Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Starting Point: VFW Post 10429, Benbrook.

These guys are outstanding. They offered us anything we need without hesitation within 5 minutes of me walking in and ordering a beer.

Post Commander Joe Wolfe will meet us Saturday morning. There's locked, fenced parking for personal vehicles. He'll also be on call to let us in Sunday night to recover our rides. Or we can take our own lock and lock our lock to his lock, so we can let ourselves out, and take ours with us when we go.

We just have to stop in some 1st or 3rd Saturday night for Steak Night and tell some stories from the road. They showed me the 16 oz NY Strip - I think I can manage that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MapMyRide GPS Courses

Gents, here are links to the latest GPS courses for each day. I only plotted days 1 through 5, as the others I think we'll play by ear. I downloaded these into my Garmin 305 and they seem to be solid.

Day 1 - Fort Worth to Meridian
Day 2 - Meridian to Copperas Cove
Day 3 - Copperas Cove to Marble Falls
Day 4 - Marble Falls to Blanco
Day 5 - Blanco to San Antonio

I didn't make any changes to day 1, but I didn't figure we needed to be that exact after all. I can update it if needed later.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Return Trip

I've reserved a minivan for our return trip. I can't guarantee how many people will fit with all their gear, but it's supposed to be a minivan. I reserved it from the Hertz at the airport. I know it's not the closest, but not much is open on Sunday morning. So it might just be a quick morning ride for a couple of us to get the van.

At any rate, the way I figure it is this: as long as we get the minivan, we can always add another sub-compact if we have more people. The bikes can go in the van, and the overflow people can go into the car.

Beeville Accomodations

As I said before, Lari Aycock will be joining us for the SA to CC legs of the trip. She's got her father driving SAG for her and may be bringing along a couple other riders to fill out the ranks heading down 181.

I asked her to look around and see about camping accommodations, since we're motelling in SA and likely in CC as well.

This, gentlemen , is how that's done:

(Quote) "I pursued the Hilltop Mobile Home Ranch information I had received and this morning talked to Priscilla Stewart. She tells me the Ranch was for self-contained units (although I told her each of you were self-contained) she meant more that the code is no camping because there are no restrooms.the place is definitely for RV'ers.

However, as she was looking up some numbers in the phone book for me (don't you love small town niceness?) she asked why we were coming, what we were doing etc. By the end of the conversation, she says the group is welcome to the pasture area near the fishing pond. It is definitely "roughing it", but there is a toilet and a water faucet. There is electricity as well.

She says dove hunters come every year and camp out just fine. She was concerned that it is really just a plot of land with a fishing pond and a toilet, and wanted to reiterate that it was definitely the "pack everything in" type of thing. I told her it was about 10 people. She seemed fine with it. I asked about costs and she said "$1.00 per person and it can be waived until next year, if you plan on doing this again".

She then started looking up numbers in the phone book for the newspaper and asked that we contact some folks there to get the word out. ... Speak to either Mr. Latchum. Tell them she (Priscilla Stewart) asked you to call (she went to school with them) the paper is the Beeville Picayune 361-358-2550.

The fishing pond is ½ mile off of the 181 bypass. She said she'd be willing to bring the truck to meet the group and haul the bikes in. I told her I would get back to her in a week or so about whether we'd be there, narrow down the number and details. When I asked why she was sticking her neck out like that to strangers she said, "it's the right thing to do".(/Quote)

Rough Schedule from DFW to San Antone

Folks, so here are the rough mileages we are undertaking each day:

Day 1 to Meridian - 81 mi
Day 2 to Copperas Cove - 74 mi
Day 3 to Marble Falls - 55 mi
Day 4 to Blanco - 44 mi
Day 5 to San Antonio - 48 mi

Days 1, 2 and 5 I'd almost swear to the miles, but days 3 and 4 could be 2 or 3 more as I didn't go over them as closely.

I've made campsite reservations for Meridian and Blanco (8th and 11th respectively). I reserved one site for each of those days. We will likely need a 2nd spot at each of these places, depending on our final count.

I haven't made any hotel reservations as of this point, but we should be thinking about that as well.

Shake down ride

Steve and I had a good shake down ride and camp. Learned a few things.

1st remember it’s a bike ride not a camping trip. Carry only what you NEED to camp minimally. Remember our 4th night will be in town and even before that washing machines will not be too far away. And your evening/night cloths will be used only a few hours.

2nd Organization of your bags is important. Think about what you need and when you will need it. i.e. flashlight, jacket, gloves, hat etc. I carried my foot print and tent outside so if it’s wet I can set it up without exposing my gear more than necessary, but buried my sleeping bag and warm camp cloths. Having some warm cloths handy is nice after getting off the bike all sweaty and warm to then going to a open windy campsite where is god cool fast. Have a few quick layers and a watch cap would be nice. Also we needed lights pretty quickly and having the flashlight handy was nice. In the morning I had a pair of over gloves(knit work gloves) handy which was nice when cooking in the 30 something cool wind. I think I can loose 8-10 lbs easily on my load and can make it much easier to get the stuff I need.

