As stated before, on the road at 7:30 yesterday morning.
Hartville, MO to Ash Grove, MO.
76 miles.
We slept in the city park where I was offered a personal escort to the courthouse bathroom by the mayor herself .
Home of Daniel Boone.
Today found us on the road by 7:00 am to outrun another storm.
Ash Grove, MO to Pittsburg, KS
70 miles before 1:00 pm.
Adjusting our legs to a welcome lack of hills.
Geoff was chased uphill by a skunk.
The rain caught us 1 mile outside of town.
Turn onto Main St. found our first flat tire.
Welcome to Kansas.
Conveniently we were 2 blocks from the first bike shop in days where we ran into the guys we met in Farmington.
Severe storms forcasted for tomorrow.
Rest day.

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Stuck in Ellington, MO for a day.
14 confirmed tornados in southern Missouri.
One of which was in Ellington.
Trees down everywhere, through houses.
No power anywhere, including our motel room.
Spent the day packing up fifteen pounds of stuff to send home.
Sent home via a post office with no power, therefore, possibly sent home.
We fled Ellington the next morning, through downed trees and power lines.
National Ozarks Scenic Riverways.
Last really tough day in the ozarks.
Only did 38 miles but stayed in the national park versus another city park pavillion.
Yesterday we left Alley Spring, MO.
78 miles.
8 dead armadillos.
The waning ozarks.
Had to convince a man outside a gas station that I wasn’t getting paid to ride across the country.
Chased by rainclouds all day.
Chased by dogs everyday.
Got into Hartville, MO around 6 pm.
Slept in the Hartville Laundromat.
On the road today at 7:30.
Gas station coffee.
Two more 75 mile days and we’re out of Missouri.

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Yesterday we got on the road around 11am.
Waited for it to stop raining, but no luck.
Crossed the flooded Mississippi River in the rain.
Welcome to Missouri.
Rode through the foothills of the ozarks.
Misty and rainy.
We passed a restaurant in the middle of the woods that had tigers in cages.
Last 8 miles saw sunshine and sunburn.
48 miles total.
Slept at the Farmington Fire Station.
Met two guys Larry and Peter from Seattle riding from Washington D.C. back home.
Met another guy named Ben our age from NYC riding to San Francisco.
The firefighters made us spaghetti.
Slept in the garage for free between two fire trucks.
Left early this morning to beat an incoming storm.
66 total miles, with the second half of the ride on the real deal Ozarks.
Short and steep.
Staying at the only motel tonight in Ellington, MO (pop. 993).
80 percent chance of thunderstorms for the next two days.
Tan lines.
Half gallon of orange juice.

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Got to Murphysboro yesterday at 2:30.
Camped at Lake Murphysboro State Park.
Woke up at three in the morning to a raccoon dragging our food across the campsite.
Woke up for good at 5:59 am.
Rode from Murphysboro to Chester, Illinois.
45 miles total.
Last ten miles were tough.
Sleeping tonight for free in the city park.
The swimming pool is empty.
So many red winged blackbirds in Illinois.
I ate a bean burrito at Hardee’s.
Chester, Illinois is the home and birthplace of Popeye.
Tomorrow we cross the mighty Mississippi.

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FURTHER THAN CHICAGO: change of plans

So, turns out, google map directions might not be the best bet to murphysboro, illinois. We got breakfast at marie’s this morning, with our roommates julie and ryan, and ended up on the road around 12:30. The weight of the gear was an immediate shock, but seemed manageable. We followed the google map directions (walking directions, omitting freeways/interstates) exactly, planning on stopping to camp tonight whenever we were tired and saw a good place to set up. This still seemed a feasible plan and good idea until we were about 15 miles out on chicago drive westbound. No shoulder, 55 mph. This would have been manageable even, until I further saw that the google maps directions led us on these same “highways” for the next 500 miles. Frustrated, we stopped just outside of zeeland michigan, to rethink our plans.
As stated before, the ACA Transamerica Trail runs from the atlantic coast of Virginia to the pacific at Astoria, Oregon. This first leg that we got google map directions for was to get us from Grand Rapids to Murphysboro, Illinois, where we then catch the established Transamerica Route west. The ACA maps include cues, much more detailed maps, as well as a listing of campgrounds, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. in each town. These conveniences soon became realized as crucial to us, 30 miles from home.
We decided to spend tonight and tomorrow at my parents house in jenison, and my brother offered (!) to drive us to Murphysboro on monday, his day off.
Humbling day…
Next post from Murphysboro!

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Soma Multitool

Leatherman (geoff’s)

Leatherman (sarah’s, not pictured)

15 mm Wrench

Mini Park Patch Kit

Two Tire Levers

Spoke Wrench


Asst. Cable Ties

Roll of Electrical Tape

Extra Brake Pads

Extra Disc Brake Pads (for sarah, not pictured)

Extra Pins for the BOB Trailer

Small Ziplock Bag w/ Extra Chainring Bolts, a Half-Link, Presta Valve Adapters, etc.

Two Extra Tubes Each (not pictured)

One Extra 16” Tube for the BOB Trailer (not pictured)

Four Extra Spokes Each (not pictured)

all kept in a converted fanny pack from goodwill.

