Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Donna and Dick. Here is the site you are looking for. I moved it up so you don't have to scour the entire blog looking for it

Friday, December 11, 2009

It looks like the outside biking season is over for me. Until two weeks ago I was biking outside in 50 degree temps usually between 35-40 miles per day 6 days a week. So, now its on my trainer in the basement watching reruns of the Rockford files or spinning at Five Points community center watching (yuck) Fox news or ESPN. Basically boring stuff. I miss the outdoor rides. I delight in reading the communication between the people from last summers bike trip. It is a constant reminder of what great people I had the benefit of riding with across the country.
My presentations of the cross country ride is on hiatus until after the holiday season. It has virtually taken on a life of its own. With over 15 dates from schools, Rotary, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, Sierra Clubs, I have fine tuned it based on the amount of time available and often run overtime. For an hour presentation I have a travelogue PowerPoint with scenery from across the U.S. followed by a musical slide show (can be seen on YouTube-refer to previous blog for site) with pictures featuring the riders from the trip finishing with a question/answer session. For shorter presentations I describe some of the experience, present the slide show followed by questions. I have had some of the most interesting questions and on a later post I must share some of them.
That's it for now and I wish all those who still follow this blog a joyous holiday season.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
So, with a bit of difficulty, due to my limited technical abilities, here is the video that I shared with the people to whom I gave presentations. This was part of the "short" program. The attendees really enjoyed it. While it is Walker centered all of the riders are present at some point, either in group photos or individual pictures. I hope you enjoy it and please give me some feedback. To give credit where credit is due, local photographers, and two of the best in the area, Kevin May and Rich Burk produced this video. This blog site would not download the video so I had to use YouTube. However, the original music, "Takin Care of Business" that accompanied the video was not allowed by YouTube because of copyright infringement. So, the accompanying music was a substitute but after adding it, and with wife Veronica's approval, I am quite pleased with the result. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rode yesterday the same training roads I used to ride a year ago in southern Illinois near Carbondale. My bike computer malfunctioned so I did a three hour ride and covered over 50 miles. The terrain consisted of rolling hills and the wind was at my back the for first 27 miles but returning it was a constant 15-20 mph in my face. It reminded me of the eastern part of Kansas. For some odd reason, the route was much easier than I remember. Perhaps riding 3,415 miles had something to do with it. Finished my 10th presentation to the Washington Lyons club and plan on doing at least two more full program presentations.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

For those who still check in from time to time, I am in the process of presenting programs to various groups who are interested in my trans-continental riding experience. Apparently many people seem extremely interested. I have given 8 presentations so far and have another 4 scheduled. Rotary clubs, lions clubs, library programs, Sierra Club, church groups and school groups have requested a program presentation of some sort. I present in three different formats. Without any audio/visual equipment it is a short summary of the ride followed by questions from the audience. Depending on time and AV equipment available, I give a 15-20 minute summary with a video slide show made by local photographers Kevin May and Rich Burk. It shows me, the riders on the journey and many of the people I met and photographed along the way. Then, Kevin set it to the song "Takin care of business". I suggest he did an excellent job with the limited subject (me) with which he had to work. The 45 minute program includes a travelogue PowerPoint providing a photo journey with selected pictures from each state I crossed, followed by the video slide show and culminated by a question/answer session. After I am finished I will attempt to put the video slide show on my blog so interested spectators can enjoy it. I must stress, however, that the reason I agreed to present these programs is not so much to pat myself on the back and say "gee look what I did." I focus on the theme set by the Teddy Roosevelt quote recited by Tracy on the first meeting of our trip. Its all about setting goals, knowing there will be ups and downs, and doing ones best to accomplish those goals. I then use my ride to exemplify this concept. If anyone reading this would like to schedule a program feel free to contact me. Sorry Hank, can't go to California right now. Too many fires!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First picture is my roommate Hank in the middle, his beautiful wife, Carol on the right (his left) and Karen an excellent rider from Sacramento where she and Hank are in the same riding club.
The second picture is the beginning of our ride from the hotel to Huntington Beach pier where we dipped our rear tire and began the journey
The third picture is of the group that began the ride. Compare to the picture at the end.
The fourth picture is fixing my flat tire. The first flat of the group. Harry, Karen and Alec stopped to assist and each got a puncture that day. (yes, Harry, I can now call it a puncture!)
I have decided to continue this blog until I reach my goal of donations toward the Central Illinois Alzheimers Assn. Having perused the other riders blogs I noticed that the number of pictures posted ranged from none to many. Most of my entries have only one picture as I felt it was a summary or highlight of the day's ride. I took about 400 pictures, many of which are now being converted into a slide show that I will be using when presenting to various groups. I will now attach pictures for each blog entry. Hope you enjoy them. They will be presented in chronological order.
To those who have contributed to the Alzheimers Assn. it is greatly appreciated. To those who are planning to contribute but are procrastinating, remember to indicate it is for Walker's Cross Country bicylce ride. the address is
Central Illinois Alzheimers Association
606 W. Glen
Peoria, Il. 61614

