Pledge your support for Mike as he bikes 457 miles to raise scholarship funds for youth to enroll in EUREKA! STEAM camps!
Mike Perry, a EUREKA! trip leader and Grand Junction community staple, is biking across Nebraska this June to support science education on the Western Slope! Never a biking enthusiast, Mike was inspired in 1999 when he read about a couple living in Oregon who rode their bikes across the country and had just completed their journey in Astoria, OR. He dusted off his first generation Trek mountain bike, half-converted it to a road bike, and began his own cross-country ride at Fort Stephens, OR.
Life and new jobs have interrupted his rides, but he continued through Oregon, southern Idaho, northern Utah, and across Wyoming to Kremmling, Colorado. Now, a few years later, he is motivated to support EUREKA! and kids in western Colorado, by continuing his journey across Nebraska.
This just in:
At 10:31 am (MST) Mike and Allyson completed their ride across Nebraska! More details to come!
Day 8 - Rest Day in Omaha.
Visited several historic sites and a pioneer cemetery. This city celebrates its pioneer roots with impressive life size bronze sculptures.
Day 6 - Central City to Schuylar. 60 miles. A lot of Rain but no wind today so we can say we have experienced the elements. Even with soaked clothes our spirits were high.
We called this day our day through flattened fauna.
Badgers- quite a few
Snake-one too flat and squished to identify
Red-winged blackbirds- two
Another cool thing happened while riding today. Allyson was ahead of me and a female red-winged blackbird kept swooping around her and briefly landed on her helmet as we were riding. We figured that because she was wearing a butterfly print jersey the bird probably thought she was food
Appropriately, at the end of our riding day and destined for a rest day in Omaha, we passed through. WAHOO, NE
As we ride through miles and miles of cornfields and other crops, I am reminded of Paul Harvey's most memorable program on "The Farmer". It's worth tracking down for a listen. I think it's probably the greatest tribute ever recorded to these great people. A good day today, fewer miles (60) but no wind to speak of, good clean shoulders to ride on, and foot stomping music coming through my bluetooth headset.
I want you all to know this ride would not be remotely possible without my companions, Sandy and Allyson. Sandy has faithfully given us SAG support every 10 miles with water, fruit, snacks, and cheerful support that kept us going when we really just wanted to quit in the face of the wind.
Allyson is my constant pace machine, making sure we are safe, obeying speed limits, and not letting me out of her sight! Great ladies! This evening we're taking a 30 minute drive to Hasting for dinner and to sample a glass of world famous Kool Aid from where it was invented.
When we get tired at the end of a day we are reminded of the Pony Express riders that never rested. A brief stop in Gothenburg at the restored adobe/mud Pony Express way station told of the arduous journey and perils these incredible riders faced each day. We feel very luck to have bicycles to ride and a hotel to sleep in each night!
Day 4 - we hit our half way point at 7:53 am Colorado time. 225 miles down! This afternoon we rolled into Kearny with 70.5 miles for the day. We checked our mileage and we only have 175 more miles to go!
I had been listening to BYU music in my bluetooth headset, but Allyson told me I needed to listen to something that would energize me and not "put me to sleep". I don't know what she did but the next song that came on was Rocketman, and my speed went from 10 mph to 15 mph in seconds! I'll be looking for a better and faster tomorrow!
Day 3 began early at 5:19 am with hopes of getting ahead of the wind. We did pretty well and made about 20 miles before it caught up with us at 9 am. At 50 miles we hit North Platte and decided to have lunch early. We couldn't let another low mileage day get us down, so we pressed on another 10. We hit some construction at Maxwell that closed highway 30 and routed us onto I-80 - where biking is not allowed. We ended up chatting with the construction boss in Brady and, voila, he gave us permission to ride over the freshly laid asphalt back to Maxwell where we were originally halted. We managed to get in our next 11 miles, with a tail wind to boot! Our speed had dropped to 8 mph in the wind earlier, but we were able to finish going about 18.5 mph!
