Day 30 – Navigating to Naperville

Sunday, August 18 – 2342 miles down, 932 to go

Another milestone day.

We now have less than 1000 miles left of our ride.  We cling to these milestones as they indicate the passage of the U.S. under our wheels.  2000 miles ridden, crossing the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, less than 1000 miles to go.  We’ve been at it for 30 days now with 3 rest days thrown in.  We’ve completely lost track of calendar days.  I have no idea what day of the week it is, only “What ride day is it and how far to our next Rest Day?”  Weekends and weekdays have no meaning.  It’s kind of a surreal existence compared to a “normal” sleep / eat / work / home / repeat / weekend routine.  However the hours can pass quickly on the road as you end up doing mental math to keep sharp: We’re doing 5 mile pulls, we have a 97 mile day, that’s 19 pulls plus change, meaning I have 5 pulls today.

Sorry to wax philosophical, it’s just a weird experience to change your time measurement algorithm.

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Day 29 – Dave’s 35

Saturday, August 17 – 2252 miles down, 1021 to go

Another day, another century.

We’re in one of these quirky parts of the route where we had to string together some longer riding days.  Plus, we’re riding these in Iowa and Illinois, so after the mountains we should be in fine shape.  Sure.  When making plans like this in the future I’ll always add in a “Wind Factor”.  And we haven’t been calling the wind “Mariah” lately, but many other colorful names.  Luckily we had some fresh legs with us to help us cross the mighty Mississippi and head east.  Dave Parker was going to be riding with us to begin.

Dave and two of his buddies, John Harrington and Joe Jamison, rode out today with us.  I found out that Dave was unable to ride a bike with Parkinson’s as his right side would freeze.  But, he received deep brain stimulation and his freezing and tremors were minimized.  To celebrate he bought himself a new Cannondale bicycle as he could once again ride.  Recall that Dave used to ride at least a century a month.  He was in fine fettle as we all assembled and pushed off around 6:45am.  Dave’s goal was to ride 30 miles as that was as far as he had ridden to-date in his current situation.

The group departs the Comfort Inn in Muscatine: Kathleen, Joe, Tom, John, Dave, Kevin and Rick

The group departs the Comfort Inn in Muscatine: Kathleen, Joe, Tom, John, Dave, Kevin and Rick

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Day 28 – Big River

Friday, August 16 – 2148 miles down, 1126 to go

Technology failed me today.

I know several people who will laugh heartily at that statement as I’m a known Luddite despite being employed in the high-tech industry.  Regardless I put a lot of trust and faith in the Garmin to keep us on the right route each day.  Today it urped when I loaded the daily route and said, “route calculation error“.  Hmm.  OK, so I always have a backup plan, and that’s written instructions that we keep in the sag for the driver and referral.  So I had a look and led us out of Ottumwa.  But I went awry somewhere and we ended up heading the wrong way.  It took some time and friendly highway crewman and (thank God) Lori to get us sorted out, but we finally did, and added about 5 miles to our journey, which meant another century today.  I was quite upset and wasn’t pleasant for awhile, but the team picked me up and we got past the situation.  So “Thank you team!” (you have to say that like Tim Gunn on Project Runway for full effect).

Heading out from the AmericInn in Ottumwa

Heading out from the AmericInn in Ottumwa

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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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Over Two Thousands Miles

We are moving and grooving across this great country. We surpassed the two thousand mile mark today. We are far from done.Our team is solid and we won’t quit. The journey has been tremendous with fourteen days left.  Tomorrow we arrive at the West banks of the Mississippi River in Muscatine, Iowa.  We have a mission and without your help we will fall short of our goal. Many of you who follow us have all ready given and many more want to help but really don’t know what to do. We need everyone to step up to the plate. We have so many ways to DONATE. We are requesting your support more than ever. This disease deserves your support.

The Davis Phinney Foundation (DPF) is dedicated to serving those with Parkinsons.

We are just four riders that are pedaling hard for your dollars. This is not about us, this is about those who are debilitated with this awful disease.  Our very best is being given each day  to spread word and the awareness We want you to do the same.

Take a moment and  create a way of generating funds. Exhaust you network and tell them you need their help. After riding with Parkinson people and having lunch with several support groups along our path, we understand what The Davis Phinney Foundation needs. YOUR HELP!!!  The easiest thing you can do is help us once a day (each email address that you have) for the next three days by going to our website and Vote for Rick. Just for voting we can raise an extra TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for the Foundation.  PLEASE GO VOTE at The other way is up to you. It’s really simple, DONATE.


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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The Pickled Butter Ballad


Carl Ames – extraordinary human and song writer

You’ll remember Carl Ames of Scoop fame at the Copper Triangle. Well, now he’s composed a song for the team, combining the important themes of Chamois Butt’r and pickles,  both favorites of the FFP team.

by Carl Ames

Moooooove on, Moooooove on down the highway,
The sun is up – and we’ve got miles to go!
Butter up and stock the pickles fresh and plenty,
Because without our B&P’s we would be so slow!

The Friends  For Phinney  are  cruisin across this country,
Over half way there, they still have many miles to go!
Keep the butter and the pickles  fresh and plenty,
Because without our B&P’s we would be so slow!

We’ve got to make Red Oak by this evening,
Then Osceola and Ottumwa are next to go,
Keep the butter and the pickles fresh and plenty,
Because without our B&Ps, we would be so slow!

We will end this ride in Good ole New York City,
Times Square will be the place we want to go.
Keep the butter and the pickles fresh and plenty,
Because without our B&P’s we would be so slow!

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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