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Sunday - June 2, 2002
Eve of Departure
It is the Eve of my departure and I am doing something I thought I was done doing. I'm pulling an all nighter. Not since my days at William & Mary have I done such a thing-when I would cram a week's worth of wisdom into the space of an hour before class...
Day 1 - Monday - June 3, 2002
We begin our journey in West Potomac Park, Washington DC at "The Awakening." It is as if as if a bronze titan was buried alive and has finally managed to dig himself out of a shallow grave...
Day 2 - June 4, 2002
UFO Sighted - South of Hagerstown, Maryland
There is no beating these hills. Sometimes when I am off guard dark thoughts creep into my mind. Another hill. Damn. This sucks. But I usually catch myself before the bitterness festers like a poisonous bug bite. I know that I'll love life when I reach the summit and coast down again and I can enjoy the countryside flow past me...
Day 3 - June 5, 2002
Mont Alto and the
Dingle Safe Haven
Mrs. Dingle and Amy's sister Robin prepare a sumptuous feast of sloppy joes, tuna melts and iced tea. I was delighted...
Day 4 - June 6, 2002
Jedi Politics and Gettysburg
I no longer take the downward slopes with caution, hands riding the breaks, and legs tensed. Now, I embrace every descent with all my being, face first, back low upon the frame, and knees tucked in for a more aerodynamic rush. And all the darkness that had been building up inside me from climb peddling (and walking as cars roared past belching black exhaust) washes away with the wind and pines...
Day 5 and 6 - June 7 and 8, 2002
"His Truth Comes Marching Home"
After Tuscarora Mountain I notice that I am on stretch of Route 30 that is quite deserted. All I pass by are farms, houses and Mennonite and Brethren churches. No gas stations, which is bad news for me because I'm nearly out of water...
Day 7 - June 9, 2002
A Test of Bearing - Buckhorn Mountain
After lung-burning my way up the hill I see a tavern with an ATV, a couple of dirt bikes, and some pickup trucks parked outside. I was feeling hungry and tired but I definitely wasn't about to walk inside wearing spandex and gloves. Instead, I resolved to knock on somebody's door and ask him or her for water and some yard to camp on. Kathy Clapper not only gave me permission but also invited me into their house...
Day 8 - June 10, 2002
Orpheus Sings in Hades - Brookville, PA
The hills between Buckhorn and Brookville totally sap my motivation. It is only the people that I have met on the road, their hospitality and generosity, as well as the interjection of good times with friends that keep me going. I sing the Marine Corps Hymn and remember my days at Firebase Zulu in Monrovia, and aboard the USS Whidbey Island...
Day 9 - June 11, 2002
Rescued - Brookville, Fern and Clarion, PA
Along a deserted stretch of 36, a length dominated by logging trucks and dump trucks, a spoke breaks. There is nothing I can do but go on. And then another spoke breaks. I finally come to a crossroads in Leper where there is gas-mart. The lady, Diane (maybe she can see total demoralization in my eyes), offers to give me a ride into town...
Day 10 - June 12, 2002
Amish Horses and An Amazing Encounter
I am amazed once again when I ask direction for Erie's Peninsula campsite. They not only give me directions but also offer me food and shelter. Amy and Steve Lung were having a walk with their three year old son Nathan...
Day 11 - June 13, 2002
Spoiled in Erie and
the Runaway Horse
Today I awake refreshed. Amy made me blueberry and banana pancakes. Nathan showed me his John Deere tractor. They allow me to use their computer so I can update my notes and get this posted so that everybody can see what I have seen...
Day 12 - June 14, 2002
Dynamite Dreams, Paranoia,
Mad Spillage, and Finally, Sundown
Approaching East Cleveland is no small feat, especially after a rain storm, for one has to reckon with suburban road warriors as well as rain slicked asphalt. Just before I journey through "Millionaire's Row" I decide that I should do everybody a favor and get on the sidewalk. I turn my handlebars accordingly but it wasn't enough...
Day 13 - June 15, 2002
Day 14 - June 16, 2002
Wind, Drizzle, Tim Holt, and Rest at the Russell's
It is only 11 AM and I think that I had better look for a place to rest on Sunday and go to church. Up a head a black pickup truck pulls over and man gets out. He waves me to stop and asks if I need a ride. Not having any qualms about shaving a few miles of my journey, especially in this weather, I accept...
Lakeshore Community Church and the Russell Rider Vanguard
By 9:30 we have arrived at Lakeshore Community Church, which is a part of the Southern Baptist denomination. Tim and Brian introduce me to their friends and everyone makes me feel welcome. Before the service has even begun I feel new friendships taking root. Tim pulls me aside and gives me a little care package of Earl Gray tea (my favorite!), Swiss Miss hot chocolate, spiced apple cider, coffee, and a small camping stove he knows I will need in the months ahead...
