able to ride with the first group almost all day. We got a report from the sweeps at the end of the day that they had seen some wild monkeys during the first 20 miles this morning; Kelsey has some pictures of them.
***Since we had short mileage most of us went out for a late lunch. We enjoyed very good pizza, but the malt was only another 6.5. Again good flavor, but not nearly enough thickness. 
I have not been rolling my IT bands, and they were screaming when I finally got to it again after the ride today (I’ll get lectured, for sure, by my PT/yoga instructor at home).
We have the run of the church tonight, with a number of rooms for us to use; I grabbed the one with a private bathroom (old man’s privilege). The church served a pot luck dinner for us tonight, and just to make sure of the malt rating, a few of us went back for more ice cream after dinner. ***The rating has now dropped to a 6.0!!!

It’s raining again tonight; we got wet coming back from ice cream. Wondering if we’ll be back riding in the rain in the morning. Only two more days of riding, and then home for a short while, before heading out for the West Coast.
Peace ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 24 riding ...

Port St. Lucie, FL to Lauderdale By The Sea, FL
Staying at Community Presbyterian Church
94.56 miles today, average pace 13.1 mph
Flat again, with a "good" headwind
Debby, my love ... how much better can it be ... she was wild again today! We left in a heavy rain, and finished up in bright sunshine. Heavy rain, then none. Strong headwind, then easy headwind. Strong crosswind, then easier crosswind. On and off all day today.
I was sweeping with Emmalilly, who had four flats. We didn’t have a pump, and I finally ran out of C02 cartridges, but a local rider came to our rescue with a cartridge. We would have made it, but the tire did not seat properly with my last cartridge. 
We left the church about 6:30am, and got in about 4:30pm. Using my fingers to count, I come up with 10 hours on the road today. Actual pedaling time of 7 1/4 hours hours, leaving 2 3/4 hours changing flats or at the van eating and drinking anything we could find.
Another great meal with this church, plenty of food, a shower at the fire station across the street, and a movie after dinner. Toolie and I walked downtown, found some ice cream, and strolled to the beach, to a fishing pier that goes out into the water a long way. But, since the fee was $2 simply to take a walk on this pier, we decided to walk away instead. 
***Chocolate malt in the tourist area was made properly, but was just not thick enough to get better than a 6.5 rating. The quest for the perfect malt continues! Toolie said her hot fudge sundae was very good. 
It’s now after 9pm and a group is headed to the beach. Lights out at 9:45 and breakfast at 5:15. Good luck to the beach goers (oops, I guess my age is showing).
Peace ...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 23 riding and... my new best friend...

Melbourne, FL to Port St. Lucie, FL
Staying at All Villages Presbyterian Church
61.76 miles today, average pace 11.5 mph
Flat again, with a "good" headwind
My new best friend? She was slapping me around all day again today, and it was great! I love her. Too bad there aren’t any hills for me to introduce her to. Who, you ask? Why, Debby, the tropical storm, of course. To my geezer biking friends, you’re missing out on great times. My average mph was down from yesterday, so I’m telling myself it’s because the winds were stronger today. Or, maybe because we only had a short rain shower today, and we were in rain mostly all day yesterday.
A very nice surprise this morning. The good news was Jeff was in the parking lot in his VW bus, getting ready to ride with us. The bad news was Roxie was not with him. They were both on the Spring Ride, and are just great folks. He joined us for circle up, then took off with Maranda and others. He rode with Susie and me later in the day, then went back to the lead riders. He rode all the way to the church, and then back to his VW; and that, my friends, was over 120 miles for him today! Too bad that work was calling and he couldn’t stay longer.
Dinner tonight? Tacos (yuck) and we are out of bread! So my trusty bike and I found Arby's Roast Beef (a second yuck, but at least it agrees with my stomach, where chili powder does not). I really need to learn to eat better, but I guess it’s not about to happen at my age. No wait, I am eating more salads, and, remember, I did actually try fried green tomatoes (double yuck)!
I’ve been missing the news updates and happenings, but Colorado is burning! Apparently at this time there are some pre-evacuation areas in Boulder. Things can be replaced, trees will grow back, but, please, pray for the safety of the firefighters who are trying without much success to contain this mess. Temperatures are high, everything is dry, and the winds continue.
Peace ...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 22 riding ...

