The Pedouin Third Month Mileage Log
One more month before we depart on August 1 at 10 am on our 7,000 mile journey to Alaska.
We have been practicing with the quint bicycle for two months now. In the first month we covered about 50 miles and recovered from our first disaster. In the second month we added Robin and Amarins as well as over 100 miles.
07/01/2009 Our home has arrived! We ordered a six person tent which should provide plenty of space for us on a rainy day. It is a rainy day today, so we are going to wait until the weather clears before we put it up. We also received a rack for on our trailer. The tent will go on top of this.
07/01/2009 With the arrival of the rack and tent we have added 20 pounds to our trailer. The tent lays on top of the rack. It is a huge bag and if we were to put it in the trailer, the trailer would be halfway filled. It will cause a little more air resistance, but we are not in a race, so it won't matter that much.
We are waiting for the clouds to tell us the weather. Is it going to rain or not. We decide that it does not look like it is going to rain, so we are going for a ride. Cheyenne is playing at her friend's house. We will pick her up on the way.
First we go to the fire station. A car is following us, so we wave him on to get past us. That way we will have more space to go across the road into the grassy field to turn around.
The car stays behind us. We decide to ride in the middle of the lane. The car will just have to stay behind us until we are in the field. And it does.
In the field we make a great circle and have the bicycle turned around. The car has stopped to see us do it. The driver told us he was just curious how we were turning this big thing around so he decided to follow us a while. Funny experience.
Yet again it is a beautiful evening to be outdoors. The hills that used to look so steep don't take as much effort anymore. Bill has figured out how to shift while we are going uphill. That also makes a huge difference. We are in good shape and feel very confident about our journey.
07/03/2009 It is a cool day for July. This is great biking weather. The sun is shining, there is a tiny little breeze and it is not humid at all. We are taking advantage of it. The first part of our journey is taking us southeast to the Atlantic Coast. Then further south to Florida. It will be warm then.
We pedal like usual. Uphill we try not to talk, we need the energy for getting up the hill. The girls are doing a great job with it. We are enjoying the beautiful wildflowers. We anticipate the animals we see. Robin is keeping her eyes out for the cows. There is a field that they are usually in, when they are not, we have to spy for them to satisfy Robin. Another field holds four horses. Two white horses and two brown ones. Cheyenne likes to keep her eyes out for them. Yesterday the two white ones were together and the two brown ones were together. Today they have changed their pattern: white, brown, white, brown. Very observant.
Jasmine is looking for the dogs that used to come and run with us and bark at us. They are not that enthused anymore. Are they finally over their excitement? That is wonderful. Bill won't need to dodge the dogs anymore.
07/03/09 At home we are having an early 4th of July meal with friends. Hal and Tonya have come up from South Carolina. Glenda, Alicia and Barbara have come down from Berea, KY. It's a feast. Like Glenda says: "Food always tastes better if enjoyed with good company."
We still have not pitched the tent. Today is a great day for it. How many people do you need to set this tent up? It says two on the bag. We decide to all help in this endeavor.
We are having a lot of fun with it. The tent goes up and we are amazed at the sheer size of it. Before we ordered it we read the specifications and yes it looked big enough. Now we are sure. The girls have their own 'room'. So do Bill and Amarins. At the back of the tent is an overhang for the trailer.
Thanks for helping us set up the tent. Now we have done it once, we should be able to do it ourselves.
Tomorrow we are going on our longest ride to date. We are riding our bicycle to Blast in the Valley. It is the celebration of Independence Day in Renfro Valley, Kentucky. It will be a 16 mile journey, more or less.
Our journey to Alaska will officially start on August 1, when we will be leaving from Renfro Valley KOA at 10 am. One day earlier, on July 31, we will take the same road we are taking tomorrow to reach the campground.
We plan to arrive at the celebration around 2 pm. Come and celebrate Independence Day with us!
07/04/2009 Happy Independence Day everyone!
What a day! We made it to Renfro Valley! It was a ride we won’t forget soon.
In the morning Bill decided to 'fine tune' the gears. Big mistake. Instead of making it better it actually got worse. In the first few miles to town we had to keep readjusting it until it got a bit better again. We still had the chain come off three times. It was easily put back on again, but each time we had to make an extra stop.
Going to Renfro Valley and trying to be there at 2pm put a strain on the journey. We had promised we'd be there, so that's what we wanted to do. On the way it started to rain a little. We didn't pack raingear, so what do we do now. Should we continue and see if the weather turns better or cut the trip short due to being ill prepared?
We decided to continue and put this lesson of preparedness in our pocket. The rain held off so we were in luck.
During the ride Robin took a little snooze on her head rest. After all, she usually takes a nap after lunchtime.
After about 10 miles we take a little longer break at the side of the road. The girls stay on the bike though. We have a pretty view of a local spring. Water seems to be coming straight out of the rocks. All of us have some extra water and we are off again.
We never realized how many hills there are between our home and Mount Vernon. A lot! We give it our best to make it up the hill in one run. When our hearts are about to jump out of our chests we stop and take a couple of minutes to catch our breaths. Then we go again. We are becoming quite the expert on taking off on a hill.
