Sunday, January 1, 2012

Good vs Bad (or Worse) Cycling Moments

Yes, I think I’ve experienced most of these.

Bad: Having dogs chase you.
Good: Having dogs chase you on a 35mph downhill.

Bad: Getting low on water on an unfamiliar strip of road.
Good: Finding people sitting in their yard in the middle of no where, when you need water and borrowing their outdoor water faucet.

Bad: Getting caught out in a lightening storm.
Good: Beating the lightening storm home.

Bad: Loose gravel when climbing a steep hill.
Worse: Loose gravel, causing you to slide on a very steep downhill.

Bad: Finding a stream to cross that you aren’t sure how deep it might be, with loose gravel.
Good: Finding a stream to cross with 2-3 inches of water on a paved road

Bad: A cold rain on a cool day.
Good: A cool, gentle rain on a hot day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Biking Plans for 2012

Written on December 14.......Not a lot of good days for biking this time of year. I did get in 3 days last week, including a 25 mile ride with brother in law, Adam McCullough. But right night, I'm trying to shake a cold that's had me queezie and coughing since Sunday. No rides this week.
This time of year, I have lots of time to day dream about cycling. Got 3 goals in mind for 2012. I think one area that I need to work on is more consistent biking. I'll sometimes lay off a 2-3 weeks, then get on and do a 40-50 mile ride. I need to be more consistent, do 3 or so rides a week, even if it's for an hour or less.
So thinking, a good goal for 2012 would be to see how many days I can ride. Shoot for 150 days (less than 3 per week). That's goal #1.
Goal #2, in the spring, I'd like to do about a week long ride to visit my friend Robert in Batesville. I've looked at maps, think the route I'd like to try would be to go to Harrison, Yellville, south of Mountain Home, then to Batesville. On the return home, ride to Mt Ida, then head north to Yellville and back home. I've never done a spring tour. Three reasons....I'm busier in the spring, I'm not in as good of shape, and there's a good chance of getting wet or even storms. I'd camp the entire trip.
Goal #3, do a September ride of at least 2 weeks. I've done rides of 4 days, 2 of 6 days, and on 2 occasions, 7 days. I'm ready to tackle a longer ride. The idea I'm tossing around right now, is to head out on my bike, camping gear and all, then have Lajunta and Jerrie catch up with me a week or so later. Then ride one more week with Jerrie. I'd take what's known as the TransAmerica trail, which is a route used my many cross-country riders. It goes across southern Missouri (just north of Springfield). My idea would be to ride from home, the head east on the trail. In 2 weeks, should be able to get about half way across Kentucky.

Ride Across Arkansas, Sept 24-29, 2011. Day 1 through day 4.

Note: Click on photos to enlarge them. To speed up loading of photos, days 5 through 7 are listed as separate stories. Just follow links at bottom of each page to follow. 

Twice I've ridden across Iowa as part of their annual RAGBRAI. I decided it was time I needed to see my home state at 10mph. Told my wife, I wasn't going to do RAGBRAI again, until I rode across Arkansas. So on Saturday afternoon, September 24th, we started riding at the Arkansas/Missouri state line, at Blue Eye, MO. My riding partner for the ride is our family friend, Jerrie Joubert. My wife has always claimed Jerrie as her adopted sister. We've known Jerrie and her husband, Scot, for many years. Our kids were about the same age as there kids. My wife is not a cyclist, but a very willing SAG support person. "SAG" is short for "Support And Gear", in other words, the person who hauls our supplies. She'll be driving the car, meeting us for lunch, and at the end of the day meet us for our over-night lodging.
If you have any questions, corrections, or comments and would like to contact me, my email is:

Day 1, Saturday,  September 24:  Blue Eye, MO to Batavia, AR
Map of day 1:
Blue Eye, MO is just 5 miles from my home in Oak Grove, AR. My wife, Lajunta drove Jerrie and I to Blue Eye, where she did the ceremonial photos at the state line signs. Was a festive beginning, as it was the annual "Blue Eye Reunion". So the Blue Eye city park was full of vendors, musicians, and spectators. We didn't leave Blue Eye until about 3:30, as Saturday morning was the second annual St John's bicycle ride in Berryville, which I help organize.
From Blue Eye, we rode on hwy 21 to Oak Grove From there we took hwy 103 to Green Forest, where we turn onto hwy 62E to Alpena. A couple miles past Alpena, we turned right onto 392 to Batavia. We only did 30.47 miles. It's not a race for us (which is good, since I'm more of a "clydesdale" on a bike, not a "thoroughbred"). Was great riding weather. Lajunta picked us up at the convenience store in Batavia. It was nicely decorated for fall. We returned home for the night. Plans were to resume next morning, and head towards Jasper. Took some fun photos of the Batavia store.
Mileage today, approximately 30 miles.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ride Across Arkansas 2011. Day 5, Wednesday September 28: Mt Ida to near Ozan.

Click here to go to day 1.
Map of day 5:

The plan for today was to ride from Mt Ida to Hope, where we would stay the night with Jerrie's parents. Found out it would be a little farther than I'd planned, about 85 miles. We could probably do that, but this trip is not about just bike riding. It's a photo safari, a "visit with the locals", and site seeing. Oh, then Jerrie also decided to make it a "collect souvenirs for her co-workers from things we find on the shoulder of the road". That was interesting.
As we were leaving, we met "Fred", a gentleman selling  muscadine grapes on the Mt Ida square. He'd grown them himself. Told us about growing the grapes and some of his other produce. Visited with him a bit, then headed out. As we were leaving, he shouted at us to come back. Wanted to tell us the short cut to the road we wanted. I think next long bike ride, I"ll take a portable stool to sit on, pull out a note pad, and get more information from the people we meet.
We continued on hwy 27 south of Mt Ida through the communities of Norman, Caddo Gap, and Glenwood. Stopped at city hall in Norman and once gain, found some friendly folks to visit with. Glenwood was the largest town since Mt Ida, with a nice convenience store, and even a McDonalds! Lajunta found a nice park with picnic tables in Murfreesboro, where we met her for lunch. We continued on to the town of Nashville.
Riding hadn't been too bad that day, just normal type hills I'm accustomed to riding. Up to that point, the roads have been very bicycle-friendly.....nice shoulders to ride on. However, that changed as we left Nashville on hwy 278. Honestly, this is NOT a safe road to cycle on, until you get to about Ozan.....little to no shoulder, curvy roads (traffic is right upon you, before they see you), heavy traffic (lots of 18 wheelers), and what shoulder there is, has those "rumble strips" on them (good idea for cars, terrible idea for cycling). Often times the shoulder was so narrow, it's impossible to ride to the right of the rumble strips. We found ourselves occasionally stopping to get out of the way of the 2 way traffic.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ride Across Arkansas 2011. Day 6, Thursday September 29, near Ozan to Louisiana/Arkansas border.

Click here to go to day 1.

Map of day 6:
Hello flat lands, good bye granny gear! Rode the entire day today without having to shift to my smallest chain ring!
Time goes fast when you are cycling, well, sometimes not as fast as you'd like when climbing those hills. But after it's over, it seems like it went fast.
We got an early start today, Lajunta drove us back up to an old church where we'd stopped the night before, the Sardis Methodist Church. We rode about 5 miles to the community of Ozan. The roads improved at that point, with a wider shoulder to ride on and no rumble strips. Next town on the map was Washington. What an interesting town, especially if you are a history buff (I'm not, but still found it interesting). Took lots of photos here. Many old, historical buildings. The town is actually a state park,
After about a 45 minute tour, it was time to hit the road, if we were going to get to Louisiana before dark. We stopped a few miles before Hope. There was a John Deere dealership, that was owned by friends of Scot and Jerrie. We visited with Clark for awhile, then headed to Hope.
We rode on to Hope, passed the home where Bill Clinton lived as a child, then on to Jerrie's parent's home, where Lajunta had lunch prepared for us.
After lunch, we took hwy 29 and headed south once again. The roads were perfect for cycling, nice wide shoulders all the way to Louisiana. Turned out to be the hottest day of our trip, with temperatures near 100. I can handle those temperatures when cycling, so long as we don't have hills to climb and have plenty of water. Lajunta met us a few times that day, to make sure we had plenty of water. We stopped in Lewisville a bit, then went through the last town of our trip, Bradley. About 5:30, we arrived at the state line.
Mileage for the day, 72.
That evening, Jerrie and I took turns enjoying "Mr Bob's" massage chair!

