Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Day 44 - Niagara Falls to Rochester

103 miles and about 1,000 feet of climbing.

This was a pretty quick century for me, just over six hours for the 103 miles.

At about 87 miles, we stopped at Perri's Pizzaria for lunch.  They advertise a "HUGE" slice.  I guess it was so big, I was studying it, I had to figure out what to do with it, lol.

Riding along Lake Ontario was pretty cool, it looks just like an ocean to me.

At the end of the ride, we crossed the Eire Canal a couple of times:

Monday, July 30, 2018

Day 43 - Niagara Falls

From last night, they light up the falls:

I am a tourist today, here are some clips:

Observation deck, Rainbow Bridge:

Maid of the Mist Experience:

Bridal Vale Falls:

Horse Shoe Falls:

From and observation platform:

Niagara River:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Day 42 - Brantford, ON, CA to Niagara Fall, NY, USA

Good to be home back in the good old USA!

About 74 miles and less than 1,000 feet of climbing.  With some of the steep hills we tackled today, you would have thought we had climbed 5,000 feet; however, one of the climbs today, although somewhat short, was very steep.

A clip of down hill today:

Here are some clips of Niagara Falls as seen from the Canadian side, these are the US Falls:

Dave, Hugh, Evin and Satish:

The Horse Shoe Falls are on the Canadian side:

The bridge is the Rainbow Bridge, the bridge we took into the USA:

From the Queen Victoria Palace Restaurant, on the Canadian side:

On the Rainbow Bridge heading into the USA, waiting for Customs, we are supposed to be like a vehicle:

Welcome home to NY, in the USA:

Day 41 - London to Brantford

Just under 70 miles and just under 800 feet of climbing.  But it felt like we were climbing more.

From yesterday, welcome to Ontario:

Today at a fruit stand with Satish and Dave:

We saw this crop duster while we were riding.  They wanted us well past the crops before he would make this loop.

When the Canadian Government decided to make tobacco taxes so high, it basically put the farmers out of business.  The Government then helped the farmers get into the ginseng business.  This is what it looks like growing:

Today we rode on another hard packed dirt path.  There was also some gravel, but all in all, it was pretty easy.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Day 40 - Port Huron, MI, USA to London, Ontario, Canada

WHAA HOO, new country, EH.

Eighty six miles, about 700 feet of elevation gain.

Kind of a fun ride today.  Wind was certainly a factor, a major helping factor.

We began our ride today, immediately going over the Blue Water Bridge.  As a matter of fact, they closed the bride for us, that is the only safe way for us to get across.  Here are some clips:

There are two sets of finger joints on the bridge; the gaps are so big, we had to get off the bikes and walk them across the joints.  And some folks still got their bike tires caught in the joints:

During the ride, there was some construction and the leaders pulled us aside while we waited for them to figure out the rerouting.  Someone pointed out a pear tree:

We also had to wait for a train today, we waited for about a half hour and then they finally rerouted us.  This reroute added about 3 miles to our ride today.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Day 39 - Birch Run to Port Houron

Eighty nine miles today with about 800 feet of elevation gain.

The wind was our friend today, which was nice and really helped us finish the ride pretty quick.

Back to Tony's for dessert last night:

We saw one of their legendary BLT's; a pound of bacon on every sandwich:

In Millington, the water tower has a smiley face:

Here are a few clips from the Brown City Fire Department's 9-11 Memorial:

Another Great Lake, Lake Huron.  Tomorrow, we will go over the Blue Water Bridge which goes over St. Clair River into Canada.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Day 38 - Mt. Pleasant to Birch Run

About 75 miles and 200 feet of elevation gain.

A lot more farm land, nothing much going on to see that was special.  No video.  However, overall, I find the roads in Michigan to be in pretty good condition.

Ride was fairly easy, but not as easy as yesterday's ride.  The wind was helpful, but not as helpful as yesterday. 

