1 0 Posts from: July, 2011
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Back on our bikes after recovering in Colorado

Posted by on July 29th, 2011 10 Comments

IMG 0184 225x300 Back on our bikes after recovering in Colorado

Here I am in the hospital - smiling because I only have an infection, not appendicitis like the doctor first thought.

After our longer-than-expected stay with Reuben’s brother Nick and his wife Jess in Denver due to me being hit with an acute case of diverticulitis – an intestinal infection, we met up with the whole Vanderkwaak clan for a week of camping near Estes Park. This mini family-reunion had been scheduled over a year ago and timed for when we had planned to arrive in the area on our bikes. However, due to my antibiotics and their side-affects, we were unable to ride, and instead drove up to our destination with our bikes stuffed in the trunk. It was disappointing not to be able to cycle the mountain approach, but we realized this is all part of our adventure, and we were set to enjoy our time with family and let the cool mountain air help with overcoming my infection.

July 28 2011 DSC 3150 548x362 Back on our bikes after recovering in Colorado

Getting our fill of hiking in the mountains during our time off the bikes

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Nebraska is beautiful

Posted by on July 20th, 2011 4 Comments

July 08 2011 DSC 2769 548x362 Nebraska is beautiful

You don’t hear that statement too much, do you? Most people think of Nebraska and other mid-west states as sprawling monotonous corn and bean fields with little visual interest. Boring, right?

Not exactly. Maybe it is the nostalgia of spending my childhood years among the cornfields, but I find such beauty in the plains. And I found that beauty again as we cycled through central Nebraska. Immediately upon crossing the state line from Vermillion, South Dakota we began to experience the rolling hills of the northwest corner of the state. Up and down we went as we headed south and west towards Colorado, the geography shifting from those hills to endless flat-lands to grass-covered sand dunes and back again.

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Loving life on the road

Posted by on July 18th, 2011 11 Comments

The sun is beating down on the hot black pavement snaking slowly up and down over the gentle and rolling hills of Nebraska. Beads of sweat rise and gather with others forming rivulets down my arms, chest, back and face. Groves of trees providing shade are distant. Towns grow elusive and far apart. My thirst is ravenous and is not suppressed with the warm, tepid water in my water bottle.

July 16 2011 DSC 2936 548x362 Loving life on the road

And I’m smiling. Actually, the whole family is smiling. And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but here – because this feels like home.

July 16 2011 DSC 2938 548x362 Loving life on the road

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Rest in Sioux Center, Iowa

Posted by on July 16th, 2011 3 Comments
July 06 2011 DSC 2697 548x355 Rest in Sioux Center, Iowa

In front of The Fruited Plain in Sioux Center, Iowa

Sioux Center, a small town in Northwest Iowa (pop: 7000) claims a special part in both of our lives. Reuben spent a fair amount of his childhood here, and we both attended college in town (were we met). Since we hadn’t been back since our graduation, it was a must that we put it on our route.

For previous rest stops so far on our journey we’ve enjoyed the hospitality of friends and family in the area. We have many friends who still live in Sioux Center but as we didn’t know when we would arrive or for how long we would stay, we decided to book a local hotel. Thankfully the Econolodge is centrally located and provided a very clean and comfortable stay for the 4 nights we were there.

IMG 0119 300x293 Rest in Sioux Center, Iowa

A fortune cookie with great advice.

Our first stop in town? The Bamboo Garden Chinese Café. I worked here for the 6 years that I lived in Sioux Center. I even lived with the owners and their daughter for 8 months when I needed a place to stay one summer. I hadn’t seen them since we were last in town 8 years ago, and both Reuben and I missed their food so much! It was great to catch up with them and enjoy our old favourite dishes!

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Split rim, hotels and Iowa heat

Posted by on July 4th, 2011 13 Comments

We’re hanging out for a couple of days in Sioux Center, Iowa – the town where I spent a fair amount of my youth and where both Heidi and I went to college. With a number of days off we finally have a moment to reflect on our push from Madison, Wisconsin to this point. It has been an event-filled few weeks and we have really enjoyed watching the landscape evolve from the hilly glaciated terrain of Wisconsin’s driftless area to the rolling flats of Iowa farmland.

1000km 548x390 Split rim, hotels and Iowa heat

We hit 1,000km outside of Madison and are well on our way to 2,000 now.

Iowa farms 548x362 Split rim, hotels and Iowa heat


Before departing Madison, Wisconsin, we took a little side trip to Des Moines, Iowa for a quick weekend with my family. While hopping in a car for the five hour drive was a bit of a surreal experience after a month on bikes, we were grateful to have this additional time with brothers, sisters, parents, grand-parents and great-grandparents.

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