Saturday, October 29, 2011

October 28, 2011 - Continued thoughts

We know some of you may be reading this blog due to the story appearing on the Terra Trike Website. 

For serious bikers, who would consider doing such a trek, I want to share with you a few more details as to how we navigated across the country. 

Cal used the maps from Adventure Cycling on the first part of the trip - very good and very detailed.  They did tend to take out of the way routes and Cal is a more a 'point A' to 'point B' person.  Since we wanted to go through specific cities, we navigated on our own with an Atlas.  Later we used Google maps.  On Google maps, put in the destination cities/towns and click on 'bike route'.  They will use bike paths as much as possible. Google will have the printed directions, but when street signs are missing, it becomes more difficult.  Google gave good general driects, but were not full proof, such as the route they took us on through Canton, Ohio - not the best part of the city to be riding through. 

I must add, I, Rachel am a map person.  Give me a map and I will not be lost!! We did not use a GPS on this whole ride. Very important to me is a good map. We bought a DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for each state.  These are very detailed maps. They are great for navigating country roads.  However they are not very specific for cities.  I am sure there are good city maps out there and maybe even from DeLorme, but we did not have them.  I am sure GPS would be good too.

Some States have Bike maps detailing the highways that are heavily traveled or those marked "Share the Road'.  These are helpful too.  For these maps we contacted the State's Office of Tourism on-line. As you can tell we used  all sources for navigation, as we had friends we wanted to see along the way.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 22, 2011- Charlotte, N.C.:

The days are slipping by! It is Saturday night already.  After having breakfast with another friend in Harrisonburg, VA on Thursday morning we drove south to Ashville, NC.  In Ashville we spent time with Rotary friends formerly of Mt Pleasant.  Their son, a former student of Cal’s, is an Ophthalmology in the Ashville area.  He brought his family over for supper, so it was great to meet everyone and to visit about school days in Mt Pleasant, as well as reminisce about the RAGBRAI ride he rode on with our family many years ago.
Driving in and out of Ashville was beautiful.  The leaves were beautiful on the higher mountain slopes however in lower areas the leaves have not begun to change colors. The biggest surprise was the snow we saw at the top of the highest Appalachian Range.

Friday morning we drove to Charlotte to spend the weekend with our son and wife.  It is has been a beautiful weekend.  This morning we went to two Farmer’s Markets in the area.  This evening we had a lovely evening meal which included their friends - neighbors.

At this point we are planning on leaving Charlotte on Monday morning so we are home by Tue PM. 

Hopefully I can post more photos of lovely fall scenes after driving around Ashville again on Monday.           

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 19, 2011 – Harrisonburg, VA:

Yesterday morning Cal did indeed ride his bike on the bike trail along the water front at Virginia Beach.  It was a beautiful morning.  One of the last beautiful days before rain and lower temps, so we really enjoyed the beach area, before leaving for Harrisonburg, VA. 
Tautog Restaurant, Virginia Beach, VA - Restaurant where we had dinner

Old Coast Guard Station along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Monument of Norwegian Lady along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk - Commemorating a Norwegian ship that sunk off the coast

American Naval Air Squadron Monument for World War II

American Naval Air Squadron Monument for Team Work

Instead of driving on the Interstates west across VA we took US highway #33.  It was a lovely drive. The trees had more color as we reached the rich Shenandoah Valley. 

Horton Vineyards

It is great being able to see where our niece and husband live in this area, as they have just moved to the Valley in the past several months. 

This morning we drove west, northwest from Broadway, VA on Hwy #259.  Years ago, when we were married students at Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg, - one summer for a job Cal drove a US Mail Star route. It basically took mail from Harrisonburg to Baker, West VA and back.  He stopped at Post Offices along the way as well as putting mail in boxes along the road. One stop was Fulks Run.  The General store was along known for Turner’s Sugar Cured Hams. So today we drove to Fulks Run, checked out the General Store and drove farther on into West VA.  This is a lovely drive any time of year but especially in the autumn, and would have been lovelier today had the sun been shining – the colors would have been brighter. However, certain things do not change much along this road! 