Dave, who lives in Ann Arbor required that we go to Tony's for lunch because the portions are legendary.  Tony's is in Birch Run so it is at the end of the ride which was just perfect.  While I did not go for it, they put one pound of bacon on a BLT, wheh.

I went for the club sandwich.

The whole sand.

This is what was left, I could not eat the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Day 37 - Luddington to Mt. Pleasant

112 miles with 2,400 feet of elevation gain.

Probably the best century I have ever done, it was quick.  My average speed was 16.5 mph, the quickest century I have ever done. 

Roads were in pretty good condition, overall, I would say.  But definitely more population, even in the agricultural areas. 

Day 36 Ferry Ride Manitowoc, WI to Luddington, MI

Seven miles and elevation climb not even worth mentioning.

Pic from the day before:

Bikes waiting for loading on the ferry:

While on the boat, we passed through our final time change into Eastern time.  

We did not have to be at the ferry until noon, so we started kind of late.  On the bike ride over to the ferry, we stopped by the lake:

  Then we went out to the lighthouse. 

The boat, SS Badger coming in to pick us up:


The ferry is a coal burning boat, so it gets some ecological flack; but from what I understand, it mostly comes from a competitor ferry.

Arrive in Michigan:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Day 35 - Fond du Lac to Manitowoc

About 62 miles and 1,300 feet of climbing.

Dinner tonight, Mexican, the chips and salsa were great.:

Desert tonight, Culvers custard:

Yesterday, leaving the Princeton American Legion Lodge where we had the brats:

Yesterday was SBW Jersey day in Wisconsin.

When we left the hotel, we headed off, in the rain, to Lake Winnebago to see the light house.  It stopped raining after about an hour.  Within three hours I had taken off my rain suit.

The lake:

Towards the end of the ride, here is a clip of going downhill:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Day 34 - Mauston to Fond du Lac

Just under 95 miles, and just under 1,700 feet of elevation gain.  It rained, off and on, during the last 30 miles of our ride today.  I was called the Michelin Man, lol.  The wind fills up the rain suit pretty well. 

A couple from yesterday:

Herman from the Netherlands (Holland).

When you come to Wisconsin, you must stop for a Brat Fry.  So at mile 54, we stopped at the Princeton American Legion Lodge for the local Brat Fry.  I made a fatal error at the Lodge, I failed to also get a piece of fried chicken, ugh.  It looked awesome.  When I decided to get a piece of fried chicken, the line was just too long to wait as we needed to get going, we still had 40 miles to complete the ride.

We finished this pretty long ride pretty quickly for us, it was kind of nice.  I was much more comfortable in the rain today because I had on the full rain suit; yesterday I did not put on the pants, and as a result, and as crazy as it sounds, because I did not have my rain pants on, the water runs into the rain booties, and my shoes were soaked.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Day 33 - La Crosse to Mauston

We did 75 miles with 2,260 feet of climbing, did I mention, it was a wet one today.

Some pics:

When in Rome:

When we go by a SAG truck and all is good, we are supposed to put our arm out.

We saw some cows up close today:

We took a trial to the tunnels discussed below:

We went through two tunnels today.  One of them was a mile and a half long.  We were required to walk through the tunnels.  It was dark, and it was dripping like rain.  We turned all our lights off and it was very eerie, complete darkness, you could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I lost my balance a bit.  If you watch Stranger Things, you will know when I say I felt like I was in the "up side down."

After the last SAG stop, it really got wet out there; this was the worst rain we experienced since the trip started.  We have been pretty lucky.  I probably would have quit with seven miles left to go, it was just not fun.  But Satish really wanted to finish.  A couple of clips in the rain.

Day 32 - Rochester, MN to La Crosse, WI

New state today, Wisconsin, we were in Minnesota just a few days.

