Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GITAP Day Four

Today we rode from White Pine Forest State Park to Johnson-Sauk State Park, which was 71.43 miles. We were really lucky with light winds, mostly tailwinds, rolling hills but not a lot of really steep grades, and not too much sun until the last part of the ride. We got in about 2 pm, which was pretty good. Partly it was because we didn’t stop very often on this particular ride.

I found my watch in one of my cycling gloves this morning. That was a relief. I felt a little silly since I had looked all over for it, asked if people had seen it, checked to see if it had been turned it in, and finally given up on finding it. Then, when I went to put on my gloves, there it was, right inside the cuff of one of them.

There wasn’t a sign at Sterling, which was a disappointment since I had hoped to take a picture as a reminder of staying there in the summer when I was a child. In fact I didn’t take any pictures today but I hope to take some in the park tomorrow. I always mean to take pictures and then I don’t get around to it. Since there isn’t a sign, I have a map instead.

There is a possibility of rain tonight so I have my wet laundry in my tent and my bike seat covered. My bike computer is in my bike bag, which is also in my tent. The tent is small but it holds a lot. Word has gotten out that I have a powerstrip for the CPAP machine so several cellphones are charging in here.

We didn’t really stop this morning until Tampico at 41 miles, which was a lot for me although I had a fruit and nut bar at Sterling. That only took about 2 minutes. Tampico only had a Casey’s open when we got there as well as the Ronald Reagan birthplace. Then we had a rest stop about 10 miles after Tampico at a Mennonite farm where they had hamburgers and strawberry shortcake (I didn’t have the hamburger bun or the shortcake, just the strawberries). It was all very good and they were very hospitable. Everyone really enjoyed it. I really started hurting around 62 miles. This was actually encouraging since it is usually so much sooner.

Getting settled took awhile, especially getting my tent set up near an outlet. Glen had to set me up more than once and I don’t think he was too happy about it but considering how much I am paying for tent service, moving my tent isn’t that big a deal. It is a small tent that is easy to move around. I realize that he has a lot of other things to do but getting power for the CPAP machine is really important for me. DNR was great about helping too and one of the DNR guys actually found the area of the campground that had the outlets. All the staff at GITAP has been very helpful and encouraging and I have enjoyed meeting other riders on the tour.

The park is more rustic than the last one and a bit smaller. Our tents seem much closer together. It is also hotter and more humid with more bugs and the showers are farther away although the meals are closer. Cellphone service is even worse. This whole part of the state seems really bad in terms of connections.

Dinner was good and I managed to eat more than I thought I would, even though I didn’t feel hungry. I am trying to make sure I have enough protein. They had mashed potatoes so I didn’t have to worry about the wheat issue.

Tonight we did poetry in Velosophie. I particularly enjoyed "The Naming of Trees" by Howard Nemerov and "Broken" by Mary Oliver. They both had interesting ideas about knowing, telling stories, understanding things, and the importance of observation. I wasn't as fond of "An Arbor" and I really dislike Gerard Manley Hopkins. Interestingly, while I like John Donne, Hopkins' sort of religiosity is very unappealing, perhaps because it is too stridently Christian. Tomorrow night we will discuss Solo Faces by James Salter, which should generate a lot of discussion.


  1. Sounds like quite an experience! I love that they have discussions of literature in the evening. Mens sana in corpore sano and all that.

  2. I'm enjoying parts of it but the camping is a challenge. We had a lot of rain last night and I had a lot of water in my tent so I have been cleaning up. Velosophie is good and you can only do it if you camp.

    I'm not sure whether I would do this again. But I'm glad I have given it a try at least. I will be glad to get home on Saturday.