Thursday, August 26, 2010

Your Prairie Home Companions

Hey jerk! Get a car!

Soooooooo......... the town of Fort Scott, as some of you sharper-pencils-in-the-pencil-case may have deduced, is named after the thing of Fort Scott. In the evening, we couldn't really find a good spot to stay in the town, so we went over the the National Historic Site of Fort Scott and found excellent camping on the grassy campus. In the morning, we had to get out of there before the park rangers came and tazed us... but after leaving and cooking some yummy pancakes, we went back to the National Historic Site of Fort Scott and TOOK A MONDO THREE-HOUR SELF-GUIDED ALL-EXPENSES-PAID ALL-INCLUSIVE TOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cost of entry was only three bucks for Alex, and Emelio got in free because we convinced the ranger that he was under 12 years old!!!

The site is basically amazing and super-interesting, especially for a couple a (nerdy) dudes like us. It is a restored US military fort that was built on the "Permanent Indian Frontier" in the 1840s. Eventually, the idea of the permanent frontier dissolved and the army sold the fort to civilians and it eventually became the center of a new town called Fort Scott. After the Kansas-Nebraska act (1854 you idiots! Don't you remember your Social Studies examinations?), the era of "Bleeding Kansas" came into full swing. Basically, the pro-slavery and anti-slavery interests in the U.S. sent pioneers into Kansas in hopes of swinging the territory to be either pro-slavery or "free soil." We found out that John Brown (of Harper's Ferry fame) launched some attacks in Kansas during this period! Fort Scott itself was a really fascinating example of Bleeding Kansas: two military buildings were converted to hotels, one of them pro-slave and the other free soil. They faced each other across a lawn no longer than a football field!

This is Fort Scott.

After our fort visit we dipped into a local diner called the Nu-Grille, a lovely historic restaurant open continuously since 1946. Juiced up on grease and milkshakes, we hit the road and "road" 78 miles to the very itty-bitty municipality of Benedict, KS. The city's population was 102, so when we hit the town there was a huge celebration and the mayor even changed the city's record books! JK LOL. We found a quiet park and set up camp next to a slide, and were cooking a gourmet dinner of couscous and sauteed mushrooms (can ya' buh-leeve it!) when local dog-walker Steve Jones came over to chat! Steve was a really great guy, had seen cyclists pass through before, and dagnabbit wouldn'tchaknow he came back with a big box of choco-ice cream for us to share! Thanks Steve!!

The next day we hit some pretty nasty winds (gusting 'round 30mph!!) on our way to Cassoday, another achingly tiny village in rural Kansas. This was really the first day of our trip (20 days so far) that we could say, "The day wasn't hot!" and that sure was a relief. We both agree that the most memorable part of the day's ride came on the last stretch into Cassoday. We had finally hit the storied open Kansas pasturelands, and the sky was huge above us and the horizon stretched for miles and miles. The sun was setting to our left, the clouds were really deluxely golden-pink, and on our right the moon was making its slow and deadly ascent into dark blue dusk. Really top-notch riding.

In the morning, as we were setting out from Cassoday, we happened upon ANOTHER BIKE TRAVELER!! He was just packing up his tent (strangely, we camped in the same 110-person town but in different parks, and so didn't encounter each other the night before), and thought it would be totally rad if we all three rode together! His name is Brendan, and he's riding from Philadelphia out to the West Coast. Alex and Emelio had a really nifty time riding with someone else, and sure hit it off well with Brendan. After 40 miles of riding and gossiping like Prairie Chickens, we hit the town of Newton and tumbled into CJ's Pancake House. Dee-lish!

40 more casual miles, and we were in Hutchinson at Harley's Bike Shop picking up the key to our nighttime lodgings, Zion Lutheran Church (labeled on our map as a cyclists-only lodging!!). We had a little work done on the bikes at the Shop, and then took some time ourselves to do some basic tune-ups outside the church.

Alex and Brendan adjust Alex's front brake while two creepy bikes watch.

Just as we were 'bout ready to go off to pick up some groceries, who should roll up but BEN AND JAMIE WHO ARE ALSO RIDING THEIR BICYCLES ACROSS THE COUNTRY TOWARDS THE WEST COAST OF CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!! "Holy crap!" we all said.