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The blog continues. My friend Kevin is working on a slide show production of my trip. I am going to share this with groups or individuals interested in seeing it. Five groups have already asked for a presentation.
Donations for the Central Illinois Alzheimers Assn. are still coming in. It is still not to late to contribute. Any amount is appreciated.
On my request to stay a night in the Obama White House Lincoln Bedroom, I have heard rumors it takes a $100,000 contribution to the Democratic party to even be considered. I hope not. I'm sure someone out there in the Obama administration will take pity on a poor retired history teacher who biked across America and wants to share the positive attributes of my experience with the country in this recessionary period. I am a patient person. I await eagerly by the phone (or e-mail) for the invite.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weather 78 sunny Wind NNE 5 mph
Today was one of the best riding days we have had the entire trip. While there was a slight headwind, at 5 mph it was virtually negligible. We rode from Topeka, KS to St. Joseph, MO. a total of 86 miles. It was a ride filled with historical importance. The first major town we passed through was Atchinson KS. This is the home town of what famous American female pilot.......... Times up. It was Amelia Earhart. Then, we biked along the Lewis and Clark trail. Louis and Clark are know for exploring what part of the U.S......That one is too obvious so figure it out. Finally, St. Joseph MO. is known for the beginning of what type of mail delivery system in this country. It only lasted about 18 months and was quickly replaced by the telegraph. It began in St. Joseph and finished in Sacramento CA. Hank, my roommate, lives in Sacramento but not during this time period, or so he tells me .......Times up. Pony Express. Again, an example of Americana with historical significance and for a history guy, I'm lovin' it. People have inquired when or if I will be biking through Illinois. The answer is yes. I will be in Quincy this Sunday, Springfield on Monday, and Champaign on Tuesday with Wednesday a rest day. I will be taking my bike to Russells Cycling and Fitness center on Wednesday to have a tune-up and cleaning. Tomorrows ride takes us to Chillicote MO. through the "rollers". Looking forward to it. I hear it's challenging so hopefully we will have a favorable wind.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Big ride begins Sunday so before it begins I need to share information about the charity I am supporting during the ride. In this economy it is difficult for me to request financial contibutions to a charatible organization from friends and family. However, every 7 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I'm not really sure why it's called a disease. It doesn't spread from person to person through contact or any other methods common to diseases. It is not caused by a germ, fungus or virus. There is no cure and the only hope, currently, is that it can be reasonably managed until the inevitably. Having been encouraged to support a charity during my cross country adventure I researched many charitable organizations. They are all worthy, but I choose the Central Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. The research suggests that as the baby boomers continue advancing in years, Alzheimers will reach epidemic proportions. It not only effects the person afflicted, but their families and friends in ways no other disease does. In fact, Maria Shriver is doing an HBO special next Sunday called the Alzheimers Project. I watched a portion of it and had to change channels. It was brutal. Therefore, I am encouraging those of you who would like to support my cross country ride to donate as you deem appropriate to the Central Illinois Chapter/ Alzheimers Association at 606 W. Glen Ave, Peoria Illinois 9025. You can also send donations to me personally at my home address (e-mail for address)and I will see that it reaches the Central Illinois Chapter. Either way, be sure to indicate it is in support of Champ Walker's Cross Country Bicycle Ride and be sure we can identify you as someone who contributed to this charity.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Well, it looks like its on. Arrived in LA today amid "Swine Flu", massive fires north of LA in Santa Barbara and winds in excess of 45 mph. Wow, now that's exciting. My bicycle is in the process of being reassembled and should be ready by tomorrow morning. I have flown to California many times but as I peered from the airplane I viewed the terrain from a totally different perspective. Where before I saw the beauty of the mountains and deserts from 35 thousand feet, I now see them as a barrier trying to impede my goal of succeeding in crossing the country on my bike.
One of the changes I have noticed in my travels is that most hotels/motels offer free wifi or high speed Internet, Because of that, I can sit here in my hotel room and keep in touch with civilization without being exposed to the elements. The biking begins Sunday and am looking forward to it.
Shout out-Mr. Metzka's 6th hour history class. YOU GUYS (AND GIRLS) ROCK!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This is the last of my training blog entries. While the weather was quite nice the last two days, (great for biking) I was unable to take advantage of it because of all the preparation involved in a trip of this magnitude. The Peoria Journal Star, with editor Steve Stein, wrote an excellent article about my trip. I would have preferred to have the article written after I finish but I was convinced, by many, that something prior to the experience would allow those who wish to follow my exploits, the opportunity to do so. Now that the whole world knows, there is overwhelming pressure for me to succeed!! Yikes! Also, since I am supporting the Central Illinois chapter of the Alzheimers association, I hope to raise money and following my blog seems to be the best way to do this. More details Sunday when the ride begins.