Back in Harrisonburg, we had lunch with old family friends, before going to the nursing home to visit an old family friend (in fact a relative) who is 96 years old.  She just lost her 98 year old husband, a former pastor at Cal’s childhood church in Iowa. We drove around the campus of Eastern Mennonite University noting the additional buildings.        

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 17, 2011 – Monday - Salisbury, MD to Virginia Beach, VA

Today we awoke to a bright beautiful day – great biking weather, but no, we are finished with that!! We had a relaxing breakfast before driving south on the Delmarva Peninsula toward Norfolk, VA.  (Delmarva stands for DELaware, MAryland, VirginiA). On our way south we drove out of the way to the little fishing town of Crisfield, MD – most businesses in this town were related in someway to catching crab.
Crisfield, MD Harbor

After back on the main road two antique malls allured us into stopping. We were not making good time today, but who cares!
Along the way we saw fields of tomatoes – we really could not understand the situation – it appeared they had killed the plants by spraying them. Workers were removing a material at the base of the plants that prevented weeds but also contained an irrigation medium. It appears there are still plenty of tomatoes on the plants, but up close they were not in good shape. We do not know why they were not picked. We assume all those stakes with strings will have to be removed before the soil is prepared for a new crop. It sure appeared to be labor intensive. It would have been interesting to discuss the process with someone in the know.
Tomato Field

Cherry Tomatoes

At the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula there is a bridge, tunnel, bridge, tunnel, bridge that crosses over the Chesapeake Bay to Virginia (Lucius J Kellan Jr Chesapeake Bay Bridge).  Yes, you are on a bridge than you go under into a tunnel, then up on a bridge than under then up again. The tunnels allow for the shipping lanes entering and leaving the Chesapeake Bay.

Crossing the bridge-tunnel brought us into the Metro area of Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Newport News. We wanted to see the light houses at the Cape, but we did not realize they were inside a military zone (Fort Story).  We could enter, but before entering they checked the whole vehicle – opening the hood, looked under the vehicle with a mirror, checked the inside, and checked Cal’s driver’s license. After seeing the light houses we drove toward downtown Virginia Beach.  At one point we found a spot to park and walked on the beach for a while before going downtown.  By now it was almost and we knew we would be facing traffic issues when leaving town, unless we had dinner downtown before leaving.

The beach front is lined with hotels – every hotel chain – they were advertising ‘winter rates’.  We figured they would still be more than we hoped to pay, but decided to see how ‘high’ the rates would be.  We could not believe the rates!  So we are on the Beach at Virginia Beach tonight!  It was/is a beautiful evening and night – I mean in the mid 70’s.  As I am writing this it is and the temp is still 70 degrees.  Tonight was the perfect night to be here as it will be cooling down later this week.  While the sun was still shinning we walked and walked on the beach plus the boardwalk.  After dark we found a place to eat.    

Virginia Beach

On The Beach at Virginia Beach, VA

Military jets were flying and flying and flying tonight – we do not know if this is normal.  You could not talk when they were overhead.  They continued to fly until approx .
Tomorrow morning I think Cal is going to ride on the bike trail following the beach before I get up. We will see how early we leave tomorrow, but by tomorrow night we will be in Harrisonburg, VA with Cal’s niece. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 16, 2011: Sunday

The Morning After!
We slept in this morning but the first thing we noticed was the weather – another beautiful day to ride a bike.  Everyday for the last month + we have looked at the weather to determine how Cal would dress for the bike ride.  We keep reflecting on the ride.  It was an amazing experience, seeing our America at a slower pace. 
After a relaxing breakfast we packed up, checking out of the hotel.
By we were at the church Rachel’s first cousin attends. They are a part of a very active/alive church. After church we had lunch at her home with her family. We had a great time reconnecting, visiting, and hearing about their life in this area of Delaware. 
We knew Delaware was a small state (compared to Iowa), but to be here, it is amazing how small it really is. Also their growing season is longer than ours in Iowa.  They are able to plant their crops, such as corn by early April.  The corn has been harvested, and then they have planted wheat or barley in that same ground, which by now is 3-4 inches tall and bright green. It is so different from Iowa where harvest is now in progress or has just finished.
Tomorrow, Monday, we are going to Norfolk and Virginia Beach. We have been to Williamsburg and Jamestown before, so we will not be stopping there.       