Day 15 - June 17, 2002
The Ideal Bakery and a Meeting, East of Bowling Green
So here I am in The Ideal Bakery in Gibsonburg, Ohio. The rain has stopped and sun rays are prying open the cloud cover. Fifteen days into the trip and I feel like a month has come and gone. The hills of Pennsylvania almost made me want to call it a summer. The Erie wind and freezing drizzle dampened my passion-and bike repairs make me worry about making ends meet... But something always happens. Not a day goes by without something beautiful, amazing or astounding that I see or feel...
Day 16 - June 18, 2002
Mrs. Miller, Enos and a Amish Country Welcome
I finally make it to a section of Indiana where I have the fastest set of wheels around. Amish buggies pass by in the opposite lane. Boys in plain white shirts and black pants with a black hat wave at me. They are towing a rowboat. Ladies peeking from inside their bonnets wave hello. Their horses pay no heed and canter on past white farmsteads, forest and farm yards. By 7 PM I am weary of the road and there is no place to camp. Amish farmers are still working the fields...
Day 17 - June 19, 2002
Breakfast at Hilty's, Broken Spokes, Meeting Fuzzy Brooks, and Life and Death in the Forest Night
After getting my bike fixed, I race northwards thinking that I can make it to Grand Rapids, MI by evening. Once there I would be able to rinse off several days of sweat and road grime, have a nice meal, and cool off in my Uncle Charlie's pool. But by twilight I am in the middle of nowhere, also known as Yankee Springs...
Mr. Enos Hilty's Farm
Day 18-19 - June 20-21, 2002
DM's Birthday Present and Clan Tyke of Cascades
I awake sometime before dawn when the forest darkness turns gray. I awake thankful the day has begun and there is enough light to break camp. And then something different happens. I remember that today is my birthday. Twenty-six summers old...
Day 20-22 - June 22-24, 2002
Al, Debbie, Matt, Chris, Evan, and Amber.
Heading the Boat Out for a
Ride on Lake Michigan
A Visit With the Tyke Cousins
I hang out with my cousin Sue and her husband Kurt in Grand Haven. They are diehard Red Wings fans and are weekend beach bums. Kurt, a furniture craftsman, gives me a tour of the eighty-year-old house, which he and his sons restored...
Days 23-31 - June 25-July 3, 2002
Marines, Dating Advice, and Cousin Haley's Party
We have dinner with the Richard's at the Cascade Country Club. Mr. Richard was a Marine during WWII. Luckily he got out of the Corps before they would have sent him to the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. We talk about our days in the Corps as we feast...
Day 32 - July 4, 2002
Family Lore, Hemingway, and Night Fire
As we drive north, Vicky mentions that we are going to pass near a town called Horton Bay which is really pretty and Hemingway used to hangout there, and they even have a--Did she say Hemingway?...
Day 33 - July 5, 2002
Where the Sun Also Rises
I am in Hemingway's old neighborhood. From Nancy Devon's deck I see Horton Bay light up with the rising sun. The backyard is a swamp garden with a wooden bridge leading to the dock where her fiance, Ken, keeps his red cigarette boat...
Day 34 - July 6, 2002
Today I leave for Mackinac Island. I take M-119, a one-lane highway that winds along the cliffs and coastline of northwestern Michigan. It is like riding through a tunnel of pines. At noon I arrive in Petoskey and, as I peddle over the hill, the bells of St. Francis Xavier Church toll "Ode to Joy"...
Day 35-36 - July 7-8, 2002
St. Anne's Church, Evensong,
and the Diagnosis
It is Sunday and my ankle is still sore despite Advil and ice. I attend church, slightly worried that Mackinac Island will be as far I go on this journey... "What on earth is going on?" says Father Williams as he begins the homily. First, there is trouble in the church, and now there is Enron, WorldCom, and Martha Stewart. Whatever is going on, it has something to do with our culture...
Day 37 - July 9, 2002
The Grand Hotel and Square Dancing at St. Anne's
My ankle still hurts so when I peddle up the hill to the Grand Hotel I keep the weight off my left foot. I meet with Jeremy, Anna, Ann, and Cory to help them tutor English. I work with Maria, a Hotel cleaning maid from Mexico City...
Day 40 - July 12, 2002
Horse and Carriage
Along the Bluffs
Huron Street and the Island
I am walking down Huron Street. It is the main strip for downtown Mackinac Island. Where once French voyagers, Ottawa and Ojibwa Indians, American fur traders and soldiers wheeled and dealed, now fudge-seeking tourists crowd the streets...
