Saturday, October 7, 2017

Savanna, Illinois / Sabula, Iowa Mississippi River crossing

Great Allegheny Passage Trail (GAP Trail) near Ohiopyle

Kayakers on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

A Lock along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal)

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal) Tow Path

Brush Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage Trail (GAP Trail)

Cumberland Maryland shout out to Intelligent Design Cycles

Western Maryland Rail Trail

Salisbury Viaduct on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail (GAP Trail)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cedar Creek Camp on Great Allegheny Passage

Here at the Cedar Creek Camp along the Great Allegheny Passage Trail (just 64km shy of Pittsburgh), I was fortunate to make this family's acquaintance and be invited to visit them when I arrive in Pittsburgh.

Thank you all for the selfie, the memory, and the invite!

The link is to my Instagram profile where the photo is shared for all to see.  August 9th, 2017, Wednesday.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXl5SD3DLW4/

Today is the first day, since before the alternate route to bypass the Paw Paw Tunnel of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, that my back was not aching and sore.  During yesterday's 34km ride I had made an adjustment to my bike seat.  I'm hoping that my recent rest and the seat adjustment will be remedy enough for my pains to remain in the past.

Daisy and Harold Talking and Barking

https://youtu.be/X3PljeLP5E0

Here we are, on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail in Pennsylvania, carrying on, barking and talking with one another.

Happy Wednesday y'all.

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Bridge and tunnel above the Great Allegheny Passage Trail

Check out @TourDePACLANTIC's Tweet: https://twitter.com/TourDePACLANTIC/status/895069987563601920?s=09

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017, Licking Creek C&O Canal




July 13, Thursday, I have lost data coverage on my cell phone at about mile post 60 along the C&O Canal.  Food situation looks good but I am rationing in the hopes that we find a fish...or a dozen for that matter.

Today's ride brings us to Killiansburg Cave Hiker-Biker Campground near mile post 76.  It was hot and humid the entire day but I managed to get 21km before calling it a day.  The camp ground was empty, easy access to water, and yesterday was exhausting with the hills.

The path was very rocky, or more so than any other day yet encountered along the canal's tow-path.

Did laundry and took a sponge bath.

Beans, rice, and angel hair pasta for dinner.  Read a book, "Blowback" by Brad Thor.; very entertaining.


July 14, Friday, down day following two productive mileage days on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.  Fished, read, laundry, sponge bath, and considered the path ahead.

July 15, Saturday, I left Killiansburg Cave Hiker-Biker Campground and would finish the day at Cumberland Valley Hiker-Biker Campground for a total of 33km.  Here is the PHOTO ALBUM (July 15, 2017)  for this day's ride. Note: Explanation of how these photo albums came to be will be explained later somewhere in this post.

This day I came across a new feature (new to me for it was the first for me to encounter during my canal travels) along the C&O Canal (Chesapeake and Ohio Canal) and one I remember particularly well for although it was short in length there was a steep grade on the gravel path that I found myself half way up...and stopped.  Stopped because I ran out of forward momentum and I didn't wish to be pulled down the grade by my heavy "chuck-wagon".  Whith the brakes on (and a foot (as a wheel chock) under and behind a wheel, I managed to reach over and open Daisy's crate, grab a leash and attach it to her, and call her out.  Now that my load was reduced by 40#, I bit down on my end of the leash and told Daisy to put a wiggle in it.  Bless her heart she knew what to do.  She damn near pulled the teeth out of my head but we got the bike up the remainder of the grade nevertheless.  (This happened to us also out in Kentucky on a lonely crushed Rock road on our last tour, though I must admit that the days were much more pleasant at the time of our crossing there.).

Once at the top of the grade, I had to capture some photos from this gorgeous vantage point but first I've got to secure the bike and put Daisy away.  This is the moment when folks pull up, I drop my phone, the bike falls over, and the dog goes ape-shit.  This was 5 minutes of chaos I'll not soon forget.  To the group of cyclists that just wanted to enquire about our mission...sorry for the fuck-bombs.  I got my photos and continued on.

I came across the "Big Slackwater", a portion of the river that was used in place of canal, a "guard lock" as well as several other locks.  Along the the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, I am constantly brought back to memories of playing Tomb-Raider (Laura Croft Tomb Raider) when I run across these old stone structures being reclaimed by nature.  Only now, as I write this I see how quickly nature takes back, or more accurately and likely that my present location gets less attention than areas more frequented by users.  I say this for in my present location at Licking Creek Aqueduct, I will back-track 2.6 kilometers to the start of the "Western Maryland Rail Trail", which parallels the "C&O Canal" for 22 miles to the "Sideling Hill Creek Aqueduct".   I suspect that a good many users of the route choose the same path that I will take.  I'll share some photos of the overgrowth on and around the "Licking Creek Aqueduct" at a later time.  I hope, for future generations, that the State of Maryland will keep up with, and find future funding, to preserve and maintain this awesome piece of American history!


July 16, Sunday, I left Cumberland Valley Hiker-Biker Campground and finished the day at Licking Creek Aqueduct Hiker-Biker Campground for a total of 41km.  I met several folks Along today's ride.  Here is my PHOTO ALBUM for today's ride.

As you can see from the photos, I visited a town today.  There are several reasons for doing so, but first let me explain how all of these photos, and many many others that you don't see, got uploaded.

While checking for a signal (cellular coverage), I made sure my phone was not in "Airplane Mode" which prevents my phone from communicating out (out here in the sticks, the battery will premaurely exhaust itself while the phone attempts to constantly triangulate with repeater towers).  My brilliant self forgot to, not only turn off "Use Phones Data To Upload Photos, but to place the phone back in "Airplane Mode" when I was finished doing whatever it was that I was doing at the time.  Thank goodness I set a 1 Gigabyte data usage warning.  The phone reminded me that while my head was up in my ass somewhere that I had just squandered that much data and..." What would I like it to do next?"  How I replied to it I'll leave to your imagination.

I digress.  Back to why I was in town.  Rumor has it that the Paw Paw Tunnel up ahead is closed due to falling debris and that the bypass trail is extremely challenging for a person with only a bike and saddle bags.  I wanted to visit the "Williamsport Visitor Center" to get a current trail status and to plot alternative routes which will accommodate my ride (see chuck-wagon and Daisy-mobile).  Indeed, the "Paw Paw Tunnel" is closed, and the alternate hiker path is not recommend for my load.  The park ranger were able to confirm with me an alternative route.  Thank you guys!!

The second reason for my hopping off the canal was that I had heard that the grade out of the river basin here in Williamsport is not nearly as steep as other locations, and if that were the case, it would behoove me to top off my supply of food at the local Dollar General. (I am not hurting for food at this time...just merely a precaution. )  This rumor turned out to be true!  On my way up this grade into town, I passed more than a few folks that were sitting on their front porch enjoying the nice Sunday morning weather as they smiled and waved as Daisy was carted by ever so slowly.

I spent $5.10 on beans, rice, and even went back for my sweet tooth for a $0.50 lollipop (cotton candy) spending all but my last seven cents.  Money well spent!  Note:. The last time I was at a store, was back near "Swains Lock" Hiker-Biker Campground, near mile post 16.  I am now at mile post 117 at "Licking Creek Aqueduct".  Progress is very slow going but very enjoyable!!!  I hope y'all enjoy the photos!

On my way back through town, I collected more photos, this time with the sun behind me.  I stopped and met a few folks too!  IMPORTANT:. I DO NOT HAVE FACEBOOK MESSENGER ON MY PHONE.  IF YOU ARE TRYING TO REACH ME THROUGH FACEBOOK, PLEASE CONTACT AN ADMINISTRATOR THROUGH "Tour De PACLANTIC or "Vets and Their Pets".  Additionally, and I find this off, I can connect to the internet but can not place or receive calls.  Text seems to work fine as well.  Imagine that!