In the end, we composed a massive feast in the basement of Lutheran, ran our yappers on and on about our respective bike journeys, compared gear and tan lines, and popped in our Red Box movie, Shutter Island. Let's just say that we got pretty creeped out by the movie and generally had a rollickin' good time last night. It really is something special when you can camp with three other bike travelers.

Eyyy!!! Mangiate, bambini!!!! Molto bene!!!! L'italia e la pizza e la bicicletta a la Roma!

Well, that's all for now you freaks! We might not have computer access for a few days, as we're going across some pretty desolate terrains until reaching Pueblo, Colorado at the base of the Rockies (sheesh!!).

Before we could leave Hutchinson Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Emels felt the need to bounce on the bed like a juvenile delinquent.

Remember to check our winks!



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Wind in the Willows (SIKE!) Prairie Grass

Dear Diary,

Alex and Emelio are back in Public Libraryland, throwin' together a ragamuffin blog post once more!

This time, We Have Found It (the public library, that is) in Eureka, Kansas (okay you geeky Greekaholics, look back a couple words for the fun joke!). The library here is nice and new, and for a time we were sitting across from a young man who kept on making a strange monotonous humming noise from his greasy mouth while listening to nu-metal (probably) on his earbuds. Alex was annoyed, but Emelio couldn't stop lolling!

To pick up where we left off, we rode the Katy Trail on Day 16 for 95 miles, yowza! Like we said last time, the Katy Trail is lined with lovely towns and often follows the north bank of the Missouri River. The trail is very flat, and we were speedin' along at a speedy speed. Around 7:00pm, we hit up a trailside restaurant, cleverly called the Trailside Restaurant. To Alex's shock and awe, the T.R.'s nightly special was ONE DOLLAR HAMBURGERS WOW WOW!! He gobbled up a couple a those babies, while Emelio ate a suprisingly yummy veggie burger. They also had $0.75 drafts of Miller High Life Light (we had never heard of that beer before and simply refused to purchase it at such a devalued price in these dark economic times).

Indulging his inevitable MEAT RAGE...
and at prices unkown East of the Mississippi.

When we got back to the trail, we still had some miles to go, and ended up riding into the Heart of Darkness. With two flashlights strapped to the cockpit, Emelio took the lead. Unfortunately, Emelio gets a little skittish in the nighttime. Two things basically freaked his face: 1) a stupid idiotic 'possum bolted in front of his tire and made him squeal and 2) he thought he saw a twelve-foot spider and, in an attempt to avoid it, crashed to the ground and nearly caused Alex to crash as well. Yowza! Emelio didn't really get hurt, but we decided to camp at the next trailhead we encountered so as to avoid horrible nighttime evils.

Turns out, the next trailhead would make a magnificent campsite: right on the banks of the Missouri, with a boat ramp leading down to the river. We walked down in the moonlight to splash off our nasty sweat-and-limestone coating (Katy Trail is made up of a crushed limestone called "pug") and sit and contemplate the surroundings like a couple a freakin Platos.

We woke up bright and shiny and hit the trail hard, since we were going for a 120-mile day to make it to the evening's post! We stopped at a trailside hostel for water refills 20 miles in, and were pleasantly surprised to find a couple more bike travelers (Chris and Michelle, coming from NYC on their way to SF) emerging from the place. They were heading in the same direction as us, and we decided to spend some time together on the route.

We lined up with Chris and Michelle for a nice shot!

Chris and Michelle were mapping their route using an iPhone, and knew of a shortcut off the trail. Alex and Emelio were like, "Oh cool!" and we hopped off the Katy and into the streets. This route took us through Missouri's capital, Jefferson City (huge capitol--a scaled down replica of the one in D.C.), and along Route 50 all the way into Sedalia, MO. Even with the shortcut, we made it a 105 mile day, our FIRST CENTURY EVER!!! (century=100 miles on a bike in one day or 100 years of time if you believe in that sort of thing) If you're bad at math (Al Gore), that means 200 miles in two days, SLURPAGE!!!

We were hyper-pumped to get to Sedalia because Jacob VanSickle, local dweeb, hooked us up with sweet lodgings: HIS PARENTS' HOUSE!!! Thanks Jacob!!! We got cool showers, a great fridge to raid (including homepickled pickles and Buitoni), shelter from a nasty storm, and many many hilarious pictures of Jacob when he was a younger and even dweebier dweeb. JK we love you Jacob! And your parents THANKS Mr. and Mrs. Jacob!!