Daytona Beach, FL to Melbourne Beach, FL
Staying at Saint Sebastian by the Sea Church
93.16 miles today, average pace 12.0 mph
Mostly flat again, but a "good" headwind
"My friend, the wind” finally visited us today, thanks to Tropical Storm Debby. We left in the rain, ended in the rain, and had a little riding without the rain. But the wind was against us all the way, varying in intensity from roughly 5-10 mph to maybe 15-30 mph. The good thing was that it did not gust very much, and the only crosswind we had was when we crossed the causeway to get to Melbourne Beach. It's about time we had a bit of a challenge, eh?
Three new riders today: Scott and Heidi on a tandem, and Susie. That means we have 11 bikes now and 12 riders heading for Key West. I rode most of the day with Susie. She had a minor fall because of a tangle with an asphalt crack or ridge, but fortunately lost just a little skin to the pavement. She’s a good rider, but a little nervous about some of the traffic and narrow shoulders we had today. She has only been doing some short 20 or 30 mile rides, and today was her longest ride. She told me she did a century when she was a young teenager, but I told her that didn’t count because it was too long ago. She was a trouper and hung in there the entire ride.
As a group we had a phenomenal 14 flat tires today. I had a 1 1/2 inch finishing nail go into the top of my tire, and out the sidewall like it was shot with a nail gun. The tandem riders had 5 of those, and Carmen had her 15th flat. As explained by a RAM participant tonight, the rain puddles turn the objects off their sides and point them up, just waiting for our tires.
I have never had much desire to meet celebrities, or to get autographs, etc., but tonight I was thrilled to shake hands with a RAM participant, a celebrity to me. He rode about 2,400 miles of it last year, but had an accident going over the Rockies, and just could not recover fast enough, so was removed from the race. He is planning on doing it again next year. I told him we had just finished watching a documentary a few nights ago. I greatly enjoyed talking with him. He owns a couple of bike shops, and was even kind enough to stop by and donate some tires and tubes for us.
Our hosts are fabulous, as usual. They had not committed to serving dinner, but 4 or 5 church members were here cooking and caring for us. The host lady even took us out for ice cream. 
***Unfortunately the malt was only rated a 6. It did have "malt" and good flavor, but it was way too thin, as I only needed one straw to drink it, and could not shovel it into my mouth using two straws like a spoon. ;(
Began to wonder today if anyone has done a study to see if a headwind can be compared to hill grades. For instance, if there is a 20 mph headwind, is that equivalent to a 5% grade; and a 30 mph headwind equivalent to an 8% grade? Just wondering.
Peace ...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day off ...

A lazy day off today with rain drizzle in the morning and steady rain the rest of the day. We attended church service with the Daytona Beach Alliance Church after we enjoyed breakfast at Cracker Barrel, very generously paid for by Bud and his wife, Mary. I really enjoy attending services at the different churches we stay. The service this morning was very lively (not a Lutheran service), and I appreciated the way they praise the Lord at Alliance. Allen was given time for a five-minute talk about The Fuller Center, and the preacher followed up with questions. He then introduced me personally as an example that Fuller riders are not just young people; even a 70-year-old is riding to make a difference.
Alliance has a very active youth program. We had to move our sleeping quarters after the first night to accommodate the needs of this group. Then we were lucky enough to be able to eat dinner with them all, and chat a little about our ride.
It looks like tropical storm Debby may be with us for the remainder of our ride. We are expecting to be riding in the rain most of this coming week. This will make for more of an adventure, which is what we all signed up for!
I was asked to write an article for a paper here in Florida, which I have posted below. Not sure if it will be accepted, but I hope so. Here it is:
     My name is Tom Weber, aka “geezerman.” I’ve been told I am a hero by a number of people, I guess because I’m 70 years old, and love just riding my bicycle for The Fuller Center for Affordable Housing. Of course, I’ve also been called “crazy” and a few other things by a number of people. I guess “just riding” my bicycle is not quite accurate, because I’m planning to ride 4,000 miles for The Fuller Center this year. I completed the spring ride (400 miles), am about to finish the East Coast ride (2,000 miles), and will soon head to Seattle to pedal the West Coast ride (1,600 miles).
     Well, I’m far from a hero! What I am is an old geezer who retired, and was looking for a cross country bike ride because I like to ride bikes. I happened to find The Fuller Center for Affordable Housing Bike Adventure. It looked like a great ride, except for the “talking and building” that was advertised as part of the ride. I figured that if I had to participate in some building occasionally, and speak occasionally, it was a small price to pay for this opportunity. But when I read about the life of Linda and Millard Fuller, who took action to do something about people living in substandard housing, I found the real heroes. Fullers are responsible for over 500,000 homes being built for people in need of safe housing. They created a life of serving their brothers and sisters on this planet, and set the example for all of us. If you think you can’t make a difference in this world, just read about the Fullers.
     Once I actually had the opportunity to work on a building project or two (helping to build a room addition and handicapped bathroom for a young high school student who was recently confined to a wheel chair, and helping to build a wheel chair ramp for a lady who has been unable to leave her home for two years because of the five steps down from her porch) I changed from an old cynic to a ‘young’ bicycle advocate for The Fuller Center. 
     Other heroes are the young people riding the Bike Adventure with me. They have given me confidence in the youth of this country; confidence that I had been missing listening to all the negative news programs every night. The deep faith expressed and lived by these “kids” is very refreshing to me, and that has inspired me to keep pedaling. These rides can be very difficult, both physically and mentally, with miles to go, no other riders visible, and a long empty road ahead. It often brings up the image that each pedal stroke I take is like nailing another nail in a home of a family in need of a hand up, and to stop pedaling would be like letting a family down.
     I am fortunate to have the ability to ride a bicycle, and have accepted the challenge to ride for affordable housing. I strongly believe God led me to The Fuller Center, and I know he guides me along this path to helping folks.
     I am blessed to be a husband, father, grandfather, geezer athlete, lover of raptors, bike rider, and Ambassador for The Fuller Center for Affordable Housing.
Peace ...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 21 riding ...

