Friday, April 22, 2011

Preparation Continues

Each day we are doing something toward this adventure on the bike - beside Cal riding his bike.  Over the winter months Cal has been riding his trike in the basement on a stationary trainer.  He is going 'nowhere' for miles and hours!  Finally we are having some nicer weather in Iowa so this past Sunday he was able to ride on the road.  He was pleased with his strength and stamina.  He thinks he is ready to try some steeper hills! - here in Iowa. They will be much steeper in Washington State!

RAGBRAI - Pocahauntas

RAGBRAI- As seen in The Des Moines Register

We are continually gathering together items which we may need, such as duct tape, extra spokes, inter-tubes, tires, proper clothing, etc.  We hope to stay in hotels most of the way, but we know there will be nights where there may not be a hotel/motel close by, so this is where the tent will fill the void.  Therefore we need our camping gear!  Thank goodness Cal will not be carrying all of these items on the back of his bike.  We will not take the 'kitchen sink', but we will have a few comforts, such as bag chairs, bag table, and the camp stove for food and coffee!  Another item is clothing for all climates. We will be crossing the mountains in early June, and it could be/will still be very chilly - possibly snow!  But by the time we reach the Plains in late June it could be hot.  The key word for this is layering.  Today I pulled out a cap, scarf and gloves for on the 'to go pile'!  Rain gear!  Cal is still trying to locate a good pair of waterproof gloves that are not 'chemical gloves' and do not cost 'an arm and a leg'!

Rachel with GMC Envoy

Rachel, GMC Envoy and completed bike rack

As you can tell there are so many things to consider when embarking on an adventure like this.  In the weeks to come we will continue to plan and gather the necessary provisions for our next "Great Adventure".

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Introduction to Cal & Rachel

Adventures come in many ways.  This newest one is Blogging.  So be patient as we develop this adventure.
We hope you will see improvements in the days ahead.  We changed our original email address to a g-mail account, so we are also exploring all the advantages of g-mail, one of which is Blogspot.
Cal & Rachel on the edge of Victoria Falls, Livingston Zambia

We are Cal and Rachel Litwiller.  We live in Mt Pleasant Iowa where we have been since 1977.  Cal is a retired high school science teacher and Rachel is a retired interior decorator but continues to be a HUD Project manager.  Cal and Rachel are both Rotarians, members of the Mt Pleasant Evening Rotary Club.  We have served on many committees both in our own club and in our district, District 6000.  During the Rotary Year of 2009-10 Cal served as District Governor for District 6000. 

Cal and Rachel have two children; Cherie, a high school science teacher/DP coordinator/high school administrator, who is working on her doctorate in school administration, presently located in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Tony is a licensed pharmacist living in Charlotte, North Carolina where he is a vice president of sales for Eckos Corp, a company that produces blood clot catheters. Tony is married to Madeline, and they have two dogs.

Rachel and Cal like to go on trips that include an adventure, thus the blog, "Cal & Rachel Litwiller's Adventures". 

The reason for this Bogging adventure is due to our next adventure!  A dream was born in approximately 1996 when several gals from Mt Pleasant rode across the US (Los Angeles to Washington DC).  Cal had already ridden several RAGBRAI's (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) and this would be a challenge he thought he would like to conquer at some point in his life.  An item on his 'bucket list'!!

In the last year we have been to Zambia, South Africa and Lesotho (all in southern Africa) for two months.  In February 2011, we have traveled to Guatemala on a medical trip that was designed to repair cleft palate and lips, then in March to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. On the way home to Iowa from New Orleans, we traveled the Natchez Trace, via the SUV for Rachel and Bicycle/trike for Cal.  We were able to travel all but the north 90 miles of the Trace before Cal's cold caused him to quit riding. This was our trial run for our next great adventure.

For their next adventure, Rachel and Cal are planning on a cross country bicycling adventure that will take them across the United States, again Rachel in the SUV and Cal on his Terra Trike.

Cal's Terra Trike on the Natchez Trace

The cross country trip will begin in NW Washington, the Olympia Peninsula, then cross northern Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, then southeast through South Dakota to Iowa and home to Mt Pleasant.  Later in the fall we will head south through Missouri, then east through Tennessee and North Carolina, stopping in at Charlotte on the way to the eastern coast.

As we all know, we are all aging, like it or not, but if Cal really wants to ride his bike across the US, the sooner we do it the better.  Time will tell whether these plans come to completion.  The adventure will be documented on this blog, so stay tuned.  The bicycle training is in full swing.