After a very relaxing mattress-y sleep, we made ourselves a hearty country-style breakfast and took a relaxing ride back onto the Katy Trail for its final 40-mile run westward. Rather than push ourselves too hard after a couple long days, we decided to end early just outside Deepwater MO, in maybe our most tantalizingly tubular campsite yet. It was basically an African safari wonderland! We saw a buttload of Great White Egrets, hawks, herons, wild turkeys, and other flying pokémon.

If this doesn't get your engine humming, then just whatever!!!

Day 19: We rode as far as Nevada (pronounced locally Nuh-VAY-duh, lol!) before really lunching. Once in Nevada, we really lunched!! Bagel and cheese (and meat for one, avocado for the other!) sammies; blueberries; gourmet macaroni and cheese salad; three peaches; seven Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls; a half-gallon of Vitamin D milk; yum wow yum yum wow!

Not long after, and against our better judgement, we walked over to the Nevada MUNICIPAL POOL!!! Alex's fourteen-inch-thick layer of back hair prevented him from sliding down the slides effectively, while Emelio's baby dives were an embarrassment to himself and the greater Nevada community. It didn't matter, because it was HOT and the pool felt AMAZING!


We crossed the border into Kansas, and ended up in the fabulous city of Fort Scott. Fabluous, that is, in spite of the fact that friggin everything shuts down on a Sunday evening. We couldn't even find a place to knock back a couple cold brews when we had such a craving! Danggg.

Gorgeous old Fort Scott. Veddy quiet.

But anyway, it was sweet to be in this historic old Western town. The main streets through the place were paved in brick, and the storefronts remain standing in all their architectural glory. There's a great story to this little town, but you'll have to wait until.............. next time!

PS: didja remember to check da LINKS?

Monday, August 23, 2010

We're not not in Kansas anymore!

Okay you sneaky snorkelers, here we are a couple a guys back making some blog posts!

We've been in some pretty rural areas the past couple a days, so computer access has been wanting. Bear with us!!!!!!!!!!!
We crossed into Kansas yesterday: yeeeehaaaaw!! Right now we're sitting in a public library in downtown Chanute KS, so today's post might be abbreviated and relatively link-less.

REWIND! REWIND! Back to St. Louis.... it all seems like a crazy delirious dream.......
In short, Alex and Emelio picked up St. Louis, swaddled it closely, and made it our lovechild. We woke early to take the town on, and by golly did we take it.

City Museum in STL. Eesa-crazy, mon.

First: breakfast at a really sicknasty local (the South Tower Grove neighborhood) eatery, the Local Harvest Cafe. Emelio half expected it to be overrun with disgusting Oberlin grads selling hearty carob-nut vegan cookies!

Then, we biked off to world-renowned Forest Park -- a massive greenspace in the middle of St. Looey full of extremely free extremely fun stuff. Time was short, so we spent it in the zoo (PENGUINS! GORILLA GORILLA GORILLA!) and checked out a tiny portion of the large and expanding Art Museum. SO FUN!

Emels almost drove this schoolbus off a roof. What a silly!

Then we rushed off downtown to take on St. Louis' revered City Museum. The place is basically a giant playground for kids and adults alike, housed in an old 14-story shoe factory. Time is running out on this public library computer, so just freaking take our word and shove your bratty kids in the car to give them and you the experience of a lifetime. Ferris wheel! Caves! Circus! Bars and restaurants! Cantilevered school bus! Holy schnikes! THEN we went to the amazing Arch and spent 5 hours (almost) staring at it and some other cool stuff.

A weird hulk of steel we kept seeing. WHAT THE HECK!!!???

THEN FOR THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME, we friggin trekked out to THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY (thanks for the $50 gift card, Susan!!!!!!). Let's just say that we stuffed ourselves so bad that we almost puked all over each other's beards. God bless America.

We both felt as terrible as Emelio looks. Really.

Okay okay next day next day! We took the train out to the airport, rode a short distance, and hopped on the eastern edge of the fabulous Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is America's longest rail-trail at 230+ miles. We loved it omg!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The trail is chock-full of freakadelic informational kiosks and cute little railroad towns. Through those kiosks, we learned that 1) Missouri has only 0.5% of its original priarieland left (depressing); 2) Daniel Boone is often confused with Davey Crockett; and 3) Prairie chickens mate in the springtime in "leks" and the males' mating call is known as a "boom" (shaka-laka).

