Day 34: Opelousas to Baton Rouge

Day 34: Opelousas to Baton Rouge

i Nov 24th No Comments by

The Missing day.  Cannot find the journal for this day with my Mom and Dad.  Tough day of bridges, on super busy roads, and with no shoulders.  Very stressful for my Mom.  I rode 10-15′ behind her during these stretches.  I rode in the middle of the lane so that no one could try to sneak by and let her know when big trucks were coming.  We were all very glad to be done!

Day 33: Oberlin to Opelousas

i Nov 23rd No Comments by


  • Rode from Oberlin, LA to Opelousas, LA – 54 miles
  • Climbed a total of 862’
  • Maximum elevation – 78’
  • Total time on the bike – 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 6 hours and 0 minutes
  • Average speed 12.7 mph


I know that I was supposed to be bicycling today (and I did), but I also went to my second favorite church service of the year. The preacher was not very good but the music was awesome! We did “Dive” by Steven Curtis Chapman, “Listen” by Michelle Tumes, and “That’s when I Find You” by Sierra. These are some of my favorite Christian artists. We then the continued with “Whip It” by Devo, “Foolin” by Def Leppard, and concluded with that old time favorite hymn “Rock you like a Hurricane” by The Scorpions. It was amazing.

The sanctuary was pretty cool too. It was kind of like a live Nativity scene but much better. The ceiling was painted a light blue with a few clouds scattered here and there. The walls were different shades of tan and brown with a couple some clumps of dark green. And there were real cows, horses, and dogs! The pew that I had was a little uncomfortable, but I got used to it after a while. The most amazing part of the sanctuary thought was the live interaction. It was like one of those 3D movies at Disney. You know the ones where you can smell the bug farting or feel the snot with he sneezes? During the service I could actually smell the fresh farm air and occasionally fell a few drops of rain. The architect and builder must be fantastic!

Like I mentioned above the preacher was not very good. All he really did was sing along with the songs and occasionally mutter some profanity when the life like cars came flying up the center aisle. He was actually the worst preacher I have ever heard, but no one seemed to mind or even pay much attention. (He was a pretty good singer after all.)

I mentioned that this was my second favorite church service of the year. My favorite was back in Michigan in the exact same kind of church. I and skipped my regular church (sorry Jim) and decided to bike to Coopersville and back. Somewhere between Grand Haven and Coopersville I found the service. The preacher was much the same as today. (Maybe a little lighter and seemed to be in better shape.) It was so bright during the service that I had to wear my sunglasses. And when the music was finished they served me a Whopper Junior! How can you beat that?

You cannot!

Day 32: Lake Charles to Oberlin

i Nov 22nd No Comments by


  • Rode from Lake Charles, LA to Oberlin, LA – 43 miles
  • Climbed a total of 351’
  • Maximum elevation – 80’
  • Total time on the bike – 3 hours and 30 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 6 hours and 0 minutes
  • Average speed 12.7 mph


After 10 miles this morning we stopped for coffee at a McDonalds. (We includes my Dad, my Mom and me. We are getting two for one on this trip. My Dad and I are getting 150 miles of our trip across the USA done. My Dad and Mom are getting Louisiana done on their quest to ride 150 miles in all states.) Anyway, when our break was done my Mom needed to make one more pit stop. When asked (by my Dad) why she did not go when we were talking she responded that “I did not want to miss any of the conversation. It is part of the R and R.”

What R and R was she talking about? It could not possibly be the R and R that normal people think of – Rest and Relaxation. When we got up this morning it was 35 degrees. While it was sunny, the wind was already blowing out of the East and expected to gain speed up to 10mph. We had 42 miles to go today on questionable roads with questionable drivers (would they be looking for bicycles?). After about 5 miles more I concluded that the R and R that she was thinking of must be Reckless and Ridiculous.

First the Reckless. Normal people might think of bicycling across Louisiana similar to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with a parachute. I think they have more trucks here than they do in Texas! Not only that but half of them are “Dulles” (4 tires in back). What is with that? In two days of biking I have not seen one of these trucks pulling anything nor have any of them had anything in the back. What do they use them for? The answer – to bump bicyclers off the road. No, none of us went off the road today and actually the roads were great, but we did not know this when we started.

How about Ridiculous? Have you ever seen the clothes bicyclers wear? If there is a more ridiculous sporting outfit, I have not seen it. We look fine on the bike, but off the bike the shorts are embarrassing to everyone (rider and non-rider). And the shoes! It is like wearing ice skates. Clack, clack, slip, clack, slip, clack. The jerseys are pretty cool and colorful, but the helmets are just not fashionable. They mess up the hair and it is really creepy when a bug flies into one of the “vents” and gets stuck.