Further on down the canal tow-path, I met just some of the great folks of "The Greatest Bicycle Tour of the Historic C&O Canal".  One hundred or so riders raising money for "San Mar Family & Community Services".  See photo album for a few folks of this large group that I was fortunate to meet and get a selfie with.  Later, one fella from the group assisted me in getting the chuck-wagon over two stair steps at "Dam 5" so that I could continue on without disassebling my ride.  I pulled and he lifted.  Thank you buddy!!!  To learn more about "sanmars.tgbt", visit https://www.facebook.com/sanmars.tgbt or visit their website.  (Google it)

July 17, Monday, a down day. I remembered to set out the solar panels and attach the batteries to accept the charge.  Since I am in a heavily wooded area this task is somewhat time consuming, moving the panels as shade migrates across the camp area.

Meals for today was my main focus and I made a good attempt to vary my diet.  I had wild berries this morning to go with my oatmeal.  It was a joy fighting the millions of mosquitoes while picking these tasty treats on the outskirts of the dense woods.  I'll pick some more tonight for desert.  I broke out the split peas, and the vegetable soup mix just to have something different and to replenish my body from pulling my chuck-wagon through double rutt canal path.

Say hello to Daisy and me, and of course "Veterans and Their Pets"(SM) on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TourDePACLANTIC and https://www.facebook.com/vetsandtheirpets

Donate securely online to https://fundrazr.com/veteransandtheirpets to help us reach our goal

Thanks for tuning in to my blog.  If you enjoy it, please give it a like and a "thumbs-up" as well as recommend it to others.  Feel free to share with everyone.  Daisy and I appreciate you ALL.  We couldn't do this without YOUR help.  Thank you!!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 12, 2017, Wednesday. Harpers Ferry

 July 11, Tuesday, I wrote the previous blog post, covering the dates July 2 - July 10, published, and cross posted it early in the afternoon.  I decided to take off the remainder of the day rather than start a ride in the afternoon heat and also to attempt to put some protein on the dinner plate.  Thank goodness for small miracles.  The fish I caught wandered to the shoreline wounded where I caught it barehanded.

A hiker named "Bob" walked into camp late afternoon early evening with a fairly large pack.  We chatted for a while before the sun went down.

July 12, Wednesday (42km this day), I packed up camp at Bald Eagle Island, near mile post 49 along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and pushed my bike and trailer up the steep incline leading out of the camp.  The camp is about 8ft lower than the trail and lies between the trail and the Potomac River.  The protruding roots, exposed rocks, and the steep grade back up to the trail from camp made it necessary for me to make several trips just to assemble my bike on the trail to start this days ride.  After my ride was assembled and ready to ride on the trail, I said goodbye to "Bob", collected Daisy, and made my way towards Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Between mile post 52 and 53 I found my first downed tree blocking all forward progress completely.  Early on, during my first day on this long and meandering trail, I prepared my self well, mentally, for the eventuality of such a delay.  Up until this point I have been very fortunate for I've come across at least 3 recently cleared debris falls evident by the freshly cut wood chips of a chainsaw littering the trail.

This blockage was recent and quite large.   The other problem this blockage posed is that it contained a huge amount of poison Ivy.   After clearing minor tree limbs with a hatchet,  I levered the poison Ivy out of my path using the freshly cut branches from the tree, hopefully without being contaminated in the process.  My work revealed two remaining tree limbs with a 40" circumference or better.  I would definitely have to completely disassemble my entire rig and carry it over the obstruction piece by piece.

A fellow cyclist, out for a morning trail ride and stopping to carry his own bike across, offered to help carry my empty trailer across.

After thanking and saying goodbye to my new friend, I took advantage of the opportunity, while all of my belongings were easily accessible, to restock my daily containers.  I topped off my beans and rice containers that I use on a daily basis and replaced the unused portions in my pack box that I keep in the rear of the trailer.  This was a good time to inventory my food stores as well; I'm doing quite well!

In addition to reorganizing, I took the time to remove several lengths of bailing wire to secure trailer tire spares to the underside of my trailer.

Photo albums will have to wait for today I'm running into cellular coverage deficiencies.  I may not be able to post this one until coverage improves.

After reassembling my ride for the second time today, I continued on and came across Brunswick, Maryland.  I stopped in and shot a few photos before hopping back on to the trail.  I had decided to stray from the trail and visit Brunswick after catching a glimpse of it through a tree line and because the name Brunswick reminded me of the town just outside of St. Simons Island where my tour started back in Georgia.

At Weverton, Maryland exit along the C&O Canal, I found myself on the Appalachian Trail (Appalachian National Scenic Trail) on my way to Harpers Ferry.  I hopped on to Highway 340 and found myself quickly winded on a huge but deceivingly gradual ascent.  I had to look back at my progress along this grade to get a real grasp of how steep it is.  I crossed the Potomac River into Virginia, and then the Shenandoah River into West Virginia.

Upon my arrival, I was greeted with ridiculously steep grades through residential streets leading up to a Harpers Ferry where I was rewarded by beautiful views from "Overlook Of Old Town".

I wanted to visit the old church ruins while  in Harpers Ferry but the steep inclines would have destroyed my equipment or killed me.  Y'all can Google photos of the area.

While riding down Main Street, I may have burnt through my front disc brake pads.  I'll have to check them before hitting the hills again.  It was a constant battle applying both front and rear brakes to keep my ride from running away.

This day was hot and humid and my clothes were drenched in sweat.  The hill climbs along the way meant frequent stops in an attempt to cool down.

It was time to ride back to the C&O Canal and make camp.  It took a while to get to Huckleberry Hill Hiker-Biker Camp.  I set camp and opened up my pressure cooker for a quick dinner of foul smelling beans and rice.  I had made this batch just the day before out of the fish stock leftover from boiling the fish.  As much as I dislike fish stock, it does provide much needed nutrition.  Yuk!!!  Thank goodness it is gone!

Photo is of an old hotel at the lookout point mentioned earlier.  The other photo is looking back at where I had been just two hours earlier. 

I'll be offline for a while, connection is poor out here!  Thank Blogger for reformatting my text. 




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 10, 2017, Monday


I figure that I should get focused on getting a blog post done, it has been a while.

July 10, Monday (yesterday), Daisy and I traveled over 32km (20+ miles), along the C&O Canal.  It is extremely beautiful yet grueling work riding on the unimproved tow-path/hiker-biker trail (Many years ago in the 1800's when  the canal was functioning, mules and  horses were used on the tow-path to tow the barges up and  down the canal).  Along the path I encountered parts of the trail that is - full width - hard pack and other parts that looked like parallel goat paths with a rough section of growth in between, often at times having to slow down for oncoming bikers loaded down with panniers on these narrow and rugged passages.

Traveling the trail, although flat for the most part, takes quite a bit of adjustment.  I am traveling at half my normal pace of 16+kph (10mph) when traveling on asphalt or concrete and at times as slow as 5kph.   I spent five hours traveling a distance that would normally take me just two which included time spent taking photos and letting Daisy out to stretch her legs a few times and meet with passersby.   Gnarled exposed roots are occasionally hazards, as well as downed trees and sections of mud that grab at your front wheel wanting to pull it to one side or the other - very stressful riding conditions that require intense focus and concentration.   Fortunately, I have yet to encounter a downed tree, forcing me to carry my chuck-wagon piece by piece over it, but noticed several indications of recently cleared obstacles.