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL to Daytona Beach, FL
Staying at Daytona Beach Alliance Church
81 miles today, average pace 13.3 mph
Mostly flat again
Our ride this morning started out very muggy, as we left before sunrise again. Emmalilly and I started the day sweeping; Alyssa and I finished the second 40 miles sweeping. We stopped about mile 16 or so to take pictures of us with the ocean as a backdrop. That very pleasant stop provided a chance to reflect before attacking the rest of the day. We had a good, relaxing day as sweeps, riding slowly along the coastline, checking out the new and old houses as we pedaled, one stroke at a time. 
After we were into the third leg of riding I started talking with Carmen about her riding technique, to try to help her to smooth out her cadence and the speed she rides. She has consistently been riding at the back of the pack, and I’ve been thinking she could be doing much better. She said the bike fit has ended her knee pain, she’s feeling much better on the bike, and is performing much better. We ended up with her riding about 35 miles at a 14 mph pace. She has not had a bike computer, so has had no idea how fast she’s been riding. I got in front of her and set the pace, and she did great following and keeping up. I think Alyssa has helped her get a computer on her bike, so I’m anxious to see how she does next week.
We have done only two builds for the East Coast ride, but we continue to ride and talk to whomever we come in contact with, trying to meet our $200,000 goal for 2012. Everything we do seems to have a purpose, even if we don’t realize what the purpose is at the time. 
Joining us today are Karen (Toolie), and a tandem couple, Heidi and Scott. One or two more riders will join us before we take off Monday morning. We have a day off tomorrow to rest before the last week of the East Coast ride; 6 straight days of riding to hit Key West. It seems to be ending too soon, even before it has ended. Five weeks of riding and 2,000 miles doesn’t seem as intense as last year’s ride, and I rode only one more week last year than this year. I think the emotion involved with the van accident last year made that ride very meaningful to me, and the bonding more significant. I’ll have to reevaluate that at the end of the ride.
We ended today’s ride with lunch provided by the church, and all went out for pizza tonight for dinner. It’s been another beautiful day of riding, all for the purpose of helping people. We’re now watching a documentary DVD on The Race Across America before bedtime.
Peace ...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 20 riding ...

St. Simons, GA to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Staying at Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church
107 miles today, average pace 15.2 mph
Mostly flat with some bridges to climb over
107 miles and 7 hours pedaling, plus a ferry ride, and four van stops, means that we were out on the road for a long time today. The morning ride was very pleasant, starting before daylight, watching a colorful sunrise. Near the end of the third segment today we got a heavy rain that completely soaked us, so we rode with wet riding shorts for the last 40 miles. The rain showers lasted about 45 minutes, then went past us. On the last segment, after a short ferry ride, it got warm, warm, warm, to the tune of over 100 F. All in all, another day riding to help people live in a decent home.
And here we are ... in the last state of the East Coast adventure!

