Friday, August 28, 2009

Storms, friends, and Amish yumminess

We’ve reached the coast!

OK, so it’s the coast of Lake Michigan, and not the ocean.

After leaving Chicago we were able to ride on bike trails for the good part of a day. Yipee! We had hoped to stop for the night at a state park but stopped early because of big thunderstorms that came in. After searching for a couple of hours for a place to camp in Hobart, IN, we finally got permission to pitch tents behind the fire station. We were a little sad to be camping in the storm. But in the morning, when we rode to the state park where we were planning on camping, we found out that a tornado had hit that area! I guess we were lucky to be camping in just a thunderstorm and not a tornado.

After going through Indiana to get around the southern end of Lake Michigan, we popped up into the state of Michigan and rode along the border there. Michigan brought incredible Amish baked goods and wonderful people who took us in 1- when we were searching for a camp spot (thanks Amy, Nia and Jeff!), and 2- when we were at the Amish bakery (thanks Sharon, Roger, and Karen!);

friends who drove hours to find us on the road in the middle of nowhere and play bocce ball (you’re awesome Tituses!!);

and amazing fresh produce in stands at the ends of people’s driveways.

Hannah and I finished an entire cantaloupe in one sitting.

And to continue the healthy eating, Casey and I ate an entire box of 8 fudgsicles when they were on sale for $1. Mmmmm.

This is a pic of one of the greatest shirts we’ve seen. We saw it at a great campground along the Hennepin trail in Illinois (Geneseo). The people there were awesome, and they had this t-shirt that sums up our current lives.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chi-Town, that's not what the locals call it....

When I get back from this trip, I think I need to personally thank Rails to Trails for doing such wonderful work converting old rail lines to bike trails.... because we crossed almost the entire state of Illinois on beautiful bike paths!

Our bike ride into Chicago was even pretty easy, despite the stark warnings we heard from some locals and other touring cyclists.  That was partly thanks to our wonderful host Josh, and his friend Adam who biked part of the way into the city with us.  (Adam's sweet ride is a hand-powered recumbent)
Once we arrived in Chicago, we were greeted by Hannah's old college roomie, Hannah, and her boyfriend, Tyler.  They were great hosts, and even introduced us to the ORIGINAL house of pancakes.  Yum Yum!
We also had many wonderful journeys on another bike path, this beautiful one running all along the lake shore through downtown Chicago.
But Chicago wasn't all just fun and games.  The kind folks at West Town Bikes, a great community bike shop let us use their space to do a much needed tune-up on our bikes.  (Here I'm giving Melissa some tips on truing wheels)
Then it was off to Blackstone Bike Works, another non-profit bike shop with a great group of kids learning all about fixing bikes and being part of the community.
We also set up shop for an evening at REI, and talked to their customers about what we're doing and why.  We had a few people honestly say "You are an inspiration, I'm really going to try riding my bike more."  The event was a sure success, and we'll be doing more like this in the future.

But of course, it's not Chicago without Deep Dish Pizza!  (Sorry Hannah... this is definitely NOT gluten-free...)

Monday, August 24, 2009

I think we can now blog from our cell phones!

If you bike it, they will come. . .

We three had head a lot of things about Iowa, "Its completely flat and full of corn", but none of us had seen much of the state for ourselves. As we crossed the Missouri we discovered that you can't always trust the impressions of others. . .

The first myth busted is that Iowa is flat. It is indeed very hilly. Nothing too high or too steep, but the countryside rolls on and on. We pedaled across the hills and through the corn until Panorama Lake, where we were taken in by some very kind people, fed some very good corn and the next morning-gosh golly!-we got to ride all day on a bike path!

It was a huge treat to be away from the cars, the noise, and the blazing sun. And after a relaxing day of biking we were deposited in the city of Des Moines.Des Moines is a great city; small enough to travel easily by bike, big enough to offer the variety of city life like great Vietnamese food, contemporary art, and cool people like our host Aaron, a musician and fellow cyclist. 

