12mph America At The Speed Of Sanity

20Aug/051

Settling In

Well, I feel that we're just beginning to be "settling in" again. Yesterday we pried ourselves from our house after arriving home the night before and nearly kissing the ground of "home". We walked to town and back to Panera Bread for an easy breakfast, cup of coffee, and read the Chicago Tribune. Ah...this feels more like our routine! (Batavia is experiencing bridge closings due to road construction and we're finding that sometimes it is much easier and obviously better for us to just walk the mile and a half each way.)

I wanted to say that after leaving Jean and Mike's in Bethesda, we enjoyed lunch with our friends Don and Vanice. Don and Steve are friends from high school days and then they both went to Iowa State and lived on the same dorm floor. We were discussing with them and two other friends, who we saw over the summer from the Last Man's Club, that we need to get together next summer for our 30th reunion.

From Bethesda we drove onto Paoli, Pennsylvania to enjoy an overnight stay with Rob, Holly, Tim, and Brent. We've known them for 25 years after meeting in a babysitting co-op when our Jeremy and their Matt were almost one. Despite their moving from the Chicago area to Pennsylvania 17 years ago, we still remain in close contact and it's always good to spend even a little time together. It's hard to believe that the 25 years have flown by so quickly.

From Paoli, Steve and I drove along Route 30 through the Amish countryside in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania thinking we'd experience pristine farms dotting the very green and beautiful farmlands throughout the countryside with an occasional buggy. Well....Lancaster County tourism has certainly capitalized on the Amish way of life, only except for the occasional Amish shop, shopping areas now remind one of strip malls or "one stop shopping" areas complete with buggy rides. After we suffered a flat tire in York and replaced two tires at Sears, we decided it was time to get on the Turnpike to head westward to Ligonier and avoid the traffic and congestion of Amish territory.

In Ligonier we stayed with my cousin Linda and her husband John. They invited my cousin David and his wife Peggy and their daughter's boyfriend for dinner. We enjoyed dining on their deck and watching the nearly full moon make its appearance. This was our last stop to visit family and friends across the country, and we enjoyed a wonderful sleep in John and Linda's luxury R.V. What a contrast it was to our little tent and sleeping bags that we own for our recreational gear!

So, it is Saturday and time to continue unpacking and putting things back where they belong. The travel information that I've collected sits in bags on the dining room floor beckoning for some organization. The dozens of photos are either uploaded in the computer or awaiting to be done in our digital cameras. Thoughts keep racing through our minds on what to write and share with others. And, the clock keeps ticking as we get closer to our return to work. Promise that more will come as I know that Steve especially has much to revisit. -- Love, Diane

18Aug/050

We ARE Home!!!

Hi everyone! Steve and I arrived home fifteen minutes ago. Steph was in the process of putting up the Welcome Home Steve banner when we pulled up. Several neighbors were out in their yards and came over to welcome us home too. Bob and Lois put together a bicycle display and signs, plus Lois made a peanut butter and chocolate cookie the size of a pizza pan for us. Yum!!

We left Ligonier, Pennsylvania this morning and drove 11 hours to Batavia. We are relieved to be back at home. We are very, very grateful that God watched over us and provided a safe trip. We are starved as we skipped dinner to make it home before dark. We are sleepy and will not set an alarm tomorrow, but catch up on some extra winks. Stay tuned for a wind up or two...or three from us. So much needs to be processed, yet we'd love to share some thoughts with you too. Just wanted to let you know that we were home safely.

Love & Hugs,
Diane & Steve

16Aug/051

Time to Reflect

The last few days have been a whirlwind of relief, sadness, joy, excitement, anticipation, and satisfaction. The physical part of the adventure is over, but gaining clarity on all my thoughts and emotions will take some time.