Alex showing off his--ahem--"trail mix" alongside some of the
Katy Trail's super-zingy interpretive materials.

YIKES only 4 minutes left on this computer! More blog posts to come when we can commandeer some other town's library!!!!!!!!!!!!



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bet y'all are freakin' ya neek!!!!

BECAUSE WE'RE POSTING AGAIN MOW!!!!!! (flip the "M", idiots!!(DUH!!!))

Finally hit this trail after 83-some miles of one road!

Well gosh golly we made it all the way to St. Louis today! Basically nothing eventful happened, because we took the extremely flat though not very scenic Illinois State Route Thirteen nearly all the way to the big fatty LuLu. We did make a delicious stop at Ankle Weight Gossip Queen. Then Emelio excitingly forgot his camera at some stop sign and noticed that it was gone seven miles later, so he had to hitchhike back to get it (fortunately, his Automobile Support Angels turned out to be quite congenial and altogether very wonderful! Thanks John!). When Emelio finally made it back to where he had left Alex with the bikes, Alex was seated on a noisy knoll taking a half-way nap all by his lonesome but it sort of looked like he was praying. Another cool thing was we ate some really good croissant and cheese sandwiches while pirating a bench umbrella combo that actually belonged to the Frigid Frog (and their subsidiary, BBQ Panther) even though we didn't even order a single "Frog in a Blender" Slushy from the poor suckers.... BURN!

Alex had to trim his moustache before lunch because he kept biting it when he was attempting to eat food!

SO ANY-WHO! We made it to Belleville
(Illinois), a southeastern suburb of Holy Saint Looney Bin, around 6:30pm. At which point, we still had no clue where we were going to be staying this evening. All of a sudden, Emelio took responsibility for the situation and made multiple phone calls to his coworker Elizabeth in hopes that lodging might be acquired while Alex ate some Sweet n' Salty Honey Nut Chex Mix. He says: "It's really good, maybe you could buy it for your cousin or neighbor as a wedding present!"

She may be indoors in this photo, but Callie is an outdoor maniac!

In the end, Your Heroes decided to wedge in with two of Callie-from-Carbondale's good friends from nerdy outdoor camp, Kyle and Emma!! We rode the Metrolink into the city center (through East St. Louis, over the Mississippi {Hello, Missouri!}, and past a bigass freaky rounded steel assemblage of some sort--WTFF?!?!) with our bikes on board, then rode them through beautiful Tower Grove Park for the last 2.4-3.1 miles (taking our day's total over the 86 mile mark). We chatted with our kind hosts about the city for a bit before leaving them alone long enough so that they could to go to bed. Let's just say that our beards are tingling with excitement right at this very moment.

Check this freak and his frog eyes! Found him hungry and haggard on the Metrolink!

We're taking one of our patented "Day Off To Explore A Scary and Dangerous Urban Center" tomorrow -- Kyle and Emma seriously whacked us over the head with how fu-reaked out we're gonna be at how tight Saint Kablooie is. Tomorrow's blogpost just might knock your socks clear off your waxy eyelashes (wtf were they doing there anyways?!).

That's all for tonight ladies and germs,



Monday, August 16, 2010

You guys are wondering why we haven't posted lately?

...have you ever stopped to consider that we might be busy riding our friggin bikes across the biggest country in the history of the WORLD YOU LOSERS?????

LOLOLOLOLJKJK we luv you guys!

State line! This is just after we crossed (via ferry, again!) the Ohio from KY to Cave-in-Rock, IL

Okay whew so here we are in Carbondale, Illi-"bringin the"-noise. We've been through a lot of great places in the last week, including three states (KY IN IL) and countless burgs... we will now attempt to briefly sum up our experiences while highlighting the best parts.

Unlike the Lord, we rested on the eighth day (in Louisville). Beth and Forrest were so lovely to us that we simply had to stay for a full day. And it turned out to be a DOOZY! In the morning, we met up with Austin, one of the buffest guys either of us had ever hung out with. We thought we were gonna get our faces punched in, but it turns out that Austin is also one of the nicest guys we have ever been made aware of!

