A Travellerspoint blog

September 2013

Where's Waldo?

Camels,and zebras and buffaloes , oh my!

82 °F
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Arkansas on Rt 82 for 5 hours and 50 mins. They rode 90.4 miles at an average speed of 15.5. What a Monday! So as Wynn said, a hard day on the bike is better than a good day at the office...sorry, Neil! Not much to see as we went along? Well Karen and I saw things off the road that the team missed. Even though they had a large shoulder, the road was quite rough and there was a fair amount of traffic too. Their eyes were trained to the ground. So we try to show some of the things that they went past on the route. And yes, we did go through Waldo, Arkansas.

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The thing that really made us smile was a field that appeared out of nowhere...we have seen mirages as we have travelled along; something I don't think I'd ever seen. I looked over and thought I saw a camel...and indeed, I really had.

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And we saw a perfect sign for Dan and his "Mango" ointment.

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We saw some bridges again and the ever present RR crossings and water towers. Our water stop was at a little roadside park.

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Today's route took us through Magnolia, where we ate lunch and then through Waldo and Stamps, where we had water breaks. We ended up finishing our tour today in the middle of a farmers field about 20 miles east of Texarkana. We stopped in the middle of a mosquito nest. I never saw so many mosquitoes before...and many of them ended up in our van. Here is the team riding in

We loaded into the van and headed into Texarkana. We met at the courthouse that holds both the Texas and Arkansas governments. We took pictures straddling the two state lines. We met our Warm Showers host and hostesses, Mike and Tracy. What a wonderful couple. So hospitable and they have a wonderful dog named Holly. They got their dog at Christmas also. We are being treated to a lasagna dinner. Everyone is through the shower and the second load of laundry is underway. We are sitting around in a comfortable living room, sharing war stories. Our host is an ironman competitor and his wife is a marathon runner. What a nice break in the schedule for all of us. (I will put up a few pics tomorrow of Mike and Tracy) and I will try to share the recipe for tonight's dessert. Oh....was it ever yummy!

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So I am closing off early tonight so I can visit. (Dan is in the garage, changing his second flat tire. Glad it happened here and not on the road in the morning.)

Riding on....tomorrow we will be writing from Texas (Paris)
Brenda

From Colleen: Hi folks, Colleen here. I thought I would share a little with you this evening. When we start our days riding, sometimes it's hard to wrap my brain around completing all the mileage that is ahead. But I set my mind on the first 20 and before you know it were at second breakfast and thinking about the lunch stop where typically we are 50 miles or more, then it's smooth sailing on in to where we finish. Each day is so different and brings new vistas and horizons. Today we are blessed to be hosted by a wonderful couple in their beautiful home. I get to sleep in a bed all alone in my own room tonight, I will sleep like a log. I cannot tell you how much your support and words of encouragement mean to all of us. I am ever mindful that being able to participate in an adventure such as this is a tremendous privilege.

Posted by brendagerber07 17:23 Comments (8)

Hello Arkansas

Fourth state entered on Pony Ride 2013

rain 72 °F
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Sunday morning, 7:24 am and the ponies are on the road again. There is rain in the forecast, but everyone is hoping that the rain will hold off at least until the ponies are safely across the Greenville Bridge. The welcome center to the city of Greenville was shaped liked an old steamship, complete with catfish for Colleen.
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What an awesome sight to see the spires of the expansion posts rising into the air. The rain held off and the riders safely crossed into Mississippi.

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So goodbye Mississippi

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And hello Arkansas

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What a change from rolling hills and cotton fields to flat highways through farmland. We did get to see beautiful Lake Chicot along the way before heading into Montrose.

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Karen and I got everything packed up and supper in the skillet before heading to meet the riders for lunch in Hamburg, AR. (Which was the hometown of Scottie Pippen.) We had a very sweet gal at the Exxon station that allowed us to eat lunch inside.

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This gave the riders a break from the rain. The riders got back on the road and headed to Crossett. We will be riding on Rt 82 for the next few days...so follow along on your atlases. In Crossett, we found a Mc Donald's that had good WiFi so Karen and I hung out there for the afternoon, updating pics and videos. The team came through and decided to go ahead to Strong, AR where we picked them up at a small Baptist Church. The ponies felt fine today and were able to ride through the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge. The team got into "Bridge Formation" as they went up and over the Ouachita River.

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The berm of the road is nice and wide which makes the riding so much better. The team finished the day at 100 miles on the nose. average was 15.3 with 6 hours and 32 minutes in the saddle. We are staying at a Country Inn and Suites and it is a winner; only a little over a hundred a night and all 5 of us can fit in (with Dan's cot.) I can't wait for tomorrow night and our first stop at a warm showers.

