Posted by: rustymccain | July 1, 2011

From the Fridge to the Fire

(This is posted a day late due to no internet access last night) Today we woke to a warm morning and sadly had to say good-bye to Mary Ann and Gail. They have been so helpful and it was fun to have them here. By the way, if you ever go to Pueblo, CO, you need to stay in the Cambria Inn! We hit Nirvana there. The hotel was fabulous. The rooms were absolutely 5-star and for a good price. Most importantly, the staff was super friendly and helpful. This place is a must-stay if you are ever in Pueblo. Thanks, Cambria staff!

Two Happy Campers at Cambria Inn, Pueblo, CO

As we left the hotel, we knew we had a long day. We didn’t know how long it would be. The early part of our ride was relatively easy. Gone were the beautiful mountains. The land was relatively flat. Kinda like the sun is relatively warm! We enjoyed the feeling of a little bit of speed as we comfortably rode with bags again at 19-20 mph for the first couple of hours. The land became pretty sparsely populated pretty quickly. The only excitement we had in the morning was the time we came upon a train crossing in the middle of nowhere. As we approached, we heard a train whistle. We both wondered what the odds were of us hitting that crossing in the middle of nowhere at the same time a train would be coming. See, it doesn’t take much to amuse Ray and I. That oddity was matched by another interesting happening. As the road became more and more remote, we ran into construction areas where the road was cut down to one lane. There we were, 50 miles from nothing, not a car within 10 miles, and we run into a redlight. It reminded me of the scene of the toll gate in the old movie “Blazing Saddles”. Since they were replacing bridges over creeks out here, that scene was repeated multiple times. We were glad the Sheriff from Telluride wasn’t there. We were rebels and ran the redlights. It’s so exhilarating to live the wild life!

Having fun in Eastern Colorado

Our first 50 miles was good. As soon as we left from a rest break, though, the wind starting swirling. We fought it for a hard 40 miles and were glad that we only had 24 miles to go at our last stop. At this stop we made some new friends for whom we gained instant respect. Chauncey, Brian and a friend had already done 80 miles for the day and were going to nap in the town park (where the friend had already gone) to let the wind die down, then ride about 40 more. Tough young people. Nice young people. Determined young people. We had a great conversation with them and wish them well in their journey.

New friends Chauncey and Brian

When we headed out for Eads, the temperature had risen well above 100 degrees. The winds had come back with a vengeance. It got pretty nasty. We fought hard, but I think I lost! I had become severely dehydrated. I was cramping everywhere….hands, calves, toes, fingers, back. I was pitiful. Ray was worn out as well and had some cramping but not quite as bad as I was. But we made it to Eads. With 105 miles on the schedule for tomorrow, I am glad that we have a lot of sunlight this time of year. We just might need it.

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Posted by: rustymccain | June 29, 2011

Rocky Mountain Bye!

The Rocky Mountains are now in our rear view mirror! We left Westcliff this morning and in what has become a morning routine, started climbing. We had a continental breakfast at which I had two waffles. It is hard to believe that I gained ten pounds from two waffles, but that is what happened. I was dragging early and just found it hard to get a breath. Then Ray let me know that we were at 8,000 feet and climbing. I felt a little better about my breathing sounding like a 1957 Hoover vacuum cleaner.

No, Rusty, we are not going to walk to Pueblo

We kept climbing until we reached about 13 miles and a little over 9,000 feet. Then, at mile 14, I told Ray that we ought to hit it pretty hard for one hour and just see what we could do. So we hit it for exactly one hour. At that point, we were at mile 42. So, if my math is right, we did 28 miles in that hour. Not bad for legs with over 1500 miles in them over the last few weeks. I don’t think that the tailwind or the 3000 foot drop in elevation had anything to do with our speed. I just think it was the four pistons we brought out here with us!

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines. Westcliff, CO

At one point, we crested a rise and then could see forever. I really wondered if I could see the Batman building in downtown Nashville if it were night. What a view we had. That was when I realized that the Rockies were truly behind us. Despite the climbing, I am a bit sad to leave this area because it is so breathtakingly beautiful.

We cruised on in around Pueblo Lake and into Pueblo and did an easy ride through town. They have a really pretty city park through which our route took us. Although the temp was on the way up to a high of 104 here, we were able to complete our 58 mile route before it got too hot.

