Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In a way, today's ride started last night with technology upgrades and additions.  We have had many troubles with communication, mostly with Cathy's phone.  It either was out of space to download something needed or it was unable to get a signal in places where mine worked.  We made a trip to the Verizon store in Grand Rapids and got a little more than we had planned.

What started with just the purchase of a micro SD card to expand her storage turned into a complete upgrade of her phone from her Galaxy S4 to the Galaxy S7, the same as mine.  We also purchased the SD card.  Then I remembered I wanted some kind of headset to make it easier to communicate with her by messaging, phone or our Life 360 app (more about that later). 

Finally, when I mentioned that we both sometimes forget to plug our phones in while in the car, the sales person recommended a wireless charger that is also a mount for the phone.  I couldn't pass it up.

So, armed with our new technological gadgets, I left Grand Rapids a bit after 10 and Cathy a couple of hours later.
The headset worked great.  I not only was easily able to answer a call from Cathy and talk to her while riding (the microphone has great noise cancelling), I even responded to an email from an Internet customer with an urgent problem.  I dictated the message and it was transcribed perfectly.  In my message I thanked the customer for the opportunity to test the device.
Below is an example of nearly 60 miles of today's route.  I followed the Great River Road from mile 2 to mile 57.  For me, one interesting thing was realizing that the rudimentary map displayed on my Garmin GPS did not accurately show where the river was.  For a long time, I thought I was crossing it without seeing it.  This is a picture of the roadside where Garmin said I was crossing.  I was convinced I could not see it because of the thick vegetation and believed the county must have used culverts to cross what was a miniscule stream at that point.
When I had this crossing a few miles later, I really believed it.
In fact, I was amusing myself trying to guess where the river was by following tree lines.  Boy can I be gullible! I finally saw the real river on my left.  It was behind so much vegetation and trees, I could not get a picture that would show the river.  Here is what was really happening.  Note that the river is always on my left as I proceed southwest.  I did not cross it once.
 I took the following pictures around miles 31, 45 and 51.

Around mile 35, I met a local cyclist.  She told me she had done the MRT in 2007.  She was originally from Sedro Wooley, Washington and was out for a day ride.  She stopped at her home and I was a half mile down the road before it dawned on me I had not gotten her name, let alone asked if I could take her picture.  I gave her this blog address.  If she reads it, I hope she will publish a comment with at least her name.

At about mile 49, I met Cathy at a local county park. 

The above picture was taken by Graham.  He is from Houston and is kayaking the river, starting at the headwaters and ending in the Gulf.
The weather was also interesting.  I was mostly overcast and the wind was kind of southeasterly.  Unless I was going due south, it was often somewhat favorable.  One of my concerns was that there was a thunderstorm forecast for Aitkin around 2:30.  Depending on stops along the way, I knew my arrival time would be between 3 and 3:30.  Cathy and I had agreed to meet at the Beanery, a coffee shop on the main street between 3rd and 4th avenue.  Coming into town on the main street, when I got to 5th avenue, it started to rain.  This is practically the only precipitation I have had in 387 miles and 25 hours of cycling.  Don't think I'm not grateful.


  1. West Seattle NurserySeptember 8, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    Awesome adventure Bill and Cathy!
    Enjoying the ride from the nursery. Keep safe, may the wind be at your back. Diane

  2. Hi Bill! This is Graham, the kayaker. It's been fun following your travels. Someone for the cornell daily-sun (the newspaper for my alma mater) wants to use your photo of me in their story; would that be alright with you? (You'd be credited as the photographer).

    1. Of course you can use the picture. I'm not a professional photographer at all. What would be fun for me would be if the blog were mentioned though since it is about you I would understand if that were not appropriate. As long as we are communicating, please give me your cell phone # and send me an occasional text about your location. Well be in Memphis the day after tomorrow and plan to spend a couple of days there.