Author Archives: Kevin Cartin

Day 27 – Rain Rain, Go Away

Thursday, August 15 – 2051 miles down, 1222 to go

I stepped out of the hotel into rain this morning.

I was taken aback.  We’d been twisting the tail of the Rain gods by telling people what good weather we’d been having, and today it bit us.  So, we could sit and wait for it to clear, or we could ride.  I looked at the weather report and it showed that we were on the eastern edge of a storm, and that it was clearer the farther east you went.  So we had a team meeting and we decided to try to ride out of it.  I figured that by 10 or 15 miles we’d be clear.

Rich Mills, who has PD and whom we had dinner with last night wanted to ride with us today.  However the weather proved to be a show-stopper for him.  Since he has PD we understood his reasoning, and we shook hands all around before we left. He’s a good guy and will probably keep riding solo across the country because, like I said yesterday, he’s definitely Living Well with Parkinson’s.

About to leave, hiding in the only dry spot, under a tree: Rick, Kevin, Kathleen, Rich Mills, Tom

About to leave, hiding in the only dry spot, under a tree: Rick, Kevin, Kathleen, Rich Mills, Tom

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Day 26 – Busy Busy

Wednesday, August 14 – 1979 miles down, 1295 to go

Today was hectic and productive.

We had two meetings with Parkinson’s Groups today.  One in Creston as we passed through at the 48 mile mark of our ride, and then another in Osceola, our terminus city for today, with another group.  Oh yeah, and we had to ride 79 miles in there somewhere.  I’ve still got this cold going on, and I sound like a bullfrog in heat when I talk.  Well, that’s a guess.  Taking drugs (legal ones, this time) and hopefully they’ll knock it down.

We left Red Oak around 6:50am this morning after Kathleen’s mom Mary whipped up another of her astounding meals.  I didn’t mention the peach cobbler yesterday, but she uses tapioca to thicken it, and it’s awesome.  Today she treated us to overnight cinnamon rolls covered with this sauce that you could drink a gallon of.  This time the secret in the sauce is ice cream.  Thank God we got out of there before we gained 130 pounds.  Iowa home cooking – UmmUmm good.

Leaving Wayne and Mary's

Leaving Wayne and Mary’s

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Day 24 – Limping Into Lincoln

Monday, August 12 – 1800 miles down, 1474 to go

Another eventful day on the road.

First however, about last night: Kathleen and I stayed up late talking to Mike and Connie Hein about the local Parkinson’s Group.  The group doesn’t have any type of budget and runs on a shoestring.  Mike was envisioning ways to hold some type of annual fundraiser since Nebraska has the highest incidence of Parkinson’s in the U.S. and the group needs money to better carry out its mission.  Several ideas were floated but the one that stuck, naturally, was a bike ride that would benefit both the Davis Phinney Foundation as well as the local PD group.

We talked for hours about the logistics and how it might become a reality.  The Heins are motivated and hopefully something will come of the discussion.  It will take some strength of will to achieve escape velocity from the everyday job-grind and to bootstrap an event like a bike ride.  But that’s what this is all about: ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  I hope that we’ve germinated a seed that will take hold and this ride will become a reality in the heartland of Nebraska.  Grand Island isn’t that far away from Boulder and I’ll be happy to offer what assistance I can to help.

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Day 23 – Rest Day #3

Sunday, August 11 – 1709 miles down, 1565 to go

Today was a huge event in Grand Island.

First, Connie Hein made a breakfast that boggled our minds.  Overnight french toast laden with brown sugar and syrup, fruit bowls with granola and yogurt, two types of turkey sausage, juices and other assorted goodies.  Man was it good to get some serious home cooking.  We all ate until we groaned.  Then we just relaxed for awhile before leaving for lunch (yes, more food) and the symposium at the hospital.

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Day 22 – Grand Welcome

Saturday, August 10 – 1709 miles down, 1565 to go
Listen to Tom’s interview: Grand Island, Nebraska

Grand Island pulled out the stops and welcomed us with open arms today.

But first, today we crossed our Halfway Across The U.S. Mendoza Line.  We now have traveled more than half our total miles.  Since we’re on the left side of the time zone again we were loading at 5:45am in the pitch dark.  So, we had breakfast at the Econo Lodge and waited for it to get light enough to ride.  Finally got on the road around 6:45am.

Heading out from the Econo Lodge

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Day 21 – Short and Fast

Friday, August 9 – 1630 miles down, 1644 to go       Listen to Tom’s take on the day: Lexington

Today was “Halfway Day” in terms of days.

21 days down, 21 days to go.  We’re also almost halfway through our trip for miles as well, just 7 miles short of crossing over.  Seems weird to think that we left Oceanside 3 weeks ago and have pedaled halfway across the United States.  Tomorrow about 25 minutes into our ride we’ll finally have more miles behind us than in front of us.

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Day 20 – Hammertime

Thursday, August 8 – 1568 miles down, 1706 to go

Today was more blistering than yesterday.

First, to put a coda on our Grand Motel experience, we were up early and crept like rats out of our rooms and loaded the trailer.  The highway crew beat us up and out however.  Perhaps they couldn’t sleep after the gentleman who’s re-building his motorcycle in the Grand Motel parking lot fired it up around midnight and blew the pipes clean for several minutes.  Hmm.  Maybe.  A cautious silence pervaded as we quietly clicked in and glided out of the parking lot.    Continue reading

Day 19 – Downhill and Upwind

Wednesday, August 7 – 1485 miles down, 1789 to go

We really went after it today.