It takes us over one hour and a half to go the 12 miles to Mount Vernon. Renfro Valley is on the other side of town. Another 3 or 4 miles to go. Just out of town we climb our last hill and then get to cruise down to the Valley.
After exactly 15.4 miles and a little over 2 hours we make our 'grand entree' at the Blast in the Valley event. Bill makes a beautiful turn around the KOA booth, then hits a hole in the ground and all five of us tumble over... In plain view of everyone. A humbling experience. We untangle Cheyenne and Jasmine from their shoe straps, push the quint back up and get Robin out of her seat. We are all fine but a little startled from the experience none the less.
We receive a lot of looks. A bicycle like ours has not been seen by any (if any) on the event. We strike up many a conversation. Questions from where the bike was made to where we are going with it. Of course we like to share about our journey. We like to inform as many people as possible. If more people know about our journey, more people will keep an eye out for us on the road, which will result in a safer ride for us and other bikers.
We want to be an inspiration to others. To work towards living your dreams. To think outside the box, or better yet, throw away the box. Our journey was not put together overnight. Looking back on it, we have been working on it for seven years. We just didn't know it would result in a 7,000 mile bicycle trip to Alaska.
After the curiosity wore off, it was time for some jumping! Can you find Bill and the girls?
After an hour and a half of fun, tired of all the jumping pillows and many sticker-tattoos richer, we start on our journey back home. We are meeting our friends Hal and Tonya. They will take the girls home and put the trailer in the car. Bill and Amarins will ride the tandem back home.
When we get to the meeting place, Jasmine is determined that she wants to ride home with us. She does not and will not go in the car. Well, why not, so she stays on the bicycle. We put her on an extra shirt and a rain coat. The rain has returned.
Off we are again. We came cruising down to the Valley, now we have a long climb back up. Bill puts it in the lowest gear possible. Slowly yet steadily we make it to the top, before we are back in Mount Vernon.
Our road starts at the beginning of a very steep hill. It takes us four stop-and-go's before we get to the top of this hill. Jasmine does not quite see the use of it. Why do we stop all the time? Can't we just keep pedaling?... Ehhh No, we can't. A steady drizzle is keeping us company. Not enough to get wet from. Just enough to feel refreshed.
On the way to Renfro Valley earlier we saw five different kinds of roadkill (squirrel, mouse, chipmunk, rabbit, opossum), now we add two snakes to it. The life turkeys that we saw do not count according to Jasmine.
It is a very strenuous ride back home. At times we think we are not going to make it. Our legs are hurting so bad. But after each break we regain energy. Enough to take us a little further. From time to time we get what we call a 'free mile' a nice cruise a little downhill. Wonderful.
Two miles before our home is the steepest climb yet. We leave our egos at the bottom of the hill and get off the bicycle. Jasmine climbs on Amarins' back and Bill starts pushing the quint. A 3/4 mile walk up hill. It doesn't feel bad at all. Step by step we reach the top. We get back on the bike and make it the last part home.
What a victory. We feel like we have conquered the world.
07/06/2009 We are on a late evening ride. The regular route. After the trip we made this Saturday it is almost as if we are not taking any hills. With each exercise run our perception changes.
Nature is treating us tonight. We see an abundance of wildlife. The birds seem extra cheerful. We hear sounds we have not heard before. Going down the road we see a total of seven bunnies. Each running away with their cotton tails in the air.
All of a sudden an animal comes leaping through the field. It is a beautiful red fox. We look in awe while we admire this gift of nature. High on his legs, with his white tipped tail high in the air he bounds off into the woods.
We turn around on our regular spot, have some water to drink and start on the almost four mile back home. We wave at the neighbors sitting on their porches. We look at the cows in the field. We check to see the pattern of the horses. We are wide awake and are absorbing the beauty.
Our discoveries for the evening are not over yet. A couple of skunks is scurrying in the cow field. Although a wonderful sight, we step on the pedals a little more, not interested in additional odor...
07/07/2009 It is time for the big hill again. The one two miles steep down and back up again. The girls have asked about it many times and today we feel up to it.
First we go to the fire station. This gives our legs some warming up. We feel that we are getting stronger after the first couple of miles. We are more in sync. The pedaling goes smoother.
Bill keeps our speed around 35 miles per hour this time. We do not need to beat our previous speed record. We already know that it can go incredibly fast downhill. We are still going fast enough and are at the bottom of the hill before we know it.
Going back up the hill is a great workout. Physically as well as mentally. Amarins is keeping her head down, trying not to look at the top of the hill. One two three four. One two three four. With each stroke we are closer to the top. Still we just need to stop from time to time to catch our breaths again. The muscles in our legs are shaking.
As with every hill, also this one has an end, and also this time we make it to the top of it. It has been a good ride again. With only 25 more days before the real journey begins, we feel content with what we have accomplished so far.
07/11/2009 After a couple of days without practice, it feels good to be on the road again. Bill has been working long days and Amarins has been working on getting the house in shape for our house sitters Tanner and Jenna.
A somewhat uneventful ride. Just an enjoyable time we are spending together as a family. Surrounding ourselves in nature. Enjoying the familiar sights. Curious whether we are going to see the fox and the skunks again. Perhaps we'll see more bunnies this time.
