12mph America At The Speed Of Sanity

31Jul/051

Cowan Lake State Park, OH

Well our biking wonder~~Steve, arrived in Cowan Lake State Park about an hour ago. His travels took him from Richmond, Indiana to Cowan Lake, logging 72.7 miles. Crossing into the Eastern Time Zone today, he realized that having started a little later actually put him into camp an extra hour later by the clock. Cowan Lake is southeast of Dayton and northeast of Cincinnati. The one drawback for the night is that he is in the flight pattern for incoming jets to Cincinnati Airport. Welcome to the wilds of a more populated area, right?

When I asked what he wanted to share with others about his day, he said, "It is definitely busier. There's a lot more traffic and more people. And it is hillier once again. Ohio seems to have even more trees than Indiana." This evening's sleep will serve as a stark contrast to the June night in Jeffrey City, Wyoming, which is registered as an honest-to-goodness ghost town. The only sign of life there was the grazing pronghorn antelope near his campsite the next morning! He also said that when he looked at his Ohio map this morning, he decided to head towards Lebanon as it was not printed in bold on the map, meaning it was a smaller town. Well, 17,000 population IS large!! Also comparing the maps of Wyoming to Ohio, Sweetwater Junction was listed in small print on the Wyoming map and was actually a junction in the road with a gas station and rest area. I guess it's a matter of the masses squeezing into less space.

Steve also indicated that he's experiencing a smidgen of physical and mental fatigue. While he has moved up his finale in Yorktown, Virginia to either Monday, August 15 or Tuesday, August 16, he hopes to take a rest day when he rolls into Parkersburg, Ohio in a few days. We just want him to remain healthy and safe. I admire all that he's accomplished so far, having logged around 3,800 miles. He needs to keep up his stamina and concentration. Thanks for all of your prayers, good thoughts, and emails of encouragement. He said that he feels quite humbled and indebted to everyone.

~~Love, Diane

30Jul/051

Richmond, IN

After riding 86 miles today, Steve decided to stop in Richmond, Indiana. Looking at the map, he's only a few miles from entering Ohio. Today he missed a turn on the American Discovery Trail (ADT) and ended up riding on U.S. Route 35, which had wonderfully paved 2 foot wide shoulders. By continuing on Route 35, he cut off probably 15 miles from his route and nearly 2 hours of riding time. When he gets into Ohio, the ADT twists and turns, making it a 511 ride across the state. I would wager at this point in the game that he's rethinking the ADT and formulating a more direct route. Once into Ohio he'll purchase a more detailed map with county roads listed and determine his plan.

Also, you've likely heard the saying that "once a horse senses home, it takes off for the barn." Steve said that he's picking up speed and is very compelled to do the same thing. He just discovered that our family in Charlottesville is going on vacation soon too. We don't want to miss them, so this is another reason for him to pick up his pace. For those friends and family members in Pennsylvania and Maryland, stay tuned for an update on his schedule! We'd still love to see you all...perhaps after he's done???

This evening he's in a Days Inn and feels good after a great day of riding. Indiana's been very pretty, but he said that he's ready for Ohio now! O.....HI..O

~~ Toodles, Diane

29Jul/050

Marion, IN

After a long day of riding 94 miles, Steve called about 6:15 this evening to let us know he made his goal of Marion, Indiana tonight. He was actually placing his call from a diner down the street from the little motel where he'll be staying. Feeling calorie-starved from his ride, he didn't even stop to shower or change after acquiring his room, but instead headed straight to a food source. They will be happy to see him walk into their establishment with his ravenous appetite accompanying him!! The guy eats like a teenage boy again, consuming nearly everything in sight. I believe he's lost about 18 pounds and is basically a lean machine, but still he's disappointed that the middle aged mid-section refuses to leave.

While he's continuing his trek eastward on the American Discovery Trail, he did venture off the route a bit today onto another county road. Despite being somewhat flat terrain similar to Northern Illinois, the roads are tree-lined instead making a tunnel effect as he rides along. He said that it was a very pretty ride today. The temperatures were in the upper 80s and the humidity level was quite bearable. All in all he's experienced great riding conditions since leaving Batavia on Tuesday. Tomorrow he will be entering Ohio as part of his day. Indiana being narrow made the trip fairly quick across the state. It's quite a comparison to Oregon, Wyoming, and Nebraska with their wider girths.