When we arrived, I changed out both tires and tubes on my bike and cleaned my drivetrain. The tires Scott got for me at Trace Bikes were superb and probably could have gone on some more, but I don’t know when I will see my next bike shop, so I thought it best to make a change. There is a Riverwalk here in Pueblo, so we went there for some food and nutritional supplements (the generic term for that is Ice Cream, but we like to call it nutritional supplementation).

Family Night!

J.P., Rachel, Leah and not quite here yet Sydney visited us tonight. We had such a great time. I felt really honored that they made the trip to see us. It made for a special night. Lucas and Whitney came to visit as well and we had a big pizza dinner. That made it an even more special night. Whitney brought me some chocolate…Yeah!! Lucas and Clint both have been so supportive, it has inspired me to keep getting on the bike. I am indeed a fortunate father. Tomorrow, we lose Mary Ann and Gail, which is a big loss for us for a variety of reasons. But we will push on. We have about 114 miles to ride and spend our last full day in Colorado, so it will be another long day in the saddle.

I hope anyone who is reading this has a GREAT day!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 28, 2011

Gorged!

Headin out of Poncha Springs

I am really glad that today was was a relatively short ride. As I write this, we are sitting in Westcliff, CO. We are still above 7,000 feet. I can see the peaks of 5, 14,000 foot peaks from our room. It is really a pretty sight to see. However, the reason I am glad we had a short day, other than simply responding to the requests of my legs and my butt, is that the wind is howling. This matches the 20-30 mph winds with 45 mph gusts that we experienced in Utah. I am glad we are not fighting that right now.

Since Mary Ann and Gail are still with us, we are riding a little shorter distances. We rode a little over 50 miles today, and have about 50 tomorrow. Then the girls leave and we crank it up with two consecutive 100+ milers in a row.

Today’s ride started in Poncha Springs. The first 5 miles took about 2 pedal stokes as we coasted into the town of Salida. Salida is a really cool little town with a lot of historic buildings downtown. As you stand just about anywhere in the town, you have a nearly 360 degree view of mountain peaks, many over 12,000 feet. Riding through town was a real treat.

Arkansas River, CO

We were still descending Monarch, so the next 25 miles, though rolling, was virtually downhill. We took it easy and enjoyed multiple views of the Arkansas River, the same river that cuts through the Royal Gorge. It was just more of the beautiful scenery to which we have become accustomed. At the town of Cotopaxi, we turned on a small country road and headed uphill. The climb was gentle for the most part and was only about 8 miles long, and the tranquil countryside and very low traffic made the conversation easy and the ride just about perfect.

Ranch near Cotopaxi, CO

We then turned back onto a bigger highway and headed on to Westcliff, our destination of the day. Much of the rest of the ride was much like middle Tennessee with smallish rolling hills. We rolled into Westcliff ahead of schedule and decided to take the drive to see the Royal Gorge. We had a fun trip to the Gorge, looked at it and left. It would have cost $100 for us to walk across it or drive across it. Those of you who know how cheap I am know that we opted for the free gorge overlook.

Near Westcliff, CO

Tomorrow should be really good day. Lucas and Whitney are planning to come down to see us. Rachel and J.P. are supposed to be coming down as well. After tomorrow, the girls go home, we are on our own again and the distances get a little longer. We hope to be getting close to KY in a couple of weeks. Hopefully we’ll see a bunch of friends that weekend. Still hanging in there!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 27, 2011

Monarch Pass(ed)!

The rest day in Gunnison was a great day, but we jumped back into things in a big way this morning. The route took us from Gunnison up to Monarch Pass, the highest point on our trip. It tops out at an oxygen-sucking 11,300 feet. The good news is that it also represents the continental divide and means that we are close to the end of the climbing for a while.

Super 8 and Not So Super 2

We started at Gunnison and knew that although the first 30 miles had a slight uphill, it was pretty gentle. We were blessed with another perfect morning. It was a little cold at first, in the 40 degree range, but the sun was brilliant and it warmed up pretty quickly. We rode rolling hills for the first couple of hours. Ray made the comment that he heard his legs say, “Uh Oh, we are doing this again?” I repeat, our rest day was really appreciated.

About halfway to the town Sargents, we spotted some albino mule deer at one of the local ranches.