We spoke with the kids at the Des Moines Boys and Girls Club and showed them our loaded bikes, which always draw attention. After Des Moines it was back on the road towards Davenport. On the way there we were lucky enough to stay with two of Melissa's cousins, who both happen to be big fans of Ragbrai, the largest bike tour in the country! In fact, it was the topic of discussion everywhere we went, considering that we passed through Iowa just two weeks after thousands of riders crossed the state for the event.
We arrived in Davenport hot, hungry, and with lots of phonecalls to make. Our great host Eric and daughter Kayla made sure we didn't spent too much time on the phone and showed us some of Davenport's sights. We took a nighttime visit to the skybridge, an elevated corridor with a constantly-changing lightshow. We also watched Field of Dreams, the classic movie about baseball and Iowa, and we saw a Backwater Gamblers waterski show which was tons of fun! To round out our visit in Iowa, Eric's father Bruce, a lifelong cyclist, led us out of Davenport and into Illinois. . .


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hey! A Join the Cycle news roundup!

So we're crossing the mighty mississippi this morning, very exciting, and we're also sharing some of the awesome coverage we've had on the internet and other places. . .

We Are ZINKs gave us a nice post on their travel blog. The ZINKs (zero income, no kids) are fellow travelers who are exploring the United States, learning and writing along the way. A great blog to follow!

Keen Footwear posted an interview we had with the companies awesome Rocky Mountain Rep, Mark. We met up with Mark in Denver and have been riding with sweet keen cycling shoes ever since!

Photographer Tim D'Antonio was at the Fort Collins Urban Assault Ride and has a great portfolio of photos from the event. Check us out on the big wheels!

We've been in newspapers all over! Check out our website's press page for a press release detailing our trip as well as articles that have been published by local papers about us. We're uploading them as fast as we can!

And on another note, we still have t-shirts left in each size so if you haven't purchased your awesome, organic cotton Join the Cycle t-shirt yet, fear not!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Joe’s Mexican Breakfast Skillet

While we were in Flagstaff we were busy cooking, grilling, and drinking all sorts of delicious things. The night we arrived, Chris took over the grill and produced a beautiful spread of grilled vegetables and home-made salsa. In the morning we had plenty of leftover veggies and chips, so Joe got to work making a spectacular version of Chilaquiles.

Large cast-iron skillet

A splash of olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

Roughly 1/3 of a bag of corn tortilla chips

8 eggs Assorted veggies, chopped. These can be anything you like, but we used grilled veggies from the night before-zucchini, red onion, sweet corn, carrot and asparagus.

1 can Enchilada sauce-we had to look closely to find gluten-free sauce

Heat the oil in the skillet and add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onions become soft and slightly translucent.

Spread the chips over the onions to cover the skillet and let heat for a couple of minutes.

Crack eggs and drop into skillet, distributing them evenly over the pan. Spread veggies over the top.

Using a spatula, gently stir the contents of the skillet together. The chips should become soft and the eggs and veggies should be incorporated evenly.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the skillet and let cook on low until the eggs are set, five minutes or so.

Dig in! Joe brought out the big guns and used two skillets to feed us. Yes, there were leftovers, but we still ate like champs.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Friends, family and fun

We’ve spent the last few days hanging out in Lincoln and Omaha - and we’ve stayed in houses for a week solid now!  Regular showers?   Don’t know.  We may be too spoiled to go on from here.

We've been having a great time doing presentations for kids groups at Boys and Girls Club and Girls, Inc. – talking with them about bicycling and showing them how to change a flat tire.

It’s also been a lot of fun getting to see family I haven’t seen in 7 years;

getting to meet college Casey’s and Hannah’s college friends and friends of friends; 

riding in Critical Mass in Lincoln;

and visiting the house I used to live in when I was a little kid!  The woman who used to babysit me still lives next door!! 

Lots of fun memories – both old and new.