Today's ride was 87 miles, 2,700 feet of elevation gain.  I thought MN is supposed to be flat, SURPRISE.  Rain was threatening all day.  I started to sprinkle from time-to-time.  At the first SAG today, I decided to put on my rain suit.  However, as the day went on, I slowly shed it.  It only seemed to start raining in the evening, after we were back to the hotel from dinner.

A downhill, but not from the killer climb I discuss below:

We were on a bike path for over 10 miles.  It was really pretty nice.  After the path, we had lunch at Baristas Coffee House.  Then we had about an 8 mile ride to the big climb for the day.  It was only a mile, but the grade is what killed me.  The steepest grade was almost 13%.

Welcome to Wisconsin:

The Mississippi River:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Day 31 - Mankato to Rochester

100 miles, 1,800 feet of climbing.  Back-to-back centuries, never did this before.

Lot's of corn and soy.  Only video from today. 

One of the other riders got upset at me today, he became a little unhinged, ugh.  That's life.

We were pretty steady today, John started with us, but he dropped off after the first SAG.  Pretty much, Satish, Jeff and I made the whole ride.

Couple of pics from yesterday:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Day 30 - Worthington to Mankato

112 miles and about 1,250 feet of climbing.

Overall, although it was one of the longer rides, I would say it went pretty well.  Did not see too much.  Here is a wind turbine; there are many of these all along the route.

Just a couple of clips:

In this clip, you can see a bit of the MN. chip seal (new).  Much easier to ride over this compared to new Oregon chip seal.

This is the Red Jacket Trail (a rails to trails project).  This is a video of the down hill.  Then we took a killer trail up hill.  Then they had one more killer uphill, so we pulled out our phone to bypass the killer up hill and we were successful.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Day 29 - Sioux Falls, SD to Worthington, MN

Completed 73 miles with about 1,100 feet of elevation gain.  Great ride today, light winds and nice lunch at a local Chinese restaurant at the end of the ride.

We stopped at a Cenex Station/Convenience Store and we were eating ice pops in the store about 15 miles outside of the town we were staying in.  We started talking to the girl behind the counter (Danielle) and she the Chinese Restaurant is pretty good.  So that is where we went and indeed iyt was very good. 

We had a nice ride along the Big Sioux River heading over to Sioux Falls; here are a couple of clips

The Big Sioux south of Sioux Falls is much more polluted with E. coli, fecal coliform, and suspended solids.  It seemed like as we were riding along the river, it kind of smelled like crap.

NEW STATE TODAY, hello Minnesota!

Interesting how the scenery seemed to dramatically change almost as soon as we crossed the state line.  Just seemed like the greens were darker and the vegetation more lush.  Still lots of corn and soy growing on both sides of the road today.  Also, the condition of the roads seemed to be much better in MN vs. SD.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Day 28 - Sioux Falls

Rest day.  We hit the half way point in South Dakota somewhere.  And we moved into a new time zone in this segment, the central time zone.

This is where I am by the numbers:

Total trip miles:  3,690
Days of trip: 50
Miles completed so far:  1,904 (I have lost about 30 miles from the total trip; due to weather and a                                              mechanical problem with the bike)
Percent miles completed:  52%
Percent days gone:  55%
Total climbing so far:  72,395'

Day 27 - Mitchell to Sioux Falls

About 74 miles and 1,300 feet of elevation gain.  Fun ride today!

We had very little wind and a pretty level ride today; a lot like riding at home.  Jeff started riding with us at about 16 miles in.  We were doing half mile pulls then rotating to the rear.  The first SAG stop was at 32 miles.  Then we started riding again and stopped at a Sinclar station/convience store at about 50 miles.  The next SAG was at about 56 miles.  

Herman and Ada, who are from the Netherlands, pulled into the SAG right behind us.  Herman and Ada ride a bit faster than us.  However, Satish asked if we could ride in with them.  Ada took the front and Herman took the rear.  The final 15 miles were almost a blur, just a lot of fun.  On a couple of hills, Herman actually pushed Jeff up the hill.  