Wynn will leave us with his thoughts this evening.
Thanks for riding along with us....
Brenda

We wanted to give a couple of shout outs. First, to Greg Orlowski, for allowing Dan to borrow his cot. It allows us to stay in a suites tonight and enjoy the amenities. Second, Larry Best, you will be glad to know that today we were calling out road hazards as 'derbis'. Larry, we think you know what that will mean. All is well. Thank you all for your comments. Wynn

Posted by brendagerber07 11:48 Comments (8)

Holmes County? Are we back in Ohio

Rolling thru the Mississippi Flatlands

85 °F
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Friday pm: So after a good dip in the pool and a shower, we piled in the car and went to the Natchez Trace Parkway and had a cookout on the little grill we borrowed from Ryan. Thanks, Son! The Johnsonville brats were delicious and thanks to Walmart we had fresh potato salad and baked beans. When we returned to our rooms, we had some of the homemade peanut brittle given to us by Sally.
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Please take time to Google Natchez Trace and see what you find. Very interesting.

The ponies were saddled early and the riders mounted and were out of the gate at 7:15 am. Today's ride was so much flatter and the morning temps were conducive for riding. Today's ride was 102 miles, averaging 16 mph. The riders were in the saddle for 6 hours and 22 minutes. This included the 2 miles of "sightseeing" when the team found themselves off the route. I tell you, I am so glad we have our I Pads and I phones. The app, Find my Friends has been so helpful. We easily spotted the riders and were able to get them back on the route. Cyclists know that a wrong turn can be painful. Here are a couple of clips of them riding today.

As the riders headed into Holmes County, MS, Wynn felt right at home. He was born and raised in Berlin, OH, right in the heart of Holmes Co, Ohio. While the morning ride was taking place, Karen and I headed back to the square in Kosciusko . What a beautiful little town. So sad to see many empty buildings as the businesses are moving out of town.

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Then the two of us decided to travel south on the Nachez Trace Parkway. What a wonderful drive. So many sweet pull offs. We say a Cypress Swamp and a beautiful river. Bridges and open fields were all along the way.

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We decided we better get back to business and meet up with the riders for lunch. We found the appointed place and picked a nice shady spot on Rt 12 where bathrooms were available. The name of the town was Belzoni, where of course we were at the location of...you guessed it, The Catfish Hall of Fame.
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After resting up the ponies continued on another few miles and we actually had an afternoon water break as the temps continued to climb up into the high 80's. we stopped in Hollandale were our riders were treated to a Blues festival in the middle of town. The ride finished up when Rt 12 joined Rt 1 just south of Greenville. Karen and I sat along the road in a cotton field while we waited. We actually met the farmer that owned the field. He was so curious about the. Inkers he had just passed. Karen was able to get a few good pictures.
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We went and saw the bridge that they will be riding over in the morning. What a beautiful sight! We stopped and got pictures at the state signs for both Mississippi and Arkansas. Tonight we will be staying in Greenville at a Day's Inn. Tomorrow will see us entering the fourth state of our Tour.

Have a wonderful Sunday.
Rolling West,
Brenda and the Pony Express

Posted by brendagerber07 15:12 Comments (4)

Double Down Day

The password is "MANGO"

85 °F
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Hello to the faithful followers at home. We are sitting in a Day's Inn in Kosciusko, MIssissippi.
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Yes, we are now in our third state and everyone is feeling fine. We pulled into the parking lot of the motel we were suppose to stay in and Karen looked at me and we shuddered. No way were we gonna stay there! We frantically got out our phones and IPads and started searching. We found a Days Inn with two rooms available. Crisis averted. You might wonder why we called today's post the Double Down Day. Dan wore a double pair of socks and both Colleen and Wynn wore double pairs of shorts (Thanks, Greg for the suggestion). Since all the riders have sore posteriors, they are always talking about solutions to their problems when we stop at a break. The MANGO became a password for talking about the wonderful cream they all use to help soothe those sore spots. I told them no more talk about butt cream. Thus the MANGO password.

The riders left the hotel at 7:15 am this morning and were ready to tackle the day. They had about 10 miles to go before entering Mississippi. That's where the first snag happened. There was no state sign on their route. So we got a phone call and Karen and I rode a route to the north and came across on Hwy where there was a great sign saying:
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Karen and I had to head through Columbus, MS which holds the first home of Tennessee Williams as its Welcome Center. We met Virginia and she gave us quite the tour. She even let me play the pump organ.
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While in Columbus we toured the streets to find a large number of Antebellum Homes- beautiful.
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Meanwhile our riders were seeing reddish gray roads lined with beautiful greenery.
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We caught up with the riders in Louisville. We did not have 3G in this place but saw the riders comfortably sitting at a Shell station, having a good old time visiting with the locals. We met Shelley and Sally there and Sally gifted us with three huge round homemade peanut brittle. It was most delicious. They heard from a truck driver that had passed them earlier..." You guys are really movin' along. Really movin' along. "

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There were all kinds of quotes heard today...

The riders rode 92.2 miles in 6 hours, averaging 15.3 mph. We have finished our first week and are 25% of the way across. Wynn says we are now under 2000 miles to go. Tomorrow I will devote the blog to answering some of the questions you have posed. Have a wonderful Sat and we will continue the quest.
I will close today with a few words from Dan.

