Talk at Snipes Academy

On 09 Feb 18 we did a short talk at the Snipes Academy (school we raised funds for with bike ride – thanks to all who contributed) about the Chris Cross America bike ride.  While we were the school WWAY TV interviewed Chris.  You can see the interview here.  Chris’ interview with WWAY

The final funds tally was $3.5K with an additional $500 from Wrightsville UMC.  The school is purchasing a Makerbot Replicator+ package with extra supplies.  Makerbot Replicator+

Thank you.

Some photos below.

 

Again thanks.  Hope to post some photos of the students at Snipes Academy using the 3D printer sometime soon.

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Some post adventure reflections

DepartureHaving completed our ride/trip and talked to a number of people about it, we would like to share a few reflections and also address a few questions that people have asked often.

What would you do differently if you knew at the start what you know now?

  • Probably not ride alone – being with someone provides a sense of security. If something were to happen where you went down there is a person there to help.
  • Tow a car behind the RV.  We would have been able to see a lot more along the way and have been more flexible.  Chris did not want to hop on his bike to tool around in the afternoon after riding four or more hours.  Also the RV is not so easy to drive around and park when in towns.
  • Plan more time for stops to see things along the way. We did not really see everything we would have liked to once the bike riding started.
  • Spend more time planning the day’s rides to take account the climbing profile.  There are only so many miles and only so much altitude gains in Chris’ legs on a big climbing day.
  • More climbing during training.  We did go out to Asheville NC, but only once and only for a few days.  More intensive climbing training would have helped. The most difficult climbing was in the eastern Kentucky, western VA area and western North Carolina border with Virginia area.
  • Take more pictures of the people we talked to along the way and tell their stories better
  • Talk to more people along the way.  Take breaks and chat up people.

What was surprising?

  • How nice everyone was along the way – Americans are really wonderful people.
  • How “big” the landscape is out west where the horizon is out there a long way and the sky is really huge.
  • How beautiful almost the whole country is.  God has blessed us.
  • How many gravel trucks and oil trucks and log trucks there are out there.  These guys are in a hurry
  • How hot California was – >100 deg F even by the coast. We expected hot in the desert by Barstow, but in San Diego?
  • How many people were interested in the ride.
  • How few locals were out on their bikes, especially when a major bike route with lots for riders passes through their area.
  • How much Chris would eat each day and he still lost weight (about 10 lbs)
  • How many people live full time in RV parks.
  • How nice the new bike – Specialized Roubaix Expert – was to ride.  Very well suited to this sort of trip with comfortable geometry, the front suspension, the electronic shifting and the disc brakes.
  • How nice Damascus VA is with all the bike shops and the various restaurants.

What were the highlights?

  • Training with our cousins David and Lois in Ithaca NY on our outbound to San Diego trip.
  • Our daughter Victoria and members of the Dangel family seeing us off in San Diego at Torrey Pines beach.
  • Seeing all the Rt66 scenery and history – one can imagine what it was like in the pre-interstate era when Rt66 was the main street of the USA.
  • My brother Eric, his wife Anne, his son Parker and out niece Caroline making a surprise appearance at the end of the riding day at the RV park where we stayed in Owensboro KY
  • Our daughter Corryn surprising Chris by being at the RV park at the end of the second to last riding day to meet him.
  • Meeting riders along the route – from the Netherlands, from the UK, from France, from Boston, from Upstate NY, from the Bay Area, from Flagstaff AZ.  Riding for part of a day with Bruce.
  • Riding in the area west of Flagstaff AZ – really pretty with lots of trees, blue skys and some mountains in the distance.
  • Visiting the Acoma Pubeblo
  • Riding in Central KY – nice towns, rolling hills, farms, blue skies, great people.
  • The high country in Western VA – really pretty rugged to ride – steep climbs but the views from the high areas were really special.
  • All the different BBQ styles we tried.  Maybe a specifically focused BBQ trip in our RV is in the future.
  • Having Team Bible Study join me for the last miles into Wilmington.  Thanks Bill, Derick and Ralph.

What were the lowlights?

  • Riding in So California in south San Bernardino county – not very nice.  Also Lake Perris was probably the worst RV park experience on the trip.
  • Riding on the I-40 shoulder in AZ and NM – not comfortable with 75 mph semis whizzing by and all the chunks of tires on the road.
  • Ant invasion in Escondido, lesson earned was to watch out for ant hills.
  • Mouse in the house (RV) when we got to western VA
  • Running over the rear wheel of the bike with the RV when trying to get the RV leveled. We were lucky – no damage to the frame and we found a bike shop in Redlands CA which was able to put a new wheel on in a couple of days.
  • Cold rainy days in difficult terrain.

Do you want to do a coast to coast ride again?  Probably not another two month ride but could be easily persuaded to go on a ride up to two weeks long anywhere in the country.

What is next?

  • The Camino de St. Jacques de Santiago de Compostela – maybe starting in Paris
  • Trekking in Mongolia
  • RV trip to go back to some of the places we wished we had more time to visit.

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Check back mid-January for some photos of presenting the money raised from the fundraising part of the trip to the Snipes Academy.  Again thanks to everyone who contributed.

05 Nov White Lake to Wrightsville Beach NC

If you have not done so yet, please consider a contribution to the Snipe Academy fund raiser.  Details on the blog home page.  Thanks.

Last Day !! Last stage – not into Paris but instead thru Wilmington and to Wrightsville Beach.  The route today ended at the Atlantic Ocean.  More flat terrain with lots of trees.  Met up with some of the members of the WBUMC Thursday Morning Bible Study group along the way.  Thanks so much to Bill, Derrick and Ralph for taking the time and burning the energy to ride the last stage of the trip with Chris.   Note Chris is wearing the “maillot jaune” today.  Leading in the general classification for the Chris Cross America 2017.  Thanks to Christian who gave me the jersey when I was leaving France.