3rd I don’t think keeping a better then 12 MPH pace will be an issue, but we need to make sure an make stops when we need them, eat, and hydrate is essential to going the long distances the 1st 2 days.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Decisions from Lunch:

Topics were:

  1. Start date - the daily mileage we're looking at is pretty beefy. Do we want to start on Saturday the 8th and give ourselves an extra riding day - or start at noon and give ourselves an extra half day? Or do we tear it up as planned?
  2. On-Bike signage for advertising the Soldier Ride while we're on the road. Any progress on this?
  3. Gear sharing schemes.
  4. Protocol for people who may drop out of the tour.
  5. Getting back home. Can someone truck my bike back if I fly home?
  6. Maps/Navigation and route planning. Satisfactory?
  7. Open floor for discussion.

What we decided:

1. START DATE - We are departing from the general vicinity of NAS Ft Worth on SATURDAY, March 8th at around 9 am.

We plan to make Meridian State Park our first night's goal. It's 80-odd miles, so pray for a tailwind. It will make the subsequent days much less brutal to give ourselves the extra day's ride. Our pace will be dead slow.

Since we just decided today to leave on Sat. we do NOT know for sure that Mad Duck can/will accompany us on Day One. If they cannot, we will break Jack's necessary gear down and carry it among the rest of us, until Mad Duck Catches up with us, on Sunday.

2. Signage - Steve is looking into signs with a contact I have in McKinney. We should be good to go there.

3. Gear Sharing - Some people are lending gear, but nobody seems to be splitting loads for tentage and such. No problems here.

4. Drops - We don't intend to make Mad Duck to carry any passenger for more than a half day. It's agreed that while no one will be left alone on the roadside, neither does our schedule permit long delays while someone makes unexpected arrangements. If someone cannot continue, it's on each rider to have arrangements in place to get wherever they need to go next, whether that be home, to San Antonio, or Corpus.

5. Return - Rental of a minivan to move people and bikes home, departing Corpus early on Sunday the 16, seems to be the best plan to get back. If occupancy is a problem, I can likely fly home if my bike can travel in the minivan. IN this event, I would certainly kick in for the rental.

*Note* I had not noticed the U Haul sponsorship connection, till Jack pointed it out in email. That may be worth examining further if minivan rental appears to be a problem.

6. Route - I remembered coming back from lunch that the Trinity Trail runs directly from the East Gate of NAS Ft Worth, to Bryant Irvin Road, South of Interstate 20. If we like, we don't even have to *see* any city traffic till we're almost out of it. The Panther City tour boys said they had trouble riding on 377, so I'm considering alternatives. More on this later.

Taking the TT would knock a couple miles off the other route, and avoid a metric buttload of traffic and stops.

Did I leave anything out?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Check it. WWP in the Dallas Morning News

Article here

I already sent an email with the Roll Aid poster and appropriate linkage to the reporter, Michael Young. I'm hopeful he might see fit to find out more about Roll Aid for another article.

I copied Woody on that email and I see he's followed up as well. Thanks, Woody!

That's lunch, people...!

The second and last Roll Aid steering luncheon and meeting will take place Friday Feb 22 at 12:00 noon at Weinberger's Delicatessen.

The address is 601 S. Main St. in Grapevine. It's in the little historic downtown district on the South end. Parking is on the street and around back.

Topics will include:
  1. Start date - the daily mileage we're looking at is pretty beefy. Do we want to start on Saturday the 8th and give ourselves an extra riding day - or start at noon and give ourselves an extra half day? Or do we tear it up as planned?

  2. On-Bike signage for advertising the Soldier Ride while we're on the road. Any progress on this?

  3. Gear sharing schemes.

  4. Protocol for people who may drop out of the tour.

  5. Getting back home. Can someone truck my bike back if I fly home?

  6. Maps/Navigation and route planning. Satisfactory?

  7. Open floor for discussion.

Please post your own discussion points in the 'Comments' section of this post.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lone Star Challenge Jerseys

Hey guys, I was looking at the LoneStar Challenge page (linked from our humble blog). I see a pretty cool jersey being worn by most of the guys. Any chance there's a place we can buy a couple of those to help support the cause? Or are those limited to the soldiers only?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Well, got the BOB back together after the rattle can job to clean up some of the frame rust. Thought a color that doesn't blend into the road was a better option than the original gray. It's currently packed with all my "camp" gear, minus a few things I'll be borrowing. I will load more every day for the next 2 weeks. Didn't really notice it today on the roll to work, might have slowed me 1-2 MPh average, or that might just have been the sleep deprivation I had last night?

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Packing List

is here - please pick it apart. I'm trying to get it all into two panniers and a bar bag.

Coast to the Coast Packing list

If it's not highlighted, I don't have it yet.