We had a lively older guy directing us on the ferry, kidding with us, and of course, we were carrying on with him. As the riders were riding off the ferry, he was blowing kisses to all the girls. I was last off, and as he turned to blow me a kiss, he put his hand down, but I was ready for him and blew him a kiss, which made him start jumping up and down saying, “No! No!” laughing and turning away from me. That was worth 107 miles today all by itself!
The YMCA showers were only a short walk from the church, after which we enjoyed dinner provided by the congregation, and a presentation during which Maranda, Carmen, and I spoke. We only had about a dozen people, but they were very receptive, asking questions about the ride, and also about the covenant partner opportunity in Jacksonville, that is ready to go, needing only a few people to step up and be willing to work it.
Tomorrow, only about an 85-mile day to get us to Daytona Beach, FL, which is Bud’s home. We’re looking forward to meeting his family, who just may be waiting for us with chocolate milk and maybe other goodies. Then we have a day off Sunday, followed by our last week, with six days of riding to get us to Key West.
Lights out tonight at 9:30 again, with another breakfast time tomorrow of 5 AM.
Peace ...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 18 riding ... another reunion

June 19, 2012
Yemassee, SC to Savannah, GA
Staying at First Presbyterian Church
57.1 miles today, average 14.1 mph
Flat again
A nice leisurely ride again, only 57 miles of flat. Lots of bumps in the roads today, but not much traffic. The bumps get very tiring after a few miles, but nothing compared to some family needing a decent place to live.
I rode a lot with Hailey yesterday and today. She is one nice young lady, and very dedicated to helping people. Just a pleasure to be around, riding and otherwise.
We had TV crews from Savannah waiting for us at the church, so we grouped up about 8 miles from the church and all rode to the church together, with the camera rolling. Allen did his usual great job in the TV interview. As the crew filmed all of us taking our bikes around the church, I told them to make way for the old geezer. The cameraman offhandedly said he was older than me, so of course I had to verify by asking if he was older than 70. His mouth dropped open, he said, “no way.” The crew had wrapped things up by then, but the cameraman told the young reporter to get a mike on me, and I ended up doing an interview with them also.
Tomorrow morning Allen, Maranda and I will be on a live TV talk show on WTOC here in Savannah. (Since this is being posted after the fact, you can find the interview on YouTube, )
Krystal and Michael joined us for dinner, and took us for a tour of Savannah. I’m thrilled about seeing them again, and spending some time with them. We walked to downtown, which was farther than most of us realized, a good hike, and then back to the church. Savannah has an interesting history, including having been the main port for receiving slaves to sell. 
***A chocolate malt at this famous ice cream place in downtown Savannah called Leopold’s, gets a 4 because it was just like drinking chocolate milk, except they actually had malt to put in it. A big disappointment, especially after I asked a worker if they knew how to make thick malts, and she basically did not bother to respond. Some of the others looked much thicker, but mine was not. So sad for me.
Michael and Krystal took me to their new home to spend the night. They just bought the house about 3 months ago, and have been changing a few things, like painting, etc., to make it their own. It’s so nice, and will soon be even nicer with their touches. They have a huge backyard, with all kinds of gardens, trees, plants, etc. I even got some sloppy kisses in the morning from their three dogs. A real good night: a bed, clean sheets, a real pillow, and a fluffy towel (not high tech like we use daily). 
June 20 ... day off ...
Next day Michael was up and off to work early, and I enjoyed breakfast with Krystal. In the afternoon, riders split up; some went to town with a church member, and Emmalilly and I went with Krystal and Michael to lunch and the beach -- a really great afternoon. We all enjoyed dinner and a presentation at the church, while Krystal and Michael took our laundry to wash, dry, and press; what a nice surprise. Then, another big surprise: Krystal and Michael brought out a birthday cake while everyone sang. (Hmmm-since this is the second birthday cake, I hope I’ m not 71 already!)
All in all, a great stop, in a great city, with a great couple. (Krystal and Michael rode a tandem bike for their honeymoon on last year’s FCBA , having met on the Fuller Ride in 2009.)
Day 19 riding....
June 21, 2012
Savannah, GA to St. Simons, GA
Staying at St. Williams Catholic Church
85.32 miles today, average 16.2 mph
First 26 miles at 17.1 mph; second 20 miles at 19.2 mph
Flat (elevation gain 558 ft)
I was riding strong for most of the day today and then dropped off for the last 40 miles. Bud and I were riding together for most of the day. He slowed down enough that I could keep up, and we were leading the ride for most of the way because we were not staying at the van stop very long, ‘cause we both wanted to beat the heat. 
Allen and Carmen swept today, and weren’t that far behind getting to the church. The van was a little late, because they got lost, not once, but twice, making me think the sweeps were really far back. 
Four of us went for a Chick-fil-A lunch before going for showers. The showers were at the terrific St. Simons Health and Fitness Club. 
***Then we all went for yogurt. Yuck, not ice cream. Of course, I had already had a chocolate shake at Chick-fil-A, which was not bad. They basically use the soft ice cream machine and add some chocolate, so I enjoyed a very thick shake, with good flavor, which I will rate a 7, because somehow I am not offended that this type place does not have malt.
Ryan and Becky went home after the yogurt stop, following Ryan’s and Allen’s filming of the announcement of next year’s ride. We don’t have dates yet, but the ride will be another 9-week ride of 3,600 miles, starting in Savannah, GA, ending in Vancouver, B.C. We’ll also be doing the spring ride again, same place (Natchez Trace Parkway), and are waiting for dates.
A lazy evening tonight. We have a nice place to sleep, but are not allowed to use the kitchen to cook, so we just heated pasta we made yesterday, for dinner. For breakfast the menu calls for cold cereal. And after that breakfast we’ll make an early start to try to beat the heat for our ride tomorrow of 105 miles.
Peace ...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 17 riding ...

