Unicycle Tour Delayed

Stowaways have been discovered on our unicycle tour.  Apparently they stowed away when I left Costa Rica and have been with me ever since.  The immigrants managed to make it through numerous border patrol check points without detection during the ride.  Once I discovered them I had a good mind to turn them in to the INS, but it appears the CDC is more interested in them.

They go by the name of Leishmania Panamensis.  Apparently it is a complicated and protracted extradition process to deport them.  On the advice of experts I have indefinitely postponed the tour and I am headed back home to begin the process of deportation.

I want to thank all my followers and supporters for encouraging me so much along the way.  I am determined not to let the little buggers stop me from finishing my trip, but the prudent thing to do at this time is to get the medical attention I need.  I plan to pick up where I left off when the opportunity and conditions make it possible.

Unfortunately resuming the trip at a latter date will not give the same satisfaction of crossing the country in one continuous trip, but will actually require more resolve.  There is  also no way I will pick up in the same awesome shape I was in when I left off, so in some ways it will be a more difficult feat.

End of Stage One

End of Stage One

Last day's ride of Stage 1

Last day’s ride of Stage 1

I hope this delay does not deter people from supporting my cause to raise funds and awareness for research for ALS.  Please tune in again for Stage two of my great unicycle tour across the country when the trip resumes.

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Day 73, (5/12/13) Riding day 60

I Rode through many back roads, some better than others.  Still finding rolling hills slowing me down some, but the landscape is very picturesque.

I was sitting on the side of the road minding my own business just enjoying the sun when this guy on a unicycle nearly ran me over.  I uncoiled myself and took off just as his wheel came along side.  You should have seen him levitate off his seat.  I thought the rider and unicycle were going to go airborne.  Fortunately I am a black racer and very quick.

I had ridden over 50 miles when I turned onto a nice smooth road.  A minute later three bicyclists passed me.  I stepped up my pace pedaling as hard as I could but I just couldn’t keep up with them.

My crew passed me and pulled off the road.  It was about time to stop so I got off.  Joan asked me how far I had ridden and I said two more miles would give me the longest day of the trip.  She said you have to do it.  Two miles later I had broken my trip record for miles in one day by one tenth of a mile.

I started around east of Poplarville and finished in the middle of nowhere, about 35 miles west of the Alabama border and about 15 miles north of Biloxi Mississippi.

Stats for day 73: Rode 60.41 miles at 12.7 mph, Ascent=1696′, Descent=1942′, Max elevation=323′, Min elevation=51′, Ave heart rate=106, Max heart rate=134, Ave temp=74, Calories burned=1375, Total trip miles=2327

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Day 72 (5/11/13) Franklinton LA to Poplarville Mississippi

Louisiana is done.  Perhaps the friendliest state so far.  Welcome to Mississippi.

Welcome to Mississippi

Welcome to Mississippi

The crew ordered up some more thunderstorms so she could sleep in but we got a timely start anyway.  There were a few challenging roads today, but there were many route changes and most of the roads were in good condition and carried little traffic.  I zigged and zagged my way through rolling farms.

.d purple flowers

Even the locals were wondering what I was doing on some of the back roads on my way to Poplarville.  One fella started to try and give me directions but decided I would just get lost.  I assured him I had maps.  I just needed to convince my crew which way to go.

Stats for day 72: I rode 50.04 miles at 12.4 mph, Max=17.8 mph, Ascent=1260′, Descent=1089′, Max elevation=247′, Min elevation= -25′ (blub blub), Ave heart rate=109, Max heart rate=137, Ave temp=71 degrees, Calories burned=1205.  Trip miles=2266.

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Day 71 (5/10/13) West of Kentwood to Franklinton.

Thunderstorms and a call delayed my start this morning.  But the skies cleared and it turned out to be a pretty nice day.  The route continued to roll through Louisiana causing me to use more effort than I would like.  My crew went easy on me and let me quit at the usual time despite the late start.

Rolling through Louisiana

Rolling through Louisiana

Louisiana continued today with two attributes I noticed from my first day in the state.  The people and the dogs are very intrigued with unicycles.  The people stop and even turn their cars back around to ask questions and take pictures.  I’m sure the dogs would take pictures too but have some lame excuse about opposable thumbs.  Instead they just run alongside and in front of my wheel and bark encouragement to ride faster.

Thunderstorms arrived conveniently for the crew around dinner time so we elected to eat out.  We ended up at Mike’s restaurant in Franklinton.  The table next to us noticed the truck and asked us about our trip.  They were very friendly and helpful with advice where to camp.  Then surprisingly they generously picked up our dinner check in support of our cause.  Thank you Jackie McVey and party for your support.

Stats for day 71: Rode 40.52 miles at 12.5 mph, Max=17.4 mph, Ascent=1336’, Descent=1453’, Max elevation=241’, Min elevation=66’,  Ave heart rate=113, Max hear rate=136, Ave temp=74 , Calories burned=1071, Total trip miles=2216

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Day 70 (5/9/13) From the Mississippi to west of Chipola

We were camped quite a ways from my start so we got a late start today.  The roads on today’s route were a mixture of good to poor with, but most were smooth with rolling hills.  I thought Louisiana was supposed to be flat, but I ascended over 1900’, and descended over 1700 feet today.

