Saturday, July 26th, 2014 - The Grand Depart

In deference to La Tour de France, which is finishing up this week, we'll use their language for our setting off. We're meeting at about 8am at our favorite Coffee House, Benjamin's, at 49 E Court Street, Franklin, IN.  We'll leave a little before 9am, and ride with some of our friends (all are welcome) around the Courthouse, over to Franklin College, and on the Franklin Greenway Trail to my Elementary School (go Webb Spiders!), then around to my current school, Franklin Community High School.  After that first few miles, we'll head East to the country roads then North to Indianapolis, where we'll visit UIndy, the Cultural Trail and State Capitol, Butler University, Broad Ripple, and the Monon Trail North.  We'll end up at Wesley Manor in Frankfort after just over 100 miles, where I'll visit my Great-Grand-Aunt (and where my great-grandparents lived - fond memories).

Here is a link to the map and again, feel free to join us along the way - we'd love company!

Sunday, July 27th, 2014 - Frankfort to Valparaiso

We're hoping to connect with some Internet friends from the Lafayette / Monticello area cycling club for at least part of the journey, and again, all are welcome to join along the way.  We'll leave Frankfort and head through rural Indiana through the Tippecanoe River area, then on North towards Valpo.  This is a 115 mile day, and will be my first "back to back" century rides - riding over 100 miles two days in a row.

Monday, July 28th, 2014 - Valparaiso through Chicago

This will be our third consecutive 100+ mile day, and I'm excited that so much of it is on trails with fantastic scenery. We'll cross to Crown Point and pick up a trail that will take us through Hammond and into Illinois, then we'll head to the Lake Michigan coast and follow the trails up to the University of Chicago, then through downtown and up past Loyola, Northwestern and eventually Fort Sheridan, then West to our destination with some family friends.

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 - Northern Chicago Suburbs to Western Milwaukee Suburbs - Oconomowoc!

This is a bit shorter route, about 80-85 miles that will pickup some trail time but a lot of roads, with a lunch stop in Lake Geneva, and then the half way point at my Grandparent's house in Oconomowoc.  We'll have traveled about 400 miles by the end of this day, and will certainly be ready for some rest.

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 - Planned Rest Day

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, my doctor really wanted me to build in a rest day (or two!) just to be sure I could flex the schedule if my arthritis started to give me trouble.  If we have difficulties earlier in the trip, we could slow the pace a bit, but since we're starting fresh and in good form from our training, I think we can hold the schedule, and if so, we'll have a day for sleep, laundry, sleep, catching up and communication and sleep.  If I'm in a position where I don't think I need the rest day yet, we could press on but my guess is that my grandparents' hospitality will be quite the lure.

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 - West through Madison

The second half begins.  The plan is to head West through Madison and get 100 miles.  Destination and route are still under development.

Friday, August 1st, 2014 - Headed for LaCrosse

Still developing the details of the route, but hoping to catch the tunnel trail and make it as close to LaCrosse and the Mississippi River as possible.

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 - Crossing the River to Rochester

We'll encounter our biggest hills of the route as we climb the Mississippi River bluffs and head into Rochester where we hope to stay with some family friends and visit Crossroads College.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 - The Final Stage

We should be able to make it to Minneapolis and Macalester College, but again, we've built in a flex day if needed, so we could shorten the route and arrive Monday if needed.

Monday, August 4th, 2014 - Visiting Macalester and the Return

The plan is to do an official college visit at Macalester, and my Mom and little sister will be joining us (big sister is going to be in Seattle celebrating her High School Graduation with our Aunt Becky!).  After the visit, we'll be putting the bikes on the roof of the van and heading for home.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 - Back Home Again in Indiana

If all goes well, we'll get home, perhaps take a short spin around the neighborhood, unpack and get ready for...

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 - School Starts - Senior Year, here I come!


There were two major options...

My original intent, and still the favorite, is to leave Franklin on Sunday, July 27th, 2014, and travel through Chicago.  Basically, I'd go through Indianapolis, touring through UIndy, where my older sister is attending this Fall, ride through the Butler campus, then head pretty much straight North, covering about 100 miles the first day.  The second day would see me traveling to Valparaiso, where I would spend the second night on the road and tour the University there as well.  Day three would take me through Chicago, including a tour through the University of Chicago, and ending North of the city.  On Day four, I would have a shorter day, or have some time to catch up if needed, and would spent the night at my grand-parents' house in Oconomowoc, Wi, West of Milwaukee.  The second half of the trip would be Westward through Wisconsin, eventually arriving in Minneapolis on Sunday, August, 3rd.  

The second option would avoid the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas and follow a more Westward path through Central Illinois, then following the Mississippi River North.  The reason I'm considering this option (even though it would cause me to miss visiting Valpo and University of Chicago) is that the route is documented by the Adventure Cycling Association, so I have a lot of confidence in the road selection.  

I'll plan to post route maps soon, and hopefully will connect with local clubs and others who can help me find the best route, and maybe ride some of the way with me!