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From home near Boston to Phoenix Empty From home near Boston to Phoenix

Post  ChasingSanity on Thu May 15, 2014 8:02 am

From home near Boston to Phoenix 100_1458_zps552ff335I am riding my fully loaded recumbent bicycle from my home in Massachusetts to Phoenix, AZ. I am using Google Maps bicycle option to plan my route. I am going through these zip codes:
02790 is home
44319 not going through Canada
60188 visiting Mom
63953 visiting Sister
85201 Mesa then seek employment

That is 3,144 miles. My bike and I each weigh 180+ pounds and I am 53 years old. I am relocating to better weather and work opportunities.

Do you want to meet and talk or ride withh me?  Send me a message on Facebook - I am BikeTo Australia (two words) on Facebook.

Last edited by ChasingSanity on Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total

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From home near Boston to Phoenix Empty Re: From home near Boston to Phoenix

Post  ChasingSanity on Thu May 15, 2014 8:06 am

half the picture, click on the picture to see the other half

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From home near Boston to Phoenix Empty Re: From home near Boston to Phoenix

Post  ChasingSanity on Thu May 22, 2014 1:28 pm

Monday, 19th of May, 2014

Where to begin? I planned to leave on May 15th to ride my bicycle from Westport, Massachusetts 02790 to Phoenix, Arizona, actually Mesa 85201. But the long goodbye was hard on both Pam and I. Pam was afraid she might never see me again. I too have my doubts about the future not going according to my plans. I think my doubts are not as big as Pam's.

Why Phoenix? The climate and weather there made both of us feel much better when we were there a few months ago getting treatment for her autoimmune disease. There are a lot more job opportunities for me in the Phoenix area (actually, we are thinking of Prescott) than in the Westport area. Westport is a small, rural town between two bigger towns, New Bedford and Fall River. Both of those towns have a lot of unemployed and under employed people. And, Arizona is a lot more affordable to live than New England in general and the South Coast specifically. I feel it is a difficult but lifesaving decision to relocate. And, we have plenty of time to reconsider and readjust our plan while I ride there.

So, I left on the 14th instead of the 15th. I camped out for a couple days before I left. That gave Pam time and space to gather herself together after my whirlwind of change gearing up to head out. And I had a chance to test my gear and plan before heading off into "the wild". And I needed time and space to settle down myself. Parting ways, even temporarily and facing uncertain futures are both stressful.

On the 13th, I was riding from New Bedford after giving some bike parts to Jayson Kennedy (he decided not to travel with me). A friend, Tony Ionno, came up behind me on his bicycle. I had been looking for him for days, to show off my fully loaded recumbent, reconnect and say good bye. Tony invited me to come work on my bike that night at "Fort Jonathan", the New Bedford chapter of SKULL. He asked if I knew about SKULL. I was dumbstruck, SKULL is the bicycle part of Artist's Asylum organization in Boston. SKULL in New Bedford?! And, I could spend the night, after the event at Tony's apartment a few blocks away from Fort Jonathan. Amazingly good things just bump into me sometimes.

Tony also introduced me to his Ultimate Frisbee group in Buttonwood Park and invited me to play. But, it was too windy for them and I had a several errands to accomplish in the couple hours before working on my bike.

I rode a few miles away to the Dartmouth Mall. I bought nuts and bolts at Home Depot to attach a rack under my recumbent bike seat. I bought a piece of bright yellow cloth make into highly visible flags for my bike. I would hate to be a bumper sticker or a hood/boot ornament. That is not the kind of fashion statement I want to make.

I rode back to "Fort Jonathan". It is someone's garage on Jonathan street in New Bedford. And the garage is packed with bikes, bike parts and tools to work on bikes. A couple of the bikes have extended front forks, a sound system and lights operating off of small marine batteries.

Civitron is the leader of the New Bedford SKULL contingent. I am told he is a real life superhero who can be found in an internet search. Walton is a bicycling poet. Beatleman is a bicycling musician, percussionist, I presume. and my friend, Tony is known as "Baggadonuts". No, those are not their real names, those are their more fun SKULL names. OK with me.

What work did I do on my bike at the fine SKULL establishment, you might ask? I fine tuned the length of my front brake and shifter cables. Now, they are both easier to use. I tried to craft an attachment to my kickstand and get that working. No luck. Tony noticed my front tire with gum walls was dry rotted. I swapped my skinny (racing) 20" front tire for a fat (BMX) 20" front tire. Fat tires hold more weight and are generally more durable. I wanted a front fender but they did not have a fender for a 20" wheel. Tony did a stupendous job crafting a fender to fit my bike from a 24" fender. Tony also gave me... what are those things called? They cover the ends of the handlebars and keep dirt from getting in. Civitron was pleased at how much they could help me. So was I, several of my goals were accomplished in a couple hours.

On the 14th, I got breakfast at the soup kitchen Jayson volunteers at and said good bye to Jayson. But, not before he got some last minute help making his brakes work. Jayson is not familiar with bicycles. He learned a lot on his own rebuilding and upgrading his bike after the rear wheel was stolen. I told him and showed him what to do to get his front and rear brakes working but he did not have the parts at his house to fix it then. I had to go.

So, I went back to Ft. Jonathan and waited for Tony to wake up and arrive with keys to open up shop. I finished adjusting the brake and shifter cables, this time in daylight. Pam came by with a care package, a warm embrace and a heartfelt farewell. I rode off feeling melancholy. It was early afternoon on the 14th.

I made it to Seekonk, where the Old Grist Mill restaurant is getting restored after burning down. I asked at the New England Martial Arts Dojo ( if he, Brian, the owner, knew where I could camp for the night for free without getting shot or arrested. He said, "There, on my land, in the back yard." That was easy.

The next day, I internally reorganized my bags overnight and reorganized where they went on my bike. I left at about noon from there. Leaving late again. Sad I pulled over at a Radio Shack and bought their least expensive voice recorder. The average price was $60, the $30 one would do me just fine, thank you!