I got off to a late start this day for I was making adjustments to my new tubes and tires.  While letting air out of the inner tube to reseat the tube as well as double check the tire bead and to ensure it was seated properly along the entire circumference along the rim, the presta valve shot out.  As I had no replacements (all of my valve stems on this tour are shrader valves), I had to do a thorough search through the grass for this vital part.  Fortunately, after an hour of search and cursing myself I found it.  I left camp at Chisel Branch at 11am.

Along the way I met a cross country hiker and a few others that were interested in our journey.  I stopped at White's Ferry for an apple and to drop off my old "used but good for an emergency" tire for later use for someone in a similar situation.

July 9, Sunday, an anonymous concerned and kind citizen picked up and delivered new trailer tires and inner tubes that "Veterans and Their Pets" purchased for me online at a nearby store.  Thank you and the also anonymous donor that helped make this recovery all possible.

I replaced the trailer tire and then backtracked along the trail a half mile in the direction that I had come from to Chisel Brach Hiker-Biker Camp because the park ranger informed me this morning that I was not supposed to camp at Edward's Ferry.  I informed him that this is where I broke down at, had spent the night last night, and that I would move on.  

July 8, Saturday (Swains Lock), many trail users out today.  I left Swains Lock Hiker-Biker Camp and upon my arrival at Edwards Ferry is when I heard what I at first thought was a gun shot very close by.  I thought again about the sound and thought to check both trailer tires.  Upon inspection of the second tire it was evident that my travels were done for.  A hole big enough to put ones thumb through was clearly visible in the center of the tread mass.

July 7, Friday, Swains Lock, recharged two of my backup batteries via solar panels, caught two fish, and relaxed.  

July 6, Thursday, I left Daisy and the "Chuck-wagon" at Swains Lock Hiker-Biker campsite for resupply and top off food stores at Safeway just 2.7 miles away.  In anticipation for the long trail ahead and assuming that the few trail stores that do exist would charge a considerable premium for the convenience of trailside purchases, I thought it best to travel heavy.  I topped off, spending all but my last two dollars, plus change, buying ramen, oatmeal, kool-aide, instant coffee, and beans.  It started to rain fairly steady at a mile before I returned to camp.  It rained, for the most part, all day and for certain ALL night this night.

July 5, Wednesday, I left Gravelly Point for a ride through Georgetown where I hopped on to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Tow Path which extends from Georgetown to Pittsburgh.  I arrived at a Hiker-Biker campsite along the canal path called "Swains Lock".

July 4, Tuesday, I left Gravelly Point after witnessing a remarkable and extraordinary sunrise over our nation's Capital.  I traveled to what I considered to be the heart of the coming festivities where I was waved off (denied entrance) by police and other official security forces from various agencies for they were securing the fireworks launch site and viewing grounds.  The police K-9's were doing a "bomb and explosives" search at the time, and after which, when the are was secured and deemed safe, all visitors and event spectators would be subject to a thorough search.  I gladly backtracked to explore other areas of the Capital.  A search would be an all day event in my case.
I found myself on the parade route and decided to stay and witness this event.  I'm glad I did.  I witnessed my first helium filled parade floats in person.
After leaving the parade, and I did so early to beat the crowds, I found a park bench along the national Mall for which to rest my rig and claim my seat for the fireworks display that would start in four hours.  Here I met two homeless fellas and passed the time in each other's company.   We would later rendezvous at Gravelly Point where I made dinner for myself and one other that had not eaten already.

July 3, Monday, I left my hosts in Clinton, Maryland after giving thanks and saying goodbyes.  It was hot and humid but otherwise a great ride.  I arrived at Gavelly Point and spent the remainder of the day watching jets take off and land immediately overhead (Reagan International's runway trajectory is directly inline with the end of runway).  It was here that I made a quick picnic, combination lunch and dinner.  I had just barely enough water to get us through the night.  I would later pay for this dearly for I would suffer from caffeine withdrawal the next day.  Thank goodness for instant coffee.  I slept on a park table top prepared to leave immediately in the event that I was asked to leave.

July 2, Sunday, I left my good friend and host Susan and family in Lothian, Maryland after an extended stay for repairs and awaited equipment deliveries.    The hills out were ridiculously steep at times; a person could walk up faster than my pace.  It was along one such steep incline that I noticed a motorcyclist pull up ahead and park at the roadside ahead of me at the crest of the hill for which I was only half way up.  As I neared, I saw this fella pull a rope from his saddle bag.  I laughed and shouted between labored breaths, "Hell no, I don't need a tow, but thank you!"

Upon my arrival to his parked bike, I recognized the rope as being Daisy's Leash; one that I obviously left at Barry's house (Susan's husband).  We laughed, said goodbyes once again after expressing my gratitude for the leash, and parted ways.
I arrived in Clinton,  Maryland to stay a night with a new friend and his wife.  It wasn't a long day but I didn't start until nearly 1:30pm in the afternoon.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

June 27, 2017, Monday. Washington DC


EXIT Mid-Atlantic, http://exitmidatlantic.com/ , TourDePACLANTIC.blogspot.com , veteransandtheirpets.org , "Veterans and Their Pets"(SM) , "Harold & Daisy" , "Haorld and Daisy"
EXIT Mid-Atlantic Family reception for "Veterans and Their Pets"


June 21, Wednesday I would say goodbye to my new friend Nick O'Connel, President of A.R.F. or Animal Rescue Flights , and tour the town of Williamsburg and Jamestown, Virginia before making progress along my tour route.  First I want to give thanks to Nick for welcoming me into his home and disrupting the routine of "Maggie" and "Enzo" his two rescued dogs.  (If you don't remember these cuties, here is the link to my previous postNick is a pilot and spends a great deal of time and resources rescuing animals with his plane and by other means.  He states that he is credited with over 1000 rescues.

I road down Richmond Rd, and then down W Duke of Gloucester St.- the historic main street which is chained off to all but pedestrian traffic, and in my case "bike and chuck-wagon" touring rig - to visit and experience "Old Williamsburg".  On the way and before I arrived, I stopped in to visit the folks at Williamsburg's Radio Station - WMBG FM97.7 AM740 to share our mission.  They expressed an interest and asked if I could come back from 10am-2pm.

Continuing on down Richmond Rd., I snapped quite a few photos before arriving at W Duke of Gloucester St.  Here is where a person steps back into time to experience what it was like hundreds of years ago.  There are many volunteers and or employees that dress in period clothes that wander about, looking for lost or confused visitors, to give guidance and share their knowledge of the past with them.  I had to drop what I was doing several times as horse or ox drawn carts approached.  I did not wish to be escorted from the property for startling or causing a runaway stampede of beasts of burden.

I stumbled into a rather professional photo shoot involving #Pedigree, a #dog, #lighting, #setprops, and #photographers.  Again, I kept my distance so as not to interrupt the photo shoot.  Daisy, fortunately, was quiet, and or curious as well, and the set was not interrupted by us. I have to remember to check out Pedigree and attempt to see the end result of this photo shoot.  I should have asked for an autograph or "PAWtograph" #PAWtograph !

Two hours later I looked at my watch and was surprised to learn that it was 10:30am.  Where did the time go?  I rode back to WMBG FM97.7 to meet the producer.  While there, I met Ty Hodges, got a selfie and shared our story.  Ty said that his schedule was full but that he would certainly give "Veterans and Their Pets"(SM) a plug via #Facebook mentions and other #socialmedia sights.

On the way out Williamsburg, Virginia, I snapped many more photographs. As I approached my turn to hop onto the "Virginia Capital Trail", it occurred to me that I should at least try to sneak into Jamestown and the Jamestown Settlement for which I was advised that it was closed to the public.  I should clarify that these and other Historic sites, are only open to paying visitors.  #commercializing #history .  Y'all will have to #Google these sights if you wish to know more about them.  I did not have the money, nor was I willing to leave my rig and Daisy behind to visit these historic sights.

Following my tour of Williamsburg and Jamestown, Virginia, I hopped onto a wonderful bicycle trail called the "Virginia Capital Trail" which starts in Williamsburg and extends into Richmond,Virginia.  What an amazing ride it was, as you can see from my Photo Album.

It was mid afternoon when I arrived at Chickahominy Riverfront Park and I thought that I would ask how much it would be to pitch a tent for the night.  Can you believe they wanted $28 to pitch a tent?  Out of curriosity I asked whether or not that included electrical hook up and WiFi.  Electrical hookup up would be $31 per night.  My jaw dropped.  I said that was beyond my means and then asked if I may eat lunch on the property for free.  She pointed me to the boat ramp which had a nifty little picnic area adjacent to it.

At the picnic area is where I discovered a very disturbing equipment failure.  My trailer hitch had completely failed and was hanging by the safety strap.  Thank goodness for this strange stop - I had stopped out of curiosity, and for whatever reason that led me to inspect the hitch.  Had I not found this when I did, most surely this trailer would have separated from my bike!  I have included photos of trailer hitches below, one old and one new, and I think you will see the difference between the replacement part that has just recently arrived and the one that failed.

 I called "Veterans and Their Pets"(SM) and explained my predicament.  On the day of this post (click here for the link) to Facebook while in Vanceboro, North Carolina, I had called Michael West of  "Veterans and Their Pets"(SM) asking for help in troubleshooting my options and to advise that my time on the road would be limited for I had found micro fractures in my trailer rims, as well as noticed a worn hitch assembly.  (Michael West has toured via bicycle in the past (a thousand mile ride) and still gives good guidance while I've been on the road.)  In the course of busy schedules, we missed each others calls and call backs.  We both agreed that it was time to do the rickshaw trick with the trailer.  I've done it before and was prepared to do it again.  It is a simple matter to strap the bike and bags to the trailer and start hoofing it to the nearest repair facility.

I had called Susan and advised that my arrival would more than likely be a long way off.  She wouldn't hear of it.  She asked for my location and I gave her two, the second being a place outside the park since I had not paid for a nights stay.  I had no intention of staying the night here, but now that I was aware of my hitch issues, I was prepared to leave when asked to leave.  I gave Susan a back up location in the event I had to move.

Here is the PHOTO ALBUM of this day, start to finish.

Total mileage on the day was 42 kilometers.

June 22, Thursday Susan Fleming of EXIT Mid-Atlantic and Debbie Buckingham of EXIT By The Bay, drove out to my location at Chickahominy Riverfront Park to pick Daisy and I up along with all of our belongings.  Debbie bought ice cream for everyone including Daisy.  It should be noted that Daisy does not suffer from brain freeze, or perhaps she just hides it well.   Thank you both for bailing me out of my depressing situation!!!

While packing, Megan Henderson introduced herself to me and offered to help us load my trailer and bike.  Megan and I got a selfie together before I left.  Thank you for your assistance Megan!

Here is the PHOTO ALBUM of this day.  Photo albums for the following days of this post I will screen and assemble for the next post.

June 23, Friday, Susan and her daughter Genna took me out to La Tolteca for dinner, and to pick up a bunch of chorizo, a hispanic breakfast delicacy of spiced pork salivary glands.  Basically it is a spicy version of breakfast sausage.  Don't knock it until you try it!   Thank you all for your kindness and hospitality!

My new trailer arrived in the mail this day.  I was excited at first that "Veterans and Their Pets" had not only searched online for a duplicate trailer, but purchased one for me so that I may get back on the road.  At first being the key words for after looking at the size and shape of the box, it didn't take long to figure out that there was no way a 36"x32" trailer frame would fit in this box, not to mention the tires and wheels.  See photo below.
 

June 24, Saturday  I was invited to the EXIT Landmark Realty movie showing of Wonder Woman.  Bernadette Cole, Broker/Owner of EXIT Landmark Realty put on a family event to give thanks to its staff and their families for their support and cooperation.  A wonderful gesture and time it was.  It was my first movie in I don't know how long, and that's a long time!  Thank you all for having me!

June 25, Sunday, it is time to open a care package that had arrived earlier in the week from some very special people, Beth Walker and her son Jax.  Thank you both so very much for the kind and thoughtful gesture, I was both moved and touched as you can see in the video.  Thank you Genna Fleming for filming this moment!  Here is the link to that video... Care package opening.  (FYI, before posting this video publicly, I asked for and received permission to share this and another video with you all.  Thank you Beth for that!)

Prior to the opening of this package, I had decided, after consulting a few friends, that I would film two (2) separate videos.  The one you have just viewed, and a second, after I placed other objects in the box.  This was my attempt to bring a little fun, something I could offer in addition to my humble thanks.  This second video is the one I initially shared with Beth and her son Jax (they were not aware that I had already opened the package).  Alternate Care Package Opening Prank Care Package opening.

Later in the day here at Susan's house, we had our first steamed blue crab picnic of the tour.  In fact, I haven't had blue crab since I was in Clute where both Susan and I went to intermediate and high school together.

June 26, Monday, I met first with Joshua McKerrow, photographer, and then with Alex Mann, journalist,  both for the Capital Gazette.  I enjoyed Joshua's style as he was not afraid to state the shots he wanted and how he wanted me to help him obtain them.  Both of these guys left me with the impression that they shared a genuine interest in the story and it is a joy working with shared interests.  I suggest that you all read this article as Joshua and Alex brought a unique perspective to our story.  I personally enjoyed what Bonnie Martin shared with Alex via telephone.  She may have told me how she met us on the road side, but I was quite exhausted when she pulled me over.  Thank you Joshua, Alex, and the Capital Gazette for hearing and sharing our story and our mission for "Veterans and Their Pets"(SM).    

June 27, Tuesday, the article came out and I shared it.  I will continue this day when I remember what was done.  First I wish to thank Susan Fleming, Barry Fleming, Genna Fleming, and the two cats for allowing us to stay while parts and repairs are made.  Their lives have been interrupted by our visit, and I suspect that the cats are quite pissed off about it.  Thank you guys for everything!

Photo albums:

Friday, June 30, 2017

Capital Gazette - CapitalGazette.com


Alex Mann of "Capital Gazette" "Veterans and Their Pets"(SM) "Tour De PACLANTIC" veteransandtheirpets.org https://fundrazr.com/veteransandtheirpets
Alex Mann of Capital Gazette

June 26, Monday, Daisy and I met with Joshua McKerrow (Photographer) and Alex Mann (Journalist) of the Capital Gazette while in Lothian, Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C.  Thank you CapitalGazette.com , Alex Mann, and Joshua McKerrow for hearing and sharing our mission for VeteransAndTheirPets.org

Please help us (Harold and Daisy) reach our goal by donating securely online at DONATE HERE .  100% of ALL proceeds go directly to assisting military veterans and their pets.

The following link is the result of our meeting... Click here for the story


Thursday, June 29, 2017

June 20, 2017, Tuesday. Williamsburg, Virginia

June 18, Sunday.  I neglected to mention in my last post that I had arrived at Fireflies On Bennett's Creek the afternoon before (June 17), right around 4:40pm.  I was thinking of moving on further down the road, but my friend Katie said that afternoon showers were frequent this time of year and this day was looking like one of those days, not to mention that I had stopped multiple times to shelter from passing torrential thunder showers.  Additionally, I was a bit thirsty and considered riding a bit more to pick up a beer before seeking a camp.  I am glad that I chose to stay and seek permission from Fireflies On Bennett's Creek instead of the more frequent, ask for forgiveness.

I waited for the patrons to thin out -I don't want to interrupt business- and entered the store.  A lady had asked how I may be helped and as I handed a card to her, I asked if I may make camp in the corner of the property.  She consulted with another lady and the answer was, and quickly I might add, yes.  They both showed me where I may pitch my tent, offered me the use of the boat dock, and sent me packin' with two bottles of pumpkin spice brew.  Thank you Fireflies On Bennett's Creek for your kindness and hospitality.

After making dinner and drinking the pumpkin spice beer, I accessed the web and logged into WarmShowers.org, a community of bicycle tour enthusiasts that, when not on tour, open up their homes to those cyclists on tour.  I learned about WarmShowers.org from a fella while at the Smallest Church in America back in South Carolina.  Y'all might remember him, Jan, aka "The Flying Dutchman" (I may have inadvertently referred to him as the "Lost Dutchman")  Here is a link to my post documenting my meeting with "The Flying Dutchman".   I prefer to rough it while crossing the country and have made it a point to stick to that, for the most part. However, I enjoy the freedom of meeting someone online and asking for permission to leave camp and Daisy while touring and photographing historic locations more thoroughly than just riding through town.  Williamsburg, VA seemed to be one of those locations that I could use some free time without my load to visit and shoot photos.

I found a location that stated that I was 47km away (not miles, kilometers.  I decided, for this tour, I would track kilometers traveled.  It seems that the majority of the world uses this measurement, and I have some very special folks following me that use it too.  I have all of my devices set to kilometers...or so I had thought.).  I reached out, asking for a few nights stating my intentions and was welcomed and invited for the following evening.

Back to this post (June 18, Sunday), I did a little breakfast fishing prior to packing up camp at Fireflies On Bennett's Creek.  I think I may have caught the same fish twice, so I kept the little guy and cooked it up for my girl dog.  Daisy enjoyed the fresh protein.

I started this days ride thinking that 47 kilometers to my destination would allow me plenty of time to piddle around and take my time with videos and photos.  This days route was a recommendation from my new friend Katie.  I am most thankful for the direction she offered and suggested.

Along Highway 258, just north of the town Benns Church, I found a Historical Marker and pulled in to investigate.  In the parking lot of St. Luke's Church Museum, I found some information markers about the site (these may be found in my photo album that I will include somewhere in this post).  The parking lot was empty, tours are either by appointment or at a time other than when I was there.  Either way, I didn't have the cash to spend on a tour.  I took photos of the house and hit the road to look for a back road into the grounds to locate this circa 1600's Church for all paths to it were blocked and locked.  There is, apparently, a conflict about the exact date for which the structure was built, either 1632 or 1682.  Y'all will have to Google it and decide for yourself. Here is a link to Historic St. Luke's Church, a video I made to help put it in perspective.  Notice that it is set back far from the road. It is peaceful, quiet, and impressive!

I found a round about and out-of-the-way path to this historic building, and I am glad that I risked my neck on gravel paths and dirt trails leading up to it.  I managed to get quite a few photos and videos that you will find in the single photo album that is linked to below.

The next notable attraction was the town of Smithfield, Virginia.  Here is a video clip of Daisy enjoying the sights and smells of Smithfield, Virginia.  I stopped in at a convenience store to use the hot water spigot on a coffee machine to make myself a cup of ramen noodles.  I figure I'll need the carbohydrates later on and the salt would replenish what I have been sweating out.

I wandered around Smithfield for an extended period of time, in part because I had made a wrong turn.  From an overpass, looking down at the road below, I had realized then that that was the road I needed to be on.  This added a few miles to the day for there was no on ramp to get to my route below.  Photos of Smithfield will be found in the one photo album, "Williamsburg, Virginia; our arrival.", somewhere below.

At some point along the way, I thought to call my host and ask for an address.  After plugging that address into my phone, I realized that I still had over 25 miles (not kilometers...miles) to go to arrive to his house!!!  WTH?!?  I had already traveled a considerable amount of miles.  I still haven't figured out how I had in my head 47km to travel to my destination (perhaps it was due to a route other than the one that I had planned on taking).  For those of you just tuning in, here is a little back ground on biking with a very large load and dog in tow.  25 to 30 miles per day is good mileage on a day to day basis, that is, if I wish to continue on the next day for an extended period of time.  By the days end, I will have traveled over 50 miles, the most I've traveled on any single day this tour thus far.

Back to the tour, I left Smithfield and rode on, taking Route 10.  I had to cool down along the way and took the opportunity to do a Facebook check-in.  I believe it was here that I also called my host and informed him of my predicament, that I may not make it as planned, and at this point I was pretty beat up.  Side and head winds were becoming stiff and steady, and even though today's route took me in many different directions, it struck me as improbable that I would have little or no tail wind.

I continued on along Route 10 and spotted a Dollar General at the intersection of Route 10 and 676.  I bought a half gallon of milk, and two cans of condensed milk, of which I consumed the entire half gallon of milk to help prevent cramping and to replace electrolytes the old fashioned way.  It was here that an intoxicated motorist proceeded to lecture me about scooting over to the right of the lane so traffic could attempt to squeeze between me and oncoming traffic in the immediate opposing lane. (There was no shoulder of any kind on this stretch or road).  I took his suggestion under advisement, held my tongue, and continued hugging the center line at times that it was obvious that it was unsafe for following cars to pass me.

From the Dollar General, I took the route 676, to the 628, and then the 617.  This is when I came across Bacon's Castle.  See the photo album guys.  This place is ridiculously cool and even more so, historic.  It was at this time that I noticed that a storm was brewing up, and grew ominous in the short time that I had been visiting the castle.  We arrived just at closing time, just in time to see the caretaker high tailing it home.  Daisy had a moment to graze a little and stretch her legs before it was time to hit the road again.  Check out these photos and the videos at My Channel on YouTube .  You won't be disappointed.  Please subscribe to my channel on YouTube to receive updates on new videos as they are uploaded, and give them a "thumbs-up" if you enjoy them.

The head winds were stiff leaving out the drive of Bacon's Castle onto Route 617 but I caught a second wind hoping to put the wind at my back at the next turn just a short distance ahead which put me back on Route 10.  Although I now had a wind in my favor, I found some hills, some of them quite steep.  They were not so much hills as they were steep declines leading down to waterways such as creeks, and corresponding steep ascents leading out of.  I have some great videos of me riding down blind runaway descents.  It was quite stupid on my part, to go into any decent, no matter how steep, with just one hand to steer and attend the front brake.  You can hear the wind drown out my voice as I filmed some of these scenes.

At one point, for one reason or another, I caught myself in the wrong gear for which to pedal out of a creek depression.  In order for me to shift down to my lowest gear, a granny gear, I must free my right shoe cleat from the pedal, shift to the lowest gear with left hand while kicking the chain over to the smallest front chain ring.  Now, I find myself stuck with no momentum and rapidly decelerating, well into blind corner and very much on a steep ascent in the wrong gear.  I disengaged my cleats from both pedals, dismounted my bike just as it came to a stop and before rolling backwards, and pushed it as close as possible to the side of the road.  Absolutely no shoulder existed, and looking back, no more than 40 yards of visibility existed down the road behind me.  Drivers coming around this blind turn would have very little time to pull their head out as they approach from my rear, and in fact, two cars were near misses.  I reached down with my right hand, the left on the brake and left foot as a wheel chock to prevent my rig from rolling backwards, and manually placed the chain on the smallest chain-ring.  Getting started once again was a neat trick and thankfully I did it without turning around and using the downhill momentum to get me rolling.  I powered up the remaining incline at a snail pace, in fact, a person could walk up at a faster pace than I rode up.

A lot of torque is being applied to the rear sprocket and wheel assembly on ascents such as this, and great care must be taken while standing on the cranks to create a steady continuous thrust.  Merely standing on the cranks on the down strokes will create intermittent thrust and subsequently bounce the trailer, rocking it back and forth.  Daisy, sitting high over the trailer axle in her crate, will feel this pronounced rocking motion and stand up, making the trailer bounce even more compounding the effect.  I had to get short with her to get her to lay down to reduce this sometimes inevitable bounce. This rocking motion will create rapid wear and weaken an already worn trailer hitch. (This will make sense in a later post, for as I type this on June 29th, I am still waiting on a new hitch to arrive.)

At this point in the day, I am amazed that I haven't started cramping up yet, and seriously consider making camp at the Chippokes Plantation State Park.  I still had ten miles or more to arrive at my destination and at my current rate, daylight would become an issue.  After remembering my disappointing stay at Chesapeake Campground, and the fact that my cash reserve has severely dwindled since that stay, I chose to push on.

I arrived at the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry at such a time that it seemed that they were waiting for me.  (Here is a video of my approach to the Ferry)  They closed the gates behind me and I propped my bike up against the railing and secured it.  I had a short breather while crossing the James River and shot some video and photos along the way.  Check out my YouTube video at Jamestown-Scotland Ferry and the others videos while you are there.

When the ferry hit dock at the other side of the river, I shot some photos of a young bird (huge bird) nesting on a huge pier pillar while the automobiles disembarked from the ferry.  I followed the line of cars heading towards Williamsburg, Virginia, when I noticed a "Welcome" sign.  I continued my break for I am still quite exhausted, and take the opportunity to shoot selfies with Daisy in my other arm.  Cars that were heading the opposite way to board the now empty ferry stopped, rolled down their windows to comment on our special moment and photo shoot.  Daisy, as you can see in the photo album, became distracted and nearly jumped from my arm while shooting pix.

I still had 45 minutes to travel, and after calling my host (Nick O'Connel President of Animal Rescue Flights A.R.F.) to inform him of my whereabouts and ask for shortest route in to his house.  He advised me to take the scenic route, a parkway, that would only add 10 minutes or so.  Immediately, that translates to 20 minutes or more of additional travel and I quickly set the recommendation aside and rode straight into Willimsburg on the 31 and the 5.

There were a few more hills and were dreadful after such a long day.  I suspect that I gained a third wind to arrive by nightfall.

I arrived and met with Nick O'Connel.  He promptly offered to allow me to put my entire rig inside a utility portion of his home. The trailer would not fit.  I parked my rig in the side yard, removed Daisy and we introduced her to Maggie and Enzo, Nick's beautiful rescued dogs.  After Daisy was comfortable in this new environment, Nick held the flashlight while I disconnected trailer and brought the bike, panniers, and duffel bags inside.  It was at this time that I noticed my rim rubbing against the brake shoes.  It was out of true and substantial drag kept the wheel from spinning freely.  OMG!  I have been riding for who knows how long with an untrue rim.  My heart sank. Here is the video of my wheel.  It was my intention with this video, to share how I struggled on this particular day.  Cross country riding is hard on equipment.  Spoke repairs and truing rims is part of the struggle. Just ask anyone who has taken on such a task.  Ask them also what they carry in their inventory for on the road repairs.  I carry a pound or glue, a pound of patches, and a pound of spokes.  ;-)  A spoke wrench comes in handy too!!

I want to say that I received a call, very quickly, from my sponsor, Intelligent Design Cycles.  They stated emphatically that normally they would replace the wheel free of charge within the one year warranty period, and offered to do so now.   They have never received word of any problems in the past with their "Stout" line of wheels, not one broken spoke.  Since I had already spent the money on the repairs, they offered to send me the money for the rim/wheel repairs in addition to the offer of a new "Stout Wheel".  I made it clear that I appreciate their sponsorship, and that I had been abusing this "Stout Wheel" from the start.  I have not met anyone towing a load even remotely close to the one I place on this "Stout Wheel" by Intelligent Design Cycles. The videos I have shared here on this blog of some of the runaway downhill descents clearly show irresponsibility and abuse on my part.  The one thing I can say, "After 1,500km of travel, nearly1,000 miles, this Stout Wheel is amazing and has far exceeded all expectations I held for it!!"  I have crossed the country before, and unless I become a greasy spot on the road side, I will do so again....on this "Stout Wheel"!  Thank you for your support Intelligent Design Cycles!

Nick and I sat down after he offered me a very cold beer in a very frosty mug.  What a delight that was.  We had a wonderful chat and shared touring experiences, my actual experiences, and from Nick, what he has experienced through hosting tour riders crossing the country or the state or both, for Nick is not a cyclist.

By complete chance, I asked Nick if he knew my friend and East Coast Tour rider, Jan aka "The Flying Dutchan".  What do you know..."The Flying Dutchman" stayed a night or two with my new friend and dog rescuer Nick O'Connel!!  What a coincidence!!  Here is a link to my post documenting my meeting with "The Flying Dutchman"  We sat down for a dinner that he held off for my arrival and we had a delicious ravioli with vodka sauce, side of asparagus, and generous portions of red wine.  We had such a great time chatting and sharing touring experiences and dog rescue missions, it was after 1a.m. that we finally retired for the night.


June 19, 2017, Monday.  Nick offered to let me take his spare vehicle to the bike store, where I decided to pay for spoke replacement, and have the rim trued.  The spoke that broke, most certainly due to overloading, and excessive and abusive down hill speeds, was on the drive side, or the side with the cassette which requires the removal of the cassette for replacement.  While I was at the bike store, I replaced spokes that I had used up for earlier repairs.  See my Vanceboro post where I replaced two trailer spokes and inadvertently damaged one of my trailer wheels.

I returned to the house and and spent some time on the computer writing, posting to social media, and reaching out to local media, both paper and TV.

If you have not yet noticed, I have not posted mileage for the past two days.  This is because the wonderfully expensive cycle computer, my brand new Catyeye Padrone, has failed completely.  I have since purchased a replacement computer, I only have to locate the new computer in my belongings and install it.

June 20, 2017, Tuesday.  Today I woke up early and assembled the photo albums, links, and wrote the previous blog.  I finished it around 2pm if memory serves me correctly.

I put my bike back together, removed my very expensive and non functioning Cateye Padrone cycling computer and installed my new WalMart Bell Brand computer.  I am very pleased with this arrangement.  I can't imagine where I will have to ship this non-functioning computer to, to have it warrantied or how long it will take to get returned, and not to mention if they will even warranty it. I am having little luck in finding ANY bike store that will exchange it.

My tour and subsequent photos of Williamsburg will be on the next post!  Subscribe to my blog via email and receive it in your email when it is completed!

Here is my photo album for this time period.
PHOTO ALBUM: Williamsburg, VA, our arrival.

If you ejoy this blog, show your support by giving it a "Thumbs-Up", if there is one, a share on your favorite social media, and or a comment.  Thanks guys, enjoy!!!









Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 17, 2017, Saturday. Norfolk, Virginia

June 13, Tuesday, I called local news media outlets, went grocery shopping, then finished my previous blog post.  At the grocery store I bought another gallon of milk and a whole fryer chicken.  10 kilometers traveled this day riding into town and back.

June 14, Wednesday, I left my campsite at Chesapeake Campground with the knowledge that we were going to meet with a photographer for WTKR News 3 at the Waterside District in Norfolk, Virginia.

Along the way I had stopped to admire a bridge (South Norfolk Jordan Bridge) off in the distance and take a couple of shots with my camera.  Finished with my brief stop I had pulled up Google Maps to verify that the out-of-the-way route I was on was, in fact, still the least out-of-the-way route to be taken.  (It is evident that there is no such thing as easy directions here in Norfolk, and often while on the route to any given destination, one finds themselves going in the opposite direction.)  It was then that I realized that that bridge would need to be crossed.  Double labors where in my immediate future but I convinced myself that the vistas from the apex of the bridge would be worth the work getting to the top.  Indeed it was.  

Regarding shared photo albums, now and in the future...I will more than likely bunch all the photos together in my photo album according to the days ride, and not necessarily one particular location.  For instance, if I name an album by the city, it may include the ride into it, the ride out of it, or both, and not just scenes from the city for which the album is named.  I digress...

I met with Darryl Townsend of WTKR News 3 and shared our story with him and and answered questions at Waterside Marina in downtown Norfolk Virginia.  As soon as the story comes out, I will try to remember to locate the link and share it with y'all.  There will be some great Daisy shots in this one, I hope, for Darryl had Daisy do some unique things on film!

Following the interview, I traveled around downtown just a little, to prepare myself for a later visit and a more thorough picture taking session at that time.  As the day was winding down, I thought it best to make the 12km ride to the house of a very special person I met and whom subsequently invited me to her house for a brief visit.  My new friend Katie Perkins arrived to her home just seconds before Daisy and I pulled into her driveway.  Talk about perfect timing!

I apologize to you all and most of all to Katie Perkins for not mentioning her sooner.  I have given much thought about how I wanted to introduce her, give thanks, and layout exactly how significant her contributions were to our mission.  I've come to the conclusion that I could sit and think about it for a good long while and attempt to make it perfect, but my lack of writing skill will certainly prevent that from happening.

Katie is a most remarkable person and fellow cross country cyclist.  Although she has not completed a cross country, she made the attempt a few years back.  She left San Diego CA, visited the Imperial Sand Dunes (aka Glamis) (many films have shot on location here instead of the Sahara desert since it is much closer to home.  It is as beautiful as it is dangerous terrain) along the way.  When she arrived in the Phoenix area, in a city that was my last place of residence before I became homeless, the city of Mesa, AZ, she was struck by a Penske Rental van by a hit and run driver.  Katie was hospitalized for two weeks.

After meeting with and talking with Katie, I have since learned that the hit and run driver, although he indeed struck her and did in fact leave the scene, in fact left her for dead, and in fact neglected to call for emergency services, he was found not guilty for hit-and-run and all of the other aforementioned sins/crimes.  Katie hopes to, I am left with no doubt that she will, pick back up where she left off and continue her cross country. 

Last year Katie qualified for the Boston Marathon, not an easy feat.  She has been a wealth of information with regard to trail and giving guidance on sights to see while here in Virginia.  She's an avid hiker, kyaker, and all around outdoors man.

She showed me her house, the room that she offered to let me stay in, and pushed me in the bathroom.  Hint hint, nudge, nudge, take a shower.  lol

Her friend Richard, shown in one of the photos, arrived to her house as Katie kept an eye on the TV for the news story on Channel 3 news.  We gave up on seeing the story and I was treated to an amazing dinner at Uno's.  It was an amazing dinner, a most memorable occasion to hear these two talk of their 50k runs, their acheivements, and their interest in mine and Daisy's adventures.

I declined the room she offered and opted to stay in our tent in the backyard; the room was so done up I didn't want to mess it up.  

Katie Perkins, thank you for having us.  Thank you for granting me the freedom, allowing me to leave Daisy and camp, so that I may tour Nauticus, USS Wisconsin, Downtown Norfolk, and Portsmouth.  Thank you for your valuable guidance and warnings of various routes through Virginia.  Thank you for allowing me to upload files on your WiFi, and Daisy thanks you for the bath!  (I am writing this on Tuesday June 20, 2017 rather than visiting Jamestown, Virginia, mostly because I mismanaged my last dollar.   I couldn't be happier.  Our meeting was by far more meaningful to me.  My friends and I can Google Jamestown and check it out online.  ;-) )

To all of my friends, I would like to ask you to consider opening your home to Katie Perkins when she picks up her cross country tour.  She enjoys the solitude of the experience, but your assistance to a person on bike tour has certain joys, for the rider and yourself.  Don't pass up the opportunity to meet this wonderful person if you have the chance.

38 kilometers traveled today. 

June 15, Thursday, I awoke, saw jelly fish, went to thrift store and hopped on the light rail (light train/tram) to visit Nauticus, USS Wisconsin, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.  The all day pubic transit pass, $4 an change, allowed me to board the ferry to Portsmouth and back.  At the thrift store, I finally found a replacement walking shoe as well as a book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  $4.22 cents.  Can't beat that at all.  Now I have a pair of shoes for which to climb aboard the USS Wisconsin.  Again, this day was courtesy of Katie!  ;-)

I think that the photo albums will speak for themselves.

13 kilometers were traveled via actual bike travel today.

June 16, Friday, I uploaded photos, shopped online for shoes/cleats, trailer wheels, fished, and mostly spun my wheels trying to prioritize my needs...thinking of all that I needed to do first rather than just "doing".  I did manage to irritate a certain news desk, "Yes Harold, this is like the third time you've called."   Ooops, my bad.  (I'm gonna blame this one on Nathan Konz of Carroll Broadcasting Company (1380 AM KCIM radio)  lol

June 17, Saturday I rolled up camp, damp, for during the night the rain was steady, all night.  I got a late start for rains poured down just as I had my ride packed.  When I left Katie's house, the clouds were barely holding back their rains.  I stopped at two businesses, both of which looked at me funny when I asked to shelter for a moment from the passing storm.  I found my first shelter of the day at a weekly motel just down the road from today/s origin.  When a break in the storms appeared, about 45 minutes later, I made a run for it and found shelter, twice in fact, at two different automated/self serve car washes.  These places don't get used much when it's raining.  One of the photos I posted was of a Car and Dog Wash.  Yes, a dog wash.  Check out the photos!  Which reminds me, Katie helped me wash Daisy.  Daisy got her first bath of this tour at Katie's house!  Ride On!

****My brand new Cateye Padrone cycling computer finally failed entirely.  No more guessing as to what the LCD display reads for it is entirely blank.   Distance traveled this day I'll have to input my origin and destination in Google maps and arrive at an estimated figure.  This will not include all the wandering around that I do while on a days ride. 



(I am writing this on June 20th, and I have to get this one posted and start working on the next.  I'm getting behind and it's driving me nuts.  I want to dedicate this post to Katie Perkins (Ride On!), and the boat pix to Jax, a special young fella whom is already making a difference in his community and for "Veterans and Their Pets", military veterans, and their pets.  Thank you Jax!!!!)

Check out my photo albums.  I will include June 17, Saturday's - travel day-  on the next post!  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 12, Monday. Chesapeake, Virginia



June 10, Saturday.  I arrived to Elizabeth City late in the previous afternoon (here is my photo album for Hertford, North Carolina.  I may have forgotten to upload it in my last post), a total of 50 kilometers traveled this day.  Seeking a safe camp, I decided to call the local VFW and try my luck.  It seemed quite a distance to the VFW from where I was at the time, but having permission has its own peace of mind and I was dedicated to catching a second wind to arrive there if I was granted permission to stay.  

I rang VFW Post 6060 and spoke to a lady that I had assumed was tending the bar and phone, asking for either the Post Commander or the Quarter Master.  She politely informed me that neither was in and offered to take a message.  I gave her a brief description of my mission, what I was seeking (a place to make camp for the night, behind  the VFW building and out of sight), and my contact info.  After she wrote my information down, she asked me to hold.  The person that picked up introduced himself as "Bill".  Again I stated my mission, what I was seeking, and received a firm "No".  This is a response I am familiar with, though in recent history I have been very fortunate to find welcoming and hospitable folks at various VFW's and American Legions along the first part of this tour.

