Homework, ride, lunch, ride, dinner, homework, sleep, pack everything into the car and start on homework again. I was not prepared for how long school would take! When I’m not riding, I’m thinking about my next assignment that is due, and when I am riding I’m thinking about formulas and direct object pronouns. I am really very sorry that I haven’t posted for so long. The change of time zones (we’re in Eastern time now!) and the school work has just really hit me hard, and I haven’t been able to just sit down and write for the blog. That’s changing right now, so sorry math you’re just going to have to wait!
For the trip we have two laptops, two iPads, a kindle for english books, and we’ve even managed to use our iPhones to watch video recordings of our teachers. My dad went crazy at the apple store, and we thought we’d be set for school. That was before we realized that hotels had a limit of how many devices you can connect to the wi-fi! We’re slowly figuring out the school routine, but I don’t want to post about school right now — I want to post about our adventurous rides!
Since we kind of fell of the grid in Iowa, I want to start with the ride from Iowa into Illinois.
Looking at the map we thought we had this ride made. According to Mrs. Google we had over 40 miles of trail! Convinced that the day was going to be a breeze we left the beautiful paved bike trails in Iowa and entered Illinois. Crossing the great Mississippi River we couldn’t help but stop for pictures.
And Darrell couldn’t help but take a #selfie
The first 20 miles the riding went smoothly, and we weren’t even on the long stretch of trail yet. When we reached the Hennepin Canal State Park Trail Mrs. Google told us to follow it for 40 miles. Sounds like a dream, right? Which is why we were confused by the multiple crooked, yellow signs saying, “Trail Closed,” and the red spray paint dripping into the cracks on the road saying, “BEWARE,” “DANGER,” and, “DO NOT RIDE.” But when Mrs. Google tells you to, ‘continue on your current path,’ what are you supposed to do? We went around the tree growing in the middle of the trail and under the bridge determined to continue on the trail.
Soon the almost asphalt on the trail turned into crushed gravel. If you’ve ever tried riding a road bike on gravel then you know that those skinny tires are NOT suited for loose rocks. However, we’d already gone a couple miles on the trail and we didn’t want to turn back, so we went on. We ended up riding right next to a river, and we couldn’t see anybody on the trail or hear any cars passing (which meant we couldn’t ditch the trail for a nearby road). Turtles sitting on logs would dive into the river as we approached, and squirrels would dart in front of our tires as we passed. Blue herons circled over heads, reminding me of the vultures in Jungle Book.
We have had some … unexpected delays all over the trail. In this picture the trail doesn’t turn to the side. It just stopped! There was a river going straight through our trail. If you look really closely you might be able to see it resuming on the other side.
I couldn’t believe it. The. Trail. Just. Ends. What kind of bike trail is this? We ended up finding a dirt path and hiked through to the other side, but for the rest of the ride we were avoiding sand traps, thick gravel, danger signs, and Moriah. Did I mention this was her first real ride with us? It was definitely a ride to break her in! She almost took Bruce out trying to pull her foot out of her rat cage pedals (I’m using the biker term for the strap in pedals). I absolutely loved having Moriah ride with us, and I’m so excited for her to be with us on our adventures! It’s going to be great having another girl along for the ride.
We ended up on similar trails like this (if you ever consider biking the Illinois Michigan trail and you have a road bike — DON’T!) Through Illinois and Indiana. Ohio was great, Pennsylvania was short but so much fun, and now we’ve made our way into New York! I have to say sorry one more time for not posting, but we’re having the time of our lives out here (just not very much time for anything else!) and want to say a big thanks to everyone who is supporting us from home.