Shel Silverstein “Frozen Dream”

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Here’s a post to kick off Rathbike!!

When our kids were little, we did a lot of bedtime reading out of “The Funny Poem books” – Shel Silverstein’s books.  Now the kids are grown and I have wonderful memories of time spent reading to them – and raising them.  There was one poem I found particularly poignant – “Frozen Dream” and it has become even more significant as I ponder this upcoming trip.  Here is how the poem goes:


“I’ll take the dream I had last night
And put it in my freezer,
So someday long and far away
When I’m an old grey geezer,
I’ll take it out and thaw it out,
This lovely dream I’ve frozen,
And boil it up and sit me down
And dip my old cold toes in.”

We’re looking forward to living our dream this summer.  This blog will help us put it in our freezer.  Then when we’re old grey geezers – and we’re well on our way now – we’ll dip our old cold toes in.



It just got real!

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We received our Adventure Cycling maps in the mail last week and after reviewing the route in more detail and seeing the elevation charts…  well, suddenly it got real!  I’m sure us flatlander Michiganders are going to be in for a rude surprise come May!

Lots of planning and preparation in the works as we explore options for health insurance, mail forwarding, packing lists and shakedown rides.  We were planning to do some camping this weekend, but many of the campgrounds are not yet open for spring.  The calendar says it is springtime but we’re still experiencing single-digit temps at night and of course there is still plenty of snow on the ground.  And the snow we have on the ground is not the fluffy, soft, squeaky stuff that we enjoy in the height of winter – this is crusty, icy stuff that could potentially put a hole in our tent!  After quite a bit of searching on the Michigan DNR site, we found a campground not too far away that is open for the winter and has some good cycling options, so I think we’re going camping this weekend!  This will be a good test for our new sleeping bags, our cold weather preparation and our packing skills!  🙂

Jumping in the volcano

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<Jim> It’s 2:52 in the morning on the day I will give notice at work – 6 weeks ago I asked for a leave of absence but was rejected.  My plan is to work one more month, to May 2nd. I never thought this part would be so hard. I like my job, I’ve had some awesome opportunities, I’m on a great project right now, great people, so many reasons NOT to leave, but, today is the day I metaphorically jump into a volcano.

Maybe that is a bit dramatic for this, but my daughter used that phrase when she left Michigan in her tiny car for her job in Alaska. It’s a referenced to the Movie Joe Vs. The Volcano. If you haven’t watched the movie, I highly recommend it. I even have a tattoo of the Joe v. Volcano logo to remind me that this day was going to happen.

We’ve been preparing for this trip for many years, Shawn and I have good careers and will be able to get new jobs, our kids have grown and are on their own, our bills are few, responsibilities are low, our dreams are many, we are hippies at heart!!! So this should be easy, right??   But I can’t sleep . . . Change, no matter how fun, is hard for me. I’m sure I’m making too much of this. People have told me this is brave thing to do. I’m not feeling so Brave right now!

I could keep babbling, but the best thing will to get some sleep and report back in the morning! .


and then…

So today I gave my notice and all went well, I told a dozen or so coworkers and all are very excited for me. All is well, I work (worked?) with a great group of people.

Maybe it was fate, but an old neighbor – who happens to be a road biker – passed us when Shawn and I were on the Tandem pedaling home. He said hello and Shawn told him that I quit my job today. “Well” he said, “that was pretty ballsy!” …that seemed to sum it up pretty well! What’s done is done, in a months time I will be unemployed. It gonna be a hell of a ride!



Branding the Ride

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<Jim> We’ve spent the last few days searching, formatting sizing, cutting, pasting and drawing to get a blog background and business card layout for the ride. ( We now have new respect for marketers 😀 ). Our daughter gets into this stuff, so she was a huge help. She took our ideas and ran with it. The cards are complete – QR code and all! (I’m still amazed by those things!) and they will be printed soon.

image“We may be slow, but we got a great brand!”

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Feeling the love!

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Wow, we’re sure feeling the love!  We have so many wonderful friends in our life!  It has been a bittersweet week as we make our plans known at work and then more publicly on Facebook.  It has been surprising and overwhelming to see so many encouraging words from dear friends!  We’re blessed to have such a great circle of friends – we love you all and thank you for your support and encouragement!

So, nothing like telling everyone what your plans are!  No backing out now!  I want to remind everyone that we don’t know if we can do this thing!  It has been a lifelong dream, but gosh, I hope we can do this!  Even if we aren’t able to finish, please pray for a safe trip.  Thank you.

For those of you who don’t know us, we have some experience with bicycle touring.  We have done DALMAC (Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw – a wonderful tour of Michigan) every summer for the past 14 years.  This will be the first one I’ve (Shawn) missed since we started doing it and Jim has only missed one.  Last summer, we experienced RAGBRAI (the Register’s Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) and had a riot!  Iowa is definitely not flat, by the way!!!  And we’ve done an unsupported ride across the upper peninsula of Michigan, also known as  “God’s Country”.  Oh and 2 years ago, I rode my “half-bike” from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Bemidji, Minnesota.  So, we’ve done some bicycle touring, but no experience at all with mountains and that is what terrifies me most about this ride.  Michigan is pretty darn flat compared with most of the rest of this continent.  Hopefully this old body holds out (Jim is a warrior – I’m sure he’ll be fine!) and we can get me over the Rockies and the Cascades – and over the “hills” of Vermont and New Hampshire too!

Thanks again for all your kind sentiments!

Cards? Check!

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Picked up the cards today!  Lots of people have told us we need to keep a blog.  Our response: we have one!  Now we can just hand them a card!  If you see us and want one, just ask!


Well Baby Check

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Yesterday I <Jim> took Mango Tango (our Tandem) to our favorite Mechanic, Brent from Velocity Cycles in Holland, Michigan.  We call Brent the Tandem Whisperer.  He has been our savior on many bike repairs and always puts Mango Tango in great running condition.  I can do some basic repairs and tweaking, but we always get such a great sense of security after Brent tunes up our bike.

I had to take the bike to Brent for this check-up, I don’t know how many times I have told him, “this is the year we might take our trip, lets do this or that to the bike to get it ready…”.  This time my visit to Brent was different – WE ARE taking the trip this year!  Next month even!

I talked to Brent about repair parts to carry with us, and he said something that will stick with me: “Well”, he said, “you don’t want to over Boy Scout this trip”  and he’s right.  We can overcome quite a bit with just our smarts, we have lots of time, we have a few ace in the hole options (like a complete, new back wheel ready to be shipped at a moments notice), so we’ll be just fine.  Adversity will just add flavor to the experience and the stories we will tell! (Shawn will love that line).   Guess I’ll leave my gigantic roll of duct tape at home!!

We get our Baby back in a few short days, and our confidence level will soar!