But I am just a pilgrim on this road, boys
Until I see you fare thee well
-Steve Earle, Pilgrim

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Night Riding

Dan and I rode the Hound Dog 124K permanent to Aurora on Friday evening starting at 18:00. The wind was out of the southeast, and there was a chance of thunderstorms, although the sky was clear. After working all day at my desk, I was a little stiff and it took a little while to get in the rhythm of the ride.The wind died as the evening progressed, and we made it to Aurora just before 21:00. The southeast wind picked up on the return, so we had a good push on the north legs. We made it back to Springfield just before 24:00. While it seemed like I was dragging at the beginning of the ride, we completed it with the same time as most of our prior rides.

Heading west near Republic, MO


Marionville, MO, cemetery


Setting sun outside Aurora, MO

Aurora, MO,  control

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Edwardsville Again

There was another full brevet series in Edwardsville, IL, last weekend. Dan Pfaff and I drove up Friday evening and stayed at the Innkeeper Motel in Hamel. A storm came through during the night, and we hoped the rain and lightning were done for the weekend.

There was quite a crowd when we arrived at 3:30 for the 4:00 start. Most were riding the 600K. John and I were only riding the 200K that I needed to complete the Super Randonneur series and John needed to complete his first R-12. Most of the riders took off at a fairly fast pace. The bike trail out of town was sprinkled with debris and there was a fallen tree from the storm, so we took it a little slower. The tail lights of the front group continued to pull away as we headed east on Fruit Road. We began to see lightning, and the rain caught up with us just before we got to Grandfork. The rain drops were big and cold and made quite a sound as they approached us from the west.

The rain stopped by the time we got to Pocahontas where we stopped to use the restroom and get some chocolate milk. John Jost (St. Louis Region RBA) and Randy Johnson caught up with us there and so did another major storm cell. A driver who stopped had driven through it and said there was also hail. We decided to wait it out, and since the c-store had a grill, we decided to have breakfast. We spent about an hour in Pocahontas.

We got to the first control in Breese at 8:30 (51 miles). Scott Thompson, who was making the bag drop in Vienna for the 600K riders, stopped to see how we were doing. While we were there one of the 600K riders, Rudy from Florida, pulled in having stopped at a church to sit out the storm.

We were in Okawville at 11:00 (78 miles), and John, Randy and Rudy arrived shortly after we did. As we were leaving, Dan commented to John that we were heading back with a tailwind. Unfortunately the tailwind only lasted until New Baden where we stopped at McDonald's for yogurt parfait and frozen strawberry lemonade. We also stopped in St. Jacob to make sure we had enough water to finish the ride. The sky was pretty much overcast by then so it seemed cooler.

There was a large snapping turtle in the middle of the Fruit Road being harassed by a dog. I tried to move it off, but it spun around too fast when I got near it and we ended up just dancing in the middle of the road. Since there was not much traffic, I just left it. It was big enough that most drivers would see it from quite a distance.

We finished up in Edwardsville (126 miles) at 16:04. Not one of our faster times.

Getting instructions at the start

Water off my front wheel in the crosswind

John and Randy arriving at Pocahontas

Storm approaching Pocahontas

John, Dan and Randy preparing to leave Pocahontas

One-lane bridge on the road to Breese

Randy, Scott, John and Dan at the Breese control

Lunch time outside Breese

Retro McDonald's in New Baden

View from the St. Jacob c-store

The water tower is 10 miles from the finish

Yucca in bloom

Dan signing in at the finish

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Strafford VFW & Bolton's

On Saturday, I rode with Rae, Doug, Neil, Steve and Tom to the VFW in Strafford for pancakes. It had been a while since I had been out there. We had to slow for a Canada geese family crossing Catalpa east of Springfield. It was nice and cool riding through the valley. The VFW guys were glad to see us as usual. One of them had a nice Victory motorcycle parked outside.

On Sunday, I rode the Bolton's 115K permanent with Dan. We left at 6:00. We hoped to see some trans-continental riders along the section between Fair Grove and Bolton's and were not disappointed. We saw one couple eastbound as we were heading west. They seemed lightly loaded with just small backpacks. They may have been credit card tourers. On the way out, we ran into some aggressive dogs between US 13 and H Highway. They were still aggressive on the return, and I had to get off my bike to keep them at bay. Naturally, they lived at the top of a hill, so we were going slow both ways. The next hill over we ran into a couple from Oregon heading west. They had flown out to Virginia for the ride back. We warned them of the dogs. Another hill later. we ran into a single rider heading west and warned him of the dogs. Just before H Highway we saw a second single rider westbound and again warned him of the dogs. It was pretty hot when we got back to Springfield about 12:30. We were both glad we were not riding a 200K that day.

Geese crossing Catalpa

Doug, Steve and Tom at the VFW

Victory Motorcycle

Tom took this picture

Farmhouse and barn

Oregon Trans-America riders heading west-What loads!

Single rider heading west

2nd single rider heading west & Dan heading east