Charleston, SC to Yemassee, SC
Staying at Yemassee Town Center
62.2 miles today, average 15.8 mph
Flat again
Yemassee, SC has one gas station with a convenience store. It also has a cafe with wifi, but it was not open. This town is so boring, even I took a short nap after lunch. The Yemassee Town Center is an old cinder block building, with very small bathrooms, a small kitchen with no utensils, and NO showers available. It does have a garden hose for our use, but it seems like most of us are using the cold water sink to sponge off. 
Only two van stops today at miles 20 and 40, and after 62 miles it hardly seemed like we did any riding. The new guy, Bud, is another "geezer wannabe," but needs lots more years to get there. He is, however, a very strong rider and is fitting in very nicely. Hailey was a little worried about keeping up, but she rode like a champ today. Nice to have her along again.
Maranda is doing homework, but almost everyone else is taking a nice, long nap. We are in a shady area, and Hailey put up a hammock for her nap out under the trees. Not sure I would be able to get out of the hammock if I were to ever attempt getting in!
Tomorrow, Savannah, GA and another reunion, this time with Krystal and Michael, who have promised to meet up with us. They are not riding, but live in Savannah so will hopefully join us for a meal at least. We also have a day off in Savannah, followed by rides of 80, 105, and 80 miles, so we’ll be doing some good riding.
We are cooking tonight with very limited choices; instead maybe we should get chicken at the convenience store in town? Later.

Must let you know that Allen has reached new heights on this trip. Tonight he told me that although I was 'pretty,' he did not want to move his bed next to mine. More, later?
Peace ...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 16 riding ... and day off

Surfside, SC to Charleston, SC
Staying at Trinity United Methodist Church
96 miles today, average 16.6 mph
Flat again
Reunion ...

First, the important stuff.
***We stopped at Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop and they didn’t have malt, so again I had to settle for a shake. Good consistency, good flavor, not as thick as it should be, but, NO MALT? The employee said they do not have enough call for it!?! But, this is a major ice cream chain!! Hummph! Only a rating of 6 when it should have been a 7 or more.

Another great day of riding. The ‘kids’ made my day by waiting and calling for me to lead the paceline again, when I was waiting for them to get going again so I could fall in behind. So off we go again for our third day of about 95 miles in a row.

I led the group out of the city until the traffic thinned and the frequent side roads disappeared. Then I was able to set a steady pace, and it was safe for a paceline to function. I had Carmen right behind me, and Kelsey (Kiwi) third behind me, so I decided to peel off instead of leading all the way for this first 25 miles. Carmen did a great job of pulling, even increasing the pace, and she pulled for a good while. Then Christian was next, and he pulled and soon pealed off so that Kelsey could lead. Kiwi also did a terrific job of pulling, maintaining a nice steady pace for the rest of us. A good experience for a couple of new riders who seemed pleased with the opportunity.

The rest of the day I was riding up front with Alex, Maranda, and Christian. They were kind enough to set a pace that I could maintain. I was dropped for a few miles, until they had to stop to check that it was the correct place to turn, so I caught up again and they let me stay with them. After the last van stop Maranda stayed back to ride with others, and it was just Alex, Christian, and me. About 8 miles out or so, they dropped me again, so I rode to the church by myself, up and over the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere, the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge.
And here we all are, relaxing in Charleston.

