Penn Ride for Cancer - Travel Journal

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Holidays!!!

Well, it's been just over four months since we rolled into San Francisco. I think I speak for everyone when I say that Penn Ride really was the adventure of a lifetime! Traversing the country's varied geography and passing through dozens of small communities really changed the way that we view America. We learned an incredible amount about ourselves and about the country through our journey.

Thank you very much to everyone who supported us! We met a ton of great people during the ride who went out of their way to help by providing us with food and accommodations. The members of our communities really showed their generosity in helping us meet our fundraising goals as well. Several weeks ago, we had the pleasure of writing a check for $27,006 to the American Cancer Society. Several other donations are being made directly to the ACS on behalf of Penn Ride, bringing the total amount donated to the American Cancer Society on behalf of Penn Ride for Cancer to $29,206.

We're hoping to post some pictures from Penn Ride over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more updates and have a happy holiday season!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

4,300 miles later...

We made it!!! Yesterday we arrived in San Francisco a day earlier than scheduled. Everyone started getting a little antsy once we reached California, so we decided to go 110 miles on Sunday to West Sacramento. We rolled through fruit orchards and into a stiff headwind yesterday to reach the ocean. Now we're in San Francisco exploring the city and celebrating the completion of the ride. We're having a party at a yacht club in Half Moon Bay tonight courtesy of Tim's family friends. We have limited internet access right now, but we'll write more about the last few days of the ride later. Right now, everyone is feeling great and ready to celebrate!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Far Too Long

Well, it's been over a week since our last blog entry and a lot has happened since all of Utah and half of Nevada. We last left our heroes in Escalante, UT, where Joe's derailleur had exploded and Terence was dead of cholera.

We don't really have time to recap all of the rides, so I'll give you the highlights. The rest day at Bryce Canyon was great. The park is beautiful and we managed to do a lot of cool stuff. Tyler and Robin went horseback riding, while Tim and I went hiking. Parents, stop reading here. At night, Joe, Terence, and Tyler decided to become professional bull riders so they entered the Ruby's Inn Rodeo. Not smart...all three ended up off the bull within two seconds. Terence's take: "I'd rather be mugged." Ok parents, you can start reading again.

Western Utah reminded us a lot of Western Kansas, hot, windy, and boring. When we reached Baker, NV, the mountains of Great Basin National Park came into view, giving us a welcome break from the monotony of the Utah desert. Most of Eastern Nevada followed a pretty predictable pattern, climb a big mountain, descend into a windy basin, repeat. The climbs haven't been too bad though, Nevada has actually been a lot easier than we expected. There aren't many towns on Highway 50 ("The loneliest Highway in America"). We're getting pretty used to signs that say "84 miles to next services." Nevertheless, Stan's been doing a great job of setting up SAG stops and providing us with water and peanut butter and nutella sandwiches. We may be the most pampered cross-country cyclists in history.

The big Nevada highlight came on the ride from Ely to Eureka. Halfway up our last climb of the day, Tim was...parents, stop reading here... [Joe now writing] chased for about 4 or 5 minutes uphill by a mountain lion. I was at the top of the hill, and Tim arrived, panting like crazy, and looking kind of wild. It turned out that he had seen a lion cross about 100 metres (this isn't Tim writing, I swear) in front of him, and then, when he passed it, it gave chase and ran after him up the hill for around a mile. I knew he was serious when he met me at the top saying, "Joe, do you have cell service? We have a legitamite [sic] emergency." We flagged down two cars to warn the others still en route of the danger. Luckily everyone made it into town safely, and we have a lovely stay in the county fair grounds. [Joe done writing]Parents, you can start reading again.

Tonight, we're in Middlegate, NV, a "town" of about 20 people. We're having a ton of fun hanging out and playing pool at the Middlegate Station Motel though. If you're ever in Middlegate, you should definitely check it out. You can't really miss it, since it's the only thing in town.

Anyway, that's it from here. Hopefully we'll have better Internet access over the next couple of days and we'll be able to bring you more frequent updates. Until then...


