Mary's Biking Adventure 2003

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This bike trip is my 60th-birthday present to myself. We spend 1/3 of our trip in Texas, my birth state. I haven't visited there in over 45 years. It'll be fun to revisit it by bike.

And an even more important reason: I'm cycling for LuAnne.

LuAnne & Kenny Lefler are avid cyclists. (Kenny is also a bike mechanic extraordinaire; he keeps my bike operating at peak performance.) After experiencing numbness during a bike trip in 2001, LuAnne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. With determination & physical therapy, she worked her way back to some biking by summer 2002.

Then in fall 2002 LuAnne was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer---inflammatory breast cancer. Since November she's been undergoing intensive weekly chemotherapy treatments. Surgery is planned for late April or early May....then more chemo. (The photo shows Kenny & LuAnne with their tandem on the Cassville Ferry in Sept 1999.)

But LuAnne is already talking about biking this summer. Her spirit is indomitable. And she says, "If this darn cancer is going to try to get me, then I'm going to use it." I'd like to help her use raise money to fight the disease. I hope you'll join me.

LuAnne & I invite you to send a check, made payable to the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, to:

Attn: Accounting
1707 L Street NW, Suite 1060
Washington, DC 20036

In the memo section (& on the outside of the envelope, if possible), please write, WOMANTOURS--LUANNE.

I called the NBCCF & learned that, of the funds they raise, 80% supports their programs, 5% goes to fundraising, & 15% is for administrative overhead. Learn more about the NBCCF here.

As Sweet Honey in the Rock would sing, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." we each have the power to conquer cancer & need to do our part now.

WomanTours is a bike-tour company run by & for women. They specialize in rides for women over 50, tho' women of any age can participate. They organize rides in the US & in several countries overseas. Other companies do cross-country tours every year also, but I chose WomanTours again because (1) their overnight accommodations are always indoors & (2) their daily pace is slower than most cross-country rides. There will be 28 women on this tour; we come from all across the US--California to Maine, Washington state to Georgia, & many points in between.

Where & When:
On Friday, March 7, at 9 a.m., we'll dip our tires in the Pacific at Ocean Beach Park (Dog Beach) in San Diego & head eastward. We'll traverse the 3180 miles of Adventure Cycling's Southern Tier cross-country route, & on Friday, May 2, around noon, we'll ride into St. Augustine with a police escort to the Anastasia State Park Beach, where we'll dip our tires into the Atlantic. Adventure Cycling says of this route: "It offers challenging terrain right from the start, with some longer climbs leaving San Diego all the way up to In-ko-pah Pass, about 70 miles east of the coast. There are two mountain passes in New Mexico, the highest being Emory Pass at 8,228 feet, which is also the route's highest point. ... ... Traveling through central Texas the terrain starts to feel like the alps, but this is actually the famous "hill country." This diverse area serves some great bar-b-que, as well as being the training ground for Lance Armstrong." Read lots more interesting details about our route here.

I'll again ride my trusty purple Cannondale hybrid. It was a retirement gift from my sons Mark & Scott in February '98 & now has over 25,000 miles on it. WomanTours recommends riding a road bike; they also recommend clipless pedals. But I managed the 4100+ miles of the TransAmerica route without them & expect to survive the Southern Tier, too. I also don't wear padded biking shorts, biking gloves, nor biking shoes (but Birkenstock sandals instead). I'll be the one who looks like she shouldn't try biking around the block, let alone across the country.

& last, but by no means least, THANKS to my son Mark, who again has made possible this bike-tour e-diary. He sets up the iBook & digital camera that i'll be carrying on the trip (only the camera during the day). He created the site, & he receives my emails (with photos attached) each day of the tour (assuming i can get connected from our overnight stops), then transfers the text & photos onto the site. If you have questions about the site, you can contact him.

Click on one of the days below to go to its update.

March 1 - 5
Pre-ride: San Diego
3/1 San Diego 3/5 San Diego
3/2 San Diego
3/3 San Diego
3/4 San Diego

March 6 - 11
Day 1 - 6: California
3/7 Alpine 3/11 Blythe
3/8 Jacumba
3/9 Brawley
3/10 Blythe

March 12 - 18
Day 7 - 13: Arizona
3/12 Salome 3/16 Globe
3/13 Wickenburg 3/17 Safford
3/14 Phoenix 3/18 Safford
3/15 Apache Junction

March 19 - 23
Day 14 - 18: New Mexico
3/19 Buckhorn 3/23 La Mesilla
3/20 Silver City
3/21 Silver City
3/22 Kingston

March 24 - April 12
Day 19 - 38: Texas
3/24 El Paso 3/28 Fort Davis 4/1 Bracketville 4/5 Kerrville 4/9 Navasota
3/25 Fort Hancock 3/29 Marathon 4/2 Camp Wood 4/6 Blanco 4/10 Navasota
3/26 Van Horn 3/30 Sanderson 4/3 Vanderpool 4/7 Bastrop 4/11 Cold Springs
3/27 Fort Davis 3/31 Lake Amistad 4/4 Vanderpool 4/8 La Grange 4/12 Silsbee

April 13 - 17
Day 39 - 43: Louisiana
4/13 De Ridder 4/17 St. Francisville
4/14 Opelousas
4/15 Simmesport
4/16 St. Francisville

April 18 - 20
Day 44 - 46: Mississippi
4/18 Franklinton
4/19 Wiggins
4/20 Pascagoula

April 21 - 22
Day 47 - 48: Alabama
4/21 Dauphin Island
4/22 Dauphin Island

April 23 - May 3
Day 49 - 58: Florida
4/23 Pensacola 4/27 Tallahassee 5/1 Palatka
4/24 Crestview 4/28 Monticello 5/2 St. Augustine
4/25 Marianna 4/29 Live Oak
4/26 Tallahassee 4/30 High Springs

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