After a few more miles, however, I thought of two other words that might fit better than both “Rest and Relaxation” and “Reckless and Ridiculous” – Rejuvenation and Replenishment. While these two words do not apply physically, they do mentally. There is something (for me) about riding for hours at a time that rebuilds what has been broken down and makes deposits that I can use later. Today was no exception. The weather was cool, but I never got cold. The roads were busy, but we never had a close call. My iPod worked great, but I spent more time thinking. I seem to be the most creative on rides like today. Yep, I am sure my Mom was talking about Rejuvenation and Replenishment this morning. Tomorrow I will try to get some more R and R.

Beep Beep

Day 31: Langtry to Del Rio

i May 1st No Comments by


  • Rode from Langtry, TX to Del Rio, TX – 59 miles
  • Climbed a total of 1,886’
  • Maximum elevation – 1,574’
  • Burned a total 3,151 calories
  • Total time on the bike – 4 hours and 53 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 7 hours and 0 minutes
  • Average speed 12 mph

(See special note from The Dutch Plodder below!)

The gap is closed. We have now ridden from San Diego to Houston. The ride today was hot, hilly, and into a slight wind. (Anything under 15mph is now considered slight.) If I had not already written about chip-and-seal, I would now. It is not bad going up. We do not really go fast enough. On the way down and on flat areas, however, I bet it takes at least 3 mph out of our speed.

Looking forward to getting out of Texas! But we still have at least 100 miles from Houston to Louisiana. We do not know what we are going to do next. Probably start scheming tonight at dinner about this fall. We might try a 4 day weekend again and do 140 miles around some airport on the trip.

Despite the wind on Sunday, it was a great trip. We had no problems with equipment and no significant problems with our bodies. We both have sore butts, which is a sign of not enough training. The next stress in our lives will be getting our bicycles through security.

Beep Beep

Miles 379 1,875
Climbed 10,251’ 63,199’
Calories Burned 20,527 106,126
Time on Bike 31 hours 31 hours 147 hours

Each year, nearly 65,000 young adults between the ages of 15 and 40 are diagnosed with cancer.

Note from the Dutch Plodder:

I’ve just finished a fine steak dinner with Jeff at some Italian place in Del Rio. What a fine way to finish our Texas adventure. (This one. We still have more of this HUGE state to bike!! Not too much though.)

As I try to think about how it was, I think back on the last two Texas trips we took and conclude that I’m dang glad we are finished with the “vast, immense plains” of West Texas! They sort of remind me of pruning a field of blueberry plants—endless. Except that I can hire the field of blueberry plants pruned—I have to bike across the plains of West Texas myself. But we did, and I’m happy we’re finished.

I have three thoughts to share with you as I prepare to reenter my world of West Michigan:

  1. How fortunate I am to have Jeff, to not only bike with me—at my slow pace yet, but to be such a fantastic logistician to put together all the “stuff” that needs to be put together—sometimes on the bike, by cell phone, as we ride along. He’s amazing and I’m thankful.
  2. That I am healthy enough to do the biking I’m doing with him. Even though I’m sort of slow, I’m steady—well sort of.
  3. That I have this amazing soul-mate that says to me—go for it!

My life has indeed, fallen in pleasant places, and I am blessed and thankful.

Day 30: Sanderson to Langtry

i Apr 30th No Comments by


  • Rode from Sanderson, TX to Langtry, TX – 60 miles
  • Climbed a total of 1,710’
  • Maximum elevation – 3,051’
  • Burned a total 3,072 calories
  • Total time on the bike – 5 hours and 13 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 7 hours and 15 minutes
  • Average speed 11.6 mph


I feel revived again, I am alive again…you lift me up.
I feel revived again, I’m energized again…you lift me up.

Toby Mac

The Road Rider is back! I felt today like I usually do at the beginning of the ride. A little tired, but excited with energy to spare. I was able to “Kick it in” any time today. What was the difference? Why did it take 4 days of riding to get right?

After much analyzing, I have come to two conclusions – one little – one big. The little one is bananas. Never again will I eat a banana! I have not eaten any fruit since December. Knowing that I needed energy I picked up a banana each morning for the first 4 days. Without going into any details, I will conclude this section by saying Eddy Murphy has nothing on me when it comes to passing gas.

The big one was I really blew it in training. I did great until last week. Then I let it all go. No riding, horrible eating, and not enough sleep. I am sure the eating was the big one of the three, but the other two played their part. Jeri was out for the week watching Michael’s kids. Ross and Cole had Lacrosse and Baseball every night so we ate McDonalds. I tend to be a all or nothing person when I comes to eating. Had McDonalds for Dinner might as well have Oreo’s before I go to bed. Had Oreo’s last night might as well have Pig-n-the Blanket for breakfast. And so on. Well, I paid both mentally and physically.

Most healthy eating books recommend binging for one meal a week. A few even say for one day. Have not found any that say binge for a week. Now I know why. For anyone who reads this, it took over 300 miles on a bicycle in 4 days to burn off 5 days worth of unhealthy eating. While I cannot say that I will never do that again, I have much more respect for my body than I have in the past. (I did eat an apple today with no problems. But NO banana!

Since 1970, the annual US death toll from cancer has increasingly outpaced US population growth.