Postponed again.

Life has a way of getting in the way. Originally, it was my plan to return to the ride later this summer (2017). In the interim, there have been a few life changes that will, once again, postpone things.

Jane and I have decided to sell our home and move to something requiring less maintenance. All this traveling and keeping up a home does not go well together. At our age, the traveling takes precedence over mowing lawns and fixing plumbing.

In addition, we have a rental property that we’re selling, for the same reasons. We’re closing on a home to move into, a manufactured home at a local mobile home park. It needs work, but, once done, we can get on with our lives. Of course, a home of that nature isn’t as solid as what we have now and we could end up like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz in a tornado, or hurricane. It is a chance we’ll have to take.

The closings for the properties we are selling will happen in August and September. That, and moving, precludes any bike adventures for the time being. Currently, I go out for midnight rides and will continue until the weather cools. It is just too hot here in Sarasota in the summer to ride during the day. Additionally, there is absolutely no traffic late at night. With a powerful headlamp, tree frogs singing and no traffic, what’s not to like?

This puts finishing the bicycle ride out to next summer. I’m hoping that July will be the right time. I could go earlier, but May or June can be chilly and rainy up north, so why push it? Any suggestions on places that I should stop and see along the way? The tentative route is flexible:


The Surly, Long Haul Trucker

The Surly Long Haul Trucker with full-sized Nashbar panniers on the back. Since this photo was taken, I have added a Surly front rack as well.

This is just a quick update. I now have a new mount for my attack on finishing my ride from coast-to-coast, a Surly, Long Haul Trucker (LHT). I purchased it used from a hiking friend and it is a perfect fit.

The LHT is the perfect touring machine, especially in my case. All of my previous bicycles have never had sufficient foot room. When pedaling, my heels would always hit against the panniers shown in the photo above. On my ride coast-to-coast last summer I had to use front panniers on the back of the bicycle. They are smaller and allowed room for my size 15 (EU 50) feet. The LHT has plenty of room and now I will be able to pack even more gear next summer.

The previous Cannondale bicycle while passing through Oregon. Note the small panniers on the back, matching the front bags.

As yet, there are no firm plans for a date, but I will complete the ride next summer. I will start back in Stacy, Minnesota, where I crashed and continue on through Wisconsin, take a ferry across Lake Michigan, Michigan, Canada, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and then finish in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Yes, I will once again be carrying my amateur radio equipment and will be on the air along the way. The equipment was undamaged in the crash, I wasn’t so lucky.

I look forward to all of you following along and hope to talk to many of my ham radio friends along the way. Hopefully, the northern winter will be short and sweet…

Dennis “K1YPP” Blanchard

Day 70: Recovering nicely


The rail trail where I crashed. Note the seams in the trail, which are very much like the ones on all the roads in the northwest. Those seams cause a constant pounding when riding over them on a bicycle.

Going through photos of my trip this morning, I realized that I had stopped shortly before the crash to photograph the trail surface. The constant pounding of the bicycle wheels on those seams had been on my mind since Oregon. I kept thinking they would eventually fatigue a spoke or two and I would have to repair a wheel. I had forgotten about my front pannier rack and that I wanted to safety wire it because I was concerned that if the mounting bracket broke, it would stop my front wheel. Guess what I forgot to safety wire. I really hate being correct sometimes.

It has been just over two weeks since my crash. I’m healing well and the pain is finally subsiding. The worst pain was in the wrists. I must have really been hanging onto the handlebars.

The search for a replacement bike goes on. I’ve narrowed my choices down to a Cannondale, CoMotion, or Surly.

Cannondale Touring1 machine, very much like the machine I crashed on. Now comes with the rear rack.

I’ve been very happy with my Cannondales over the years, both for road touring and mountain bike racing. All of their bikes that I have owned were made in the USA. Now, they seem to be making most of their bikes in Taiwan, so I’m not as enamored with them any longer. Still, the touring bike they offer does meet my needs.

The Co-Motion machine. Very nice, but near $4000. The one in this photo has the “Co-Pilot” option. The “Co-Pilot” is the shiny object on the frame that allows the bike frame to be disassembled for shipping in a small box. That option is $700. That may sound like a lot of money, but if one ships the bike often it can mean a considerable savings in shipping costs.

The CoMotion machines are made in Oregon. They’re really well made and have a great reputation, but I just may not be able to afford one, they are twice the cost of the others. When the Cannondales were made here, they did cost more than the Asian versions, but not twice as much. I suppose they would be now, as are the CoMotion machines. Still, I can dream, can’t I?

Shown here is the Surly Long Haul Trucker, disc brake version. The trucker name places this bike in a serious touring category. It is not a racing bike, it is meant for hauling lots of gear over long distances.

Then there is the Surly. They have a long standing reputation for being one of the best touring machines. I don’t know where they were originally manufactured, but they too are now from Asia. I’m leaning towards the Surly. A friend has one for sale that might fit me, if it does, I would seriously consider it. We’ll see. The friend’s bike has already completed one coast-to-coast ride.

It doesn’t hurt to smile…


As for me, I’m feeling well. I’m still stiff and walk like an old man, but then I am, so nobody notices. Since I don’t have a bike here in Florida at the moment I have been riding Jane’s. It is small for me but at least I get to exercise the muscles. I had lost ten pounds on the coast-to-coast ride and lost another two pounds upon my return, but now I have put a few pounds back on. Time to get back on a bike and keep the weight in check.

Jane and I have plans for next summer, but, if I can find a month there somewhere I may just go back and finish Wisconsin to Massachusetts. My daughter, Áine, pointed out that I seem to do most of my epic journeys in two parts (The Appalachian Trail, The Vermont Trail) so why should this be any different? Good point.

We’ll see.

Day 56: St. Paul, Minnesota

This is just a quick note to all that are following along. I’m near the St. Paul airport and am picking up a rental car and driving back to Sarasota. I have had a quick look at your comments, but just don’t have time to answer them all, I have to pick up the car.

Thanks to all for so much concern and I’ll post when I have time from home. You’re a great bunch and it is nice to know the team is cheering for me.

Too bad you didn’t see me vault off of the bike, the German judges gave me a 9.7.

Day 28: Another day in Missoula, Montana.

Yesterday afternoon, I returned to (ACA) Adventure Cycling Assoc. for the photo session with Greg. He is a great guy and makes one feel very comfortable in an uncomfortable setting. Being a “model” is not something I do well. His “studio” is a drop sheet at the shipping dock and a hanging scale to weigh the bike. It escapes me now, but I think I guessed the bike weighed 72 pounds (32.6 kg) and if I recall correctly, it was 85 pounds (38.5 kg). Have I added a few things along the way? Maybe. The good news is, there are many that are heavier.

The side of the Adventure Cycling building.

I spent most of the day trying to find a place to stay in Missoula that wouldn’t break the bank. I had a promise from Julie, who works at ACA, that she would have room for me in their basement, should I find nothing. That is eventually where I ended up.

It was my intention to spend the afternoon in the Rose Memorial Park with my ham radio but the weather had other ideas. There were thunder storms rolling through the area and I really hated to put up an antenna to attract lightning, not to mention having to set up the equipment and then quickly tear down as rain approached. I gave up the idea and just hung around having tea, donuts, and an evening meal at a Chinese restaurant.

Julie takes a group of women out on a long ride after work, but told me I could go to her place, her spouse would be there to let me in, and he was. I met the cat and was shown a bed in the basement and almost immediately was unconscious in a deep sleep by around 8:30 pm. Even though I had hardly ridden all day, I needed sleep.