Herman, Satish, Hugh and Ada

Then we stopped at the Thirsty Duck for lunch and those who wanted some had beers.  After lunch, we rode the final couple of miles to the hotel, only to have to wait an hour and a half for our room.  Long story there, but mostly can be summed up with two words, poor service  at the Sioux Falls ClubHouse Hotel and Suites.  Here is my Yelp review:

Day 26 - Chamberlain to Mitchell

About 74 miles and less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

Nice, relaxing day today.  And, oh, the sites we saw today.

Well, the day started out with a forecast of rain all day.  When we left, it was pretty overcast; I brought my full rain regalia (rain coat, rain pants and cinches to tie the pants legs to my legs and rain booties).  Thank goodness I did not need them today.  As the day went on, it got really nice, no rain at all; we were all very lucky.

I just thought that this was a really cool farm house I saw on the way.

South Dakota has a crazy bad fly problem, we see tons of house and horse flies.  Worse than that, been seeing a lot of mosquitoes also.  Then, when we got back to the hotel today, and put on the TV, there was a commercial about mosquitoes.  South Dakota has has the largest number of West Nile Virus cases in the United States, so be careful.  One more thought on insects, every now and then you see stacks of bee hives by the side of the road, and as you ride by them, the bees seem to be swarming all around the hives and the roads.  A little scary.

Well, around mile 10 of the ride today, we were supposed to ride itno Pukwana.  And in Pukwana, we were supposed to find the the Nascar Lawnmower race course and the Puk You Bar.  Well, we never say the signs and when we got back to the hotel, we were told, the mosquitoes down there were just horrible.  Guess it is a good thing we missed this one, or two.

Around mile 20, we found the South Dakota Tracker Museum.

KER-PLUNK is how the leaders described the road last night at the Route Rap.  The road was more like a side walk, large cement squares/slabs.  Each slab has a gap in between.  Some of the gaps are larger than others, and a lot of the slabs are uneven.  So every time you go over one of the gaps, it feels like a bump and it actually feels like ker-plunk.  Here is a short clip of the road.

As we came into the town of Mitchell, I went by a John Deere Tractor dealer, here is a short clip:

Then at the end of the ride, we went to the only Corn Palace in the world, in Mitchell, SD.  It was pretty cool.  All of this art is composed of ears of corn fastened to the wall to make the murals inside and outside of the Palace.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Day 25 - Kadoka to Chamberlain

TOUGH DAY!  About 116 miles with about 2,800 feet of climbing.  We pretty much had a head wind from the moment we left breakfast to the time we got to the hotel.

The day started with breakfast at Steakhouse 27 in Kadoka.  I thought it was pretty cool seeing all the bikes lined up in front of the restaurant.

As soon as we left breakfast, at about 6 AM, we felt the headwind; ugh, the day did not start out fun and it was a trudge, all the way through.  It was a pretty strong head wind.

About 20 miles into the ride, we hit the tour's official half way point.  Pretty much the hi lite of the day.

Then, sometime around mile 40, we went into the Central Time Zone.  So now after battling the wind for 40 miles (about 75 miles left to go), it just got an hour later to finish up today.  In a nut shell, we got to the hotel about 7 PM.

We were told that dinner was from 5-7 PM, but they set it up for Staish, Bob and I to go to dinner at about 8:30, after rap.  Bob, another rider on the tour, also got back about 7 PM too.

The only thing we saw of interest in my opinion, was a caravan of tractors.

The day ended with nine miles on I-90 and then about five more miles on a service road and then a cool bridge over the Missouri River and then a left into the hotel.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Day 24 - Wall to Kadoka

Pics from the day we entered South Dakota:

Today's ride:

57 miles with about 2,000 feet of elevation gain.  The ride was kind of tough in the beginning, we had a really strong head wind for the first 9 miles or so.  Once we got into Badlands National Park, the scenery was pretty amazing.  I have several clips of riding in the park and what I have seen: