Friday, February 24, 2017

Kinston Alabama, Arrival

Photo by Harold Palmquist, Tour De PACLANTIC, Veterans and Their Pets, Harold and Daisy

This week was nothing less than a blur.  Since the post on February 17, 2017, Pre-trip update, I have managed to arrange a ride, pack up my belongings, leave Glidden, Iowa, and move to Kinston, Alabama.

On Craigslist, under "Community-Ride Share", I put up ads in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Carroll, and Sioux City, Iowa.  I talked with a few folks, one from the Omaha ad, and one that seemed somewhat promising from an area south west of Cedar Rapids.  Though we had conversed back and forth through Craigslist re-mailer, an anonymous form of communicating on an electronic bulletin board, I later found another individual that seemed more serious about heading south with me.

The fella that I eventually caught a ride with had no problem conversing in person via telephone, and was also fine with coming up from Kirksville, Missouri to pick us up in Glidden, Iowa.  The fact that I was out of this fella's way was not without an additional cost associated with the trip; a cost I was willing to spend.  On Sunday, February 19th, I received a call from the guy and we discussed a Tuesday departure.  On Monday, February 20th, I received a call from him, asking if I could be ready to go in a few hours.  I was more than a little wary of such an adjustment but when he arrived on time such concerns were negated.  Other than having to hurry packing and worry about leaving things to be forgotten, I knew I could live with such losses.  In reality, all I needed was a functioning bike, the trailer, dog, and bare essentials for the trip and that much I was certain that that had been packed.

In no time the truck was packed and we were off.  It turned out to be an 18.5 hour ride with a stop in Moberly, Missouri to have dinner at his parents home.   Together we shared driving responsibilities, and I spent most of my share driving at night.  We drove through Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama covering more than 1,119 miles.

This is how we roll, when not barking at passers-by

A little road trip nap...

Daisy, with bed head, waking up.

Part of the problem with traveling is having a destination.  I was fortunate enough to have met some great folks along the first tour, and Wayne of Kinston Alabama had told me that he was able to offer a destination for myself and Daisy.

When Wayne arrived, I was soaking wet from Alabama's usual.  Thank goodness there was no tornado.

Harold and Daisy, Tour De PACLANTIC, Veterans and Their Pets,
Daisy found high ground to get away from Bill.
 Daisy found high ground to get away from Bill...

 Daisy thinking this is normal behavior to climb right up on top of a table.

 Daisy isn't into Bill all that much...

Harold and Daisy, Tour De PACLANTIC, Veterans and Their Pets
Poor Bill.  Bill needs love too.  A whole lotta love.
Poor Bill.  Bill needs love too.   A whole lotta love.

At Wayne's house, we were welcomed by 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 5 humans; the Wayne and Bonnie Gray family.  Daisy, at this moment is finally coming down from an anxiety high, except where Bill is concerned.  The one member of the Gray family that gives her the most alarm is the one that most of us would fall in love with...Bill the puppy.  Bill, a porch puppy, is about 6 months old and has been kept on the porch for his own safety.  Bill has a tendency to deposit landmines (or porch mines) anywhere he sees fit.  In Alabama speak, this translates to, he craps pretty much anywhere...on the porch.  For Daisy, this means that going out to go potty, requires crossing the porch...landmines, Bill, and all the other tails wandering around out here in the woods.  Daisy has recovered from this super-sized social experience.  All except for Bill. 

Photo by Harold Palmquist, Tour De PACLANTIC, Veterans and Their Pets

Photo by Harold Palmquist, Kinston Alabama, Tour De PACLANTIC, Veterans and Their Pets


On Thursday, February 23rd, Wayne showed me just one of his favorite spots he enjoys fishing at.  Caught quite a few large mouth bass, all of which were not worth keeping and released them back to the water.  We saw a resident alligator wiggle his way through the water keeping an eye on us from a distance.  Hopefully I will get a shot of the 'gator while here in Kinston.  I hope to eventually show y'all some more of the surrounding areas of Kinston Alabama and the folks I meet while here.

For those of you that have been following the last tour, Kinston is between and to the south of Opp and Enterprise, Alabama, both of which were along my route along Highway 84.  As I rode through Opp, I arrived in time to see part of the rattle snake exhibit from the rattle snake festival.  I learned, while here on my current visit, that Wayne knows the man that was showing me the snakes.  Small world.  In Enterprise, I met the good folks at the VFW, Daleville VFW Post 6020, where they welcomed me in to wait out the rains.

Kinston is just 5.25 hours away, by car, from St. Simons Island, Georgia, and Wayne and I will be making that journey for my April 8, 2017 tour start at Massengale Park.  I am super excited for the next tour and for the fact that I am so close to meeting my obligation...being on time as stated in press releases.  Daisy and I will be there and hope to spend time with folks that decide to show up, and to share our story of how Veterans and Their Pets(SM) helped us.

Until next week...
Harold and Daisy  

Friday, February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017, Pre-trip update

During this past week, and at present, I am arranging for our departure to south eastern areas of the United States in an attempt to get us closer to the start of Tour De PACLANTIC on April 8, 2017 at St. Simons Island.  You all may have noticed that Daisy and I are in the wonderful and quaint town of Glidden Iowa, quite a distance from major metropolitan areas.  This task is easier said than done, and not without it's own set of complications, unknowns, and risks.  For a moment I gave consideration to purchasing a vehicle exclusively for this purpose.  Instead, I am discussing a trip south with a potential rideshare, an individual that is headed my way for a festival in Florida.

For the past week, I have been online posting in rideshare directories while keeping a close eye on dwindling savings.  A considerable amount of time has been spent wondering about "what-if's", which, as you know is not very productive.  For now, it would seem that progress is being made.
One of my bike parts arrived yesterday, and when I have a moment and more info, I will go into greater detail about it.  In part, I wish to give proper credit and thanks to all involved with making its arrival possible.  Mostly, I wish to make a post that is more detailed and complex than this brief accounting of this week's activities.

Today, I spent time taking photos of various projects in the works as well as sending a personalized thanks to the parties involved with the aforementioned bike part.  One of my current projects involves a used bike purchased from a local thrift shop which I will use to cannibalize various parts from and hopefully make my ride more comfortable.  My last cross country bike had drop style handle bars - of the ram horn shape, and they were really quite comfortable and functional allowing me to develop serious thrust by supporting myself on my arms while out of the saddle.  I have been concerned about the beach cruiser type bars on my current bike and feel that I now have something more suited for a cross country ride.

A considerable amount of time was spent at the library and not all of it was spent working efficiently.  This week Daisy was able to watch me work at the library and this was good for her socialization skills, even if her only motivation was to frisk and body search folks for treats on their person.  It was pleasant knowing that she enjoyed tagging along and remaining together with me.
I am not posting any photos with this post and am, in fact  cranking it out with my phone, away from a WiFi connection; data usage is a concern.  I will attempt to crank out another post tomorrow or early next week.

Have a wonderful and safe Presidents Day Weekend. 

If you haven't yet paid a visit to Veterans and Their Pets(SM), please do so and show your support.

Click on the link for more information about  Harold and Daisy.  Thank you Shelley Ridenour and David Jolkovski of the East Valley Tribune for sharing the story.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

1989 Schwinn 564 Aluminum; The bike that made the first trip...

At the first sign of my fathers illness I left the homeless shelter.  With my belongings in hand, a duffel bag (Sea Bag for you Navy folks), bike, and dog, I hitched a ride to California.  After his passing is when the idea for Tour De PACLANTIC blossomed.

You will notice that I am going back in the past a ways.  I am leading up to stories of my current bike and my attempts at planning.

This post is about the bike, so I will try to stick to the subject of the 1989 Schwinn Aluminum 564.  The bike at that time, was a wonderfully well designed road race bike and still gets the job done to this day.   It was produced by Schwinn in Chicago Illinois and I used for endurance training while suffering from running induced injuries.

My first concern with using this bike, other than the fact it is not a touring bike and was never intended for trailering, was the transmission.  Originally the bike was geared with 14 speeds, 7 rear and 2 chain-rings on the front cranks.