Austin took us to a really rad Looville eatery, Lynn's Paradise Cafe. IT WAS FAR OUT!! Austin had taken a lengthy bike trip himself once before, and he sympathetically picked up the tab before we could blabber a protest out of our moist, rubbery lipps.

Alex hanging outside Forrest and Beth's place in Butchertown, with Austin too! Notice that their house lies on the
river side of Loaville's floodwall, making their rent mondo-cheap.

Okay to cut to the chase, Lewisville is the bee's knees and we loved it. Austin took us all around by bike, and we seriously recommend that you spend your next vaycay there. (Quick neat things: stunning Victorian neighborhood, 21C hotel with nasty mod art, the they're-still-building-it Big Four bike/ped bridge, wicked sweet jazz trio at Nachbar).

So the next morning, Day 9, we rode out early from Luhvull -- it turned out to be another ridiculously hot day, so in the afternoon we needed to stop for an air-conditioned break. Worked out to be a pretty great stop for us. We rolled into Tina's Horseshoe Lounge, your basic piece-of-shit-hole-in-the-wall-smalltowncornerbar. To get to the point, we loved everyone there and they loved us. Particularly kind was Wild Bill, a self-proclaimed RiverRat TugboatCaptain who insisted on paying for our entire lunch AND THEN HANDED ALEX A $50 BILL.

The extremely overwhelming kindness of strangers on this trip has continued to overwhelm us extremely. From our gracious gracious nighttime hosts, to the curious people on the street, to the old timers in the bars, humanity (in the Midwest, at least) has been good to us couple a dudes.

These horses were super curious when we were packing up on the Mattingly Family Dairy Farm! We even touched them.

Second kindness example: that night, we were in Payneville, KY ten miles outside our intended destination when thunder rumbled in the distance. We stopped to ask a couple dairy farmers if we could set up camp on their yard; their acquiescence would have been enough. BUT NO! Pam, the milk matriarch promptly brought us out a peace offering of cheese sandwiches, watermelon chunks and pop! AND THEN! The next morning, before we can roll out of dodge, she brings us out a friggin bag of GOODIES! And when we opened it for lunch at Great Gazebos of America #7, we found she had slipped a TWENTY SPOT into the package! Oh man, such generosity... amazing!

Alex checks out a huge coal barge on the Ohio, from Owensboro's developing riverfront promenade!

The day was uberHOT but we made it as far as Owensboro, KY where we spent a barnburner of a Friday evening. We stumbled upon a pleasant riverfront promenade where a jovial group of bums were banging out Beatles covers like they were lima bean milkshakes. Later on, we still didn't know where we'd be laying our heads when we wandered into the courtyard of the International Bluegrass Music Museum. There we found a local country rock quartet slamming into some jams like a bunch of hellions with poison ivy. Fortunately, we met Shawn, a really kind young guy who--after some serious hinting on our part--worked up the guts to offer us filthy couple dudes a place to stay for the night. We slept wonderfully in his (and his wife Amber's) lovely guest bedroom and even scored a home-cooked breakfast the next morning before heading out. Thanks Shawn!!!

Before leaving town, we returned to the Bluegrass Museum for a tasty little visit. It was neat; we bought postcards.... perhaps you'll be receiving one in the mail?!?!?!?!?!? (not you, Loco).

Since we hung out in Owensboro for a bit that morning (and with a super great guy named Josh who was great!), we had a shorter ride on Day Eleven of our Journey. We rode to Sebree, KY (pausing briefly under an awning along Owensboro's entertaining [to us] skid-row district to wait out a torrential downpour) -- where we ended up having the wildest night of our young lives.

Our stop Sebree was basically a cross-country bicycling Mecca. The Sebree First Baptist Church has been bunking cyclists since Adventure Cycling mapped their first cross-country route over thirty years ago. And then, eight years ago the congregation voted to become an official "Cycling Only Lodging" locality! Translation: SICK LODGING FOR A COUPLE DUDES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our evening only got better from there. After slapping nearly 50 high fives about the kitchen, lounge area, mattresses, large-map-of-where-passing-cyclists-are-from, and air-conditioning, we hit the (tiny) town. Specifically, we hit the Purple Palace Opry.

Video clip of the Purple Palace Opry... it was a regular hoe-down!