Shoutouts-First, Joe Russell, Russells Cycle and Fitness Center, in Washington, and his staff have been an enormous help. Thanks it is much appreciated

Second-Kevin Collins 1st and 4th World History senior students. Your days in high school are coming to an end. These were the last group of students I taught before I retired. YOU SENIORS ROCK!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Weather-62 degrees Wind WSW 8 mph

One of the truly perfect biking days of the year. Not to hot, not to windy, and not to rainy. Began a forty five mile trek. Aww, be careful of what might appear to be a perfect day. For the first time in awhile I was attacked by three dogs at different points of the ride. Maybe this nice weather fires up their attack juices. In fact, I had to actually squirt one with my water as he was right at my ankles and very aggressive. Then, I had a flat tire five miles from the end of the ride. Unfortunately, because I ride a loaner, I had no spare or CO2 cartridges. Aw, not to worry. I had my trusty cell phone. But, my usual rescue person, the lovely Veronica, was working, and could not come to get me. Aha, not to worry, I have many friends who stay glued to their cell phones in case I need rescuing so I started phoning. I tried three but unfortunately, non were to be reached. Their goes my theory! As I was trying a fourth, by cell phone battery died. You mean you're actually supposed to charge those things? Who woulda thunk? So, my only other option was to walk back to the homestead. After about a mile who should I see approaching? My friend Sal with his white stead to the rescue. Thanks to Sal and Patti for the help. What did I learn from this? From yesterday's post I believe the biking gremlins were getting even for what they perceived to be factious remarks about yesterday's weather. I have learned my lesson!. Fill in the blanks, you don't ____ on superman's cape, you don't ____into the wind, you don't pull the ______ off ole Lone Ranger and you certainly don't _____ with the biking gremlins!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weather-57 degrees Wind-ENE 8 mph

Last two day biking averaging over 40 miles per day. Backing down on the training. Today's ride was a piece of cake with the wind at only 8 mph from the east. This is the first relatively non-windy day in the last two weeks. Since I don't have a computer on the loaner bike I'm riding, I can't discern the precise distance or speed so it is an approximation. Interestingly enough, the rides seem somewhat easier since I'm not challenging myself to maintain a certain speed. Also, with all the recent rain, many farm fields look like they have lakes on them. Water was pouring over the dam at Eureka lake and flooded all the low area east of it. I have never see it do that. I'm sure the farmers are not to happy since planting season has started.

On another note, many people have suggested as I do my cross country ride it would be an excellent opportunity to raise money for a worthy charity. There are many worthy charities that would benefit from this, but I have researched one I feel is extremely important. Therefore, I am going to attempt to raise money for the Alzheimers Association and in particular, the Peoria Chapter of the Alzheimers Association. More information will be added at a later time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Friday Weather: Sunny 68 degrees Wind ESE 10-15 mph

Two day summary of training rides. Following a 55 mile ride on Wednesday, Thursdays ride was 40 miles of uneventful riding around Tazewell and Woodford counties. My plan was to finish the week with 90-95 mile ride to Champaign. But alas, the weather did not co-operate. A southwesterly breeze of 10-15 mph meant I would have to ride the entire day against the wind. Three things bicyclist disdain: crazy motorists, crazed dogs attacking and the dreaded headwind! So, I decided to ride half way to Champaign and ride with the wind coming back. The lovely town of Downs was the turning around point. Doing 40 miles into the wind I could only manage 13 mph but coming back I was cruising around 17-18. The entire trip including stops was about 6 hours. So in the last three days I put approximately 200 miles on the bike. Today I rest!
Observations- OK people. For those who read on an earlier blog that Budweiser was the choice of trash in the ditches along the highway, this is not a contest! Today I noticed more Miller beer products than usual. I can only surmise that Miller people don't want to be outdone when it comes to competition against Budweiser so they are trying to do their best to keep up.
On another note, I noticed another empty Turtle Wax container in the ditch. This is the second one I've seen on my recent rides. Therefore, logic and reason would suggest that people who throw their empty beer containers from cars like their cars to be clean and shiny! Who in their right mind would throw trash from a dirty automobile? Socrates would be proud of this logic!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Weather-Temp: 58 degrees Wind ENE 15-20 mph

