A message from the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation
Started in 1991, the Arthur C. Luf Children's Burn Camp is located in northern Connecticut on 176 acres. Every summer, burn survivors come to the burn camp, which is a safe and fun environment that helps kids heal emotionally and physically. The Burn Camp is free to the children, who come primarily from the Northeast and some foreign counteries, but any burn survivor child anywhere is welcome. More than 70 adult counselors, primarily active and retired firefighters and burn unit nurses, occupational and physical therapists, child psychologists and even a doctor will serve as mentors for the week.
It's also our goal to promote burn awareness and fire prevention and education, which we do year around. We sponsor a burn survivor, burned in a car accident that involved speeding and drinking alcohol, who speaks to high school students throughout Connecticut. We also support the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital, helping to purchase equipment.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The Columbine, State flower of Colorado
Yesterday we took the bus to Boulder with Bobby and Joanna, and went out to all-you-can-eat sushi and bubble tea. We also got to meet some of Bobby's friends who live there. Today we took care of some bike maintainance business and spent some time down town. Tomorrow, westward ho.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Matt is a former Division-I basketball player for Colorado State University, who also played professionally in New Zealand for a number of years before returning to the states. Now he gives private lessons and runs basketball clinics for young athletes.
It was our great fortune that our recent mechanical disaster coincided with just such a clinic being given at the high school in Idalia. When I was in town looking for information about how to get to a bike shop, somebody in the post office suggested that I swing by the gym to see which way this out-of-towner would be heading at the end of the day. Turns out he was headed for Denver.
Matt had room in his jeep for us and our stuff, and even had a bike rack (usually used for mountain bikes). "Man," I said, "we really ran into the right guy." We had a great time riding over the Colorado plains and into the city with Matt, and he invited us to come ride mountain bikes with him and his wife tomorrow.
So we cheated about 152 miles on the ground and about 1,500 feet of elevation in a jeep. Any way, we should have plenty of time to atone for our sins in the mountains. Now we're staying with our dear and beautiful friends Bobby and Joanna.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Mike, the Fire Chief in Washington is the man! He found out we were cycling through western Kansas and eastern Colorado with only a couple liters of water, each. He stressed that the towns were going to get more distant and much smaller, with less to offer. As he took us for a short tour of downtown in his van and showed us a great spot to camp, he gave us some good advice for the road ahead. He dropped us off at the gas station so we could get something to eat but he was back in no time with two nalgene bottles he grabbed from his house for Dwight and I. We accepted with many thanks.
Then!...he came back with a camelback for me! (a camelback is a 2 liter water-bladder that attaches to your back like a backpack and you drink from it out of a hose- pretty fancy and expensive) He must have seen that Dwight had one and came back with his, which he gave to me. The camelback has been the greatest addition to my gear so far and I'm not sure what I would have done these past few days of 100 degree heat without it. Thanks Mike!
I was lucky enough here to get up close to him in action!
He's gotta eat a staggering amount of healthy calories to maintain this pace.
Who would win in a fight? I don't know anymore... My bike has gone 2,000 miles without even a flat tire.
This picture of the tank was taken at the town center of Atwood, Kansas, 55 miles from the Colorado border and another time zone! We stayed in the town park last night and I showered in some really cold, smelly lake water. We're planning to be in Denver in 3 days drinking Fat Tires with Bobby and Joanna, two very close friends from home.
Over the past six weeks, our friends and family have been asking for places they can send us notes or cookies along the way. Bobby and Joanna were kind enough to offer their address to anyone that wanted to send us some shtuff.
Bobby and Joanna
1412 Steele St Apt#206
Denver CO, 80206
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Dee waited on us at a place called Critters, where the owner, Kathy, paid for our dinner. Dee's son is a cyclist, which partly explains her sympathy for us. But I mostly think it's just because she's nice. Her home is tastefully decorated in the paradise aesthetic. Palm trees, sea shells, bright colors, sun and sand. Nice. A little taste of where we're headed for. She has three cats and three dogs, most of them rescues, her most recent adoption became a mother of nine pups just six weeks ago.
Note: If any body cares, the maps to the right have been updated to accurately reflect our course to date, including all the stops along the way.
Monday, July 21, 2008
We're traveling on the northern tier of the state, on the Pony Express Highway, Route 36, all the way to Denver and it's been over 100 degrees for the past two days.