My knee has been better since I got my saddle back where it should be. Still bothersome, but better. A nice benefit of the location we are staying is a bike shop right across the street, so a number of the riders were able to take advantage of some needed repairs and supplies. The shop did not have Butt Butter, and I am just about out. Another bike shop visit is planned for the afternoon, so i'm hopeful I can replenish there.

We all ate out at a local restaurant that was recommended by a couple I was talking to in the bike store. Only a block away from the church, and we were early for dinner, so we beat having to wait in line. Good southern food for hungry riders: okra, fried green tomatoes that I actually tried, (the movie of same name was much better than the actual tomatoes), corn bread, etc.

The best surprise was after dinner! Hailey was joining us, and my good buddy Anne Troyer drove her here. What a terrific surprise. A very nice reunion because Anne and Alyssa are best friends, and we all went out for banana pudding and good times. Too bad Anne can't stay to ride with us, but Hailey will be with us for the next week, so the nails will soon be happening. Too bad Brian had to leave, I think he was "man enough" to do the nail paint as well.

So today's Sunday, an off day, and it started out beautifully for me with lots of "father's day" hugs and wishes. What a blessing these riders are! And, all these riders have only about 60 miles to ride on Monday. I love it, ONLY a 60-mile day.

Peace ...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 15 riding ...

Wilmington, NC to Surfside, SC

Staying at Trinity Presbyterian Church
95 miles today, average 14.3 mph
Flat terrain again 
Alex and I were sweeping
For devotion today I read Matthew's blog "Cycling and Church ~ Sharing Leadership."  I suggested it applied to our bike adventure, as well as to life. We’re all helping each other, doing the best we can, and then we can also apply it to our everyday life.
Alex and I were the sweeps today. All went well, no flat tires, or problems sweeping. Well, we did have to wait a long time at our last van stop while some of the riders had to take a walk to the beach and go wading, while we were stuck at the van waiting for them. Hmmmph!? As it turned out, they left as a group of about 6, leaving us behind, promptly got lost, and ended up riding over 100 miles instead of the 95 they should have ridden. All in all, another nice day for riding and serving. 
We just found out that Alex will be leaving us again at the end of this week. He was trying to raise enough money to ride the rest of the way, but hasn’t been able to, and doesn’t want to go in debt to his parents and have to pay them back after the trip. He said, "I'm only 17, I have the rest of my life to do this again.” And we will welcome him back at any time.
Martha left soon after arriving at the church. Her parents were here waiting for her, so she got cleaned up and off she went. I greatly enjoyed meeting her folks, and was glad to be able to tell them what a fine young lady she is, totally delightful to ride with and be around.
I’m looking forward to Hailey being back on this adventure this weekend. She should have The Nail Polish with her, to keep the tradition going! We’re talking about doing Allen's nails when he’s asleep (but don't tell him, ‘cause we want it to be a surprise).
We were served a great dinner at the church again: chicken, pasta, salad, etc. And, hot fudge and cookies for dessert. Lots of laughter, and attempts to make plans to possibly go hiking together next year, but first we need the route and/or dates of next year’s Fuller Bike Adventure.
Waiting for laundry to get done so I have dry jammies for tonight.
Peace ...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 14 riding ... it’s not about the bike?