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Here’s the gear! These pictures from other tour blogs have been very helpful so hopefully this can be useful to others. Taking this picture was exciting. This is everything we will have with us for the next 2 months. hoorah.

Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 3 Tent w/ fly and footprint

1 REI +20 Sleeping Bag (sarah’s bag)

1 Marmot +15 Trestles Sleeping Bag (geoff’s bag)

1 Thermarest W’s Prolite Sleeping Pad

1 Thermarest Trail Light Sleeping Pad

1 Large Tarp (footprint/cover for bikes on rainy days)

1 Jetboil Cooking System (1.5 L Pot I think)

1 Spare Fuel Canister

First Aid Kit

Various Cookware (Light My Fire sporks are a beautiful invention)

1 Cable plus U-Lock Combo

Nylon Rope ( A must have!)

Foldable Water Carrier

Duct Tape

2 Extra Tubes Per Bike

1 Tool Kit (detailed picture to come)

1 Gerber Hatchet/Knife Combo

1 IPod

1 IPhone

Water Bottles

2 Handpumps

And last but certinly not least,

1 Tube Chamois Butter

also each of us is bringing a harmonica which although not pictured will be essential for those nights by the campfire. : )

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FURTHER THAN CHICAGO: sarah’s clothes

Okay, so everything I own aside from the items in this picture has been moved out of our grand rapids apartment and into the ann arbor basement of my mother. That feels great. We leave in 3 days and surprisingly i feel, if anything, overprepared. Im sure that I have more here than i will end up needing, but over the next couple weeks ill decide which things Im getting the most use out of and which can be tossed. My legs will thank me.

1 Pair Glove Liners

1 Pair Soloman GTX XA trail running shoes

Chaco Z/1 Sandals (can’t live without them)

1 Quick Dry Towel

3 Pair Smartwool Running Socks

1 Pair Hiking Socks

1 Pair Armwarmers

1 Pearl Izumi Windblocker

1 Cabella’s Rain Jacket

2 tanktops

1 Bathing Suit

1 Belt

1 Bandana

1 Pair Cycling Gloves

Patagonia Down Sweater (I get VERY cold)

2 Patagonia Cap 2 Baselayers

2 T-shirts (there are 3 in the picture, ones out)

3 pair Underwear (1 moisture wicking “17countries, 6 weeks, 1 par of underwear” hilarious advertising)

1 Sports Bra

1 Cycling Cap

2 Pair Pearl Izumi Cycling Shorts

1 Pair Thermal Running Tights

2 Pair Shorts

2 Pair Pants</p

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Saturday is the day we’re slated to leave. As of now, the weather is forecasted for sixties and sunny, and if it indeed follows through in such manner, we’ll be on the road Saturday morning. We would like to take off with the first day or first couple days not in the rain if we can help it (we’re on day 4 of straight rain here in Grand Rapids), to get acclimated to life on the road and the camping situation. Yesterday we got all of the ‘gear’ photos shot, as well as Sarah’s clothes breakdown, so you can see all of what we’re bringing. I always like those shots on touring/hiking blogs, and it always helps to see what you brought in retrospect, and what you might be able to weed out the next time around. I definitely used others’ equipment lists to plan for my trip, so if I can do the same for someone down the road tis all the better.

Did I mention that we’re leaving Saturday? That’s so soon. Yesterday I started some drawings for issue 2 of my zine, So Sweaty. All of our gear is in piles in the living room, just waiting to get loaded on the bikes. Today i’m going to work on making a grocery list to buy on thursday or friday. The whole trip we need to plan on eating every 1-2 hours. It has been proven that you require 7,000-9,000 more calories per day on tour which is significantly more than the average 2,000 calories an average person needs per day. Before we take off, we’re going to load up with a couple days’ worth of oatmeal, bagels, peanut butter, marie catrib’s granola bars, bananas, etc. I’ve got a few more bike supplies to pick up today, like an extra tube for the trailer, some bar end plugs, some extra disc brake pads for Sarah’s sojourn.

Sarah will update soon with those gear pictures. Until then, cheers.

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FURTHER THAN CHICAGO: geoff’s clothes

1 Marmot Precip Rain Jacket

1 Patagonia R1 Baselayer

1 Pearl Izumi Sleeveless Cycling Top

4 T-Shirts

1 Flannel Shirt

3 Pairs of Cycling Socks

1 Pair of Hiking (Warmer) Socks

1 (maybe 2) Pairs of Pants

2 Pairs of Shorts

1 Bathing Suit

1 Pair of Pearl Izumi Armwarmers

1 Belt

1 Bandana

1 Cycling Cap

1 Pair of Sunglasses

1 Pair of Crocheted Cycling Gloves

3 Pairs of Underwear (boxer briefs)

2 Pairs of Pearl Izumi Cycling Shorts

1 Pair of Pearl Izumi Running Tights

Solomon XA Gore-tex Trail Running Shoes

Chaco Sandals

This all fits into one 18” stuffsack (minus the shoes/sandals), with a mesh stuffsack for dirty clothes.

This will probably be updated over the next week.</p

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