Alex and Emelio have agreed that we can never adequately express how mindblowingly amazing the Opry was (video to come soon!). You walk in, and what you get is a big general-store-converted-to-ballroom filled with elderly Kentuckyians, getting down to some insane live Bluegrass and Gospel classics. An 8-member band occupied the stage, two-steps owned the dance floor, and in walk a couple young tie-dye wearing freakazoids (us, DUH!). Needless to say, they embraced us (literally, on the dance floor. Man, that Carol can dance!) and forced us to participate. We had a blast.

Okay dang we have to wrap this post up! So much to say, but it's already midnight-thirty and we have to get to bed! We rode into southern Illinois yesterday, and made camp on the Ohio River in a small park in the city of Rosiclare. This morning, we conquered some mega hills (S. Illinois... who knew??) and wound up in funky Carbondale, home of Southern Illinois University. Our host, Callie (not that Callie!), has been thematically gracious and we are enjoying our evening!

Our campsite in Rosiclare, right on the Ohio. It sure was pretty in the morning!



P.S. remember to check our links!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why we like pepper spray

Because it scares the poop out of the stupid dogs always tryin to chase us!

But for REAL folks, today we had nine to twelve dogs try to chase us down and munch on our bodies. Whenever that nonsense happens, Emelio whips out his handy bottle of mace (endorsed by U.S. Postal Workers for REAL) from his handlebar bag and aims it in the stupid mutt's horrible face. Since we're traveling on a route that was mapped by Adventure Cycling, these mangy hounds must have been smacked in the face by a blast of pepper spray before; whenever we hold the bottle out to the yapping yippers, they stop dead in their tracks. We haven't had to spray yet! (We do have an extensive and exciting plan for furious car-drivers who try to be too aggressive. The details are confidential, but let's just say it involves macing and then robbing the driver).

Yesterday we took a ferry! We left Ann's place bright and early after a breakfast of eggy-wegs in a basket and with a bounty of goods for our panniers (sammies, zucch bread, fresh fruit, and MORE choco cake). Our first twenty miles of riding took us through some of Cincinnati's lovely East Side, inlcuding Eden Park where we caught our first, breathtaking glimpse of the splendorous Ohio River. After navigating through downtown past the Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the under-construction Great American Insurance Building, we were out west of the city, and soon enough found ourselves at the launching pad of the Anderson Ferry.

Let's just say that the A.F. (Anderson Ferry) is S.I.C.K. (Sweet, Ill, Cool and Kooky)! Ann gave us a great tip to get there, and it was super totally worth it (a seventh grade girl from the nineties wrote that last clause). The A.F. was further from Cincinnati than we had expected; definitely a service for locals rather than a tourist freakfest. We arrived just as the ferry was returning from the Kentucky bank with some automobiles... after they disembarked, we boarded with our bikes for a serenely spectacular ride across the Ohio. The morning was still cool, and we were the only passengers for the trip across. It rocked.

Things kind of went downhill from there. And then uphill. Then downhill again. IF YOU CATCH MY DRIFT! Basically, we were hitting some mega-hills, and when it's breaking 95 degrees out, they're not the most entertaining thing to encounter.

The rest of yesterday was pretty normy -- the heat was killer, we passed through some nasty industrial zones, and traffic made us want to eat regurgitated wheat germ. At the end, though, Alex and Emelio (we) stumbled onto a fabulous historic Kentuckiana landmark, and decided to sleep with it. Guys, not like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We just camped behind it!!!! Check the pic for a pic.

So in terms of sleeping that night, let's just say it was hotter than H-E-Double-Hockeysticks... so we barely slept at all. We made it our business to wake up way early, however, so that we could beat the next day's heat.

Okay then, Day 7! We did get up early for once in our lives, and were rewarded with approximately eight minutes of cool riding. Then the tyrannical heat-beast awoke from its own slumber and proceeded to tenderize our collective meat.

The morning reward came in Madison, Indiana--after crossing back over the Ohio via a majestic ponte. Madison really pushed all our buttons -- in a good way! The main street was long, dense, and historically preserved... the neighborhood streets were intact and free from suburban grasp... the businesses were 100% local... the lonely lady terrified by our sidewalk-bikeriding hid behind a pig sculpture... what a place! We recommend you spend your honeymoon there.

