Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Here is our new home. The address is 109 N. Mill Street in Decorah, IA. We bought it over the internet so it was unseen until June 30th. It needs some TLC but will work for us. I mean, it has running water, a shower, refrigerator, stove and washer/dryer. What more can we ask for, especially since we have mainly been living in a tent for 3 years?

We didn't keep much in storage but our friends came through and our house is almost fully furnished. We're still lacking a bed and dressers so we are still sleeping on the floor and living out of bins but it will come around.

What are we doing now? We certainly haven't been bored. After going to see our families we have been very busy working on a forclosure house in Cedar Rapids (for pay). I have also been working on my resume and continuing education credits so I can re-instate my Iowa license and work again as a dietitian in Iowa. This week (7/25 - 7/31) is Ragbrai and Ward is providing sag service for a group. I will be joining them on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike again.

The end of the trip was a bitter sweet. We are both ready to get back to a more routine life and to know what is around the corner. However, it has been a dream for so long that it is sad to see it come to an end. Are there plans in the works? Of course. We will be writing a book after we review our 18,000 photos and numerous tablets of journals. We will also be traveling to India and Thailand in 2012.

We'll keep you informed of any new happenings. Until then, thanks to everyone that has been following us and supporting us through the trip. We couldn't have done it without you.

The 1106th day of our trip, the final day!

June 30th was the final day of our 1106 day bike trip. We did it in style. Fifteen friends from Decorah came to bike the last day with us. It started out with a complimentary breakfast at the Lady Luck Casino for all of us (thank you Lady Luck). It was then followed by many organized stops and a lot of fun! We certainly didn't want to hurry our last day. Ward tried to get rid of his burly. Russ volunteered to drag it but found out he needed a little extra help.

One of our final stops was at Shanna (Putnam) Dibble's house where she had beverages and snacks for us. She also provided us with a package that was mailed to her house. It was intended to be a house warming present for us from an unknown person (I'm sure it was one of my sister's). So meet Lucy Goosey. Ward tied her on the bike and she rode in with us. She now sits on our new porch and people watches.

Once we hit Decorah we were tracked down by the poporatsi (Eric Clement). He took many photos of us as we biked our last miles, including a photo in front of the Decorah sign (photos to be coming). Our first stop, once in town, was at TBocks where many other friends joined us. It was the best homecoming that we could have had. Now its time to see our new house. The gang came to our house with us to see it for the first time. We enjoyed beer and wine and broke it in the right way.


Welcome Back Party in Madison, WI

The party continues...the last day of the ride (June 26th), Kay and Harry Lum threw us a welcome back party at their home in Madison, WI. It was really fun to see some of our other friends that weren't on the ride.

Then the next day they organized a bike ride around Madison with re-hydration stops every 5-10 miles. Great strategy. We had a beautiful day and I thank everyone that came out to join us for the ride. A special treat for me was when my sister, brother-in-law, and niece showed up to ride with us. My niece Emily is only 7 and loves to ride. She came decked out in her bike gear.

Monday we rode 60 miles to our friend's (Den and Maggie) cabin. It happened to be on the route and a was a great welcoming as we needed to relax after a full week of fun. Tuesday we rode to Prairie du Chein where we would then meet up with our local friends and bike the final day into Decorah.

Grabaawr, a week of celebration with friends (6/20 - 6/26)

The second part of the week offered more fun and craziness. They decided to have a canoe race across the WI river with a lemond start (running) and ending with a run to the finish line. My team, named Team Bone Dry, consisted of Ward, Dale Putnam and myself. We were surprised that the press showed up for the event. We actually got 4th out of about 15 teams. We could have done better if Dale wouldn't have tipped us over at the end.

Ward and I continued to carry our own gear which made us a lot slower than everyone else. Its quite humbling to be at the back of the pack. We rode hard but allowed time and energy for line dancing and relaxing.

We had to say goodbye to our great friends...until next year.

Grabaawr, the first part of the week (6/19 - 6/22)

We made it to Eagle River with a day to spare. We needed that extra day of rest to get ready for what lay ahead...a week of celebration! It just happened that Dennis, whom we had met in Florida, was going to be up in our area. So, he drove to Eagle River to meet us and took us out to lunch. What a nice beginning to the ride.

We had many friends do the ride with us. What a great way to reconnect after 3 years of being away. If you recall, we started our trip in June of 2007 by riding the Grabaawr. It was a week of toasting, telling lies and stories that only had to be 50% true, hanging out with our friends, dancing and singing at the bars, and wearing the blue jersey that was made in memory of our friend, Mark, who had been killed last fall riding his bike in Iowa. He was definitely with us in spirit.

We had a couple of guest appearances from Kelsey and Paul Scanlon, and my mom and my sister, Lorna and Donna. What a fun first part of the trip!