As hard as I look in either direction, I'll be darned if I can see a hill. Plans for today went a little sideways thanks to strong head and side winds. Holy moly it blows here! We did our best to reach Ogallala, some 50 miles beyond Lodgepole, and count ourselves lucky to get that far.
Our roadside history points out that near our current location is "California Hill", a prominent turning point on the California and Oregon Trails. Tomorrow's departure will be 5:30 am in hopes of beating the wind and making up for a few lost miles. Now, time for a shower and rest!
Day 1! The ride begins at 6:30 am. Our first few miles were chilly but we soon warmed up. We road between the railroad and the distant I-80. People were friendly, many waving as we went by, and giving us plenty of road room as they passed. Even the train engineers blasted their horns as they passed! People are just plain friendly here. We are on the California, Oregon, and Mormon trails and many thoughts of our early ancestors and pioneers cross our minds as we ride. The landscape is green, lush, and FLAT. Really flat...but, this makes for fast riding! How else could we have made it 80 miles on the first day!?
Our rest stop tonight is Sidney, a little farming community and home of the flagship Cabellas. This is where Dick Cabella began his dream of creating a business that would serve the outdoor enthusiasts and bring high quality equipment to outdoor sportsmen everywhere.
Allyson made one last call home. Yes, from a phone booth!
Highway markers along the way break up the ride and inform us of the great history in the "flyover" state. Believe me - there is much to see and appreciate in this state!
I've been riding 25-35 miles, climbing hills, singing the same songs to myself, and starting to wave at cows. I think I'm ready! My bike is tuned up with a new chain, brake pads, wheels and tires, handlebar tape, and a new tail light. Sounds like a whole new bike, doesn't it!? Looks good, rides good...I'm ready!
Headed over to Utah for a 40.6 training ride in Vernal with my daughter, Allyson. The ride today included 2100 ft of elevation. I'm bushed!
EUREKA!'s Executive Director, Jenn Moore, came along for a 30 mile training ride in the morning heat.
Allyson has been putting in some miles this past week! Mike laments his ride today was "a mere" 30.1 miles.
Today's Memorial Day ride was Fruita to Las Colonias and back (what should I call this new route?), 35 miles along the riverfront trail. Beautiful day with no wind and clear skies, and great scenery along the way. My companion riders today were Grant Shawcroft and Jim Emerson (pictured), two veteran riders that practice extreme social distancing when I tag along. They're patient with me, though!
Since returning from Montana I've resumed my training routine which consists of several (self-named) routes: Mack N Back (27 miles), Fruit Loop (26 miles), Gasplant (30 miles), Highline (25 miles), and the Bike Path Riverfront Trail (25 miles).
On today's ride, a good friend and fellow bike pal Grant Shawcroft joined me on the Fruit Loop ride along the Fruita Riverfront trail to Loma, across the freeway to 13 Road, 12 Road to Highline Lake, then back home. A perfect riding - no wind!!
We are currently in Great Falls, Montana to visit our daughter who recently had foot surgery. Not to miss an opportunity to ride and train for Nebraska, I brought my bike and have been riding along several of the great trails along the Missouri River. Historically this is on the same path the Lewis and Clark Expedition took on their epic journey to the Pacific. It was at Great Falls where they had to portage their boats around more than 5 waterfalls to reach flat water. A great ride, beautiful scenery, and great history to remind me of the incredible sacrifice made by our first pioneers.
I'm so excited to announce I"ll be riding with my daughter, Allyson. We have three married children, Allyson (lives in Vernal, UT), Justin (lives in Ouray, CO), and Adrienne (lives in Great Falls, MT). I do something different and memorable with each of them. At one time we were all climbing partners on many of the Colorado 14ers. Justin is the hunter and fly fishing guru who I share a lot of outdoor adventures with. Ironically, our youngest daughter Adrienne is the real biker, but with recent surgery she has to remain off any biking for a few months. She and I have ridden from Seattle to Portland several times and Seattle to Vancouver BC once. Allyson, who is an avid runner, does half and full marathons. I don't do either but she is getting into biking and wouldn't miss a chance for a new challenge in Nebraska! She is a great pal and companion for this adventure.