We made it to Louisville (after harvesting tobacco to calm Alex's raging addiction) by 4:00pm, and were met by our local concierge (her name is Beth and she is very accommodating!), who led us across a massive bridge spanning--yet again--the large and beautiful Ohia Riva.

We've decided to spend a full day tomorrow in Louisville, which looks to be a really great (and historic) city. We'll report back soon! Make sure to check our links!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Days 3 & 4

A couple a dudes reporting in!
We had a very good Day of Rest (as the Lord might say) in Columbus on Friday. In the mornin', Mamma Emelio rustled up a downhome, country-style, homemade waffle breakfast. Then we fastened our suspenders, hitched up our Levi's, and let our guts hang out in preparation for the Ohio State Fair excursion!

It was Alex's first visit to the fair, and he was, to put it plainly, BLOWN. AWAY. Never before had he been privy to such an affirmation of the state the two of us so proudly call home. And after the fair, Alex was more proud than ever of the great state of Ohio. A rundown of the highlights: chickens, geese, turkeys, rabbits, cows, swine, butter cows, ice cream, newly birthed lambs and calf, a blue whale, the big yellow slide, Smokey the Bear (ragging on the Tribe's pitiful season--seriously), the natural resource center, bbq pork sandwich, a festive parade (including the All-Ohio marching band), a pig that was "square in the shoulder, square when he's comin' atcha"; Grizzly, Ohio's four-time largest pig, weighing in at 1200 lbs (testicle weight estimated at 50-75 lbs), an uproarious monkey show, the fine arts pavilion (you GO girl!), and many more. For a fun game, in the comment section, guess the spectacle listed above that we didn't actually spectate at (choose no more or less than one or you are disqualified).
OKAY now for the account of day THREE!!!

We left Columbus after gettin filled up with pancakes (thanks Ma) and headed out of town by way of the delightful Olentangy Trail (big ups). After getting through some slightly dreary west side scapes, we hooked up with (not in that way!!!) a few nice country roads and eventually hit this SWEET trail. Ten miles later, we were going through delightful London, Ohio -- and even hit a water oasis provided by the London Baptist Ministry! We had this off-road trail nearly all the way to Yellow Springs -- a truly beautiful trip in the central Ohio countryscape.
Once we got to Yellow Springs, we knew we were in the right place. A few budding "alterna-punk rockers"and some "anarcho-preteens" were playing guitar on the curb, and pointed us in the right direction through downtown (they even had piercings!!!). On our way to our host's abode, we were met on the road by none other than Lisa, our host, ON HER BIKE! She said she knew it was us when she saw our load.
Yellow Springs, for those who don't read books, is a small hippie town best known for being a hippie town and also harboring the ungodly institution liberals hail as "Antioch" which we believe is Greek for "Sin-Land." JK! While Antioch is currently closed, the college is expected to be accepting students (if you can call them that (JK!)) in the fall of 2011.

Our night in Yellow Springs was amazing. We spent the steamy, waning hours of the afternoon lazing around the pool with Lisa, Don, and a few of their friends. Then, Lisa prepared us a delicious meal (we're not worthy!) which we shared--along with lovely conversation--in a beautiful al fresco setting. After dinner, Lisa graciously toured us around the town center and we stopped for an ICE CREAM ATTACK. Back at the house, we zonked out on her super-comfy futon.
Next morning, get this: we go to a local breakfast joint, and The Lovely Katie (our friendly and cute server) bought our meal for us! Wow-wow-wow! She had been on a long bike trip before, so she got it. High-five!

We awoke at the crack of the day
Took the Miami Trail the whole way
Many beautiful folks
Many juvenile jokes
And in Newtown tonight for our stay!


The Little Miami Scenic Trail was an amazing experience today. For us, it occupied 99.8% of our trip. It runs along the Little Miami river, a beautiful aquified ramble chock-full of canoes and us (when we went in for a dip, that is!!!). The trail passes through a few gorgeous little Ohio towns that have really taken advantage of its presence (it used to be a railway) and developed parks, bike shops, ice cream stores, and more along the way. People packed the trail, and many were delighted to hear of our adventures (and chagrined to realize that we mocked them afterwards behind their backs!!)(JK!). A really interesting guy named Jeff joined us for about 10 miles on the way, talking with us about hookers and truck drivers, which we found fascinating! NOT JK!