Along the way I spotted some park benches at a church next to Jeffry's Florist and stopped to hydrate and scan my maps for a likely location to "stealth camp".  As the sun was dipping down, I rolled my ride to the treeline where we would stay the night.

From this tree line, I packed up and policed the area to assure that the spot remained as I found it after preparing Daisy's breakfast.   Since deciding that today was a touring day (not making forward mileage progress) I put WalMart on the agenda.  WalMart in relation to where I had camped was a long way away, in fact I actually had to back track quite a few miles, and then that would put me even further from Elizabeth City.

The route I chose to get back to WalMart, turned into a gravel road after three quarters of a mile.  I let Daisy out of her crate to let her jog beside me for the first time this tour, to save me the energy needed to drag a weighted down trailer through this loose gravel, and because she enjoys getting out, something she is not always able to do due to the heavily traveled roads I have been riding on.  After Wal-Mart, I rode towards Elizabeth City, North Carolina for a tour of this beautiful area.  Along the way, I found a bike route that abruptly came to an unannounced end.  What I mean to say, is that there was no "Dead End" sign indicating that a dead end was to come.  I turned around, and about 200 meters back, I met a fella on a motorized wheel chair with an umbrella.  I stopped him and warned of the dead end just ahead.  We talked for a few minutes and before parting ways, wished each other well.  After back tracking and getting back onto Church Rd into Elizabeth City, I found my recent friend was ahead of me.  (I will include a video of this later, in a separate post, for the video shows me passing my first vehicle on this tour.  My new friend in his 4x4 wheel chair.)  He had cut across the lawn to get back on the road, something that I was unwilling to do with my trailer behind me. It is a bitch to back up, even if only for a few yards.

I toured Elizabeth City (here is ...My Photo Album of Elizabeth City, North Carolina) for the rest of the morning when I came across the Elizabeth City Water Front when out of the blue, a fella introduced himself as Chris Day of 'The Daily Advance" asked me for an interview.  This is a first for me...on this tour and the last.  We sat and chatted for a good long while, and before parting, told me about Muddy Waters Coffee shop and gave me the change needed to purchase myself a coffee.  My Facebook friends saw the result of my visit to Muddy Waters.  Thank you Chris Day of "The Daily Advance" for the coffee and the interview, for sharing our story with you readers!  Here is my photo album... Arriving In Virginia .)

I sat at the Water front after another tour of the town.  As the sun was going down, around 7:45, I left to seek a camp.  As I was passing the afforementioned, not so hospitable, VFW, I ran across a Catholic Church with a huge lawn.  I took pictures of the VFW's back lawn from the church property, then proceeded to the very back of the property out of view from early church arrivals.  Here I made a simple dinner of packaged rice and noodles with a can of tuna.

At the end of this day, I traveled over 38 kilometers.

June 11, Sunday, I rolled up my bed roll for we slept under an open sky.  I haven't used the screen tent or its rain fly for quite a while.  I have been opting for quick camps and fighting bugs with DEET.  We left the Catholic Church, next to the VFW Post 660 and arrived at the Citgo,  north along Highway 17.  Here is where I learned of Chesapeake Campground.

This day would mark my arrival in Virginia, leaving the wonderful state of North Carolina behind us.  Surprisingly, there was no "Welcome to Virginia" sign.  Here is my photo album... Arriving in Virginia .I did find, three miles into Virginia, a welcome to Chesapeake County, Virginia sign (should be included in photo album attached).  I also found a bit more roadside shoulder for which to ride on, separated from the highway by continuous rumble strips (a form of vehicular Braille to wake up drunk drivers or those unaware of where the road ends).  

This day would also bring me to the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, a wonderful and beautiful trail dedicated to bicycles, hikers, walkers, and runners.  I should have some videos uploaded soon to share with y'all!  Along this trail, I stopped to make lunch, a bag of ramen with a half cup of par boiled rice.  I made two glasses of milk from my powdered milk supply to keep the cramps at bay.  I also threw a hook in the canal, hoping to catch anything that would jump on it.

In the late afternoon, I arrived to Chesapeake Campground ($21 per night to pitch a tent).  I arrived to my campsite then thought better...food.  Before setting camp, I rode to and from the Food Lion Grocery store down the road.  I brought back a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, a 5.25 pound chicken, and a couple cans of beer.

I arrived  at camp and quickly carved up the chicken, see photos, and boiled the whole thing in one of my larger pots.  I ran to the showers and scrubbed off at least a weeks worth of grime, DEET, sweat, salt, and sunblock off.  I went back to camp with my washed laundry, two riding outfits and 3 pair of socks and hung them to dry.  I set up my tent screen, and Daisy and I started working on that chicken.

This day, I traveled 69 kilometers.

June 12, Monday was a down day...all day.  I woke, or should I say Daisy woke me, and prepared an awesome Daisy meal with chicken stock, milk, an egg and dog food.   She loved it!  I had lots of milk, eggs, and oatmeal in my coffee. Raw.  Here is my photo album... First Days in Virginia .

I researched local media outlets, made calls and followed them up with emails.  I went to the camp office to pay for another night, to utilize WiFi that is only available at the office and not at the camp sites, and to work on my blog post.  I was able to upload most of my photos since my last post, but the videos have yet to upload for the WiFi is slow.

For lunch I dug out a package of lentils, split peas, alphabet noodles, rice, barley and other grains.  I seasoned this, added some chicken and had a huge lunch.  (see photos). 

I made a pot of beans for later and with the leftover chicken and chicken stock made a rich chicken and rice soup.  Between Daisy and I, none of this chicken went to waste!

2 kilometers traveled this day.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 9, 2017, Friday. Elizabeth City, NC



June 7, Wednesday, after having arrived in Edenton yesterday late afternoon, I realized that my phone was on its last leg.  The mini USB phone power port was no longer holding the cable and therefore no longer charging my phone.  Leading up to this day, the entire trip thus far, this issue has been present.  There would be no more fiddling with this connector.

Martin, the Post Commander (pictured above), was kind enough to spend the day with me as we went to two local cell phone and service retailers.  While we waited for the transaction to complete, we went to Dairy Queen for a treat!
In the evening I had a phone interview with iHeartDogs.com .  The story, I'm told, will publish this weekend.  Yay for http://www.veteransandtheirpets.org !!!

June 8, Thursday, I made a solo bicycle outing to tour the town of Edenton while leaving Daisy and camp back at the American Legion.  Thank you American Legion Post 40 for your kindness and hospitality!

I spent a few hours on the tour and was in awe of how well preserved the neighborhoods were.  I shot over 200 photos on my new phone!  I later organized the photos into albums, uploaded them, posted and cross posted as well!  What a dramatic difference this phone has made!  I didn't realize until now  just how slow and overworked my old phone had been.  Here is the result of my Historic Edenton, North Carolina day trip.  , Just click the link... Edenton, North Carolina Photo Album

June 9, Friday, (50 kilometers traveled) I finished and posted the previous blog post, wrapped up camp, and got a very late start on the road.  I would make a long stop in Hertford, NC and have my first milk shake in a historic main street pharmacy.  It was similar to stepping back in time to days long past.  I considered calling an end to the days ride but the park had ominous ordinances posted all around as though the town has struggled with deviants.  I rubbed my tummy, full of ice cream, a huge milk shake, and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and made tracks for Elizabeth City.

Before departing for Elizabeth City, I managed to capture a little bit of Hertford, North Carolina for y'all.  Here's the link to that album.  Enjoy!! Hertford, North Carolina Photo Album

I hope you all enjoy this blog!  Until the next post, "Ride on!"