We were all looking forward to the ride as the profile headed downhill on a steady gradient for 104 miles from Fort Morgan to Julesburg.  The manager at the Super 8 brought out breakfast early for us, so we were fueled and on the road at 6:15am.  We navigated out of Fort Morgan on Highway 34 and had traffic until we got through Brush (9 miles in) and turned off onto Highway 6.  Continue reading

Day 18 – Plain and Simple

Tuesday, August 6 – 1381 miles down, 1893 to go

I’ve really been looking forward to today.

Our first day on the Great Plains, with NO MOUNTAINS, and a riding day after a rest day.  The profile resembled a saw-blade but without the extreme relief that marked our passage through the Rockies.  We wanted to see how our legs felt and reacted to a bit of rest.  Also, I had new tires on both wheels and was back to riding my 23’s without a hint of rub on the frame.

Our route took us east out of Boulder about 70 miles on Highway 52, and then north to Fort Morgan for a 90 mile day.  The Parkinson’s community was in full swing as we also had a number of riders who wanted to ride some or all of the distance with us.  Several acquaintances of Tom: his brother Tim, his nephew-in-law Ken Daniels (if there is such a thing), Dan Jackson and Jay Mcilvoy.  To add to the group we had Tom’s wife, Amy Casey, riding as well, which was wonderful as Amy is our Web Goddess and monitors all communications, interview requests, payments and assorted other logistics for the ride.  Now she was finally able to get out and stretch her legs.  We also had Mike Stengel show up to wish us well and Rick’s father Lloyd also stopped by.   Continue reading

Day 17 – Rest Day #2

These “rest days” are killer.

There’s just so much to do: Take the car and trailer in for a check-up, get the bikes looked at and tuned, re-stock on everything that’s needed, clean and sort out the car and re-pack the coolers, re-pack the trailer.  Oh, and a stop by work for a couple of interviews for the Development Manager job I’m trying to fill.  I also had to take my shoes in as part of them wore off over the course of the past 16 days.  University Bikes was once again amazing, and warrantied them and gave me new shoes.  That’s why I go there – great service.

The rest day gave me a chance to ponder some of the people who have made it possible for me to make this ride a reality, so I’d like to take this chance to thank them and to recognize their efforts.

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Day 16 – There’s No Place Like Home

Sunday, August 4th – 1291 miles down, 1983 to go

Welcome to the whackiest day of our ride so far.

In theory it should have been easy.  Ride from Copper Mountain to Boulder so we could be home and have a rest day in our own beds.  In practice it was far different.  Stay tuned on that.  We had a number of Parkinson’s supporters joining us for our ride.  Another high school buddy named John Barday as well as two big DPF supporters in Shelley and Tara.  So, we had 7 riders starting out.

The whacky day started early with a 5:30am phone call from our current sag driver Mike Casey.  He’d been on the phone with CDOT and overnight a tanker had crashed on Loveland Pass.  The HazMat crew was trying to clean it up, but first they had to drain the tanker, then clean up the wreck, then clean up the spill, and then (get this) RE-PAVE a part of the road.

Boy did that foul up our route and our day.    Continue reading

Day 15 – Why We Ride

Saturday, August 3 – 1183 miles down, 2091 to go

Today was a major day in our adventure.  We rode the Copper Triangle, which benefits the Davis Phinney Foundation, and is one of their key fundraisers during the year.

About a year ago when we really got serious about this cross-country escapade, we met with Lauren from the DPF to discuss our route across the U.S.  Lauren suggested it would be very cool if we planned the route to coincide with the Copper Triangle.  So that’s what we did when we mapped out the entire route.  It’s also why you may think we’re a bit crazy to ride this route that spends several days going North instead of East, and takes us over so many of the Rocky Mountain passes.

It’s been quite an uphill battle as you know from previous blog posts, but today was the payoff.  Over 3000 people ride the Copper Triangle each year and the culmination is an appearance by Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter and their two children, Taylor and Kelsey.  A check is presented to Davis as the registration dollars and other donations all go to the Foundation.  It’s quite an annual event.    Continue reading

Day 14 – Headwinds

Friday, August 2 – 1103 miles down, 2170 to go

We had a surprise last night as one of our old friends, Dave Van Dore,  joined us in Salida so he could ride along with us today.  It was great to see him again and always nice to have a fresh set of legs to take some pulls (ahem).

We must be getting better because we had the trailer loaded and the Acadia sorted out by 6:00am and made a 6:07am departure.  Getting out early was necessary because it was an 84 mile day from Salida to Copper Mountain and went steadily uphill for 73 miles through Leadville and over the top of Fremont Pass.  The reward was an 11 mile descent into Copper.   Continue reading

Day 13 – Team

Thursday, August 1

Today was supposed to be one of our easier days, but it sure didn’t turn out that way.

Since it took 13 hours to get to Del Norte yesterday we decided to reward ourselves with a later start this morning.  Instead of a 6:00am start, we’d go with 7:00am.  Rick & I were at the Windsor Hotel and the Casey’s were at a bunkhouse provided by Laurie (we’re saving costs whenever possible).  We didn’t all coordinate and get ready to go until almost 8:00am.  So, later than we wanted, but given the route, no worries.

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