Background & Introduction - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

Background & Introduction

Not My First Rodeo, But Then Again I'm Not a Cowboy

[A bit of an aside; I'm writing this note on Sunday night at 10:03 pm.  It's been an exhausting day.  I had to finish up some lingering projects around the house, clean out the garage and move a lot of stuff to the storage building so there is room for the wife's car while I'm gone, and then start packing and take care of all the myriad unexpected things that come up when you try to reassemble your touring kit - fresh batteries needed, a hole that needed mending in my lightweight fishing pants that I use for off-bike wear when touring, getting a first-aid kit and meds assembled, etc.  And then off to the airport to get the pickup truck I rented to drive one-way to New Orleans (by way of Houston, TX), and deciding how to best secure the bike in the pickup.  I'm tired and I haven't even started.  My days have been starting off with some cold or allergy medicine to relive the stuffiness and headache I have had for the last week as I hopefully get past this little cold.  I really haven't felt like riding for a week now, and I'm about to go on tour - I need to get well soon! Enough of my whining, I now return you to your regularly scheduled program. End of the aside.]

This isn't my first tour.  I did a few short tours in my youth during and after college and participated a half-dozen times in the Oklahoma Freewheel event (a supported bike tour across Oklahoma). My first serious self-supported bike tour was in 2015 when I rode coast-to-coast on the Transamerica route (2015 Transam) and traveled from Yorktown, Virginia to Tillamook, Oregon.  In 2017 I rode the Western Express route (2017 Western Express) and traveled from San Francisco, CA to Pueblo, CO, following portions of the old Pony Express route.   In 2021 I once again rode coast-to-coast, this time on the Northern Tier route (2021 Northern Tier) from Bar Harbor, Maine to Anacortes, Washington. 

So I have at least a little experience with bicycle touring.  But I'm getting older and the ravages of time are beginning to weigh on me.  Some health issues have prevented me from training for this tour as much as I would have preferred.  In fact, I was uncertain whether I would even be able to attempt this tour until the last minute.  But the commitment has been made and I'm going to give it a shot.  There is absolutely no guarantee that I will finish it, and that's what makes it an adventure.  

Here's a link to my CycleBlaze bio; My Touring Bio.  Following is an overview map showing previous ACA tours I have done;

Other ACA Routes I Have Ridden (photo credit; Adventure Cycling Association)
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In addition to those tours, I have toured across Oklahoma half a dozen times on the supported "Freewheel" event, and in my youth I toured across much of Arkansas on short self-supported rides.

1975 - I Often Biked 45 Miles From Little Rock to Harris Brake Lake - Gym Shorts, T-Shirt, Running Shoes, and No Helmet Was Standard Equipment
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I'm a bit older now, but now I have the time and money to go on long bicycle tours that I couldn't have undertaken in my youth.  But am I strong enough and healthy enough to get through the hills in Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri?  As of this minute (3 days before the actual riding starts) I'm afraid I would have to bet against it.  I guess we'll find out soon enough.  It's late now and I need my sleep - early morning tomorrow as I load it all up and drive 8 hours to Houston - g'nite folks...

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