Rusty Climbing to Monarch

The town of Sargents sits at the bottom of the climb to Monarch Pass. We only noticed one store, though there may be more off the main road. We stopped to get more fluids, but I just couldn’t resist a Snickers. We then headed out for the main work of the day. As soon as we were out of the parking lot, the road headed up. It was a gentle slope at first, but after about only a ½ mile, the slope kicked up and for the next 9 ½ miles, we hit 7% to 8 % slopes. The girls passed us and yelled encouragement on the way up. All I could muster was a ½ cough, ½ grunt. Having them with us has really been a blessing. We kept plugging away. I don’t think Alberto Contador has anything to worry about, but we made it to the top and conquered our highest point! While the climb was very difficult, we are still in the middle of such beautiful country, I have to say, it was fun.

Ray Climbing to Monarch

At the top, it was really chilly and the wind was blowing, so we quickly ducked into the welcome center to warm up, then came back outside for all the photo ops. Then, our reward was 20 miles or so downhill. The downhill was pretty scary because the winds were really swirling. The cycling gods must have gotten the email that we were riding and moved the winds out of the Southeast. This was very unusual for this area, according to someone we talked to after the ride. There was very little shoulder on the road and in places, no guard rails. Once again, Ray disappeared into the distance while I maintained my death grip on my handlebars. We finally made it to Poncha Springs in a pretty quick time of 5 ½ hours after we left Gunnison.

Monarch Pass, CO

We had a nice meal after the ride, then I headed to a nearby stream that is the result of snowmelt. I gave my “bad tendon” foot a natural ice bath. Tomorrow we head to Westcliff and sometime during the day we will go over the 1,500 mile mark. So far, we are well and still having a blast! Life is good!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 26, 2011

Rest Day – Ten Things I Have Learned

We had a wonderful rest day in Gunnison, CO today. We hit the jackpot with our accommodations at the Super 8 hotel in Gunnison. Not only were the accommodations the best we have encountered so far, the people were super friendly and helpful. It is a perfect location for visiting the really cool downtown of Gunnison or a good base for traveling up the road for a ½ hour to visit the equally cool Crested Butte. If you ever head this way, you can’t go wrong staying here.

Rest Day Activity in Gunnison, CO

We traveled up to Crested Butte today for a perfect afternoon outing. We have some dear friends, Johnny and Emily, who live there, but as luck would have it, they were on a trip to Nashville for the weekend. We still drove out to show Ray and Gail their home, which, in my opinion should be eligible for architectural digest for both design and location.

Visiting Johnny and Emily without them there

Back in the village, they were having a street fair and we decided that we won the award for being the least hip people there. I was able to get a 20 minute massage on the street…..10 minutes on each leg. It was good day.

Someone asked me about things I would do differently or things I would change about this trip. I can’t say that I would change a whole lot. However, there are 10 life lessons I think I have had re-enforced. While they all relate to cycling or this trip. I think they can be related to life in general. I do not suggest that they are lessons for everyone, but if they re-enforce something you are learning, maybe they will be meaningful.

 

  1. Take one step at a time. You can climb big mountains if you get in a rhythm you can sustain and just keep pedaling.
  2. The huge majority of people are good. Don’t let the tiny minority of people who are not, sour your ride.
  3. Generally speaking, it is much for interesting to not know what is around the next bend.
  4. It is important to surround yourself with people who are supportive of you.
  5. You don’t have to ride the Tour de France to ride the Tour de France. You can make your own Tour de France.
  6. Rest….doing nothing at all….is sometimes very important.
  7. The one thing you need to plan for is that things will not go as planned.
  8. Being positive is a habit, not a circumstance. Positivity can be learned and practiced.
  9. Van Gogh cannot match God.
  10. Sometimes you only learn nine things. It is OK not to have ten.

 

Tomorrow is a big day. The ride is relatively short at about 60 miles, but includes the highest point of our trip, Monarch Pass, at around 11,300. If you have any spare luck lying around, please send it our way tomorrow!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 25, 2011

Climb, Rest, Climb Rest, Climb, Rest

One thing we have discovered in the mountains is that apparently, no matter which direction you ride, you ride twice as many miles uphill as you do downhill. We know that is not really the case but it really does seem like it. We are half way through the Rockies though and we are still hanging in!