I was taking a break alongside the road when a van stopped to see if I needed any assistance.  I said I was just taking a break.  She said she saw me earlier and told her riders.  She is driving a the SAG vehicle for her husband and daughter who are also riding my direction on the Southern Tier Route.  We chatted long enough for her riders to catch up.  They took some pictures and we set off riding together.  They passed me immediately but I was able to keep them in sight for several miles.

They took a break and I passed them by.  I passed their SAG again and shortly afterward I broke a spoke.  I stopped to replace it and true my wheel.  I thought they would catch me again but they must have been done for the day.  I am looking forward to seeing them again when the pass me later in the trip.

Mark Me and Elizabeth

Mark Me and Elizabeth

My crew spent the day in Saint Francisville.  Joan sent me a text at 1:00 saying she was leaving there which was about 40 miles behind me.  By the time she caught up to me I had logged another 14 miles.

For my next cross-country cycling adventure I may consider this contraption only in a slightly larger size.  It looks a bit more stable than my unicycle.

Off road training wheels

Off road training wheels

Stats for day 70, riding day 57: Rode 54.36 miles at 12.5 mph, Max=17.1 mph, Ascent=1930’, Descent=1716’, Max elevation=351’, Min elevation=73’, Ave heart rate=114, Max heart rate=141, Ave temp= 79, Calories burned=1462. Total trip miles=2176

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Day 68 (5/7/13) Concluded an epic week for mileage

Day 68 started out on rough old LA route 1 just before Simmesport.  I slalomed my way through cracks and roughly patched road for most of the next 25 miles.  Fortunately there were so few cars that I could ride anywhere on the road most of the time.  A pickup truck pulled along side and some kids took pictures then they turned around and went the other way.  I wobbled and weaved my way to new route 1 and was only chased twice by dogs.

Route 1 had a narrow but smooth shoulder so the riding was easier, but the trade off was more traffic.  The shoulder widened as I reached Morganza, making the ride more relaxing.       While I was stopped at a gas station eating ice cream one passerby wanted to know where the little wheel was, as in a penny farthing bike.

When I got near New Roads I could see a towering bridge structure off in the distance and I realized I might just make it to the Mississippi before my crew swept me up.  I was delayed a little when another pickup truck stopped in the shoulder ahead of me and two guys got out.  One guy was trying to shake my hand before I had completely dismounted.  He said he used to ride a unicycle over 30 years ago but had never seen one with such a big wheel.  I told them what I was doing and they wished me well.

I remounted and rode on with as much as I had left.  After 5 days of mega miles I just didn’t have much turnover today.  I reached the bridge kicked into low gear and rode to the middle.  I dismounted and just soaked in the moment.

Bridge spanning the Mississippi River

Bridge spanning the Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

I remounted and started riding again when my crew drove by.  We both crossed the river at the same time.

The past six days of riding was an epic week for mileage.  My single day, 2 day, 3 day, 4 day, 5 day and 6 day bests were all broken for the trip.  I totaled 321 miles for an average of 53.5 miles per day.  Just don’t expect the following weeks to rival this past one.  Tomorrow I’m taking a well deserved rest day.

Stats for day 68: I rode 53.34 miles at 12.8 mph, Max=16.6 mph, Ascent=276′, Descent=253′, Max elevation=92′, Min elevation= -20′, Ave Heart rate=104, Max heart rate=141, Ave temp=82 degrees, Total trip miles=2122

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Day 67 (5/6/13) From West of Ville Platte to East of Hamburg

We left Cheryl and Ralph’s house a bit later than usual do to all the festivities.  I rode a couple of miles when I saw a tractor with a front end loader and a back hoe driving down the street ahead of me.  I noticed I was gaining on him and contemplated how I would handle the encounter if I caught him.  I would need a good straight to pass, and I wouldn’t want to have him catch me if I made the move.

Before I reached him three cars passed me and got stuck behind him on a curve.  I caught up to the cars to join the traffic jam.  The cars passed him but there was still a gap between us.  Then he must have seen me a kicked the throttle up a notch and started pulling away.  It is known far and wide that no self-respecting tractor would ever allow themselves to get passed by a nonmotorized unicycle.

On the next strait I noticed I was gaining on him again.  Just as I was getting close enough to consider my dilemma he pulled off onto another road.  I am a charitable spirit and will give him the benefit of the doubt that he had reached his destination, but there is a we bit of me that still thinks he may have pulled off to avoid the embarrassment of being passed.  Can you imagine the talk among the other farm implements in the barn?

Now this is a law I could get behind.

No sagging in Valle Platte. ,or as we say down south no slabbing

No sagging in Valle Platte. ,or as we say down south no slabbing

Apparently the engineers that build the roads in Louisiana did not have unicyclists in mind when they built them.  On all the sweeping curves there is a remarkable bank.  I just can’t reach enough speed to make use of it.  I feel like I am riding in a velodrome.

So far Louisiana have had the most curious residents.  They are always asking me about riding a unicycle and marvel at my riding across the country.  Unfortunately their dogs are just as curious and seem to be free to investigate anything passing on the road.  I was chased by dogs on five different occasions today.

While I was fending off dogs my crew was hunting big game.  See Joan’s armadillo pics.  She seemed to think since I started a little latter she could pick me up latter.  Fifty seven miles later.

Stats for day 67 (riding day 55) Rode 57.71 miles at 12.7 mph, Max=15.8 mph, Ascent=299′, Descent=305′, Max elevation=76′, Min elevation=5′, Ave heart rate=102, Max heart rate=127, Ave temp=75, Calories burned=1164, Total trip miles=2068

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