Peanuts and Time Zones [news]

01/18/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Paul & I visited Plains, the terminus of the Andersonville Trail and one of our last towns in the state of Georgia. Plains is the hometown of our 39th president, Jimmy Carter. We arrived late and would have to wait out the day to view the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in the Plains High School. Just down the road we spotted what may have been the largest and greatest fiberglass peanut I have ever seen; What brought this peanut to greatness was Jimmy Carter's exaggerated smile placed over this over-sized legume. Near this brilliant peanut was a field with a partition of it set aside for RV's. There we spent the night.

We viewed almost all Jimmy Carter sites in Plains the next day including his presidential campaign locale in the old train depot. However, because we did not bike through on a Sunday, we missed the opportunity to hear Jimmy Carter direct the children's service at Maranatha Baptist Church. Leaving the picturesque and antique town in the rain, we moved westward towards  Alabama.

We had intentions of arriving in  Georgetown, GA and Eufaula, AL Sunday morning for worship. We were too late for service in Georgetown so we pedaled two miles down the road and through a stroke of time zone limbo arrived in Eufaula early for church. We stayed with the 1st Baptist Church and were welcomed into a home that afternoon. We were eager to dry out most of gear, it had been raining for almost two days and most of our packs and clothes were unintentionally soaked through. We stayed with Sondra and Dale and spent much time associating with this couple. We ate their food and used their showers and in return Paul & I tidied up the backyard and did a few odd jobs around the house. They provided a  great amount of unique entertainment as Paul and I joined in their antics.

Leaving here we will be headed to Tuskegee, AL to visit the location and attractions for the Tuskegee airmen. We are looking forward to learning about this 'military experiment' to train African-American individuals as pilots in World War II. Up ahead we will be traveling Martin Luther King's protest walk from Selma to Montgomery which led to the Voting Rights Act for equal voting opportunities. We are trying to aim our courses through major cities and sites of historical value for the most fund raising opportunity and personal education and development.

Andersonville, GA [news]

01/17/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Just down the road along the Andersonville Trail we happened upon the Andersonville Prisoner of War site and cemetery. A chilling reminder of the atrocities of war; Regrettably within our own countries borders. Although eager to learn of American history, Paul & I were hesitant in subjecting ourselves to the solemn reminders of reckless horror and human loss. We initially viewed a film on the Prisoners of War (POW) and their experiences with battle and capture. Listening to the recordings gave life to their situation, they were real people. If I tried hard enough, I could see them amongst the daily habit; Even in most of the towns we bike through.

The Museum came next with memorabilia and stories from every generation of war. We looked on at relics and personal belongings, at one time owned by captured soldiers. A small brick memorial outside led to the Andersonville site. Once where thousands of people were kept in meager existence, left to die, is now a bleak field. Those who died were lined up in ditches hundreds of feet long and covered with dirt. Luckily, with Clara Barton's direction, all but just a few have head stones appropriate with details for each individual Union soldier.

We visited on a brisk day with just a slight breeze. The cemetery was empty and the monuments rose from the ground, only overshadowed by the largest of magnolia trees. Each gravestone cast a shadow behind itself and all was quiet. We left with our bellies full of historic facts and figures. With bitter taste, we swallowed it down.

Visitng Thomson [news]

01/09/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

You could divide cyclists into two groups. There are the many who adhere to simplicity in the vintage time-honored forms of bikes, some of these styles have survived centuries; There are also those who worship the ingenuity and advance man has had on the bike. At one time the bicycle was a very simple machine. It can now be personalized for any demand and any terrain creating a unique ride for the individual. I am a part of the latter.

I do look for quality in the components I mount on my bike. I hope, one day, I can afford the longest lasting. Paul & I visited L.H. Thomson Co. in Macon, Georgia. In the biking world they make one of the most durable seat posts and stems one can buy. The seat post is almost a forgotten component on a bike and the stem is a close second. We were entertained by Dave and Carl of the company and were given a look around at their machine shop. We saw the process first-hand.

We met with a gentleman bearing Thomson as his last name as well as just about all of the day and night shift workers. Dave and Carl knew of a fine southern restaurant to grab a decent dinner and we ended up bunking out the night in the corner of the shop. Amidst boxes of assembled stems and seat posts Paul & I listened to the sounds of the machines and feel asleep.

That morning we awoke to the to a much busier factory and waited up for Dave. He gave us some tips on our route that would lead us to the Georgia Alabama line, hoping to see and learn the most history possible. Much to our delight he fitted our bikes with Thompson parts and bid us well. With a part upgrade on our bikes and smiles on our faces, we left as happy cyclists knowing that whatever the coming days would dish out at least (along with our moral) our stems and seat posts will survive.

Chapin for Christmas [news]

01/03/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Lately the nights have become much more bitter and frozen. We are waking to frost glazed onto the inside of our tents and frozen water bottles. Our days are taking much longer to warm and I find we are victims of wind burn. Although we are biking through a cold front we realize that we still have two more months of cold winter. Already I notice circulation improving in my hands and feet from the physical activity; I just hope my body can adjust with an increased drop in tempurature later in the months.

We were in Florence, South Carolina when we realized we had to travel near one hundered miles that day in order to make it to a home for Christmas Eve. Starting out that morning we had a heavy feeling that we would come shy of our expectation and spend the night on the road. We passed through a few small towns and ate our meal of grits, butter, and fresh frozen blueberries near a farm with some grazing cattle. We traveled as far as Mayesville, SC, just north of Sumter and stopped in the only open store in an abandoned town for a loaf of bread and some canned meat.

Just outside was a gentleman named Louis; He was a land surveyor by trade and a great friend to us on the road. He took us to his office and offered us the basic amenities a long distance cyclist loves: coffee, shower, and a plush chair near a heated fireplace. He allowed us to throw our gear in his truck and promised he would get us to Chapin just in time for Christmas Eve.

We arrived at the Wenger's house that afternoon and stayed the week, enjoying both Christmas and New Years with the family and all their relatives. Paul and I made a few new friends that week, mostly just the pets of the household and one new reporter, Steve Hooker, that was interested in covering us for NBC. We were happy to oblige. Much love goes out to the Wenger family for hosting us that long and appreciation to NBC (WIS) Channel 10 for spreading the word on our trip and cause.