28 May 2010

Our Family Grieves

We all miss Alex so much and over the past several years our small family has not done much grieving together, only apart.  Since we've joined together to do this Trike Tour, we've been able to spend more time together and I am so glad.

Yesterday, together, we let some of Alex's ashes go.  We released them into the mighty Mississippi, the river I grew up on in northwestern Illinois and although it was terribly sad (as it always is) I felt us all healing together as we cried and held onto each other.  Alex would have loved it.

We miss Alex.
Alex's life is continuing through the lives of those she saved when she became an organ donor and this trip we are on is ensuring that her spirit continues to be of service to others.  It's all about the love.

27 May 2010

Rescue and Repairs

Ken's trike broke!  As we were leaving Ferne Clyffe and heading up a big long hill, a weld on the underside of the boom broke and Ken was unable to pedal.  Using another bracket as a temporary repair we were able to continue riding but the chain was rubbing on the bottom of the frame so we didn't want to ride too far on it.  Here is a pic of the break and the replacement boom TerraTrike had overnighted to us.
This is on the underside of the boom, which slides onto the frame.
The new boom.  See those two little round things on the right?  One of those is what broke.  The big hole on the left is where the sprocket and pedals go.

After we got the new part my Mom and Dad came and got us and took us in to Carbondale, IL so we could get the repairs done, do an interview with the local paper, and put Ken's new tire on.  There were three bike shops there in town and all of them were on the same block.  We went with Carbondale Cycles simply because they answered the phone when we called and gave us a good price.  They were also able to get the repairs done in under 2 hours.  Here is Ken talking with Cho, the repair man.
Thank you Cho for your good work and fair prices!
Thank you Mom and Dad for coming to save us!
Thank you TerraTrike for standing by your product!

While we were camping and waiting on the boom to come by UPS Ken and I decided to go find something to eat.  One option was the Lodge:
We ate there twice.  It was okay. Neat to look at inside.  Since it was only okay and kinda pricey, though, we decided to head into nearby Makanda, a LITTLE town which we soon discovered had no ATM, and the one person we spoke to there was rather rude, so we left.  Disappointing.  It rained a little on our way back HOME, but it felt good since we had to come up a couple big hills.  
What is that on Ken's tire?  Let's get a closer look:
Riding behind Ken when he wasn't pulling his trailer made me see just how worn his tire was.  That yellow stuff you see is the Kevlar coming through.  We do have a new tire to put on it but didn't have it with us (parents have it).  We also didn't have our bike bag with us since our stuff was at our campsite and we were just out cruisin around looking for food.  Luckily Ken didn't have to do this for long:

We went back to our camp after getting another dinner from The Lodge, and got a good night's rest knowing that we wouldn't have to ride in heavy traffic after all.  I am so glad my parents came and got us!

In the Newspaper

We are in the Carbondale, IL newspaper this morning!  You can read the article in The Southern Illinoisan.

Ferne Clyffe

Ferne Clyff, Illinois was a neat campground and the price was great.  My parents came to see us there and to show us a very cool surprise:

So silly!

We camped here one night and the place was PACKED but everyone respected the Quiet Hours and we slept great.  We woke up a couple of times and looked at the stars and we left really early, getting on the road before 6:00 am.  Since it's so hot out we've started our "summer hours" to get more riding in early.

These warning signs are all over the park.

Our campsite.

We left camp to find some of the biggest hills yet:
Wow.  When the locals said there was a big hill ahead, we thought, "yeah, we've heard that before," but when we saw this we thought, "yeah, that IS a big hill."  
Some of the rural roads don't even have center lines.  We like that.
As hot as it was these two still stood close together.
These signs are along the Trans Am route in Illinois.

Fun Pics

I want this bus.  :)
Flower Power.
Buckin Burris.

It was so hot when we pedaled past this that we were CERTAIN it was filled with cold drinks just for us.  It was hard not to go peek inside.

My Indian name - "Little White Feet."


Ken said his sister Angie is the genealogist of the family, and that she says somewhere way back there used to be some Burris ancestors in Illinois.  We found these at the Gilead Cemetery when we stopped to take a break.  I wonder if they are any relation?

Ken spent awhile looking at the graves.  There must have been 10 Burris stones there.
Since I had some time, I got creative with the camera.  :)
These shells look like a little family of owls.
Simon staying cool under the cement bench.
It was VERY hot that day, and every day since.  And humid.

Bear Branch

You have to ride up a pretty steep hill to get to this place, but it is worth it!  Nice people, an excellent restaurant, and wifi.  It was a great place to be "stuck" while it rained.  The restaurant was only open while we were there because of a misprint in the paper - so we felt like we had a crew there just for us!  lol  It provided us with some time to get to know these wonderful, fun folks, and we rather enjoyed being pampered.  Cyclists traveling on the TransAm - this place comes highly recommended!
Let's see...  Next to me is Tristyn, and next to her is Moneaka, and next to her is Brandy, the Restaurant Manager.  In the back behind us is Dick Manders.  He is the owner and he gave us a free meal!  His story is another one of those amazing serendipities:  His daughter gave her husband a kidney!  And because it was not a perfect match, it stopped his cancer from spreading.  Wow.  That man can never say his wife doesn't love him.  

Tristyn on my trike.  :)
This was the view we had when we sat on the porch of the cabin we rented.  At night there were sooo many lightening bugs - the whole place was lit up.
A great little place to call HOME.

21 May 2010

Rawhide Cabin

I usually don't blog about a place while I am still at it, but here is a pic of the cute little cabin we are in right now.  We stayed in it last night and Ken just paid for another night since it is still wet and windy out there, and since our tent is soaked and heavy.  We are at the Bear Branch Horse Camp and the cabin we are in was really reasonable!  We recommend this place to cyclists even though you have to ride up a pretty steep hill to get to it.  Southern Illinois is surprisingly hilly.
Home for two nights.
This little mouse didn't seem too scared of us.  He ate one of our chocolate Tootsie Pops that had fallen on the floor last night.  Well, we think it was him anyway!

20 May 2010

Cave in Rock

Cave in Rock is a neat place with LOTS of interesting and sinister history.  Ken and I checked it out with my Mom and Dad and KD who was visiting my parents.  Later Ken and I went back again by ourselves and discovered there were TONS of swallows there building their nests out of mud.  We didn't know what they were but Dan and Bill, some fellow cyclists who were also camping there told us what they were.
Sweet silhouette shot.  :)
The light on the floor is natural and comes from a split in the rock way above our heads.  I could just imagine piles of pirate plunder lying around... treasure chests with gold spilling out of them... :)
A nice shot of my parents.  After they left we went back to our campsite...
Nice, but TONS of mosquitoes.  The Burt's Bees All Natural Herbal Insect Stuff we have worked great though.  They still buzzed around us but we didn't get bit at all.  Oh, and camping here is only $10 a night!
Father and Son cyclists.  Bill and Dan were on their 3rd day and were headed toward Florida which is home for them.  Bill toured last year and also has a journal on CrazyGuy.  I will put the address here later.
Ken waiting outside the restaurant.
Simon by the river.

I grew up on the Mississippi River and it was nostalgic seeing the barges pass by.  Right after this picture was taken the weather changed and suddenly the skies looked threatening and VERY dark.  It made for an awesome photo opportunity.
My new favorite pic.