Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gus Has a Broken Arm

It started innocently enough. Gus and some big boys were playing tackle football on the lawn in front of the drive-in movie theatre screen. Gus fell with the ball and a rather large boy landed on Gus' arm. Result: cracked radius, right forearm. He's in a splint instead of a cast, and should be almost healed in two weeks, which is what we have left before the ride. He's finding that letting kids sign his splint is making him a 4th grade celebrity. Thank goodness it wasn't his tailbone. --Alison

Ten Days Till Liftoff

The countdown begins. If there was ever a time to lose our nerve, this would be it. We have a large mound of gear in the family room. Every time we look at the maps over the Rockies, we go downstairs and pull more gear out of the pile. Last weekend we had a nice ride 30 miles up to Dayton, camped overnight, had breakfast at the Country Cupboard, and took a leisurely sunny cruise back to Walla Walla. The only hitch was when I forgot to untie the tent flap before the midnight thunderstorm and directed two gallons of water into our normally watertight tent. I knew when I woke up, flipped my braid out of my face and water slung off it that something was amiss...I can no longer recommend bathing while sleeping as a time-saving maneuver. --Alison

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Retired gentleman, eyeing Alison suspiciously: "YOU'RE going to ride 4500 miles? Don't you have to be in shape to do that?"
Alison: "No. It just hurts less if you are."

OK. So I'm not Lance Armstrong. I am a middle-aged overweight mom with a dream and an iron will. If I waited until I was skinny to do this trip, I'd be sitting at home forever. We have not taken time off from work to train full-time. We will have to give it what my Tennessee grandmother calls "a lick and a promise."

The four of us send a heartfelt thank you to our kind sponsors for this ride:







Travellers Must be Content

It is hard to believe, but we are only three weeks away from our trip across the United States (and part of Canada)! We are trying to get in training rides every weekend.

Three weeks ago we took the BOB trailer loaded with our tents and other camping equipment on a ride to Milton-Freewater. The trailer worked great -- it tracked nicely behind the bike and never felt unstable.

Last week we did one of my favorite rides -- Walla Walla to Waitsburg via Middle Waitsburg road. The trip out was fast; we had a very strong tail wind (the wind speed was probably about 20 mph). One of the reasons it is a favorite ride of mine is because of the lunch stop: Laht Neppur Brew Pub ( The beer is quite good -- I had a delicious oatmeal porter. A pint of handcrafted microbrew sure makes the rest of the ride go faster.

The way back, however, was not so fun, even with the beer. The wind that pushed us all the way to Waitsburg fought us all the way home. It was a difficult ride.

Today we rode to the Whitman Mission (west of College Place) and then a meandering ride in the countryside, completing about a 33 mile loop back to town. The weather this weekend has been very hot so we decided to leave early. We were actually on the road by 7:30.

Last night we went to see "As You Like It" at Whitman College. There was a line in the play that really hit home for me as we prepare for our trip. Touchstone, finding himself and his companions in the forest of Arden, says:

When I was at home I was in a better place; but travellers must be content.

Indeed. We will need to take what the trip offers us; the good days and bad; the wind-at-our-back days, and the headwind days; the quiet, lazy days and the harried days. As John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley, "You don't take a trip. The trip takes you." This may be the most challenging aspect of our journey.