My life has been very simple this summer; wake up, eat, ride my bike, (eat a lot), set up camp or find a motel - or, best, ride up to a friend's home, or a family's home - shower, eat, go to sleep. The real world awaits around the corner but before stepping back into that world, I will spend the next couple weeks reflecting and recording some of my thoughts.

It has been a wonderful summer. The trip was better than my expectations, and easier. I appreciate, more than most of you will ever know, the well-wishes, prayers, and love that went with me during the summer. That was a tremendous part of the summer, and a tremendous part of why the trip was "easy." Thank you all.

Steve

16Aug/050

Bethesda, Maryland

Greetings from Bethesda! We're enjoying a great visit with Steve's cousin Jean, her husband Mike, their son Aaron, and daughter-in-law Michaela. It has been almost too many years to count since the last time we saw Jean and Mike. In fact we're thinking it could be at least 23 years or so. In any case, it's been lovely catching up with them. We all agree that it is definitely time for a family reunion on Steve's Dad's side of the family as well.

This afternoon we make our way to enjoy lunch with Steve's high school/college friend Don and his wife Vanice. Then we're onto Paoli, PA.

For Steve it's kind of a relief to not be on a bike right now. He's enjoying some extra sleep and R&R time. I had a break in driving yesterday as he took over at the wheel for awhile.

Love to all...Diane

15Aug/051

Wow…wow…wow!

Okay, I'm a little lost for words right now, so please accept "Wow" as my word for the day. Yes, at 7:50 A.M., Eastern Daylight Savings Time, Steve dipped his front tire in the Chesapeake Bay at Yorktown, Virginia. Was it salt water so he could say that it "counted" as the coast you ask? You bet. I stuck my finger in the water and did a taste test.

Right now we're in the Williamsburg, Virginia Public Library each at a computer checking out the website. We thank Jeremy and Stephanie for keeping the postings going the last few days and for Jeremy's time in updating the map. In a few minutes we are driving to Bethesda, Maryland to spend the night with Steve's cousin, Jean, and her husband, Mike. Tomorrow we'll lunch with friends, Don and Vanice, before driving onto Paoli, PA. In Paoli we'll overnight with Holly, Rob, Tim, and Brent. Then...on Wednesday morning we'll head to Ligonier, PA to visit my cousins, Linda and John, and hopefully others in that area. We hope to return home on either 8/18 or 8/19.

Since I wrote last time, I saw Drew and Blake off at the Knoxville airport. We had to get up at 3:30 a.m., so it was a long day!! After they were in flight, I made my way to Blackburg, VA where I had a lovely lunch and visit with cousin Irene and her daughter Lisa, son-in-law Paul, their kids Ellen, Greg, and Jeff, and Paul's mother, Nancy. It had been many years since I saw Lisa and her family, so I soaked in this brief visit.

From Blacksburg, Va, I drove onto Charlottesville, where Steve had been the prior two nights. I stayed with his sister, Polly, and brother-in-law, Glen. It was great to catch up with them and chat away! The visit was just too brief this time, so it'll be nice to see them next spring for J.R.'s graduation from UVA. Last night Polly & Glen drove me past the dorm where J.R. will live this year and the house that Mary will share with friends. I left yesterday morning after Polly and Glen took me to breakfast at Panera's and for a drive out to sister Meri's project, where she's the architect. Leaving Charlottesville, I headed onto scenic by-ways going eastward and finally came across a handsome bicyclist wearing his Ride the Rockies jersey. Alas, after nearly 3 weeks we meet again!

Steve looks great. This ride must have been the ingredient to the Fountain of Youth, for I believe he has stripped years from his appearance. Now we both are taking a very deep breath of relief for having the bike ride over. We also say, "Thank you Lord!" for a safe journey for him and me. And, we also say "Thank you" to all of you for your love, prayers, hugs, phone calls, emails, and all around encouragement. We could not have undertaken this adventurous summer without all of you.