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 15, 2011; Greenwood to Atlantic Ocean Beach (32 miles):

CAL DID IT!!! He REALLY did it!! The whole way!

Cal rode 3650 miles from Cape Flattery, Washington to Cape Henlopen, Delaware.  It was 2375 miles from the Pacific to our home in Mt Pleasant, Iowa and 1275 miles from Mt Pleasant to the Atlantic. On the western part he averaged 70 miles per day whereas on the eastern part he averaged 51 miles per day.  There were 60 mornings that when Cal got up he knew he would be on the bike!  Aproximatly 1.3 million pedal strokes on the bike. 

This morning before we left Dover we returned to the State Capital building to capture a photo in the morning light. We drove back to Greenwood, and Cal began riding where he had stopped last night.
Deleware State Capitol - The First State

Minutemen Commemorative Statue

Delaware has lots of agriculture land – a lot of it is irrigated. Most of the fields are tree lined, so the size of the field does not equal those of the Midwest.  Cal took photos of a guy harvesting corn. We have seen lots of sod farms, corn, soybeans, and wheat.

As I said, the storm system had moved on and there was even a change in wind direction. It would push Cal to the Ocean!  It was one of those days bike riders dream about!    

At Cal had his bike on the Atlantic Ocean Beach at Cape Henlopen, DE. There were a few other people on the beach, and YES they did wonder what we were doing!  A bike on the beach and in the water! 

On The Beach At Last

Together we Are On The beach

After lots of photos we loaded the bike. All the anticipation is over! There were all sorts of emotions – exhalation, joy, couldn’t believe we had actually accomplished it, but yet a little bit of disappointment that it was actually over.

We decided to continue driving south along the ocean before turning inland to the town of Seaford. Along the way we stopped off at several other locations where we could walk out to the beach.
Harbor at Lewes Deleware-Near the Beach

Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes Deleware - Notice the Dutch Influence

At one location we decided to take a nap, however we saw people arriving in suits/ties and dresses with heels.  There was a wedding the beach! It was a beautiful day (compared to yesterday) – sunny and warm, but just a tad windy. There was a group of 50 + in attendance.  The bride arrived in a limo and the couple left in the limo.
Wedding on the Beach

Wedding on  the Beach

The Atlantic Beach near Lewes Deleware

At another location we watched them wind surfing, and parasailing. There were 8 people up parasailing at any given time, while others were putting stuff away, and others were in the prep stages. It was so interesting to watch. One of the guys told us it was a little too windy for ideal conditions, especially beginners, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.     
We had a reservation in Seaford for a suite for tonight. This town is close to one of Rachel’s cousins with whom we will spend time tomorrow.          
When we leave Delaware we are going south to Charlotte, NC via Virginia, visiting friends and family along the way.  We will probably arriving home on Tuesday, October 25th.  
It is so great having our daughter in Mt Pleasant taking care of the house, dog, lawns and other details while we are gone. 
For those of you in the Mt Pleasant area, who would like to stop by the house at 311 N Adams St to congratulate Cal on his accomplishment, come by on Sunday October 30th after until .....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 14, 2011: Grasonville, MD to Greenwood, Delaware (50 miles):

Well, the storm system did not move out of the area overnight!! No at all!  There was rain off and on all day until after Cal stopped riding this afternoon.  Interestingly the temperature has stayed warm so Cal is not chilling when he is wet.  At one point it poured so hard that he crawled into the vehicle with me.  However later, the evening was beautiful, including a red sunset.  We think the system has now moved on, as tonight there is a clear nearly full moon. 