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Hot to Trot

Still cycling through the desert. It feels like we can almost see California on the horizion, only one more state. But, hey, what's one more state between friends.
The scenery has been beautiful; the climbs and heat have not. Joe's deraileur exploded today (that'll happen). He's taking tomorrow and maybe the rest day to try to find civilization to get a replacement.
Morale is high. Terence K. died of cholora. We hired an Indian to ford the river. Looking forward to the next trading post, for we are running low on salted meat. However, we were able to barter with some fur catchers for several sacks of potatoes.

More to come....
Joe & JP

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

We rolled into Utah this afternoon, and boy is it hot here. The current temperature here in Blanding is 95 degrees. Apparently, Utah is experiencing some unseasonably hot weather. Cycling through the heat hasn't been too bad though. We're all filling out Camelbaks on a regular basis and drinking plenty of Gatorade.

Yesterday we made our way out of the Rockies by summiting 10,300 foot Lizard Head Pass. The pass apparently got its name from a nearby mountain whose summit looked like the head of a lizard. Unfortunately, the top of the mountain fell off years ago, so when we got there it didn't look like much of anything. We still had a great view from the top though.

We left the Rockies with a mixture of sadness and joy. We're happy that we won't have to face any more huge Rocky Mountain climbs, but we really enjoyed the scenery in the Rockies. We're going to miss camping at the base of huge snow covered mountains. Hopefully Utah will give us some scenery to cheer about as well. The group consensus is that Colorado is definitely the best state we've been through so far.

Today we left Colorado and headed for Blanding, UT. The southwestern part of Colorado reminded us a lot of Kansas, but with more hills. As we rolled into Blanding, a few mountains appeared on the horizon. Despite the fact that almost everything around here is flat, we suspect that the nice folks at Adventure Cycling will send us right up into the mountains. Those masochists....

We're all planning to get to bed early tonight so that we can get an early start toward Glen Canyon tomorrow. To that end, I guess I should stop writing and go try to find some food. We're going to be in primitive campgrounds for a couple of days, so we probably won't be able to blog. Hopefully we can write on our day off at Bryce Canyon though. See you then...


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Leoti, KS ---> Pueblo, CO

Ok. So it's time to blog again. At the end of our last entry, we were about 15 miles away from the Colorado border. On that ride, we met a few trans am bikers going in the opposite direction - which is fun as always. Whence we arrived at the Colorado border, we encountered a sign quite suitable for climbing. Tim, Terence, Joe and Robin scaled the 25 foot sign. Afterwards, we pumped out the final 50 miles and arrived in Eads, CO. We showered at the city pool and stayed at the park, which had a lovely view of the feed mill (sarcasm). We cooked ourselves up some dinner and relaxed for the remainder of the evening. Joe woke me (JP) up at 2am to put on the rain fly, which was entertaining. Joe asked for the tent stakes, but I thought he wanted steaks. I'm an idiot.

The following day, we left around 10 am. As we arrived at the first lunch stop in Husston, CO - the group decided it'd be wise to skip Ordway and ride on through to Pueblo. The positive: we get two consecutive rest days. The negative: 120 miles in 98 degree heat. We thought it'd be worth it and cycled onward. We arrived in Ordway and took an extended lunch stop. After that, we only had 55 more miles - which went by much more easily than anticipated (thanks to a tremendously awesome tailwind).

The first night, we stayed in Pueblo's city park (where we were also attacked by sprinklerheads - the new PennRide arch nemesis). The following two days, we've stayed in the Ramada and stocked up on supplies not found in the country. Like literature. And 66 cent loaves of bread. Woot. We can see the Rockies on the horizon and tomorrow will be our first day of climbing since the wretched Ozarks. A wildfire that was threatening our route seems to have died down, which is fortuitous. Since ANOTHER WILDFIRE CALLED TEAM PENNRIDE WILL BE ROLLING THROUGH THE ROCKIES.