I rode to the REI store in Cranston, RI and bought a ENO single person hammock, two 20 ' long cords and two 12' long 2" wide webbing. REI had two mosquito nets that might work for me! The small one cost $14 and the big one cost $16. I could do that!

I will sew welded steel rings on each end of the webbing to wrap around trees, protecting their bark from damage by my using the hammock. I double up the cord and put simple knots in the cord every two hand spans. After I wrap the webbing around a sturdy tree, I loop the cord through both ring ends. I hook the hammock to the knotted cord at the far end. I do the same thing to another sturdy tree and the other end of the hammock. Then I adjust tension (as tight as I can get it) by moving the hook along the knots.

I had all that when but, in the case of preexisting wet ground or expected, a hammock saves the day. A hammock is also great for terribly hot summer nights. What about mosquitoes and the other varieties of blood suckers? My homemade mosquito net cocooned my hammock. Sigh, getting another one like that would be difficult.

While I was at REI, I asked them if they knew where the Blackstone River bike path was. It was close and I got clear instructions stuffed all that into my bags. A gorgeous woman stopped to talk with me, she loved her two week long bike tour. A barefoot man was thinking about backpacking along the Appalachian Trail, but how was advice he was looking for from me. I shared my thoughts, it was very possible but not easy. I rode out of that huge mall at about 3PM. I found the bicycle path at about 6PM. The light and weather felt like afternoon but quickly changed to early evening. At REI, they told me there were fields I could camp in off the bike path. After some anxious searching, I found that: the first grass I saw off the side of the path was in plain view, that would not do! That night there was a sprinkle of rain a few times throughout the night.

My tent was damp in the morning. I packed up, picked up a few bits of trash to add to my own and rode out at about 7:30AM, a respectable time of day. It did not exactly rain or even drizzle so much as mist, a very light mist. My fancy, new, reflective raincoat was not at all waterproof. As the day progressed, the precipitation got heavier until it was like a sheet of heavy mist every few minutes. At about 2PM, I called 211, and asked about shelters in the area I could spend the night at. The closest homeless shelters were in Worcester, 10 miles away, a big city, about 10 miles off my route too. I stopped at a Fire House in Uxbridge and asked a fireman where I could camp for the night, preferably a dry place, anything 3' x 6' or bigger would do. I suggested calling any of the local church leaders. The pastor was in another state for the week. He knew of no place I could go except a motel down the road, the Quaker Inn. Pam agreed, I go to the motel, she would pay. But, they were full. It was 7PM, quickly becoming night. Another motel, (next to REI), had rooms available. But, Pam could not pay over the phone. Nor, would the other motel (across the street from the one next to REI) allow credit card payment over the phone. I called the police. They would send someone to talk to me at my location. I told the lady at the motel the police were coming to help me. She was trying hard, for a long time to help me, but her place was full up.

The police said, "Nance, this is not a police matter." Nance figured a solution, "You can go camp in the woods between the Quaker Inn and Mico, the business next door. OK, that was clearly the best option I had. If any of the people staying at the Quaker Inn knew I was moving in next door, I hope they felt happier about their accommodations seeing me putting up my tent in the rain. It rained hard all night. I was warm enough, but I could not dry anything out - there was too much moisture everywhere. That was Friday night.

The rain stopped at about 7:30AM in the morning. Sunlight and blue skies were prevailing. It was beautiful. I moved my things to the big back parking lot behind Mico, the business next door. It was Saturday, the business was closed for the weekend. I spread my wet things out to dry. Most everything was in waterproof bags or at least, highly water resistant bags. My fisherman's vest (with more than twenty pockets) took the longest to dry out. All my scribbled notes and business cards that were plastered together managed to survive drying. I was packed up again by noon.

I rode back through the center of Uxbridge andd on into Douglas. I was back on my Google Maps path. But, these hills were not part of my plan. The printed map is flat. Almost all of the ride up to Douglas was not at all flat. The short, steep hills on the back roads were very pretty but they were kicking my butt. Pushing my bike up the hills on Douglas Pike decided me, I needed to take a bus to flatter land. I was not in shape to manage this. I finally agreed with Pam's thoughts that I should get to my destination quicker, But, I had to try first and to find out for myself.

Just then, a man came out of his house on the side of Douglas Pike. I asked him if it was going to rain that night or the next day. He said, No. I was in luck, no rain. If I wanted to camp the night, he had a barn and pasture behind his house I could spend the night. I did but I had to take my bags off the bike to get up the hill, a steeper hill than the road was on. It was beautiful up there and quiet and dark. My tent dried out overnight. I talked with Pam, we planned my new route to Worcester and get on a bus there to either flatter lands or Chicago, depending. (It turned out the difference between the bus to Cleveland where flatter lands seem to start and Chicago, where my mother lives (my first stop) was only $8. I would take the bus, with all my things, 100's of miles for $8 more.) Pam would put the money in my bank account for the bus on Monday morning.

In the morning, I noticed my one pair of (old) pants had a blowout. A small burst seam was now big. They were thin, ultralight, synthetic fishermans pants with huge cargo pockets. I tried to repair the seam in the butt at the same time I resized them to fit me better. The ration between my small waist and my long legs does not fit XL well. The repair did not go well. I made the waist too tight and the stitching did not look at all professional. I added a lightweight pair of cargo pants that fit me to my wish list. I took my bags downhill next to the road in three trips, then I walked my bike down the hill and packed up from there. I did not see the owner of the house to thank him. I rode off.

When I got to Market Basket in Sutton, a couple miles away, the hills became managable. I felt guilty. I felt I was letting you down - anybody reading this, my support network of people I knew before I left, met along the way, have not met yet or will never meet. But, I was taking too long and putting too much stress on myself and my gear going through the hill country.

I had been advised by the people at 211 to call first VeteransINC before calling the other two choices for shelter in Worcester. I did call them first but their automated phone service sounded like they had a long intake process. I was not homeless, in need of getting off the streets. I was relocating and getting on a long distance bus the next day at 1:30PM. I called back and got to talk to a live man. Chris or Anthony told me the service was for homeless veterans to move into permanent housing and they were full up. But, I got their address and planned to go there in person to see if I could work any magic face to face.

When I rode cross country before I got caught in a blizzard and was lucky to sleep in a tiny bathroom barely big enough for the toilet and sink. My head and shoulders were against the door and my feet were on either side of the toilet. It was warm, safe, well lit, I had a toilet, hot and cold running water, and permission to be there. That night changed my perspective, I am forever grateful for whatever I have.

If VeteransINC would allow me, I would be happy with a utility closet. I was looking for the other shelter at 25 Queen Street ("We are not a drop in shelter anymore." Again, if I could talk face to face, maybe something could be worked out.) when I rode by VeteransINC. I stopped in. They did not allow me. Smile But, when I asked if I could eat dinner, being served at that time, Chris asked to see my veterans ID card. Wow, their food was so much better than standard homeless shelter food, better even than standard veterans hospital cafeteria food! FOr the last three days I had been eating nuts and dried fruit, very nutritious and tasty but it had gotten monotonous. I ate enough for three veterans. Many of the guys and gals there admired my bike, asked about it and poised for pictures in front of it. Someoen left 2 cans of soda pop on my bike and the staff gave me extra food to take with me. I had no room for the gifts. Smile I was stuffed and so was my bike. But, where was the other shelter, the one that was not a shelter anymore but was never full up? I rode there. I could put my 8 foot long bike in the lobby. I could sleep on the floor near my bike But, they had a 20 page form for me to fill out. I got half way through the form and asked do I have to fill all of this out just to spend the night? YES! ok, then. sorry.

I got a shower. OMG! After three days of praying, finally, my prayers were answered. But, the towels were in the drier, I had to wait for a dried bed sheet. Then, the showers were full, only three guys at a time. Then,... the water was hot, my toiletries were all right there, in one hand with a new shirt and underwear in the other hand. Ah, paradise!

Everybody wanted to know how much the bike cost. But, this time it did not feel like predators asking how much meat was on my bones. Just unknowing, harmless curiousity. A tall, old man was most interested in cost, construction and procurement. When I got serious and told him how he could get blueprints for about $50 and then find a welder friend to make it for him.., he decided he would probably kill himself riding it or even a trike. Smile

All the men slept in one part of the building, all the women slept in another part of the building. When it came time to part ways for sleep, I was given bedsheets and a thin, cotton blanket. I rolled dirty shirt, and underwear up with my socks in the bedding and slept with my clothes on on top of the plastic covered mattress. 30 guys just had to have a few in the crowd that could not stop talking. Finally, the sounds of sleeping overwhelmed the talkers. I woke up many times throughout the night.

In the morning, I waited for breakfast. And thought about going back to VeteransINC for their brakfast, but instead, I went to Dunkin Donuts and used their free WIFI to check bus schedules and fees while I waited for the bank a block away to open. A couple minutes after the bank opened I went over and checked to see if Pam puut the money in for the bus. Yes, she must have waited at the door for the bank to open! I went back to Dunkin Donuts and paid the bus ticket over the phone and then went to the thift store in search of a pair of light wieght cargo pants that fit me. The pants are black and in need of a button and button hole. I will sew that after I get off the bus tomorrow or in the next couple days. Oh, that reminds me, I put my scissors in my pocket but did not have time to dig out hte needle and dental tape (strongest thread I know of).

OOF! Still more story to tell but it is past my bedtime.

I raced to the bus depot showed them my bike, they said that is not going to fit on the bus. I said let me take it apart and show you, if you still say no, OK, I will take it off, that won't take much time. My bike seemed to fall apart I was going as fast as I could and I have practice. I quickly put bags and bike parts under the bus in the storage comapartment. The rules are the front wheel has to come off and the bike has to be in a box. But. my bike does not fit in a standard bike box. I had to pay for the fee for the bike and the box came with it. I get to take one bag onto the bus and another one stored under the bus, each bag no more than 50 pounds but my bags are 3 - 30 pounds each I and I had no idea how many of them I had. They did not charge me for my bags. I have a flat piece of cardboard sitting on top of my bike. Someone else can unfold that box and use it someday for their bike. I faced a similar challenge when I transferred to a new bus in Cleveland, OH. They said I was supposed to put all that in one big box. I said, "You want me to put all my stuff in a big box now? It is almost all loaded under the bus now." They just looked skeptically on, wondering if and when We would get caught. The second bus was the last greyhound bus hurtle (I hope). Next stop, Chicago.

My butt hurts from sitting for... 1:30PM to 10AM... 20 hours. These bus seats are not made for comfort. I thik the seats were made for appearance. I am not impressed. But (no pun intended), I typed most of this while riding the bus. After Cleveland, the hills setttled down even more. I called my mom and told her I was goign to be there in a couple days. She was shocked - "How did you get here so fast?!" She sounded pleased and we talked about meshing me into her schedule. Smile I called my sister at 3AM while wating for the transfer bus in Cleveland. Her husband works night shift. No answwer so I left a text. She called me this morning. We talked for a long time until there was more silence than talk. Smile Pam called and texted several times. Smile

Even with all this socializing, the bus ride is still boring.

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From home near Boston to Phoenix Empty Re: From home near Boston to Phoenix

Post  ChasingSanity on Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:10 pm

(Pasted together from my Facebook entries)
May 27th
I put my bike together with all my gear loaded on the bike by noon and rode one block away to a bike shop to ask about repairs. The forks my front wheel is attached to do not match up well with the handlebars. They needed a more secure connection, they needed a better shim than the beer can shim my used bike came with. No luck at that shop but plenty of useful information. And, I bought flags and poles to slide into my bike seat to increase my chances of being seen.

I rode towards my mother's house in Carol Stream, IL but only got as far as the Des Plaines river on Belmont avenue before I decided to camp in the woods before the oncoming storm. I put up my tarp (with all my bags safely under the tarp) just before the rain started coming down. In the morning I rode off again towards my mother's house and got there in the afternoon. I visited with her for several days.

On Monday, Memorial Day, I rode from Carol Stream to Glenview, about 30 miles, to Pamela Frothingham brother's house in Glenview. I stopped along the way at REI in Oakrook terrace. Oh, while at my mother's house, I cut the wire on my bike computer (the wire was too short for the bike computer to work on my 8 foot long bike.) and soldered another wire on, extending the length of the wire. But, I somehow lost the bike computer. I bought a replacement computer and tested my soldered wire before actually paying for the bike computer. I could not install the wire until I removed my bags from my bike. That is half of my goals for today. telling you al this is the other half of today's goals,

Tomorrow, May 28th, I will ride away from Pam's brother's house south towards my sister's house in Naylor, MO. But, I will stop in downtown Chicago to get copies of my birth certificate as a first step to requesting citizenship in other countries. My mother's side of the family are from many places in Europe. Muy father's side of the family are Romanian and Czechoslovakian jews that immigrated in World War II. My father's brother might still be alive but my father and his parents are all dead.

How far will I get tomorrow? Where will I sleep? Pulaski Woods looks inviting.

May 29th
I rode from Glenview, IL through downtown Chicago, (was a couple dollars short getting a copy of my birth certificate - bought one too many inner tubes ) and rode on Archer Avenue, which becomes 117 to Joilet, IL. I heard rain was expected for the night, so I found an emergency shelter to sleep at. LOL, James, the night attendant was expecting me to stay there for the rest of my life! "No, I am going to Phoenix." Today, I hoped to ride to Champaign, IL but I have spent too much time loading up my videos to youtube and charging my cell phone and charging the GoPro that was loaned to me by for the trip.

May 31st
After Joliet, I rode until I stopped for the night near Paxton, IL. I stopped at a farm house and asked the owner if they knew where Pell Park was the police were directing me to for camping the night. He said I could camp here. DId I needa shower? Oh, did I ever! He and his wife fed me too!

I continued on my bicycle ride from Paxton, IL to Champaign-Urbana. Bike Works bike shop was my destination there. The owner's organizational style takes some getting used to but he kwen were everything was. Unfortunately, he could not help me other than tell me I did not need a shim for my front forks, they were dangerously in need of replacement. I rode from there to the University of Illinois Engineering Department three blocks away. They had a soldering iron, solder and wire strippers I needed to get my bike computer working. But, then I found out my fancy back end bike rack was in danger of falling off! I called Bike Works to get directions to the best hardware store for bolts he did not have. Got that fixed. Called the Champaign Urbana newspaper to ask if they wanted to do a story on me, they might get back to me. I doubt it, they have not seen my bike. I asked around about free camping spots, everybody talked about camping in town, not for me. The police told me about Lake of the Woods. I rode past 'the mall' and found a place near there to camp. I was too tired to go all the way to Lake of the Woods and it was getting dark fast.

This morning, I am at the mall telling all of you about all of this. In a couple hours, the bike co-op will be open and I can go pray there for a replacement set of front forks for my bike. I will also try for minor adjustments if I have time.

June 5th
The Bike Project was unexpectedly closed. I got an expert opinion from... oh what is his business name?.. Brent said my SAS Halo Pro is a very expensive wheel made to be thrown away after 5 years. The bearings are cartridges that nobody carries, have to be specially ordered. I tried to replace the hub with a more repairable choice but nobody carries 48 spoke disk hubs anymore. Anyways, I rode on. I went straight south from my friends in Mahomet, IL to Arthur where Amish bike shops were (on the way south to my sister's house). I asked in Atwood where to grocery store was, they said sorry to tell you there is none, only in Arthur. But, there is a guy living here that rode his bike around the USA then moved back here. I said, what is his name, where does he live and can I go say hello to him? I rode to say hello to Paul. He rode 12,000 miles in 97 days! That was in 1988, he is now 74 years old but looks 45 and acts 35. Paul, Paul Burlett manages the old motel (apartments now) in Atwood and he is friends with the bike shop owners, He called them introducing me. Eli Mast, owner of Schlabach's Bike Shop in Tucola, IL (217.543.3493) did not have the parts but he could order them by 3PM and have them in the next day. I told him I only had $20. Joe, owner of The Bike Rack was on vacation. I rode back to Eli. I asked if I could do anything for andy of them or their people, but no, just ride on. I borrowed a bike from Eli and I asked Paul if he knew where I could camp the night for free without getting shot or arrested. Paul said I could sleep in one of his vacant apartments. It rained that night from 9PM to 9AM with flash flood warnings. My gear and I were warm and dry.

I am taking a more direct route to my sister's. Instead of country roads, I am taking 45 south through Mattoon, Effingham (I am there now) then 37 south through Mount Vernon, Marrion and Vienna, west on 146 thru Cape Girardeau, Missouri thru Poplar Bluff to Naylor. I printed out a satellite map of my sister's house near Naylor (with her help) otherwise I would never find it. The mailing address has nothing to do with her physical address. There's a lot more details and sub plots and stories, I will add them later.

June 8th
The Bike Project keeps strange hours, 2PM to 5PM Saturday and Sunday and two days during the week. I replaced the bearings on the front forks I already had. There were only three 20" BMX bike forks at the Bike Project. And none of them were going to work for me. But, the next day, on Sunday, they would be open again and I could come back and see about replacing the bearings in my rear wheel hub.

But, where to spend the night? I wanted to be close to the Bike Project for convenience. I asked the people I had met at the Bike Project in the few hours I had been running around fixing my bike. One of the people suggested I talk with Danny. Danny looked like a cross between a hippie, a motorcycle gang member and a zealot of some kind. I told him the Champaign police yesterday suggested I camp at Lake of the Woods. But I was too tired and could not find it. Danny lives across the street from Lake of the Woods, he would show me the way. Actually, Danny was getting a ride back, I could get a ride with them too. My eight foot long bike actually fit in the back of someone's six foot long pickup truck, sideways and just barely, but it fit.

It was 10 miles to Lake of the Woods. I was nervous thinking about the mechanical stresses involved in my bike leaning over sideways and going from corner to corner in the truck bed while the truck went over all the potholes and while going 60 miles per hour on the highway. I also was nervous about picking the bike up and putting it in the back of the truck in the first place.

Finally, we got to Danny's place. And, there was the Lake of the Woods Park across the street. We all talked for a while. Danny assembles used bikes and sells them. He also puts motors on bicycles and sells the motorized bikes. Danny said I could stay sleep on the living room floor at the mobile home of a friend. His name was Dan. We rode our bicycles over to his friend's house. It was 9PM. pretty late to be knocking on someone's door. And the lights were out throughout the house. But, what do I know about Danny's friend Dan? Finally, he did answer the door and Dan was not upset and I could sleep there on the floor in the living room. Dan also goes to the Bike Project. Danny introduced many people to the Bike Project.

So, in the morning, I rode over to Danny's home. We worked together a little on the bike he is currently fixing up, a tall electric blue Schwinn Le Tour Tourist. We also put together a video you can see and I am making available to Danny for him to use for his business. We then rode our bikes to Dan'a house and rode with Dan in his truck, with our bikes in the back to the Bike Project to work on our bikes. But, the Bike Project was closed this particular Sunday. Sad

We talked a bit but I was not going to wait until Tuesday for the Bike Project to open up gain and then, they might or might not have the parts I needed. We did ride over to where, Brent, the owner said the rear wheel on my bike is a fancy mountain bike wheel meant to take a lot of abuse over 5 years then get thrown away and replaced by a new wheel. I want parts I can fix. He said the rear wheel might last 300 - 500 miles and it might last the rest of my 3,000 mile trip.

Danny and I rode off, it started to rain. We planed to wait out the rain in the mall but it was raining to hard to go even the mile or so to the mall. He said "Follow me!" as I said "I found shelter!" but we were not listening to each other. Dan and Danny called me while I was waiting for the rain to stop. They would come pick me up and they told me the rain was expected to last through the night. I was amenable to spending another night at Dan's house. I said good bye to Dan in the morning and asked him to say good bye to Danny. I rode off. I met Danny on the road and said good bye to him in person.

I was struggling against 30 mile an hour winds for most of the day. I forget what happened next up to rolling into Atwood, IL. I asked for directions from a middle aged couple talking to a woman and her young daughter across a white picket fence. The man said "I am sorry to say there is no grocery store in town but you can go to Arthu right down that way and five miles on to the IGA. Then he asked if I was riding my bicycle cross country and told me another man did that then moved back into Atwood. I asked where this cross country bicyclist lived and if he might mind my visiting him to say hello. They gave me directions to meet "Paul" livng at the "old motel".

I rolled up to the "old motel" and leaned dmy bicycle against a trailer. I saw and heard a man mowing the grass on a riding lawn mower. I asked if he was "Paul", he was. I told him about being led to him and then led him to a look at my bike. He said it seemed that would hurt my knees. They do hurt. I hope my knees get in shape and stop hurting. I told him my plans of asking the Amish bike shop to fix my rear bike wheel and maybe trade my front fork for one without shocks.

Paul told me he is friends with Eli, the owner of one of the two Amish bike shops and he gave Eli Mast a call and left a message. Paul (Burnett) also told me something of himself. He is 74 years old (looks a very healthy 55, acts 35). In 1988, he rode 12,000 miles around the USA towing a 120 pound bike trailer and he did it in 97 days! Some times, he rode more than 200 miles in a day. Another time he tried to ride 400 miles in one day (less than 24 hours of straight riding), he got up to 370 miles and was too tired to finish. Paul was a few weeks from competing in the Senior Olympics as a bicyclist when he was purposely run over by a man. They were in court for 6 years. The man said in court "Bicyclists should not be on the road." Paul is also an excellent car mechanic, he gardens, eating almost entirely out of his garden and he is a good vegetarian cook.

Paul let me stay in a vacant room at the old motel. I think he owns it and runs it as a small apartment complex. I took my bike over to Eli Mast's bike shop, Schabach's Bicycles (they are known far and wide. Eli designed a Quad Cycle, holding four people that is designed to last lifetimes.) in Tecola (spell check). I told hi I only had $20 but I would happily work, doing anything I could to pay for whatever needed to be done. Eli looked at my bike rear wheel. He did not have either the hub or the bearings in stock but he could order them before 3PM and get them in by noon of the next day. Eli looked in his several catalogs and they did not have 48 spoke rear hubs with disk brakes. There are 36 spoke hubs, 32 spoke hubs and 28 spoke hubs are becoming popular and 48 spoke hubs are not available unless custom made. I went over to The Bike Rack to talk with the other Amish bike shop, they were closed for vacation but I asked next door, explaining my plight. Paul told me either place might say closed but they will be in back working. That is why I scouted around and asked next door. The Amish guys next door took me into the bike shop through the locked side door and we looked around befor calling the owner, he was indeed on vacation but we got him on the phone and he did not have a replacement 48 spoke hub with disk brake potential nor cartridge bearings. I rode back to Eli.

Eli took my wheel apart (Eli loaned me a bike to ride while my bike was unavailable and let me keep my fully loaded bike with all my gear safe in his shop) and measured the thickness, the inside and and outside diameter of the cartridge bearings, there were two bearing cartridges, one on each side of the axle and they were different sizes. He looked in his catalogs for replacement bearing (there were several choices: precision, temperature resistant and higher prices from one catalog than the other) and ordered the bearings before 3PM. I rode back to Paul and told him the story asked if I could stay another night. Yes, of course.

It started to rain at 9PM, it rained hard until 7AM and stopped at 9AM. I rode to find and thank the people that told me about Paul. I felt honored to meet Paul and told them so. I rode to the grocery store and bought a few things for eating right now and a few things to eat on the road and I bought peanut butter and Powerade for Paul to replace all I used. By noon, the skies cleared and it was hot again. I checked with Eli, several boxes had been delivered and the smallest box held my bearings! Eli put my wheel back together, we put my bike together and I paid for the bearings, they only cost $14. I was a rich man with a working bike, my health, my friends and cash in my pocket. I gave my heartfelt thanks to Eli. I rode back to Paul to say thank you and good bye and to give him the groceries I bought for him.

My route had changed. Instead of taking countless country roads, I was taking a secondary roads next to Interstae 57. I rode through Mattoon, Effingham, Mt. Vernon and Marion. I planned to ride through Vienna (pronounced vie-enna, not vee-enna) but, somewhere near Mt. Vernon, at a gas station, a trucker advised me south of Marion was hilly, to turn west at Marion and take route 3 along the Mississippi River to Cape Girardeau. I am here to tell you, it was hilly several miles before I got to Marion and after I got through Carbondale, it was hilly again! One must assume it would have been worse if I had gone south. My sister told me it is hilly in Missouri. I am forewarned.

I think, the first day, I rode through the south side of Effingham. As sunset approached I saw a sign for a church in a town called Trilla. I turned there, planning to find shelter for the night. I asked at a farm house with an open barn, really, just a roof. But, the woman was just stopping to check her brother's house. I kept my eyes open as I rode through the small town and asked "Excuse me, do you know of anyplace I can camp for the night, for free, without getting shot or arrested, like a bare or shed?" where several people were negotiating over a car. No luck, I went to the church. It was open, there were people downstairs for Wednesday night bible study. I told them what I was about and asked about shelter, suggesting I give them time to go about their business and wait outside. They invited me to join them in bible study. I did.

One couple had a shed that might be big enough. Another man could put me up in his house. I went for the house. Jed lives a block from the church, his wife, Karen friended me on Facebook so they can keep track of me. They fed me dinner and breakfast, we talked, I got a shower and I did laundry. Hot showers are one of the best things about modern civilization.

The next day, I rode through Mt. Vernon on route 37 to the intersection of route 161. A woman mowing her lawn directed me to a church there. I called the Pastor, talked with his wife and got permission to camp behind the church for the night. Oddly, someone parked their car next to the church for a bit then drove off. Then, someone else parked their car and got into another car and they drove off. In the morning, there were no cars next to the church.

The next day, I rode through Marion to Crainville which is between Marion and Carbondale on route 14. Along the way, I stopped at the antique shop on the side of route 37 and found a fountain pen for $2! I kept my eyes open for a fountain pen for several years now to replace the ones I lost. Now, I have a use for the 30 ink cartridges I bought for a dollar at a thrift store. I got off the road on the far isde of Marion, I asked the first people I saw about shelter, they said there were three churches but Love and Truth Church was my best bet. One other church on the way had nobody around and all the lights were turned off.

When I got near Love and Truth Church, there were several children playing volleyball in back of the church. As I got closer, I saw many more kids and several adults having a cookout. I rode up. A boy was chasing a girl to dump cold water or ice cubes on her. She gleefully escaped. I asked an authoritative adult if I could camp the night on the grass in back of the church. There was a huge untended field next to the lawn in back of the church. The man said he would ask. Other adults offered me what was left from their cookout. I was given permission to camp the night. Everybody started to gather around and ask questions. I laid my bike down. That lasted at least an hour. Smile One boy kept wanting to put my bike upright, the adults wanted him to leave my stuff alone. I told him it was a lot heavier than him and there was nothing to hold it up. I ate five hot dogs and drank the last few cans of soda pop. I told them all about the people living next to route 14, suggesting the church people thank them for all the nice things they said about the church and oh, by the way, why don't you come to church some time. Wink The church people invited me to friend the church and like the church on Facebook. loveandtruthcrainville

Route 13 between Marion and Carbondale is a six lane road between the two towns, why so big? There are a lot of stores, almost one continuous mega-mall, on frontage roads off the main road. I was told Carbondale is one of the most criminally dangerous places in the USA. Carbondale seems like a large small town and Marion is like one of the mega-mall suburbs of Chicago. I guess that contrast would create conflict.

I rode from the Love and Truch Church in Crainville to route 3. Outside of Carbondale, the hills got steep. But, unlike the hills near Douglas, Massachusetts, I was in shape for them, barely. I took pictures, I do not think those hills are a bicycle tourists attraction. I asked directions to route 3 from a man near Grimsby (spell check), he and I talked for an hour while the rain storm came our way. Q.Q I rode on, when the rain came, I ducked into a farm and asked if I could borrow their barn to dodge the rain drops. We talked for a while and they directed me to a gas station in Grand Tower, truck stop equipped with four tables where locals hang out and drink coffee. I rode there, through the rain. The girls there said the rain was expected to last through the night, with a 70% chance of precipitation until midnight were it would lighten up to a 50% chance. I asked about shelter, they suggested I talk to the man that runs the museum and gaveme directions to both the museum and his house. A museum in a town as small as Grand Tower? I was impressed they had a gas station this well stocked. Seeing as it was raining so hard, I stopped at the museum curator's house first. His wife told me he was at the museum and gave me directions to the museum. The museum is partly an old masonic temple and partly a museum to life on the river. The masonic temple was on the second floor until the second floor collapsed in a fire. Capt. Knupp was a river boat captain, working the river for 42 years. He taught me how to weave an eye (loop) into a three strand rope. Andm he allowed me to stay the night in the back room, as a kayaker (going down the Mississippi!) from England had once before.

I am caught up! It is Saturday night / Sunday morning June 8th, 2014. Good night.

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From home near Boston to Phoenix Empty Re: From home near Boston to Phoenix

Post  ChasingSanity on Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:05 am

Posted on Facebook June 28th
I rode on route 400 through Kansas to Wichita. I was about 75 miles away from Wichita, KS when I noticed my bike computer had stopped telling me how far I had ridden and how fast. Well, I would survive and it would be a relief to not have to try to keep going over 10 mph and 65 miles per day, I would just pedal for as long as I could each day until I fixed it. Maybe the battery that came with the bike computer had died, maybe the soldering job failed that I did to extend the length of the wire to the back of my extended recumbent frame.