Reunion in Montrose

We really were excited about Mary Ann and Gail joining us last night. They were just the breath of fresh air we needed. They arrived just in time for dinner. Steve and Melonie, dear friends of Ray and Gail, and now friends of ours, joined us for dinner. They live in Grand Junction, which is just about an hour away. They were all glad to see one another and I could tell it did Ray a lot of good to have a conversation with someone besides me. We had a good time and partied until late in the night, I think it was about 8:00. Then I had to get to bed and get some rest!

Today’s ride was one of those deceptive rides that didn’t look too bad on paper, but turned out to be a pretty tough. I think it is safe to say that any ride in the Rockies is going to be pretty tough. That is especially true for lithe, 200 pound + creatures like us. We started with an immediately climb out of Montrose. It is so interesting to think that you are on flat ground and think you are not having a good day and then having Ray say that you have climbed several hundred feet.

Near Cimarron, CO

The first climb was the longest, lasting in total about 13 miles. We ran into Phil and the boys at the top of the climb and while we were stopped, to say “good morning”, a guy from New Zealand and a guy from Australia pulled in for a little rest. They were riding with the tour group we ran into yesterday. Ray and I took off first for the downhill and stopped at the store at the bottom. We were not sure there were any more stops in the final 30 or so miles into Gunnison and we knew there were 2 more climbs, so we decided to fuel up. Riders started trickling in behind us and soon we had a pretty large group at the store. That turned it into a fun stop.

We took off again and after a couple of miles more of downhill, we started up again. The next two climbs were pretty close together, then we topped a peak and got our first look at Blue Mesa Reservoir. It was another notch in the beauty belt for this trip! Lucky for us, we were headed due east. And, while the rest of the trip of about 20 miles around the reservoir and through the Gunnison River Canyon into town actually gained a little elevation, the wind was spectacular and gave us a really good push. Ray was hammering into town. I think he felt a little like Eddie Merckx since he was riding without panniers and was really going well.

Blue Mesa Reservoir, CO

We pulled into Gunnison a little tired and ready for a rest day. The girls went to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison today and hiked. It is a spectacular place and we will try to post pictures tomorrow. We are going to hang out with Mary Ann, Gail, Steve and Melonie and get some needed rest before tackling the biggest climb we have, Monarch Pass at a little over 11,300 feet. Close to 1500 miles and we ain’t done yet!!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 24, 2011

All Systems Go!

We found out today it was “All Systems Go”. I will explain later. We woke up in the town of Telluride and rode on the bike path (since we are law-abiding citizens) to a store just out-of-town for our morning repast. There we enjoyed coffee, cliff bars, muffins and good conversation with the store owner and a customer who stopped in. After talking with us, the customer bought Ray and I each a banana for our ride. I did not have the heart to tell her that I was on a refined sugar-only diet. I will hold onto the banana and trade it to someone for some chocolate soon.

Peaks Near Telluride

We had our coffee inside because it was again around 40 degrees outside. When we did step outside, we were treated to the site of three young elk walking through the field nearby. Pretty cool.

Today appeared to be a little easier ride. The first 12 miles was downhill, then we had a 13 mile uphill to a little over 9,000 feet, then a slow decline into Montrose, a distance of about 65 miles.

For those of you who are in arrears on my physical condition, I forgot to mention that I went to a doctor in Telluride and apparently I have “Three Major Networks” disease. I found that I have CBS (Chronic Buttitis Syndrome), I am in major need of ABC (Anti-Buttitis Cream), but it appears there is NBC (No Buttitis Cure). Regardless, we will carry on and hopefully I will toughen up a bit.

View From Dallas Divide, CO

As advertised, our first 12 miles after getting back to our route 3 miles out of Telluride was a screaming downhill. It was so cold that we lost feeling in our toes and fingers again. However, at the bottom of the downhill, the loss of elevation and the sun took away the cold in the first mile of our climb up to Dallas Divide. We got into a rhythm and had a good climb. We passed several people who are in a touring group. They are from all over the world and the tour company had written comments to them on the road, much like the Tour de France. It was fun to see that. We also saw Phil, Pete and David again. They seem to be doing well.

We climbed to the top of Dallas Divide and took in some incredible views! It never gets old to go over the crest of a rise and see more beauty. We took a break to get a snack, then headed to Ridgeway. The last 9 miles was another screamer from the divide to town. I was again losing complete control of my senses, weeping when nobody could hear. Ray, on the other hand was loving it. I was going 46 mph, the smoke from my brakes was enough to merit an EPA warning and Ray continued to get smaller and smaller in the distance. I think he did finally brake because the speed limit was 50 mph and he was well over that.