Today was a 55 mile ride to Le Roy. The wind was mostly in my face or a cross wind, which made the trip a little more arduous than normal. I made the mistake of putting on a new saddle (seat) for the journey to see if I can use it on my cross country trip and my buttocks are paying the price. Once again I met some very friendly people in Le Roy. Doris, the owner of the local watering hole (I would give the name of it but I don't know it. I stopped to renew vital fluids I may have lost during the ride), another nice lady who I didn't get her name and Ken the retired school teacher made my wait time pleasant. I suspect during my cross country trip I will meet many interesting people and I look forward to it. In the meantime, I'm looking for something to take the soreness from my backside!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weather: Last three days cold-41 degrees, wet-inch of rain, windy-15-20 mph ENE

The last few days have not been conducive to outdoor riding in central Illinois. Therefore, my training has been basement riding while watching TV. Its usually 30-35 miles at approx. 18-20 mph. The good news is that while I train in the basement I haven't been chased by dogs, near misses with vehicles, or counting the numerous items of garbage tossed into the ditches along the road. Also, the weather for the rest of the week is supposed to be very good for my training outside. I plan on riding 55 miles today followed by a 100 mile ride to Champaign tomorrow. However, the weather conditions will dictate how it goes.
Shout out: Russell's Cycling and Fitness Center in Washington Il. Joe Russell and his staff have been very accomodating in helping me initiate and carry out my plan to ride across the country. From a "Camelback" to a foldable tire, every item I have needed has been available and in stock. Thanks Joe and staff!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weather: 55 degrees Wind-ENE 6 mph-beautiful day to ride

Yesterday's ride was a 62 mile traverse around the countryside of Tazewell and Woodford county. Average speed was 15.2 mph. While it was mostly uneventful I am constantly amazed at how some drivers react to a bicyclist on the road. For the most part, bicycle accidents with cars are through bikers negligence or the inattention of the auto drivers. The bicyclist motto is "ride like you are invisible" because in many cases drivers are looking for other cars and often are not aware of bicycles on the road. Usually nothing malicious occurs because of the inherent dangers involved. Any bicyclist can tell countless stories of "near misses" and in some cases getting hit. Its part of sharing the road with multi-ton vehicles. But, there are occasions when that is not the case. So, during yesterdays ride, with a stripped middle line dividing the road and no cars in the lane I am riding, a car approaches from the opposite direction. As it is closing on me it swerves over the middle line into my lane and is headed directly for me. I apply my brakes and begin taking action to avert a collision. Then, the car steers back into its proper lane and, as it passes me, the kids in the vehicle are laughing and waving at me. Very funny! Four teenagers in a car on a lonely country road having fun with the bicyclist. I don't see the humor. This is not an indictment of teenagers in general. I have worked with them all my life and they are basically a wonderful group of people. Unfortunately, a few idiots gives the rest a bad rep. And besides, I have had close encounters with old "geezers" as well. Enough for this entry, its time to replenish my "vital fluids"

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Temp: 51 degrees wind-17 mph WNW
Rode to Bloomington 40 miles average speed 16 mph Good to have a wind at your back
What should I do to keep this bloog interesting? Common observations. What is the most common item people throw into the ditches along the highway. Lets identify and see if you have discarded one of these items.
I don't know if this is an endorsement or indictment of the product mentioned but without question the most observed discarded item in the ditches along the highway are Budweiser products; Bud. Bud Light and especially Busch and Busch light The second most observed product in the highway ditches are Pepsi products especially Mountain Dew. From the litre bottle to the common 16 oz. container Pepsi reigns as the discarded item of choice. Oddly enough, I have not observed many Coke products in the ditches. Perhaps some Sociologist can do a study and determine the causal relationship between those who drink Pepsi as opposed to Coke who discard their garbage into the ditches of America and reasons for doing so based on social class and self image. While these are the most common items I have observed lets not neglect to mention the occasional empty Turtle Wax plastic containers that litter the highways and byways of this great country.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Weather-Temp 51 degrees Wind-ENE 10 mph

Relatively short ride-35 miles in the country with ave. speed 16 mph. Only two dog attacks but I trust they would have done no harm if they caught me. No truckers ran me off the road-which is a good thing-and passing cars showing utmost respect. I always tip my cap to them when they do so. Illinois motorists remember there is a law stating that when passing a bicyclist you must pass with a 3 foot clearance. Next log entry will probably be Monday.

Monday, March 30, 2009