Today we left Maryland and entered DelawareCal has now ridden through 13 States, and we have driven in 15 States to complete the bike trip. 

Cal rode to Greenwood, Delaware where we had planned to stop for the day.  We wanted to take Hwy #13 North into Dover as we are spending the night with friends.

The land on this side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is totally flat.  When you ride a bike you think of this little item called ‘elevation change’!  We were again on ‘back’ country roads. There were little roadside stands selling end of the season garden items on the honor system.  I stopped at one stand and bought a few garden items for tonight’s host. 

Today I saw a flock of wild turkeys – I counted at least 35.  This photo shows just a few of them eating their way across a field. 

Later we saw a huge flock of Canadian Geese around a pond.  I don’t think we have ever seen so many Geese in one area at the same time.  I know there is hunting in this area – for geese, duck and white tailed deer.      

We have had a delightful evening with our friends here in Dover.  It is great to see them again and catch up on their lives here.  We had a quick tour of the area – Dover Speedway, State Capital area, and Wesley College in Dover.

While at a restaurant, we were introduced to a group as “almost completing a bicycle trip across the US”, when one of the guys at the table asked if we knew of RAGBRAI? Of course we did! The guy jumped out of his chair! He was so excited to meet us!  He has ridden on 2 RAGBRAI’s! In these parts you seldom meet someone who has ridden RAGBRAI or who even knows about it.    

In our later discussion it was said, ‘RAGBRAI is a fraternity’! If you have been on it or around it, you know and understand the event.  Someone like this guy tonight and the guy I met the other day in Silver Springs, MD cannot discuss RAGBRAI in this area unless they go into great detail about the event, and even then people do not understand RAGBRAI language, whereas with someone like us, we can share ‘the event’. 

Tomorrow the weather is to be beautiful and we are hoping to be standing the beach at the Atlantic Ocean!  We cannot believe how close we are to checking this item off of Cal’s ‘bucket list’!         

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 13, 2011: Greenbelt, MD to Grasonville, MD (47 miles):

It rained most of the night and was still raining this morning. We did not rush around this morning, but when it slowed down to a mist, we got Cal on the road. It actually kept raining off and on all day until about when the sun came out. By the time Cal stopped riding this afternoon he was completely soaked.

After about the first half hour this morning we were in very rural areas. We rode through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Henry A Wallace facility.  Henry A. Wallace was an Iowan who served as Vice President (1941-45), and United State Agricultural Secretary. We also went by the Beltsville NASA facility. 

Here are some photos of colors I saw today – trees along the road, flowers, pumpkins plus a horse farm.

We made it to Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay.  As we crossed the Severn River Bridge Cal stopped and took photos of the Annapolis Naval Academy.

Naval Acadamy from the Severn Bridge - Acadamy Bridge

Actually it was pouring rain when we drove over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It was so cloudy that we did not even try to take any photos of the bridge. Hopefully when we return we can snap a photo or two.  On the eastern side of the bridge Cal picked up a bike trail to Grasonville where we had reservations for tonight.  We needed to stop early as Cal had a meeting he needed to attend by phone.  Would you believe about the time we stopped the sun shone for about an hour.

Later tonight we ate at a local seafood restaurant – delicious crab cakes!  For some reason, tonight high tide is to be 2 feet higher than normal – warnings have been posted. Low spots in parking lots were filling up with water.  When late restaurant patrons leave they could be walking through several feet of water to get to their cars!   
Tomorrow we are going almost straight east toward the coast.  At approx we will stop where ever we are to drove north to Dover, Delaware.  We will spend the evening and night with dear friends in Dover.  One summer while they lived Mt Pleasant, they went along with our group on RAGBRAI.       

As I am writing this tonight it is pouring rain again!