So far, the trip on a whole has been concentrated with new experiences, new people, and new places. Though, I have been a bit concerned about Kansas because everything I gather from people i've met along the way, this state is suppose to be "nothing but wheat and pro-life billboards for 600 miles." (I've been hearing this ever since Pennsylvania...I thought these warnings would diminish once we approached Kansas and the people who know it best...but no.)
The most noticeable of the challenges from day to day is the varying terrain. There are incredible mountains to climb, huge hills to bomb and weathered pavement to navigate through. These altering physical challenges, like climbing mountains or riding through rain/wind storms are enjoyable, for the most part. On the other hand, the unvarying mental challenges, like the monotony of the corn fields of western IL are the most challenging, when you feel like you aren't advancing.
I guess we're just at the point of the trip where we just have to get through it. Colorado is coming very soon and the rewards of getting through Kansas are great. It seems like in many instances in life, the harder you work for things, the more rewards you reap in the end and there are plenty of things to look forward to in Colorado.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Ryan spotted these guys east of Kansas City
Genghis Khan. All you can eat Mongolian Barbecue. Yessssss
Across the state line the famously flat Kansas was waiting with a couple of monster hills. By now I've learned not to take flatness for granted. I'm sure it will come soon enough, and we'll have plenty of time to get acquainted on the way to Denver.
I've never understood this arrangement. Does the toilet not perform the function of the urinal? Will they ever be used simultaneously? The proprietors of this establishment need to invest in a barrier, then this will no longer be awkward.
Yesterday we rode about 68 miles through the glacial hills of eastern Kansas. I suffered my fourth flat of the journey just short of Atchison, birthplace of Amelia Earhart, and that's where we ended up staying the night. We happened to arrive on the eve of a festival in her honor. Last night the center of town was lit up with a carnival, tonight there will be a concert and tomorrow night a big fireworks display. We met a few local girls who were really cool at a place called Taco Joe's, and they introduced us to a bunch of their friends. I got some guac and Natalie (Nathalie?) gave me some potato ole's for free (basically tater tots). We also made the routine stop at the firehouse, where a camping spot was recommended, and showers at the YMCA promised in the morning. Just as we were about to leave Taco Joe's to pitch a tent, a woman walks into the place and asks if we're the kids who stopped by the fire house. Then she tells us that she is the housing coordinator at nearby Benedictine College, and that she had been driving around trying to find us since her husband (a fire fighter) had told her about our situation, in hopes of giving us a place to stay. So, thanks to the determination of this wonderful woman (Donna) to help us out, we spent last night in a college dormitory. She said, "I'd hope if my boys were doing something like this that somebody would help them out." We showered, washed our clothes, and got a good night's sleep.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I'm over that hill and have got some room behind me, and I look over my shoulder expecting him to be slowing down and quitting the chase, only to find that he's not at all discouraged, still coming along full clip. Little by little he loses ground, but he keeps coming with the same determination. Over the crest of one hill, then another, he's always there over my shoulder, now on the black top, now on the grass, always moving in one direction. Miles of road pass under me and still he persists. Around the bend I think I've lost him, but then he appears, a yellow speck in the distance. It's almost more horrifying than that first moment, because then there was the possibility of escape, and now it seems that if I ever slow down he's going to catch up. I can only maintain this pace for so long. Approaching the center of town I think, maybe I can hide in one of these shops? They're all closed. Oh my god. I look over my shoulder once more, and he's out of sight. So is Ryan. I wonder if he made it. Maybe the beast turned, saw him coming, tackled him off his bike and gobbled him up. Hope Ryan can wield that hand pump effectively.
Then, I see that familiar shape in the distance. Ryan's coming around the bend. No dog in sight. "Did that fella give you any trouble?" I ask him as he rolls up. "No, he pretty much ignored me." Unbelievable. "Worn out from the chase," he offers. Guess my legs just looked that tasty.
Long day, today. 80 miles to Kansas City.
We stopped at the Hannibal Fire Department after our encounter with Justus and talked to Mike, the Battalion Chief of the crew. He invited us to stay the night. We got to take showers and we even ate with the rest of the crew (they cooked us some brats on the grill).
Another dog chasing Dwight