While we are making the wheels go round we are counting our blessings. More and more pieces of the Pedouin puzzle are falling in place. Yesterday we were blessed with a cell phone. Today we learned we have a sponsor for our tires. Thanks dear friends. Thank you to all the sponsors who have joined us on our journey to Alaska.
It already is a great experience. We are enjoying the journey we are on and feel very privileged to be able to do so. Our horizon is expanding every day. This will happen exponentially on our cross country bicycle ride. We look forward to meeting new friends and experiencing ever expanding experiences. We hope you will be a part of it too.
07/12/2009 On our way back from the fire station we have a picture stop. Our neighbors Bob and Jane have their daughter and granddaughter to visit. They have never seen us ride, so now is their chance. It is a beautiful sunny day.
After the picture op we are off again. We are taking the same road, but with a different turnaround point. Bill is taking us over a little gravel path that goes around a very old graveyard. We read some of the headstones. People born in 1847 and 1849. More than a 150 years before our children were born. That is hard to grasp for the girls.
07/14/2009 Instead of riding the bicycle today we are having an interview with an online radio station. IMAXradio is going to set up a phone line that we can call into. Every week we will call into the radio station for a broadcast!
This means that you can hear our story of the preceding week life online! During the week IMAXradio will have repeat broadcasts Saturday and Sunday, so that it is easier for people on other timezones to hear the show.
The life broadcast will be every Friday at 2pm Eastern Standard Time (20:00 Dutch time). The first one will be on July 31st or August 7th. When we have more information available be sure we will post it!
07/16/2009 Bill and Amarins are working on the gear system for the bicycle today. Bill just wants to figure out how the derailleurs work and how the wires and their lenghts affect the shifting.
07/18/2009 We are spending the weekend in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky (without the bicycle). This will be the last time we will see our friends for a while. The time of saying goodbye has come.
07/20/2009 After a week without riding the big yellow bicycle, if feels somewhat odd to be back in the saddle. Because of the routine we have developed over the past months we are in sync very quickly.
It feels great to ride again. It is a cool afternoon. A blue sky with all kinds of clouds. We feel rested and ready to go. The work Bill has done seems to pay off. We have access to more gears then before, shifting uphill works well too.
The girls are singing along the way. It is yet again a great time as a family enjoying nature.
In the evening we put up the tent and got it ready to sleep in. Our first night in our tent. It is a big step for Robin, who up till now still sleeps in a crib. We shall see where she falls asleep eventually.
07/23/09 We have slept for three nights in the tent. There is plenty of space for everyone. Robin is rolling all over the place, but seems to sleep well.
Last night we had a fierce rain storm on top of us. Not a problem. A little water came in from the bottom. Probably where we had not tightened the tent well. For the rest, not a speck.
The inside tent has a lot of mesh. There is a lot of air circulation. With night temperatures in the 50s, we are sure happy with our warm sleeping bags. It doesn't look like this tent is the one we need for winter time, but for summer time it seems to work well.
Cheyenne and Jasmine go to sleep very well. That is, after their evening talk/play hour. In the morning they wake up with the sun.
The Final Week
The weekend we spend on the New River with our dear friends Garnett and Arville. It will be a long time till we see them again. Although physically we will be far apart, in our hearts we remain close.
On Monday July 27 Bill's newest grandbaby was born. A beautiful little baby girl named Lindsay. She is the daughter of Sara and Chris. We were able to be near them and take care of their boy Christopher. We are very happy that all went well and we'll keep in touch.
Oh boy, are we nervous, the final week is here. Bill has finished his work. The house is totally empty of our belongings. All the camping gear is put together. We are having some short and restless nights. It will feel great to close the door behind us.
We have said goodbye to our dear friends and neighbors, many of them will come and send us of on August 1 at 10 am.
We are riding in the company of Bill's brother Ed and his friend Steve. The mountains are no problems to them. They are in very good shape. Ed is practicing for a Thriathlon. He actually brought Steve to our home, took his car back to Renfro Valley KOA and rode his bicycle in less then one hour and a half to our home. The return trip to town took much longer.
After lots of stops and goes, we finally push the bike up the hill to the campground at 2pm. Just to late to do our first broadcast with IMAXradio. Later in the afternoon Larry came up and made a recording which will be broadcasted over the weekend on Saturday at 8pm ET and Sunday 5pm ET
After a shower we are on our way to another local radiostation for a live report. That was a very interesting experience. The girls were in there with us and got to say some things too. We hope you have been able to hear it at WRVK1460.
We put up the tent and got our bedding arranged. No sleeping mats for Bill and Amarins. They are going home tomorrow with Tanner and Jenna. We are trying to come up with what else we can leave behind. A stack of books, a deck of cards, a wordgame, a towel, some clothes. How much weight can we shed overnight?...
With camp set up it is time for a very enjoyable time in the swimming pool. Cheyenne can swim now. We have no clue where she learned to do it. After asking her she said "I just decided I could do it."
The evening we spend with family and friends around the campfire. With the moon over us we crawl in bed with the thought of the journey on our minds.