Mentally, I added up miles to replace my bike computer's possible fatality. I rode 1090 miles from the Chicago greyhound bus station to Wichita, KS to include the 60 miles I rode and pushed my bike in Massachusetts. I rode 30 miles north of Wichita to the Newton Bike shop and resoldered my bike computer wiring. Since then, I rode another 30 miles to Hutchinson in half a day.

I stopped at the Underground Salt Museum and asked if I could see the sights for little or nothing considering I was a) riding my bike across country, b) did not plan on coming this way, did not know Hutchinson existed, had never been in an underground salt museum let alone heard of one and c) was on a tight budget. Well... OK! You go down in 4 minutes! Smile

While I was down there, one of the tour guides was talking with another tourist, she said her other job was school nurse. I waited for the conversation to end then asked her opinion about some blisters, bumps and blotches I had in various (harmless) places on my body. And they feel like something is crawling  under my skin but that could just be nerves getting irritated, right? The lighting down there was dim but she said the blotch near my ankle might be a staph infection. I really needed to get that looked at topside right away. OK. Where? There was a VA clinic about 5 miles away. She drew a map for me to get the the VA clinic.

When I got back to ground level, I headed out to the clinic.. I rode up a steep overpass and down the other side.. What was that sound? I am hyper-sensitive about sounds; is that my bike? Most times suspicious sounds are birds, cars, machinery, insects, the wind, but this time it was my bike. I eliminated everything I could think of - It was not the front wheel, it was not bags rubbing on the wheel, it was not something clicking on the spokes.. The disk brake rotor on my rear wheel was about to fall off!!! There are six big, strong bolts right next to the axle holding a big, strong metal ring next to the wheel and a metal clamp that squeezes the ring, braking my 180 pound bike and my 190 pound self (370 pounds going up to 30 mph...) and all that was left of my big, strong brakes was 2 bolts so loose the rotor was rattling and about to fall off!!! And I just came down that hill?! How long had this issue been growing? What could I learn from this? Check assumptions.

Where do I go from here? I looked around. There was an airplane mechanic's shop, they would have tools and bolts and... they were across a deep ditch. The Hutchinson Municipal Airport was closer. I found the Airport Manaqer working at his desk. I explained my situation and asked if I could temporaily store my bike somewhere nearby AND arrange transport to the VA clinic? Pieter (airport manager) drove me to the VA clinic after we put my bike in the airport shop supply shed. I brought my rear wheel, a waterproof bag with lunch, my rain coat and my ID all in the bag with me. The Va clinic was only 10 minutes away, easier for him to drive me than arrange transport.

While I was waiting to see the nurse, a patient came out and got excited seeing my rear wheel, he is a bicyclist too. I traded phone numbers with Terry and will go visit him 50 miles west, on my route.He called me to tell me he just passed a new bike shop 10 blocks away from the VA clinic. It was called Bikes and More near the landmark Ken's Pizza.  

The nurse at the VA clinic examined my various bumps, blisters and blotches; "Have you been outside in the woods a lot?" Yeah, I am bike camping across the country. She sternly told me to use more insect repellant. Well, but, the school nurse, in the dim light, down in the salt mines... Whew!

I found Fastenal before the bike shop and got my wheel fixed there. The bike shop was another block up and across the street. I went ot the bike shop and shared my tragicomedy of the day with them.

I walked back to the airport. Whew, that was a long walk carrying my wheel in one hand and the waterproof bag full of stuff in the other hand. Pieter left a note on his door with his number for me to call when I arrived. I called, I went to the restaurant in the same building to tell the emmployees there what a great guy Pieter was. Pieter came with his 2 year old son in his arm and brought me a sandwich and drink. I asked if he knew where I could camp the night, for free, without getting shot or arrested. Not a clue. What about a fire station? Just down that street, less than a mile away. And, I could stay in the pilot's lounge as long as needed to eat the food he brought me.

I ate, I rode away. The firemen did not like my idea of camping in the 'woods' behind their firehouse. They called the battalion chief, he said to steer me towards Grandview Park a couple miles west. But, they did not know the legalities about camping there.

I got to the park and felt it was not the nicest of neighborhoods. I looked up and called the police non-emergency number. The police officer advised me to ride another couple miles to the police station, "across the street from there was a park, nobody will bother you there. And, I will tell the guys to keep an eye on you throughout the night."

Nothing was mentioned about the freight trains going through town blowing their whistles several times while I set up my tent. I fell into a deep sleep, were the train whistles still blowing while I slept? I woke up to chirping birds welcoming the dawn.

After I gathered my thoughts and packed my belongings, I rode on. My cell phone rang, at the VA clinic I mentioned I was riding across the USA, relocating from Massachusetts to Arizona so, technically without a permanent primary doctor, hospital or address. The phone call was froma VA social worker addressing my homelessnness. Considering the 30 mph winds pushing me around, rain threatening, 50 mph winds the next day, dirty laundry building up and my tiredness, I asked if there was a homeless or emergency shelter in Hutchinson. There was, I got three phone numbers and two addresses.

The shelter opened at 5PM, first come, first serve, limited beds available. I rode to the library to use their internet and other resources until 5PM approached. I waved to a man going the other way on his bicycle. He said "Are you going to the Hostel?" Hostel, what hostel, people to talk and share enthusiasms with? I said "Yes! Where is it?" Zion Lutheran Church is on 11th and Washington, bicyclists and their bikes and welcome in the basement. There was a woman packing up her bike down there. I said "Cool, where are you going?" East to Virginia. Her name was Sarah, the guy on the bike came in, she said "Hi, Nick." I am still smiling the next day at my luck meeting Nick on the road.