Just prior to the first tour in March of 2015

Original Front Crank and chain rings
Knowing that my trailer load would be a considerable amount of weight to be towing, I purchased on Ebay this crank set.  This crank set, from a mountain bike that after much research, educated guesses, and a fair amount of luck, would fit my ride thereby giving me an extra 7 low gears.  Pictured above is the original crank set and below, the one I converted to.

A life saving Ebay purchase..
This crank set certainly helped make Tour De PACLANTIC do-able.  To give you all some idea of the significance of how this item helped me, you should know that the majority of my cross country tour, 99% of the way, I used nothing but the lower 7 gears.  Thank goodness for planning ahead.

I thought it best to purchase this new square taper bottom bracket to install with my used crank set.  Might as well while I was making other adjustments in this area of the bike.  I certainly would be giving this bottom bracket  a work out.

At the time of this crank set add on, the only part of this bike that was not original equipment was the front derailleur.  This later would prove quite useful in the transition to accommodate the third, additional chain ring.  The aftermarket front derailleur was made to accommodate three chain rings with a deep reach for catching  the chain.

Without the money to make changes to my rear derailleur that would enable a full range of shifting throughout all of the gears, I was forced to make do with what I had.  A close eye had to be kept on the chain for too low of gear, the OEM derailleur would be inadequate to wrap up the loose chain and keep it taught.  On more than one occasion, in moments of complacence, the swinging chain would jump off the chain ring.  Fortunately I never had the pleasure of wiping out from one of these incidents.

Training tire to be replaced prior to the tour.
 The above photo, taken prior to Tour De PACLANTIC (I) shows a training tire that is near spent.  I would end up shrink wrapping and securing this and the two original tires to the bottom of the trailer for use as back-ups.

The other struggle that I would have to face along the way is spoke and rim issues.  This potato chip of a rim is the result of overloading and over riding.  There were indications of pending failure leading up to this incident for which will become a blog post in a future post.  Notice how it's shaped like a Pringles Potato Chip.

Cyclery USA helped get us back on the road.  The following photos show how I used the trailer as a rickshaw, with the bike strapped on top as Daisy and I walked about 20 miles looking for a bike shop in San Bernardio and eventually walking to Redlands California to Cyclery USA.
Wandering around San Bernardino, California

 I met this lady at a local hospital introducing Veterans and Their Pets while a replacement rim was shipped.
Our visit with the VA in Redlands, while bike repair are being done

April 2015 at a coffee shop in Tempe AZ, fitted with Panniers.

Pictured here, above, the bike came in handy as a jack stand, so that the trailer tire could be changed.  Moments before I had spent a few hours under an overpass to wait out a rainstorm in the Raton Pass at the New Mexico Colorado border.  I was making a dash, down hill (an extended down hill) and quite thoroughly trashed the inner tube as well as crushed the valve stem by the time I became aware of this flat.  This photo was taken on July 15, 2015 just south of Trinidad Colorado.

 July 18, 2015.  Total and catastrophic rear derailleur failure.  There are only a few times where I thought this trip would be over, this is a photo of one such time.  Yes, the rear derailleur is sheared completely and can simply be replaced, but more importantly, the frame mount itself is bent severely bent and thereby weakened.  Ultimate Sports in Trinidad Colorado got us back on the road, as well as Little Stinker Septic that had a hand in helping.

Post trip photo, above and below, of my ride at Jekyll Island, Georgia.  It was here that I had dinner with a friend that I met at Massengale Park, St. Simons Island GA.  Dave, brought out a gently used bike as a gift.  It is the bike that will be used on the next Tour De PACLANTIC

My Schwinn was retired in St. Simons Island in favor of a gift that I received there.  As near as I can figure it is a 2004 or 2005 Specialized, Crossroads sport.  I will write about this project shortly...

People are often impressed with this tour and my attempt to raise money and awareness for Veterans and Their Pets.  All I did was share my story and ride my bike.  Personally, truthfully, and factually, I attribute the successful completion of this tour to each and every one of the kind and generous contributions by folks and companies I met along the way.  If it were not for them, this tour would not have made it very far.  I am so very thankful and very aware that this trip was a group effort for which I view my part as minor in comparison to the whole.  I thank each and everyone, especially Veterans and Their Pets(SM), that made this trip possible.  Thank you, thank you, thank you all.