I'll add "whiskey flask" to the next iteration.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Packing List

Well here is what I have, I am sure I missed something, or have too much of something else. Comment more than welcome

1 BOB trailer Get extra clips
1 Chain Oil Measure a small quantity sufficient only for trip duration
1 cleat set
1 Crescent wrench Small
1 Cycling Helmet
1 handle bar light extra batteries AA
1 Helmet cam get extra SD cards and batteries
1 helmet light Get charger
1 Locking cable Lightweight, just to act as a deterrent with combo lock
1 Multi knife small
1 Puncture kit Patches and glue levers CO2
1 Rag For general wiping1 pump
1 trunk bag repack
2 Rear panniers Small
2 Spare tubes
2 water bottles
10 Bungies Small and big
20 Cable Ties To tie various parts in bike box
1 flash light extra batteries AAA and AA
1 sleeping bag PAD??
1 tent
2 Misc bags
2 towel small
4 Large plastic bags To waterproof rear panniers
1 bathing suit
1 Evening shoes Light sneakers
1 Fanny pack To carry wallets in the evening
1 sweatshirt
2 shirts- 1 Short sleeves 1 long sleeve
2 socks
2 Underwear
1 Cycling gloves regular
1 Cycling gloves Warm
1 Cycling shoes With SPD clipless pedals - comfortable to walk on
1 Cycling tights W/O pad
1 Lime Green shell For visibility and light rain

Friday, February 15, 2008

Meet Jack, our newest rider.

Severely injured and paralyzed for 3 months after an Army training accident, Jack has recovered sufficiently over the years to join us on the Coast to the Coast. In San Antonio, Jack will link up with the official Soldier Ride organization for the remainder of the journey. Obviously a man of impeccable taste, Jack's planning on rocking a Cannondale for the ride.

He will be tossing his camping baggage into the Honda Element that Clarence of Mad Duck Adventure Sports has so graciously offered to shadow our progress and carry gear for those who don't have the equipment to carry it on the bike - all the way to San Antonio.

Since he'll be traveling light, Jack has generously offered to pull our little pelotón the whole way down into the Springtime breezes.

At least, that's what I think he meant when he offered to show us "how a real man breaks wind"...

Let's give a big hand to both of them.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The friendly cats over at Panther City Bicycles...

Are going to be covering a bit of the same ground next week, as we are next month. Hopefully, Bernie, Chris and Bryan will stop in and share what they've learned on their weeklong trip to Enchanted Rock which starts tomorrow.

They give us a little room on their blog, here

Bernie, you sure you're carrying enough stuff for a whole week?

Bike pics

Here's the intrepid adventurer after a cool night at Mineral Wells SP. This trip is fun because 16 miles of the 56 mile trip home are on the Mineral Wells Rail-to-Trail line. No traffic other than other bikes, and a couple horses.
I didn't get a pic, but I saw the biggest roadrunnner I've ever seen on this trip.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Welcome Nieves, Charlie and Jack !

These gentlemen are all committed to riding in the Official Lone Star State Challenge, but they've also contacted me about joining us on our little Coast to the Coast.

So far, Nieves sounds pretty sure he's joining us as we pass Ft Hood. I haven't heard back from the other two after their initial contact, though. I hope I didn't scare anyone off.

All three of these guys have expressed concern about not having equipment to carry camping gear with them on the ride, so it's getting more important that we know if we'll definitely have Mad Duck along and willing to carry what baggage can't go on the bikes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

At last - a truce!

Riding back from an overnight camping trip at Mineral Wells State Park yesterday, my knee told me that if I abide by a very strict "No Hammering" contract and religiously wear a strap around my leg under the kneecap, that it will agree to going along with me on this whole crazy Coast to the Coast idea. The strap made the difference. It went from "Freakin' OW!" to to "Huh - that didn't hurt..." in about 3 miles. Stayed like that for the next 40 miles. Yay, strap.

That said, a month basically off bike made me weak. I'll be commuting again as of tomorrow.

Pics from the park are at home. I'll throw them up. later

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Gearing up for the ride.

I just cut a nice deal for two Marmot Trestles sleeping bags - they came with sundry other gear that may come in handy. In a perfect world, I could trade one bag for a Thermarest Prolite.

This made me wonder if you guys have your gear all good to go, or are you hunting stuff, still?


Is that what it's called when you blog about someone blogging about you?

Texbiker has kindly given us some space.

He commented on the poster post as well. Pretty cool, sez I. I just emailed 'em yesterday. Thanks for the hookup Texbiker.

And I got posters going up at all Bikes- - excuse me...BICYCLES, INC locations today.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Need a button?

If you like my Soldier Ride button in my posts at the various bulletin boards, you're welcome to steal the code and use it yourself to spread the word.
copy this text and paste it into your signature file at your favorite online forums.


Poster is ready!

Here's the poster.

You can download the .Pdf here:

It prints on legal 8.5" x 14" paper. See if you can get some up at the LBS's, will you?