We rode the trail all the way to Newtown, got off for 1/4 mile to our host's house. Ann received us warmly with burgers (ham and boca) and chocolate cake from Chicago (not JK). We mapped our route for the next two days, with great Ann-support, and now we're writing this blog!
Okay night time!
We love you!

Make sure to check our links!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 2

After a less-than-cinchy day of riding we are thrilled to be here in Columbus, the capital of the Great State of Ohio and breeding ground of such vermin as Emelio, James Thurber, and Lil' Bow Wow (ever seen "Roll Bounce"!!!????!!?). We were received this evening by Emelio's fanclub (their presence was rewarded by due compensation from the authorities, of course) and a delicious home-cooked meal prepared by the 'rents.

Yesterday, Day 1, we were joined by David Nosse (Al's Bro) on our way to Oberlin--where we had a lot of good times with some Oberpals and even went swimming [illicitly]!!!!!!--and then we rode alllll the way to fabulous Charles Mill Lake (80 miles total to our campsite) <-- and speaking of our campsite, we found the SICKEST/ILLEST/SWELLEST campsite in the area, as far as we were concerned. It was a little peninsula jutting into a branch of the expansive lake, really nice and secluded, pretty much 4 feet from the water. Check the pic for a pic. Once we found the spot, we went for a dip in the lake but the area we were in was suuuper shallow and the muddy bottom scared Alex BIG TIME (jk it scared Emelio). We saw a really nice blue heron, and this morning saw four more all chasing each other around and jockeying for territory. Our good buddy Myles was kind enough to lend us a camping stove at the last minute and Wednesday night provided us the opportunity to cook with it for the first time. It gave us trouble at first, but we gave Myles a ring and he expertly instructed us on how to ignite the burner. We got it going and ended up with a darn-tootin' tasty pot of macaroni (Emelio's heritage--ahem--expertise came in handy in achieving the al dente sweet spot). A couple blueberry muffins from Alex's aunt Debbie for dessert and we were a couple a happy campers.

After eating, we were wiped and ready for bed. We loaded into the tent (with rain fly attached) and realized that it was smoking hot inside there without any air flowing through so we decided to remove the fly. We then climbed back inside the noticeably cooler tent just in time for the first distant lightning strike and low rumble of thunder. We decided to be safe rather than sorry, so we jumped out again and re-installed our rainshield. With the fly back in place, we got back into the tent one last time, just a couple minutes before a pretty substantial thunderstorm rained down on the greater Mansfield region (Mill Lake being very much a part of it). We were put to sleep by the sounds of cracking thunder and pattering rains.

So day two came, and we basically want to encapsulate the enormity of the day in a couple Hemingwayesque sentences. It was hot. We were on our bikes for nine hours and ninety miles. We saw many beautiful hills and farmlands. Emelio's legs gave him a good amount of pain towards the end, but we made it!

Well, we're all showered up and ready for bed (here's hoping we get tucked in during the night, c'monnnn mom!). Tomorrow we have a day off of riding, and we'll be attending... THE! OHIO! STATE! FAIR! The stateliest fair for the fairest state.

Night y'all!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Time to go!

Hi Guys!

So it's 7:30 am, day of departure. Thanx to all the good people who came out to our joint going-off event last night; we had some good fun and played some excellent volleyball. Delicious spread of food as well.

Running a lil' late, but hey what can you expect?? We're passing through Oberlin this afternoon, Emelio has the hookup with some neat people there, hopefully we'll have time for a swim too. Staying in Mohican Park tonight; Columbus on Thursday yeeeehaaawww!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A couple a dudes

Hi Guys!

So here we are, just a couple a dudes, Alex and Emelio to be exact, sitting around making our blog about our great bicycle adventure. At the moment, we're frustrated with our test of the cooking stove. It doesn't seem to be working so well, so we might just have to run out and buy a new one tomorrow, sheesh.

Also, we just ate rob and mara's pasta, so we're feeling better, even though lots of stuff needs to be done. Tomorrow we tie up the loose ends, say farewell to our Cleveland community, slap a couple fives, and try to get some rest before our Wednesday morning departure.

We're a little stressed out about getting everything ready, but it's pretty exciting anyways. We'll put some pictures up for you to scope don't worry!!