We stopped in Ridgeway, then started the last 28 mile stretch into Montrose. This is where we found “All Systems Go”. We had thought that by spending so much time on the bike, that certain parts of our body would never work again. Ray spotted a guy on one hill about a half mile ahead of us. He said, “That guy up there is pointing back at you and laughing.” Of course he was not, but at that point, we realized that we were still producing testosterone! We gave chase, panniers, dead legs and all. We caught him within the next couple of miles. He then stayed with us and the rest of the ride ended up being something we shouldn’t be doing. Two guys, loaded to the hilt, doing a pace line with a guy on a road bike for about 20 miles. We will pay tomorrow. But today it was fun! It is good to know that old dogs can at least still bark.

View from Ridgeway, CO

The girls will be here tonight and we are really excited about that. The next few days should be even more fun than we have been having, if that is possible!  Thanks for checking in.

Posted by: rustymccain | June 23, 2011

Conquering Lizard Head

Welcome to Colorado! It continues to amaze me each day I wake up and go outside. We woke up in Dolores, Colorado, which lies right at the foot of the Rockies. It is a pretty little town. Last night, we sat by the Dolores River and had dinner. The cottonwood trees were doing whatever they do to release their seeds, and it looked like snow in the middle of summer. I don’t think the locals like it, but it was really interesting and pretty to see.

Dolores River, CO

Today, we were blessed again with perfect weather. Our ride was to take us to Telluride, a ride of 65 miles. We had a 50 mile climb up to Lizard Head Pass, so we both looked through our bags for our Big Boy pants. Neither of us found any. We stopped at a store and had our morning coffee, then headed up the road.

My amazement today was for this reason. It seems like God decided that Utah should be colored in Brown with a good bit on green thrown in on occasion. As soon as we left Dolores, it was like he turned on a switch and said, “I think I’ll make this part green.” As we rode, we couldn’t believe that the hillsides and valleys were so verdant and alive. The climb that we had feared was, in reality, a bit docile. There were no steep pitches and the riding was absolutely perfect for seeing all the beauty around us. We even spotted an elk on the way up.

We reached the town of Rico at about 38 miles and 9,000 feet. There we got some coffee and Clif bars, my meal of choice lately. As we were there, Phil pulled up again so we were able to visit with him under a brilliant sky and perfect temperatures.

New Friends in Rico!

While we were in Rico, we met the nicest people. We knew Charlie had to be O.K. He was wearing an Alabama cap. We had a great conversation with him and Cindy. We found out that they did several things, including running the Circle K ranch in Dolores. We had passed it earlier in the morning and both took note of it. If you ever want to experience the rugged, real outdoor part of Colorado, I would check into the Circle K. With people as nice as they are, it would have to be a great experience for you.

We left Rico and headed to Lizard Head Pass. Due to the gentleness of the slope, we enjoyed our first taste of the Rockies and crossed the Pass at about 10,300 feet. We then headed into Telluride and ran afoul of the law. We got stopped for riding on the road instead of the bike path. Don’t know if that qualifies us for Hell’s Angels, but apparently we are pretty bad boys. No night in jail though, our plea of ignorance was accepted.

View from Hotel in Telluride

Telluride is in a beautiful canyon and is a great place to stay. We had a great day and a great ride. We are now at 1,301 miles, so we are about 1/3 of the way to the Atlantic! Our wonderful spousal units, Mary Ann and Gail, will arrive tomorrow and for the next five days we will have their companionship and a sag wagon. That will be fun and will give us a big boost!

Thanks again to everyone who is reading and making comments. We are honored that we have people interested and pulling for us to actually make it to Virginia.

Posted by: rustymccain | June 22, 2011

Another Day, Another State!

Just another day in paradise! We woke to another clear and cool morning. Today our route was to take us from our rest day town, Blanding, Utah to (for you Seinfeld fans) the town of Dolores, CO. It was a trip of about 82 miles. We have now made it through three western states and headed for a taste of the Rockies!

A Look Back at Utah

My legs, my butt and I are not speaking to each other once again. Oh sure, it was fun yesterday. I pampered them. We just hung around the hotel room except to feed my stomach. As a side note, my stomach and I are doing quite well. He likes me a lot. Anyway, back to my legs and butt, I didn’t ask either one of them to do anything. They just laid there and had fun doing nothing. I even treated my legs to a good shaving. We all cuddled together last night and slept so well. So this morning, when I told them what we were going to do, I was deeply disappointed that they said “no”.