Love, Joe & JP

Monday, July 11, 2005

Goodbye Kansas

Kansas is flat. Kansas is windy. We are ready to leave Kansas.
We are currently in Tribune, Kansas and 15 miles from the Colorado state line. We've just crossed into the Mountain Time Zone so we're 2 hours behind of you all on the east coast. Let us know if anything exciting happens. We're en route to Eads, CO and stopped at the Public Library to blog for the die hards.
OK, Larned smelled horrific. There was a cattle feedlot on the outskirts of town with 4000 head of cattle. The cows are sent there to be fed before being 'processed'. We were told they can gain 4 lbs a day for up to 4 months. Sounds like first semester freshman year.
We camped at the beautiful Larned City Park beside a duck pond. JP got a little friendly with one goose. He got to first base. It was funny. They made loads of noise all night. That was not funny. We swam in the city pool and I (terence) was narrowly defeated in an underwater swimming contest by the able-bodied brit. I think he was cheating.
Dinner was spaghetti. If anyone would like to fedex new york pizza or pasta to Colorado we will be picking up mail general delivery in Silver Cliff. Robin would also appreciate another couple of jars of Nutella.
I ran 8 miles in Larned. It was good. You cannot stop me.
The rides out here have been monotonous. We've been on the same road for almost a week. Without turns, hills, trees, buildings, or landmarks of any kind, the mind begins to wander. I accidentally rode off the highway on the way to Ness City. JP enjoyed this immensely. I recovered. We've devised a few games to keep ourselves busy on the road. My favorite, of Tim's design, is called Drink While You Think. Similar to the name game, where each player must think of a celebrity whose first name begins with the same latter as the last name of the previous celebrity (britney spears, sam jackson, jack kerouac, etc.), Drink while you think also incorporates military cadences. Each player must make up a rhyme including the celebrity's name. Each player must drink from his or her camelback while thinking. Longwinded explanation for a simple, fun game. Some fun examples: "There once was a man named Carey Grant, Robin'd rather be his girlfriend than his aunt." and "Hayden Christiansen sucked as Darth Vader, probably due to probes from an alien invader. A very fun game to play while in oxygen debt.
2 days ago, we celebrated the ASC's Bike-a-thon during our ride. As this was Stan's first time missing the event in 7 years, we decided to wear index cards dedicating our ride to him. Stan dug it. Some catchy slogans: "Thanks, Stan" "Je supporte M. le Stan" "superathlete for stan" "Stan's a Winner". It was our way of saying thanks for all Stan does for us.
We ate lunch Saturday in Rush Center, a minute farming town with one restaurant. That one restaurant happened to be a real tough bar/grill serving mostly large men in overalls. We stuck out a bit. We immediately started the jukebox up and played some elton John and Queen. We stuck out a little more. Robin and Tim played pool - badly. WE stuck out even more. It was an experience. The clientele stared at us and i heard some whispering. A grey-haired woman of about 60 called me a fairy. So it goes.
Ness City was sweet. We stayed in the city park and got to chill with a transam guy from Philly. JP made us late to the grocery store and it closed 10 minutes before we got there. Dinner from a gas station, again. No big deal. Robin and I went to get ice cream from a parlor that closed at 9:00. We got there at 8:40, just as the preteen manager was walking out to see the city fireworks. Bovine employees are infuriating. A local crazy man named Lee graced us with his presence. He offered "william and mary" (joe) a lawnchair which was in the bed of his truck while he watched "the game". The game was a girls little league softball game and Lee was mostly a nutjob. He called us all rich kids, which was nice, then offered Stan homemade, diabetic, four-grain oatmeal. He asked Tyler what kind of oatmeal he would like, but cut him off before he could reply saying, "it dont matter. i dont like you. you ain't getting my oatmeal." If this trip has taught us anything it's that most of America is crazy. Tyler and Robin attempted the texas twister.
Yesterday we stayed in Leoti, Kansas. I'm a master of accommodation and got us 2 free rooms in the luxurious Hi-plains motel. Dinner was overpriced mexican food served by a cheeky waitress. She accused Tim of passing gas, but we think it was just someone stepping on a duck. We relaxed, watched family guy and went to sleep. Amen.
Ok, Joe is getting a little antsy in his pantsy so I gotta go. 60 miles left today. Ouchies. My butt is sore.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Nickerson, KS to Larned, KS

Wow, two updates in two days...a new Penn Ride record. We managed to find the public library here in Larned, so let me tell you about the last couple of days. Yesterday, Jerry and I had a great ride from Newton to Nickerson. We had read about a place called Daylight Donuts about 6 miles outside of Nickerson which was supposed to put Krispy Kreme to shame. Unfortunately, when we got there Daylight Donuts was closed (they close at noon), but we met the proprietor on the way out the door and he donated a half dozen leftover donuts to our cause. They were awesome, if you're ever in Heston, KS you should definitely check out Daylight Donuts. We also got some good business advice from the owner, "Location, Location, Location" and "Incorporate as an S corp". School might be over, but we're still learning things on the road. After our yummy donut breakfast, we went on to Buhler (anyone...) where we hit a great BBQ and Bakery and came across an establishment offering "Mules and Psychiatry". Though many people have called us crazy, we declined to seek psychiatric help. We then rolled on to Nickerson, where we stayed at a nice city park. Mapgirl and friends rolled in a few hours later, having gotten lost yet again. They are currently taking applications for a new navigator...