The fans at the stage departure.  Really special that Corryn was able to join us for the last leg.

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A view from the road today.  Chris had ridden the last half of this route before – this is the “green tunnel” part of North Carolina – pine trees lining the road on both sides for much of the route.  Chris did lots of training prior to the trip riding on this kind of road.

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Members of the Team Bible Study at the join up point.  Note the team van supporting the riders. Thanks to Karen for providing the bike transport for Team Bible Study.

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Team Bible Study controlling the peloton today – all the team at the front of the pack setting the pace.  DCIM103GOPROGOPR4315.JPG

Chris knew he was almost there when the Isabel Holmes bridge into Wilmington was in sight and then the group crossed the Cape Fear river.

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Downtown Wilmington on Third Street.

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The crowd at the finish at the beach.  Very special to have our grandchildren Brody, Cooper and Hadley at the finish.  There were special shirts (Thanks Josh at Freckles Graphics in Lafayette IN and my niece Katie) to commemorate the Chris Cross America.

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Cooper’s sign had the final ride statistics and Hadley’s has a welcome message.

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The front wheel into the Atlantic Ocean.  It was a great feeling to be able to finish.  It was a real team effort – driving the RV, taking care of all the logistics, being the manager and providing encouragement was a huge task.  Riding the bike was easy – just keep pedaling.

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We will do a final post in a few days summing up our experience – which was wonderful.

Thanks for following us.

04 Nov Wade to White Lake NC

Penultimate day of riding. Yeah!!  For the route today we went back up to Wade for Chris to start and to avoid riding on the freeway at Fayetteville.  We are now on the NC coastal plain (east of i-95) so the ride was totally flat.  Warm but not hot. Mostly quiet roads, but not always real smooth. Some breeze in the face, but not very much.

Crossed over the I-95 at the beginning of the route today.  Another indication we are getting close to home.

Another piece of military hardware in front of a VFW hall in Stedman NC.  Also an opportunity to buy “Boston Butt” which is the pork cut that becomes BBQ in NC.

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Stedman museum – maybe a converted train station?

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Along the road today. During the early part of the ride still in agricultural area.  By the end more pine forests which is like the countryside near Wilmington. DCIM103GOPROGOPR4309.JPG

A very nice surprise at the end of today’s ride.  Corryn, our youngest, flew in from Milwaukee and  was at White Lake to meet Chris at the end of the ride today.  Tory, our older daughter, was able to see us off in San Diego and now Corryn is here to see the arrival.  Brian our son and his family will be at the beach tomorrow to welcome us home.  Wonderful and blessed to have such great children and grandchildren.

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The White Lake RV park has a very nice dock – we enjoyed sitting on the dock and looking at the ducks and the lake.

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03 Nov Smith Lake Ft. Bragg NC

Final rest day today.  Two more riding days but who’s counting?

Carol and Chris took a short walk around the Smith Lake recreation area.  We took some photos which are below.  Note all the docks all around the lake.  Apparently the lake was part of a training facility, maybe water entry training for airborne troops?  Ft. Bragg is home to Army Airborne and also Aviation.

RV facility is quite nice with roomy sites, trees and good facilities.  Still lots of fall color at we get closer to the coast of NC.

Our RV site is quite close to the flight path for helicopters which is sort of hard on our “over the air” TV reception, but really enjoy staying places where military aircraft are flying.

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02 Nov Jordan Lake SP to Wade NC

01 Nov was a  rest day.  Nothing interesting for photos.

The route on 02 Nov was longer than the last few days – 67 miles. We are getting toward the very flat part of North Carolina so the riding was pretty easy and easier as the day progressed.  There was lots of traffic in the first part of the route – this area is part of the greater Raleigh Durham region with significant amount of urbanization. Reminds us of Northern Virginia. Weather has warmed up significantly – note back in shorts, no jacket and no helmet cover.

Route in Jordan Lake Park was really pretty.

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Red British phone booth in someone’s yard in the middle of trees in North Carolina.

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Rode through Apex NC.  Another town with a train caboose on display.  This one is from the Seaboard Line.  Apex seems to have gentrified the area around the train station with boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops.  Very nice.

The route southeast for the rest of the trip is NC Bike Route #5, which parallels the Cape Fear river and starts at Apex.  Following a signed route is good because it backs up the Garmin (bike GPS) – the engineer in Chris likes redundancy.  These signed routes also have “Share the Road” signs which hopefully means the locals are used to seeing bikes and are more aware of providing the magic three feet buffer.  That is the theory anyway.

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This part of North Carolina seems to be heavily agricultural with corn, soy beans and cotton.  Chris saw cotton being harvested today.

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The route passed by the site of the Civil War battle which happened at Averasborough NC.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Averasborough for details.  The site, which is pretty extensive, seems to be run by a local historic society.  Impressive undertaking.

A bit hard to tell from the photo, but drove by a solar panel farm.  Saw some in California and Arizona, but no more till NC.

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Last rest day tomorrow.

31 Oct Jones Station RV to Jordan Lake SP NC

The route today was rather short again.  Difficult to find RV parks at comfortable distances apart so we picked a shorter milage for today. Another nice day with sunshine and blue skies.

Not too much to photograph on the route today.

We are staying at the Jordan Lake State Park.  Very nice campground along the shore of the lake.

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We took a ride around the park together.  Some pretty views.

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Rest day tomorrow.