Actually, we both discovered pretty early on this morning that the long, hard four days that we have just gone through took a toll that cannot be repaired in one day. We both are feeling pretty drained, so our goal today was to enjoy the ride, enjoy the view, enjoy the company and cruise.

We started with a 10 mile undulating climb, that took us up a net 1000 feet to about 7,000 feet, where we stayed most of the day. Dolores lies a little under 7,000 feet. After the climb we cruised into the town of Monticello, Utah, where we spotted Phil’s truck. I have mentioned them before. We stopped in where they were having breakfast and had a nice “catchup” chat with them. They are now down to three as Gary, one of their guys, headed back home, as per his plan. It was good to see them.

One More State!

After leaving Monticello, we headed toward the Colorado border. The next 40-50 miles was a rolling terrain. It was wide open territory and you could see the Rockies in the distance on occasion. They looked so majestic with their sharp, snow-covered peaks. For those who ride, the riding was much like the Natchez Trace in Nashville. Just one rolling hill after another. It seemed like we were going one of two speeds, either 6 mph or 26 mph. The only difference was that the uphills and downhills were 2-3 times longer than the Trace.

A Look Ahead to Colorado

We cruised into Dolores this afternoon. We are now watching “Tarzan” movies on television and making crude comments like “Sure he can swim and run, but did you ever see him ride a bike?”

Dolores sits right at the foot of the Rockies. Tomorrow we climb for about 50 miles up to one of our highest peaks, Lizard Head. Our mantra will probably be, “6 mph is good…. 5 mph is better!” Wish us luck!

Posted by: rustymccain | June 21, 2011

Livin’ the High Life in Blanding

The Road Less Travelled

Today was a welcomed rest day. We have now covered 1,154 miles in a little over two weeks. We needed a little break. And, we are in the lap of luxury here in Blanding. This is the first hotel in which we have stayed that had a continental breakfast! We have not hit the jackpot yet. That would be: continental breakfast, complimentary shampoo and conditioner, and lotion. That is our quest. One day we will find such a place. Call me a dreamer!

So far, the trip has been everything I expected and yet nothing that I expected. I am really surprised by how much open land is out here. I have been surprised by the amount of green in the desert. I have been surprised by the history. I can’t imagine people traveling through some of these areas 150 years ago on wagons. It makes you feel a bit small, but it is fascinating to see the history.

I have been pleased that we have seemed to keep those dreaded I’s (Injury and Illness) away for now. Ray is feeling pretty good. He is super tired and needed today. I have a little soreness in my knees and the old torn tendon in my foot is a little inflamed, but not bad. Other than being super tired as well, I feel pretty good.

We are still on our weight-loss plan and have both gained about 4 pounds. Going really well so far.

We have a beautiful country. We have met a lot of really nice people. There is an instant bond with people who are doing this route. We have seen West to Easters and East to Westers and in every case, there has been a “good job, keep the pedals turning” type of conversation. It’s like we are all one big team and anyone we have come in contact with seemed to be willing to join in and help us. If nothing else happens, this makes it a worthwhile trip.

The most important lesson I am learning is that you just keep on keeping on. There have been a lot of times when I start to question my sanity and wonder if I can make it. When I consider the whole trip or the whole day, I get overwhelmed. And yet, when I just say to myself, “Live in the moment, turn that crank over one more time, look at the next vista, don’t worry about the next day,” it seems all so doable. The mind is a powerful thing. It is good to test it. I don’t know about Ray, but I am immensely enjoying the test in such beautiful surroundings. I think he would say the same thing. I don’t know if we will make the Atlantic, but I think we can. My goal is to think nothing except that.

I want to say a special thanks again for all those who are following and/or commenting. Ray and I never really talked about the blog or recording our thoughts much, but since we started, the blog and your comments have inspired us. We talk about it every day. We now have over 5,000 hits on the blog. When we are down, or when we need a boost, we have thought or talked about all the people who are pulling for us to make it. And I speak for both of us when I say, “Thanks” for all your support.

I have to go for now, I have to move my legs. They have not been moved since early this morning. Tomorrow, we say good-bye to Utah and start heading to the Rocky Mountains. We’ll let you know how that goes.

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