" Dan here: I thought other cyclists following our blog might be interested in our daily riding routine. We've settled into two mile rotations on our pulls. So far we've had very little headwinds, so the rotation we are doing is really practice for the future tough windy days. But an added benefit is that by rotating each two miles, it gives us each something to concentrate on, and makes the miles go faster.
On a personal note, I'd like to mention how fortunate I am to be able to do this ride at my age. This ride has been on my bucket list for years. It's only possible for me at this time because of my wonderful wife, Evelyn, who at this time is keeping the home fires burning. But also because of terrific riding partners, Colleen and Wynn. plus a huge shout out to Brenda and Karen who are so great at taking care of all the day to day items like food, lodging, water and countless other things along the way. This has made it possible for the three riders to just pay attention to doing the miles.'
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Posted by brendagerber07 17:19 Comments (6)

It's a down day...we are only doing 80+ miles

Easy Schmeasy

76 °F
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First things first: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SCOTT! You are a wonderful son and we love you very much. Love, Mom and Dad

This is a couple of clips from yesterday's ride.

Yesterday was a long day: 99.09 miles on the ponies, lost for an hour or so in the evening, ( at least we were in the van) late supper, and slow Internet made for a short night. But everyone was up and at 'em this morning at 6 am as usual. We did breakfast in our room (oatmeal, egg sandwiches, bananas and OJ) Dan said the coffee from the hotel tasted burnt and old. Makes me glad I'm not a coffee drinker! They got on the ponies and were off at the start by 7:15 am. Karen and I took breakfast at the little diner, Twix and Tween, while doing our laundry at the Scrub Board next door. Both came highly recommended by the guy at the motel we stayed at. Come to find out that he worked at or partly owned each of them. HA. We are meeting such interesting people along the way. The breakfast was good though and everyone now has a case of clean clothes.

The team started off today's ride going through the Talledega Forest. What a beautiful, winding road. It smelled so fresh and everything was so green. There wasn't much traffic, either. The riders did get a butt massage though as the road was a bit pitted.

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Once they passed through, the team continued to fly up and over many crests. We ended up eating lunch after 50+ morning miles. Everyone was still feeling good. An interesting account at lunch..the team had just taken off for their afternoon section, when Dan comes flying back in toward us. He had lost his mirror. Now every serious cyclist knows how uncomfortable it is to ride when you can't see what's coming from behind. We all got out and searched to no avail. I know a lot of people say that God doesn't care about our little wants and needs, but I prayed anyways. My co-pilot, Karen took some trash across the parking lot and just "happened" to look down...(I don't think so) she saw the mirror sparkling on the ground, right behind the van. I probably would have run over it when I backed up. We were able to deliver the needed piece to Dan before the first turn out of the city. It's the little things like this that I find fascinating on a trip this long.

So we followed the route and ended up on Hwy 14 into Aliceville. This is a cute little town and we are staying in a Voyager Inn. The manager was so nice and wants to meet the riders. We got two rooms and he let me pay with Dan's credit card. Some of these little burgs only cost 50-60 dollars a night. They are clean, but no amenities. All I got to say is, it sure beats camping!
Some sights along the way included a logging area, a crazy top on a telephone pole, of course we have to have at least one sign of a Piggly Wiggly, and since I love water towers, here's the one from Eutaw, where we ate lunch.

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The riders finished at 83 miles for the day, maintaining their bank miles. They averaged 14.5 mph. for the day. They said they felt sluggish in the morning and picked it up during the afternoon. They were in the saddle for 5 hours and 40 minutes. The ponies pulled into the Inn at 2:30 pm.

I've asked Colleen to write a few thoughts on today's blog. She's my hero and is a wonderful friend!

Hi, it's me Colleen, fellow pony rider and sojourner. Today we had another great day on the bike. Wynn brilliantly planned the route so that the majority of our climbing was in the first half of the ride. The way we organize our days on the bike is to ride about 30-40 miles then we take a morning break or "second breakfast" (for the Tolkien fans). That typically consists of a Clif bar and banana and a long drink of something cold, and a potty stop. Then a short jaunt to lunch around the 60 mile mark or so where we meet up with our capable sag support, pull out some lawn chairs and take a nice break and eat sandwiches, cookies, fruit, etc. then, depending on the mileage, we either soldier on to our destination city, or the sag team meets us for a midway break, and then we finish up. The past couple days we have been able to ride right into our hotel, where (can you imagine?) our gracious sag team has already dropped our luggage and are awaiting our arrival.
All the riders have a singular complaint.....sore posteriors. The laments abound especially after 60 miles or so. We are hoping AND praying that this matter will resolve soon. We clean up and take care of our bikes, eat a nice meal and for the most part, sit around staring at our glowing rectangles and hit the hay early. Then it's off again, spinning into a new sunrise.

Posted by brendagerber07 16:45 Comments (7)

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