I slipped over to church to see the VBS skit put on by the high school kids and much to might delight I saw several of my preschoolers who are attending VBS this week. What fun to see them and see how much they've grown! All of these little ones move along to kindergarten in a few weeks. And, several of the high school youth will be off to college in less than a month, so they too move along. It was great to reconnect with all of them.

Steph and I had an enjoyable bike ride this evening. We had Steph's friend, Monte, over for dinner and relaxed over our meal on the deck without nagging mosquitoes (one benefit of the drought here). The windows are open and a cool breeze is wafting through the house. Whew...it's a real contrast to last weekend. --- Ya' all have a nice weekend! Love, Diane

28Jul/050

Winamac, IN

Steve and Jeremy again enjoyed some delightful riding weather today. They left Manteno, IL and rode across county roads into Indiana. This afternoon I drove to meet them at the junction of Indiana Route 10 and I-65 to pick up Jeremy and bring him back to his place in Batavia. He rode 42 miles with Steve today. Steve was so pleased to have the last few days of riding with his son. I know that Jeremy was happy to have the vacation time to join him. Yesterday it was fun riding with them and seeing the two of them together. It brings back warm memories of the two of them riding in July 1997 during their first RAGBRAI across Iowa and of times we've ridden as a family.

It was tough to say "see you later" to my hubby this afternoon as he rode on by himself. Thank goodness Jeremy was there to give me support. I'm so happy for Steve that his dream is coming true and that he's having such an incredible summer. BUT 🙂 I do admit that it's tough watching him ride away and out of sight. We're hoping to meet up in about 2 1/2 weeks again. For him I just pray for safety, good health, continued physical stamina, and a great experience.

After Jeremy and I left for home, Steve rode eastward, ending in Winamac, Indiana and logging a total of 81.1 miles. This evening he's hanging his hat....er...helmet at the Indian Head Motel for the night. Earlier possibilities (but not serious ones) were two nudist colony campgrounds in Indiana!! Whew!! Luckily there were high fences! And thank goodness for other more viable options down the road....granted it was 40 more miles down the road.

He's currently riding on the American Discovery Trail and will follow it as much as he can across the rest of Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia. The American Discovery Trail covers over 6,800 miles and runs across 15 different states. The Trail includes some Rails to Trails, towpaths, and country roads that are typically less traveled ones. What's nice about these country roads is that they veer off the beaten path providing a nice interaction with the surroundings and less of a need to watch for heavy traffic. This trail promotes non-motorized travel including hiking, backpacking, biking, or horseback riding. People have actually hiked over 5,000 miles on it!! Wow.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying an 11 day hiatus from traveling and being back at home. Despite the great adventure of traveling this summer, the bills need to be paid, the mail needs to be addressed (there is way too much junk mail in this world), the van needs to be serviced, and the flower beds need some extra nurturing. The best part of being back at home is to spend time with Jeremy and Stephanie. This reprieve also gives me a chance to make some phone calls to friends here, go out for coffee or lunch with some of them, bike ride in familiar surroundings, and reconnect briefly with some of the kids in our high school and college ministries at church. And, Zaney the cat is taking full advantage of extra lap time! -- 'Til tomorrow.....Diane

27Jul/050

Two More Kind Newspapers

Today's Kane County Chronicle (July 27, 2005) had a nice feature highlighting Steve's trip. I was able to access the article on-line going to this link: Kane County Chronicle and under NEWS SEARCH on the right side of the page type in Steve's first and last name. It'll come up as "Batavian rides at his own pace." Then click on that headline to get to the article. We are grateful to Eric Schelkopf at the Kane County Chronicle for doing this feature on Steve and his trip.

Also, last week when we traveled through Belle Plaine, Iowa, my hometown, Judy Schlesselman of the Belle Plaine Union interviewed us. The Union is a weekly newspaper and so Steve's interview is featured in this week's July 27th Union. You may access that article by going to: Belle Plaine Union. At the home page click on Belle Plaine Union, then click on the article entitled, "Biking Across America." We appreciate Judy's article for the Union.