Day 41-42 - July 13-14, 2002
My Doppelganger and an Invitation to World Youth Day
One evening I am sitting in the park reading Wordsworth. Jeremy sees me and sits down next to me. He tells me that he met another cyclist walking around where he works on the West Bluffs, and invited him to stay at his place. I am thrilled because I remember hoping to run into another touring cyclist as far back as the Colonel Drake Highway in Pennsylvania...
Day 43 - July 15, 2002
Up in Michigan and the Hiawatha Forest
Rich and I meet at the Rectory and have breakfast. We take the ferry to St. Ignace. We ride through Michigan lumber country, a land that gave birth to the legend of Paul Bunyan...
Day 44 - July 16, 2002
Tahquamenon Falls and Pike Lake
The map says we are near Two-Hearted River and Seney. These two names catch my eyes as I scan the map. They are places in Hemingway's story, "Big Two-Hearted River." I am excited. Last Fall I wrote a paper on Seney and the river that Nick Adams went fishing after he came back from WWI. Now I am riding through lands Hemingway once wrote about...
Days 45-49: July 17-21, 2002
Father Williams leads
in the Lord's Prayer
The Breaking of the Fellowship and Return to Mackinac Island
On Sunday I go with Father Williams to a book club meeting at the library. We discuss Don DeLillo's White Noise, which the padre believes presents our postmodern situation, from the failure of religion to the shallowness of our consumer society...
Day 50-57 - July 22-28, 2002
Salt of the Earth, Light of the World
I have no idea what to expect and nothing could have prepared me for what awaited us in Toronto. People came from all around the world. The Pope summoned us to come here and worship God. Pilgrims from Lebanon, Madagascar, Brazil, France, British Columbia, South Korea, Australia, and all the United States may give you an idea at the variety of nations represented in Toronto for World Youth Day...
Day 58-65 - July 29 - August 5, 2002
Sunset over Mackinac
The Last Homely Home
I find it harder and harder to leave this Mackinac Island. I find it harder to leave this island than I do my own home in northern Virginia. If anybody is still reading this I hope that you pray for me. Don't pray for my safety, just my survival. So ends my summer fling with Michigan. Tomorrow I ride and we'll again see what new adventures the road will bring me to...
Day 65-66 - August 5-6, 2002
Missing Mackinac and The Road as Evoker of Memories
Damn. I miss the island already. As the miles tick off on my odometer a voice inside me says that its not too late to turn back, that if I turn back right now, I could make it back with the last ferry and spend one more night on the island...
Day 67-69 - August 7-10, 2002
Dinner in Sagola, Wisconsin Brownies, and Something Terrible on the Way to Star Lake
Two loggers come over when they see my bike. They see my USMC flag and one asks if I am a Marine. I tell him I got out in 1998. Just in time, he says. Yeah. Are we still in Afghanistan? Yeah, he says, maybe Iraq, pretty soon. They both say that we should go and "finish the job." I do not tell them what I think...
Day 69 - August 10, 2002 (continued)
Musky and Eagles
We talk as we ride into town. I ask her more about the Musky Jamboree. It is a good old time. They give you "the Taste of Musky," and they have live music, and a flea market, and there is an arts and crafts fest. Good times, but I'm on my way to Minneapolis. And then I realize that I'm ignoring the call to adventure...
Day 71 - August 11, 2002
Little Bohemia and Family Legends
I can't even begin to say how excellent home cooking is after several days and weeks on the road. So when Jen sets the table and I see grilled bratwursts (first introduced to my top ten list of favorite foods by my Aunt Dottie in Grand Rapids, MI), corn on the cob, and two types of salad, I have to restrain myself from jumping with joy and digging into real food. During dinner they tell me about their grandfather...
Day 72-74 - August 12-14, 2002
Lumber Jack Trail and Road Blur
For the last two days I have been suffering from what I call road blur. I have ridden with the express purpose of getting through Wisconsin to Minneapolis. It is as if the ancient timberlands are haunting me. When I wake in the morning I see my breath, and I have seen more than a few tree leaves turned red. I get worried...
Day 65-66 - August 5-6, 2002
Update... Missing Mackinac
Today I was thinking about one of the many friends that I made on Mackinac Island, and how she helped me pack my gear the day I left the island...
Days 74-76 - August 15-17, 2002
Discovering Minneapolis, the Mall of America, and the National Poetry Slam
As I wait in my chair, tribal dancers stomp and sway to drummers, and a man with thick black beatnik glasses and a clipboard comes up to me. He wears a National Poetry Slam staff card around his neck. The man invites me to be a judge for the individual competition...
Days 79-81: August 20-22, 2002
The Road to Autumn and, Where the Yellow Brick Road Begins
It has been a very long time since I've had a haircut. The last was in May before my bike trip. So as I pass through Grand Rapids, Minnesota and I see the red, white and blue barber pole out of the corner of my eye I hang a sharp right and park my bike...
Note: The most recent entries for this Web Journal
begin on the News Front page...