I gave them privacy to arrange their affairs. Sarah left. I called and talked with church people there asking permission to wait out better weather predicted in a couple days. No problem. They have been a bike hostel since shortly after the TransAmerica Bike Trail started in... 1976?! So cool, what incredible luck! I love meeting such interesting poeple, I needed a place to sleep for the night, they are a church, I will be there for Sunday services (I love that too, I often have powerful thoughts, feelings, insights, etc at religous gatherings.) I said good bye and good luck to Nick as he left.

But, no free laundry and Nick had saidf the Cosmosphere Space Museum was a must see a few blocks away that needed a full day, it was that huge and full of stuff to see. And, it cost $23 to see and do everything. I have a strong interest in science, technology and future possibilities. Was it worth spending the rest of my meager funds on the museum, could I get in free or at a reduced price, was laundry the more responsible way to go? Decisions, decisions and I did not yet have enough information to make those decisions.

Someone told me people would be coming down to the basement to set up a rummage sale for the next day. I helped out when two women, mother and daughter showed up to set up. When they left I made my bed, and slept.

In the morning, I made coffee knowing people were coming in to manage the rummage sale. I made a mess of the first pot of coffee, cleaned that up and made another as.. oh what is her name... Marcia, the daughter came in. Marcia looks a lot like Lori Strout, a friend, back home. I helped move things around for the rummage sale then walked to the Cosmosphere when it opened at 9AM. Walking someplace is a novelty for me. I went back to the church to get my camera. The GoPro has a big video on it now. The ground floor is free to see, the lower level costs $12 and is three times bigger than the ground floor! There are also shows and a laboratory experiment demonstration with a rocket fuel explosion. I paid $12 and still have enough money for paid laundry. I went back to the church tired out from absorbing a full day in three hours. I helped consolidate rummage sale things in case anybody coming in for Sunday services tomorrow wants to buy anything (incredibly low prices at this rummage sale) before it all gets donated to Salvation Army. And, later on tomorrow, there is a birthday party down in the basement. Monday, I plan to ride on.

I am caught up with my telling of my tale.

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Post  ChasingSanity on Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:36 am

The birthday for the three year old was tiring. That age group has a lot more wild energy than I do. But, everybody welcomed me. I then felt lonely; they were community and belonged to each other. I miss home, Pamela and familiarity. After they left I cleaned up what little mess could be found.

In the morning, I packed up and rode on. Except, I got on the internet, bought the plane ticket to fly back to Pamela in Massachusetts. Then, I saw it was almost noon, there was a free lunch nearby, with food different than the stuff I carry on my bike, of course, I had to go. Then, I went to the grocery store and bought a little bit. Who knows, there not be any amenities until I got back from visiting that Terry guy (living in Hudson) I met at the VA clinic. It must have been a couple hours after noon when I was finally, actually, on the road.

I felt bored and in conflict within myself going to Hudson. I was going 50 miles west of Hutchinson then coming back through on my way to Wichita airport. For what? Why was I expending this energy? On June 30th, I booked passage on the plane flight leaving Wichita on July 10th. Why that date you ask - to get a good price.

So, what to do until then? I could try to find paying work for me, a stranger, in a town with very little work for their natives, family members and selves. I could aimlessly wander the country side killing time until the plane flight. I could visit Terry, newspaper guy, that just happened to be at the VA clinic at the same time I was.

A few miles out of town, someone driving the other way slows down to ask me what I was about, where from and to and all that. We talked a bit, Joni invited me to stop and visit or even camp the night at the Blue Star Spiritual Sanctuary just around the corner: take the next turn left up there then right at the first road, go down about half ways. That is, if you want. OK, I am up for it.

Wait, who said anything about dirt roads? Recently paved or not, I kept sliding around and sinking into a quagmire of fine dirt, sand and tiny stones. But, it was only a mile south and a mile west. I pushed my bike for much of that two miles.

I stayed the night, we all go along fine, her brother, her son and a friend were there visiting too. I would have slept in my tent but a big storm was seen when we stepped outside. "You better spend the night inside." I raced to put my tent (already set up) in the barn and my bike too. There was plenty of time, it rained an hour later. There was hail the size of cherries coming down like rain. The sky was filled with lightening. The lightening exploded outward from a certain place in the sky like roots of a tree, There were other flashes of light too, like indirect lighting, we could not see the source of these, just patches of cloud lit up for a moment. The lightening storm stayed in the same place aboce us for over an hour.

Then, I slept the night inside, on the couch. My bike and tent were dry in the morning. I packed up and rode on to Hudson, KS. I met with Terry, first on our phones, then he found me on the road. Of the choices he offered, I chose the community center with it's smelly, newly varnished floor. The lady that owns and runs the local restaurant has the key.

I went to thank her. She fed me good food. I meant to offer to pay but forgot, it was late, I was tired. She ans I went back to the community center, she instucted me on uses for the community center. Terry came by with his two huge, furry, white dogs. The dogs stayed in the back of his pick up truck, we talked for hours until midnight. Smile

I woke up at 5AM and packed up what little got unpacked. I rode back to.. whhere? I called Joni of Blue Star Spiritual Sanctuary and asked her if I could help out there until July 6th. "You bet."

But, I was so tired from the late night talking that I pulled over to the side of the road, set up my tent and slept for three hours.

I was lost without knowing it. I thought I was closer. But, I finally got there that day. The next day, I cleaned out an apartment converted from a garage. People that lived their previously left it as a rat's nest. Then, in the evening, one of Joni's sons, Shawn and his girlfriend, Sungho, came to visit. We all went to her granddaughter's softball game. Joni's granddaughter, Cloe, is 11 years old.

That was yesterday, today I updated my story. It is midafternoon. Joni invited me to an event tomorrow in Wichita to encourage the legalization of marijuana in Kansas. I am all for that, I don't care much about getting high but marijuana has so much more to offer than inebriation. I care about maximizing responsible usage of all of our resources.

Ironic that I am going to Wichita tomorrow in a car for part of the day and riding my bike the next day back to Wichita. But, putting my bike in a car tomorrow is not going to work. I am giving myself plenty of time to make this work.

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