Morning began with good shoulders to ride on, once we reached Ozan.

The courthouse at Washington, or as the locals call it, "Old Washington". There's a tourist information center inside, and  you can tour the facility.

Ladies at the Washington courthouse who give out tourist information.

We were a little too early for lunch, but Jerrie asked the workers at the "Williams Tavern Restaurant" at Washington if they would come out for a photo. Jerrie's dad,  "Mr Bob", eats there every day.
One of the locals in a period costume. Not sure if he was a tour guide, or an actor.

This tree, located in Washington, is the largest magnolia tree in the northern hemisphere.
It has grown so large, they had to close the road!

Ride Across Arkansas, 2011. Day 7, Friday September 30, day of rest and recovery.

Click here to go to day 1. 
We were having so much fun, we considered driving back down to the Louisiana state line, and then riding west to the Texas state line. However, after riding in the near 100 degree heat, we were about worn out. We'd allowed a couple extra days on our trip, as there's always the possibility of bad weather, or mechanical problems, but we couldn't have had a more perfect week. So we had a couple days to spare.
Jerrie mentioned that the regional fair was going on in Hope, so we decided to go check it out. We enjoyed seeing the livestock and displays. Lajunta was interested in finding the canning lids that had American flags on them.
Jerrie was excited to run into a few old acquaintances.
That evening we drove to Texarkana with Jerrie's parents, where we met her sister, Paula, for dinner at the Ole Feed House. Paula also brought her neighbor, a cyclist, who wanted to hear about our trip. The restaurant featured a fine seafood buffet!
We went back to the Dillard's home, were we took turns in Mr Bob's massage chair. Lajunta didn't find it as relaxing as did Jerrie and I. But that's another

Jerrie and Lajunta at the Regional fair in Hope.

One of the craft entries at the fair. Lajunta really likes "Snow Lady" with 5 little snowball kids".

The group that ate out in Texarkana at the Ole Feed House (gets my recommendation).....Gary, a cyclist who wanted to hear about our trip, Jerrie's sister Paula, Jerrie's parents Jackie and Bob, Jerrie, Lajunta and Larry. Wonder if I could get my own tv show, and be the cycling version of Guy Fieri of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives"???

What an incredible time we all had! Thinking next year, we may have to return to the spot where the ride ended, and ride across Louisiana to the gulf!

Ok..a few interesting facts you may find hard to believe:
Number of flat tires......0
Number of mechanical problems or bike adjustments....0
Number of dogs who ran into the road and chased us....0, (yes, not a typo...Zero!).
Miles ridden in rain gear......0
Number of times Jerrie crashed into ditch.....0 (inside joke)
Number of people who shouted insults at us...0
Times we used pepper spray.......0
Number of hills I had to walk up.....0 (helped that I had the smallest chain ring on by bike,a 30 tooth, replaced with a 24 tooth. Didn't shift very smoothly, but got me up those long, steep hills. )

In summary.....the route we took was a VERY good route to cycle, with the exception of hills and that one stretch of about 10 miles south of Nashville. The shoulders were very good to ride on, and for the most part, with very little debris.

Be sure and check back soon, when we get home, I'll be uploaded some of the 700+ photos that I did, plus some of Lajunta's.

If you have an questions, comments, or corrections, please email me at:
So, anyone want to join us for next year's ride???