Today we had a pretty uneventful (i.e. really boring) ride into Larned. There were no towns or services along the whole 60 mile route from Nickerson to Larned, so we were stuck amusing ourselves by counting cows and sunflowers. We did run into another touring cyclist, which was pretty cool. He's going to be staying at the Best Western in Nickerson tonight, so we'll probably see him again tomorrow. Nickerson has a really nice pool, so we spent the afternoon playing in the pool and visiting the Dairy Queen.

Tomorrow we're headed for Ness City, KS. It's supposed to be hot and windy tomorrow, so we're planning to get started early. If we can find another public library, maybe we'll go for the blog update three-peat. In the meantime, keep in touch...


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Pilot Knob, MO to Nickerson, KS

Sorry about the long wait for updates, we haven't had internet access for a while. Whew, where to start? The last week of riding in Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas was quite eventful. We started out in Pilot Knob, where Tyler randomly met the mother of Robin's lab partner at West Point. The invited us over for dinner at their house with some awesome cornflake chicken and chocolate brownies. Terence attempted to remain still for as long as he possible so that a hummingbird to land on him, but that turned out to only be about 15 seconds. We also got introduced to catfish feeding, which was quite intriguing.

The next day we journeyed to Eminence, MO, where we swam in the Current and Jacks Forks Rivers. They were both amazingly clear and pretty cold. We stayed at the Arrowhead Campground in Eminence, which generously donated accommodations for the night. The bus got stuck very briefly on Second St. in Eminence, but a local tow truck operator managed to come by and winch out the bus.

After Eminence, we made our way to Hartville, MO, where we hit our first big storm of the trip. We were setting up our tents on the courthouse lawn when a friendly resident came by and told us that a monster storm was coming and we should take them down. We quickly took down the tents and took refuge in the Subway restaurant across the street. The storm turned out to be as big as promised, with winds so strong they opened and closed the door of the Subway. Our tents didn't blow away, but the big tent got soaked, so Jon, Robin, and Tyler ended up sleeping in the local laundromat while drying out their sleeping bags and sleeping pads.

After weathering the storm in Hartville, we went on to Ash Grove, which had a really nice swimming pool where we practiced our diving. We also met a really nice lady who loaned us a book on the history of the Ash Grove bank.

From Ash Grove, we crossed over into Kansas, where we spent two days in beautiful Pittsburg, KS. We became famous by appearing on local television station KOAM's 1o o'clock news. We also managed to catch a movie due to some good samaritans who drove us to and from the movie theater, which was a couple of miles away. The second night we were in Pittsburg, a big thunderstorm blew in. The thunder and lightning kept us up almost all night, so we got off to a late start the next day.

We spent the 4th of July in Chanute, KS. We felt like we were in a war zone, fireworks were going off all over the place. A number of local residents recognized us from our appearance on KOAM news though, which was pretty cool.

In Eureka, KS, Tyler's friend Rebekah came to visit us. All seven of us piled into her SUV with her dog Geronimo to grab some dinner at a local restaurant. The food was pretty good and definitely very filling. Tyler and Rebekah slept outside for the night ;).

Finally, we journeyed to Newton, KS, where we had really nice accommodations at the Best Western. They donated three rooms, which gave us plenty of room to spread out and relax. Jerry joined the ride on the way into Newton and used his fresh legs to set a strong pace into Newton. Tyler and Jon journeyed into Wichita, our first big city sighting in the west. They went to a bike shop called Bicycle X-Change with some really friendly staff who outfitted us with new water bottles and other bike parts.

Now we're in Nickerson, KS, the library is about to close so we've gotta go, but we'll write more again soon...