Monday, February 13, 2017

April 2016 arrival at St. Simons Island, Georgia. First Tour, final stretch.

Near Hwy 17 and Freeway 95, just west of Brunswick, GA, I stayed a a couple of  nights so that our journey would end on a Saturday.  From here I made calls to Brunswick papers and a few TV news media outlets that might share our story to wrap up this fantastic tour.
Veterans and Their Pets interview with Nicholas Moron of First Coast News, Daisy, Harold
Nicholas meets Daisy

Veterans and Their Pets, First Coast News, Harold and Daisy, Nicholas Moron
Daisy gettin' some lovin'...

Nicholas Moron of First Coast News
The above photos are from our last camp before reaching our final destination.  Unfortunately I don't seem to have any photos of my meeting with Lindsey Adkison and Bobby Haven of The Brunswick News. ( The link to the meeting with them is here at The Brunswick News ) Perhaps my phone was dead from shooting my earlier meeting with First Coast News, pictured here, above.  Click here for the story from First Coast News.

If memory serves me correctly, it would be a 17 mile journey to Massengale Park in St. Simons Island Georgia from my last camp.  I of course made a public announcement for a set arrival time, and wouldn't you know it, I did not consider that I would need to account for time needed to take these photos, or for the folks I might meet along the way.

Sidney Lanier Bridge leading into Brunswick, GA.
Pictured above is the last hill of our journey, the Sidney Lanier Bridge just south of Brunswick, GA.

Sidney Lanier Bridge, Brunswick, Georgia
Sidney Lanier Bridge, Georgia

Sydney Lanier Bridge support column.

 While riding on the bike path along the F.J.Torras Causeway, the main road from Brunswick  leading to St. Simons Island, I met my first roadside cheering section.  As it turns out, it would be my first and only toddler hi-five of the trip!
Emotion for me is building, and this shot is significant because just moments before, I had received my first toddler hi-five.  This kind woman with her child must be no stranger to marathon race encouragement, as she drove ahead, got out of her vehicle and cheered us on.  A marathon is of course 26.2 miles in length, allowing for crowds the ability to relocated and cheer on the runners at many places along the course.  For our tour of five thousand miles, this was a most heartwarming gesture to encounter such a kind and thoughtful welcome.

At this point, just after the hi-five, is when I finally got my camera fired up, missing the opportunity to capture the hi-five, but then of course I would have had no hands to control my bike.  I often tell folks that I could send a smoke signal faster than I could fire up the camera phone to send a text, and in this instance it was a good thing that I missed the shot for I most certainly would have wiped out.
Looking back at the Sydney Lanier Bridge from the Torras Causeway.
 I am now on the Island of St. Simons, and close to 30 minutes late from my stated arrival at the beach, when my marathon support team calls out, "Would you like me to shoot a photo of you guys in front of the Welcome sign?"  These two, again, had driven ahead to meet me here.  How thoughtful of her to consider capturing this moment and offering to help.  This is something that I had not even considered for myself.  I am speechless.  I am thankful.

It was an easy decision regardless of my tardiness.  I am overcome and overwhelmed by this thoughtful act of a complete stranger and her idea to seize this moment for which I would overlooked had it not been for her.  I am so glad for this encounter and the opportunity for these memorable and quite meaningful selfies.

After leaving the welcome sign, I would later find out, that a search party had been sent out to determine my whereabouts, as I was due at Massengale Park at 11:00am.  The search party found me then became a follow vehicle, creating a little rear cushion for us from encroaching vehicles coming from behind.  I never did get to share with these folks, just exactly how I felt encountering these instances of warm welcomes, and what this day meant to me.  It is a tear-jerker of a moment just writing of these memories, people, and the community of St. Simons Island.

I will save the rest of the trip, the arrival at Massengale Park, for another post, it's just right down the road from where this post leave off.  I am delinquent in my weekly post, but for your information I have several in progress and continue to work on them for y'all to read.  It is my desire to have some posts finished for when I am unable to write something fresh.

Thanks for tuning in.  I hope that you all will try and take advantage of the email notifications, or subscribe to this blog via RSS feeds.  If you have ideas or suggestions for stories you'd like to hear, please contact me!

Peace, Love, and Puppy ears!