We hope that these articles on Steve's ride will inspire others to strive for a goal of their own, perhaps bicycling or something of their own interest. Many other countries in the world observe shorter work days, encourage vacations, and in Australia they even take "walkabouts" where people will take perhaps up to a year off to "walkabout" as a time to travel and contemplate. Or perhaps its a great weekend getaway to your favorite bustling city or the serene countryside? Or will it involve a new hobby? Any other ideas?--- Love, Diane

27Jul/050

Manteno, IL

Steve and Jeremy arrived into Manteno right around noon today and will make that their stopping point. They rode 40 miles of which 15 miles was on Old Plank Road Trail. Mark, a friend from Steve's company, and I arrived in New Lenox around 7:30 this morning so we could ride with Steve and Jeremy. We decided to ride the 15 miles to the end of the trail with them and then head back. It was one of the most pleasant 30 mile bike rides that I've experienced in awhile. It was refreshing to be off of roads and enjoying a paved trail for a change. We especially liked riding through Frankfort with its attractive park and downtown situated along the bike trail. They've taken the old Frankfort Granery and made it into a collection of little shops! We crossed Harlem and Cicero Avenues where they went through sururban neighborhoods rather than through heavily traveled urban and industrial areas to which we're accustomed further into Chicago. Plus we went beneath I-57 as cars raced on the pavement overhead. How nice it is to be on a bicycle!!

The weather was heavenly this morning with a cool breeze, sunshine, and mild temperatures for July. The forecasted high today is 75 so I know that the guys are counting their blessings for the break in the heat wave. Tomorrow Jeremy and Steve will be heading south and east into Indiana, where I will pick up Jeremy at some point. Then he'll need to get back and change the Illinois map on the website to blue!! -- Happy Trails. Diane

26Jul/050

New Lenox, IL

After two days off Steve was back on the bike again this morning. We had a late start, leaving around 10:30. Jeremy's friend, Frank, rode 10 miles with the guys and I just rode to North Aurora to see them on their way. Steve said it was a little different still being in Chicagoland even after riding 46 miles. He and Jeremy are in a motel in New Lenox this evening. They were relieved to have the heat wave behind them and looking forward to the milder temperatures over the next few days. We had rain today, which was very, very welcomed. With everything parched, it was nice to have a reprieve from the heat and beating sun. -- Toodles, Diane

25Jul/051

Updated and Ready to Go!

Well, between Jeremy, Steve, Stephanie, and I we have finally updated this website. Click on "The Map" above to find out Steve's daily progress including the name of the town in which he stopped and the mileage for that day. Jeremy updated those today for everyone. As Jeremy's time allows, he'll continue updating "The Map" and the mileage count on the right of the page under "His Progress".

Both Steve and I have added more photos. Fortunately for me I have a great tech-teacher in Steph as she gave me pointers on uploading. Please note that our photos pretty much go in reverse order chronologically...plus throw in the fact that I'm a novice at this....and you get to see the end result. In order to see captions, please click on "Steve's Photos" or "Diane's Photos" at the top of the page.

If you would like to make a reply comment to one of our postings, scroll to the bottom of that particular posting and click on the "No Comment" or "1 Comment", etc. (No Comment means that no one has published a reply comment, 1 Comment means that one person has, etc.) You can then enter your email address and write your reply message to us. Your email address does not get published, only your reply comment.

Both Jeremy and Steve have been busy cleaning up their bicycles and looking over the map for the next few days. Steve heads back out on the trail tomorrow morning with Jeremy through Thursday. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures from Steve's Trans-America bicycle ride. -- Love, Diane

24Jul/050

Daily Herald Interviews the Felt’s

Hello from Batavia. We had a very pleasant interview around our dining room table yesterday afternoon with Mark Foster of the Daily Herald. We appreciate the nice article that he wrote for us and if you'd like to check it out, go to this link: Daily Herald.

The last couple of days we've enjoyed catching up with neighbors and friends. We also spent most of today with Jeremy and Stephanie. Jeremy had us over to his place for dinner this afternoon and this evening we went to the movie, "Fantastic Four". It was a great flick and we recommend it as a nice form of entertainment this summer. Since it was over 100 degrees today, it was also nice to stay inside where it was cool. Plus, Steve's bike, "The Beast", took a much needed reprieve in the garage today! -- Love, Diane

23Jul/050

Batavia Welcome

Well, Steve's back at home for a couple of days. Out in Mendota this morning, he was met by several friends from church, Jeff & Irene, and Jean, who rode the 64 miles to Batavia with him. Our friend Karen rode a few miles out near Kaneville. Jeremy rode from Kaneville into Batavia and I rode 30 miles. Steve enjoyed riding with everyone and coming home in that fashion. In town we were welcomed by Stephanie (who drove the support vehicle with Gatorade, fruit, and granola bars) and two other friends from church, Ann and Nancy. Thanks for the great welcome home everyone!!! Now it's time to shower, eat some lunch, and absorb the fact that we're home for a little bit! -- Love, Diane