Kinston, NC to Wilmington, NC

Staying at St. James Episcopal Church
94 miles today, average mph 16.7
Pretty flat riding
Lance Armstrong wrote a great book called It’s Not About the Bike - My Journey Back to Life. Lance survived some very serious cancer, and has become influential in helping find a cure for cancer. Like Lance’s book title, we often talk about this bike ride as not being about the bike, but about helping people and spreading the word about The Fuller Center.
Well, for me today, it was a lot about the bike ride, and the people I am riding with. We had finished our morning circle of sharing and prayer, and the riders were a little slow getting ready to ride. I finally pushed off, with Kelsey (Kiwi) close behind me. I was riding leisurely on the way out of town, kind of waiting for the faster riders to catch up and take over the lead. As we made our last turn and hit the open highway, with a nice shoulder most of the time, I was still leading the group and all but the sweeps had caught up and were in line. I was feeling good about myself, and kicked my speed up and started riding between 16 to 20 mph, looking in my mirror wondering why nobody was taking over. Mile after mile, I, grandpa, continued to lead a paceline of 11 riders. It was totally blowing my mind - looking back and seeing all those riders I was pulling, them letting me pull them. Our first stop was to be 25 miles out, and I kept looking back at Kelsey and was totally amazed that she was right on my tail, as this was a faster pace than she has ridden up to this time. I can’t begin to explain how totally awesome this was to me, just watching her keep up, and everybody else letting me pull. I began thinking about Carmen, as she has been the slowest rider in the group. And there she was, keeping up behind me, along with all the others. What an amazing ride. After what seemed to be the fastest, easiest, and most fun ride I have been on, we finally rolled into the rest stop, just over 25 miles out. I hollered at Kelsey and then at Carmen as they both rolled in, that they both totally rocked it. Some of the riders said, “nice going, gramps.” I checked my computer and saw that we had averaged 16.3 mph! I especially had to congratulate both Kelsey and Carmen on doing a great job of riding.
We left the stop and started riding, with me in the lead again for a few miles, when I pulled out and let Alex pull for a while. Well, that was the last I saw of Alex. Some of the other riders kicked up the pace, and I stayed with Maranda and Kelsey C for a while at a faster pace. We were rocking pretty good about 22 mph, but I finally had to drop off, still pushing, but not able to keep up with them.
After the second van stop, I took off again, with six of the gals following me, at the front of another paceline. Soon we’re off the busier roads and out in the country. I’m riding at a fairly easy pace, maybe 14 or 15 mph, and we are starting to bunch up on this empty stretch of backroad. The gals started singing, and we ride probably 12 or more miles with the songs coming and going. I did notice, and told them, that when the singing started, the pace slowed down; when the singing stopped, the pace picked back up again. I also told them that I hadn’t had this much fun since I was in the girl scouts as a kid. So as we are finishing this 20 mile stretch I realize that I have been smiling and laughing, mainly laughing, the last 15 miles or so. What a fun ride!
Off we go on the last 20 miles of our ride, and it is Maranda, Kelsey C, and me. I’m leading for a while, we traded off for a while, but then Maranda pulled us for most of the rest of the way, and she was setting a nice pace that I could keep up with. A beautiful finish to a great ride.
After settling in at the church and getting our showers, a group of us headed downtown for some food, and of course, a chocolate malt. 
***The malt was very good, but it was too thin to use two straws (like a spoon) to scoop it up into my mouth. They used real ice cream, but I forgot to request it, and they didn’t ask if I wanted chocolate ice cream, or vanilla ice cream with syrup. All in all I still have to give it a 6.5 rating, for a good effort. 
Back to church for a great dinner, and then thinking about getting ready for another 90 plus mile day tomorrow.
Peace ...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 13 riding.... and build day....

Ahoskie, NC to Kinston, NC
87 miles (I didn't get lost so this should be close)

Rain, rain, go away - geezerman is so sweet he might melt away! We made it to our first stop at about 25 miles, but before we left it started to rain. Mostly drizzle until the second stop, when it started to pour. Three of us took shelter in the van until it slowed to just a light rain, then we took off. Martha, Amy, and I rode in the rain most of the day. Occasionally it cleared, we actually had some sun very briefly, but mostly had various degrees of rain from very light to quite heavy. We thought about shelter only once, but wanted to keep going because we had heard the forecast for thunderstorms to start early afternoon. We can ride in rain, but not with lightning.

Just before the last van stop my bike computer shut down. I had a weak battery warning earlier, but it just quit. Luckily, James had a charger cord in the van, and he charged it for the time we were at the stop, which was enough to get us to the evening stop.

We are staying at "The Perry Fun Farm" which is a recreation lodge for fishing, hunting, etc. They have many taxidermy mounts on the walls, a nice large pond and dock out back, peacocks, and I’m sure many other things to see. But, since the weather is still not terrific, I’ll have to explore later. We have six bunk beds to use, plus sofas, a double bed, and lots of floor space. We also have access to a shower, which saves transporting us to the YMCA, or some other place. They will be cooking for us tonight -- pulled pork has been mentioned. Yummy!

Wednesday, build day 2....

***Chocolate malt in Kinston, NC rated only a 2. They did not have malt! Now, how difficult is it to have a jar of malt sitting on the shelf to toss in? So, anyway, I settled for a milk shake, which was like drinking chocolate milk. I rated it a 2 because it was cold and had chocolate in it.

The local affiliate is getting a house ready for a family with children who need a safe home. The husband of the family is a migrant worker, and the wife stays home and takes in migrant children, while their parents follow the crops from field to field. We helped build a front and rear railing for their porches, did some painting inside, worked on stairs for the rear porch, installed some deadbolts, and picked up and delivered a fridge, a stove, and a dishwasher to be installed later. This family will have a nice, affordable home that will cost them less than $10,000, and they will be able to continue doing so much good helping other folks.