We have a lot to process now and have every intention of sharing more thoughts on this website. So, please stay tuned for more updates. -- Much love, Diane

PS Goodness, I do not want to forget to mention to you folks to check out www.bikingx.com. This is a group of 7 inspirational riders who Steve came across yesterday doing a cross country trek also. The two leaders are in their mid-20s and the other five are high school boys...2 sophomores, 1 junior, and 2 seniors. They are raising money for battle childhood cancer, so if you'd like to donate, please check out their website: www.bikingx.com.

15Aug/051

Celebration!!

Steve rode 13.5 miles today from Williamsburg to Yorktown, VA! He dipped his front tire in and he's done!

His quote is "It's done and it's over". He promised more stuff to come shortly. His bike computer clocked him at 4,536 miles. Can you imagine that? On a bike? That mileage is the equivalent of driving TO and FROM Chicago from our house 55 times. Or if I drove to and from Lone Tree from my house 11 times. OR if I drove from Bandon, OR to Yorktown, VA.

Anyway, there's much relief that he's done and he's looking forward to coming home. Not before stopping in DC and Pennsylvania first of course!

14Aug/050

One More Day!!

Hi everyone!

I got a phone call today from Steve and Diane. Steve rode 88 miles today to make it to Williamsburg. They are both staying there overnight tonight. Hopefully they know that the future has been realized and historic Williamsburg has brought George Washington back to life. An amazing triumph for a town living in the 18th century. Why hasn't there been more coverage on this event? Oh well.

ANYWAY! 🙂 So he's only got a few (15?) miles left to go tomorrow morning (or afternoon, he assured me it wouldn't be that early). Just to make sure I'm waking up at 3am to await their phone call from the coast. And by 3, I mean 6:30. But all the same, as soon as he is finished either myself or Jeremy will be on-line right away to jot down some quotes from the experienced rider. Let's all wish him the best of luck and send good vibes across the Smokies to Virginia!

13Aug/050

The Map

Hey All. 2 days left seemed like a perfect time to finally update the map, so check it out. There's one little forgotten day in there, but other than that it should be fairly accurate. For those of you looked at the map every day and thought that Steve was still in Batavia, I apologize for misleading you. But it was fairly easy to figure out the real story. 😉

13Aug/050

A Century to Go

Steve just called from Ashland, VA. He only has about 100 miles left before he's finished. I tried instigating a 100 mile ride tomorrow, but it sounds like he's going to try going about 85 so that he has a nice relaxing ride to the coast on Monday morning.

Today was 87 miles from TJ's house, finally out of the mountains and into some flatter terrain. The weather got hot again these last few days and Steve would like to stress the fact that it was hot. He claimed that the heat index was over 100 today, but I just checked weather.com and they had it listed as 99, so I'm not sure what he's talking about. 🙂

11Aug/051

Charlottesville — AKA: Charlotsville, Charlotte’s Villa, and Ville du Charlot

Is it just me or is there something weird about the word, Charlottesville? Ok, don't answer that, but just hear me out. The double-t just looks out of place before the double-l and it seems like there are just too many letters used overall, making the pronunciation much easier than writing it out. I don't know, it's probably just me. I tried coming up with a better spelling, but they aren't going to listen to me anyway, so I'll drop it.

ANYHOW. That's where Steve is tonight. Hanging out on the grounds of Monticello with Polly and Glen. I'm sure that Jefferson would be impressed with Steve having ridden all the way from Oregon just to see his house on a random Thursday. And he thought declaring independence from Britain was difficult. Ha, bet he never tried this.

I haven't talked to Steve yet, but I think it was a 35 mile day from Rockfish Gap and Big Meadows Lodge, the place where he stayed last night. Skyline Drive has now been completed, although not without a fight. Between the constant low cloud cover making everything wet and the average speed of just 8.5 mph, yesterday was probably one of the hardest day's he's had so far.

I'll update you more on today's ride when I hear it, but I'm going to guess for now that he's having a good time visiting and relaxing.