Why am I doing this?

credits to Justin Bond of Star Talent Events for the audio.

Thanks for stopping in! This summer, I'll be biking 2500 miles from San Francisco to Gibson City, IL to raise $4000 for the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Ford County Youth Soccer Club. My route map.

There are so many reasons. As a youngster growing up in central Illinois, playing soccer, as rare as it was for the area, was an activity that really shaped me into the person I am today. Not only combining the importance of fitness and teamwork, but also leadership and discipline. I have always wanted to have the opportunity to give back to this organization (FCYSC), and I feel that this is my chance.

Living just outside of Gibson City causes every child to be an avid cyclist to survive that stretch of Route 9 to make it into town. As I've progressed into my current career as an urban planner, I realize how much of an impact cycling can make in certain parts of the United States, in reducing our dependence on vehicles, increasing our health, among other benefits. Atlanta is the place that re-energized my spirit for transportation planning and I hope to be able to return some gratitude to the ABC, a cause that I still feel has an uphill battle in that town.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at supawanich@gmail.com

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thanks Missouri, But I've Moved On.

So I'm here at the River's Edge motel in Louisiana, MO (remember how I mentioned that Missouri seemed to not be able to think of creative names for their cities??)

And I was joined by Fern (my sister) and her husband Sam! Unfortunately, the boys couldn't make the trip and are back with the grandparents in West Layfayette, IN. However! They surprised me with these AWESOME shirts! It's hard to see from here... but the logos say "Team Supawanich - Pit Crew". They're pretty amazing, I'm very humbled. So I'm here with both Fern and Sam and went out to a nice dinner here in Lousiana and took a quick tour of the town. They'll both be with me for the next few days as we journey up the Mississippi River.

I'm pretty excited about this part of the trip. Not only are we close to Illinois, but this is the part of Illinois that I'd always kinda read about.. and looked at on maps, but I'd never been here.

Here are the shirts btw.

quick recap from yesterday:

So it turns out that the flat tire back in Washington, MO was a bit more trouble so I ended up spending at least a few hours there in town. That wasn't such a bad thing, it seemed like a nice town and the people there were really helpful. I went over to a local bike shop called Revelolution Cycle where the guys there were great and helped me get back on the road. But, by that time, it was close to 2pm and hadn't had lunch yet. So.... of course it about time to seek out some good local eats. Luckily for me, the huge double decker British school bus parked next door serving sandwiches seemed like a good bet, and it was.

So as much as I wanted to take my time through those last 40 miles of the Katy Trail, I was on a tight schedule. But I can tell you that there is quite a bit of Lewis and Clark and Daniel Boone history in that section, so if you do ever pass through that portion of Missouri, be sure to check it out. But all of that history was irrelevant because I had to bust it to St Charles so I could make it to the Cardinals game. Skyler would be picking me up near St Charles so we could get some dinner and head to the game. Big thanks to Shaun from GC for hooking us up with some tickets to the game!

After the game, I actually was able to catch Amy (wedding in two weeks) and Jenna (staying at their place with Skyler) at Amy's bachleorette party... I don't have any photos... not because it was anything improper, but just because we dropped in for a moment to say hello. No really. Regardless, getting into St. Charles on Sat was perfect timing to catch the game and say hello to all of the Gibson folks!
So this morning, I began heading northward along the Mississippi. So St. Louis has been one of the biggest cities I'd traveled to since.. maybe Pueblo, CO? Maybe even Sacramento, CA. And there is a pretty good reason for that. Big cities are great, even if you're on your bike. It's the suburbs that are the problem. Trying to ride your bike amongst Wal Marts, SUVs, curb cuts, and plenty of people that aren't used to seeing a road bike, trailer, and a cross-country tourer is not fun. Really not fun. That ordeal was then followed by about 30 miles of miserable country highway with no shoulder and plenty of fast moving traffic. yuck. But I made it through after cursing about the Missouri DOT for at least half of that.
However, the day redeemed itself after I got to around Clarksville, MO when a bike lane appeared and the Mississippi River appeared off to the right. Awesome! I was prety excited about seeing the Mississippi and the jewel of my journey, the state of Illinois just beyond it's edges.
Here are some shots from day:

the sign says "welcome to floodplain industrial park" - cute sign and a cute ideal... but somehow doesn't strike me as a very inviting sign for people to buy into your industrial park.
apparently MODOT thought it would be a good investment to buy signs to assure people that bridges with these signs are actually safe to drive on. Which leads me to believe the bridges without signs are "drive-at-your-own-risk?", maybe they should have instead spent that money on fixing bridges instead of buying signs with comforting slogans... also, have you seen the state of the bridge in the photo?? it doesn't even look that good in person.

Hello mississippi river!

As for tomorrow... heading northward towards Hannibal, then onto Illinois and north towards Iowa! Back to GC in about a week!

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if the life span of the newly installed "Safe and Sound" bridge signs exceeds the life span of the bridges? Do you think anyone ever removes the signs at some point? ;-)

    Congratulations Paul. Wish I was there to watch you ride in on Sunday!

    Tom, from Shingle Springs, CA. (Wow, it was only your 2nd night on the road when we met...)