The Perry family and the people surrounding them here in North Carolina are simply awesome. Jimbo is the head of this beautiful Perry family, and listening to the many projects they are involved with is simply heartwarming. They seem to be well off, but live simply, and extend a helping hand in many directions. God’s at work thru this wonderful family.

Peace …

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 12 riding....

Williamsburg, VA to Ahoskie, NC
Staying at St. Thomas Episcopal Church
95 miles, including a wrong turn
Pretty flat riding

How exciting, riding the Jamestown Ferry. There must be a song or something about the Jamestown Ferry; sounds familiar to me. We all boarded the ferry about 6 miles from Williamsburg (minus the sweeps, because Miranda had a flat tire). My GPS bike computer keeps on logging the miles, so I think I logged an extra 2.5 miles while riding the ferry, and I'm going to count them!

I was one of the last to get off the ferry, and hung back to ride with Carmen, because the sweeps would be at least a half hour behind her. Once they caught up I took off for a little faster pace. Alex was riding with the sweeps, but decided to start riding with me. He stuck with me the whole way, and we had a nice ride together.

We had a road blocked and the leaders took a detour, but the detour was not chalked properly. The new guy did not know to put our FC initials with the chalk arrow, plus his first time he made a different type of arrow, so Alex and I decided that it was not our chalk turn and kept going (our mistake). Bicycles could easily navigate the blocked turn so we just kept following the original route.

The net result of this was that we missed the last rest/resupply stop, and ended up riding 40 miles with no stop. I did make a quick stop for some gatorade, but that was all. When the sweeps reached the last van stop, since we had not been there, they waited about half an hour for us to appear. Finally Allen was able to let them know we had passed them. A bummer for the sweeps.

St.Thomas prepared dinner for us, and Allen asked me to speak during our presentation after dinner. I enjoy speaking, especially if I can get a rhythm going with some enthusiasm. We are playing on my age factor to help promote our mission, and I like it, and make fun of it, comparing myself to the "kids." Tonight I told everybody that I'm along to give the kids practice caring for an old person so they will be ready to help their parents/grandparents when the time comes.

Another long ride tomorrow, to points south. Beaches in the forecast.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Time to get serious....

A few of us got up this morning on our day off, and tried to find breakfast, but nothing was open early enough for us to get back for church at 8:15. On the way back from the breakfast attempt, I saw and photographed a goshawk that appeared to be injured. I called 911, and they said they would send animal control out to investigate. Since I had to go into church, and couldn't wait, animal control was not able to find the hawk. I wish I could have waited to see if they could have helped the hawk, but since 911 said nothing about a rehabilitation facility, I doubt they would have been of help.

Since today was a day off, we have been doing some chores, like cleaning the van and trailer. You know, just fun stuff.

So, now for the serious part. Yesterday we arrived and walked into town for lunch, had dinner prepared for us here, and then went back to town for some ice cream. I'm going to start a rating system for ice cream, specifically chocolate malts. It will be a simple 0 to 10 rating, with 0 being terrible, and 10 as good as it gets. The rating will consist of: flavor, thickness, lumpy or not, how well the malt is mixed in, real ice cream or soft serve.
*** So, the first rating goes to Dairy Queen in Willamantic, CT which gets a 1. The 1 is a stretch, and only because it was cold and wet.
*** The second rating goes to Tappahannock, VA and it gets a 7. It would have been a higher rating, but they didn't mix the malt in very well. It was bunched at the bottom.
*** The third rating goes to Williamsburg, VA and it gets a 5. It was not very thick, it was lumpy with the ice cream, and not much malt flavor. I was wondering if they even put the malt in. Stay tuned for more ratings! (I know you're thrilled and excited for the next installment.)
Alex (who was with us for a week), Brian (who is ending his second week), and Patrick (who was riding for two days), all left today. They will be missed! Martha joined us yesterday, and we welcome Christian and Amy today.

For lunch today Martha took Carmen and me to a local sandwich shop; others went to Subway. Go figure, some people, I mean, 'cause you can get Subway anyplace, and this local Virginia ham sandwich was very, very, very good.

Maranda has been working on her master's on this trip, and she just finished a live class on the Internet, with a lot of us joining in and helping (???) her with questions and helping move the broadcast along. It was fun watching, and participating.

Peace ...