This CD also contains a 14 minute video slideshow. To watch it, do one the following:
  • Put it in a DVD player capable of reading CD-Video recorded on CD-R media. Many, but not all, commercial DVD players can do this.
  • Put it in a computer DVD drive. You may need to start the DVD player software manually.
  • Put it in a computer CD drive. Windows Media player should be able to play it.

    There is also a DVD player program included in this disk. Only do this if you don't have any other DVD player software. To install:
  • open the CD (right-click -> Explore) on the icon representing the drive
  • open the "intervideo" folder
  • double-click on "ReadMe" and follow the instructions.

    Poetry for the road

    Colorado - Wisconsin Bicycle Tour, August 2002

    I have finally posted my journal and photos from this trip.

    The images in the journal can be browsed in this slideshow.

    The Plan

    I will be taking a three week vacation, from August 17 until September 8, and will be riding my bicycle from my home in Fort Collins, Colorado to my hometown of Connorsville, Wisconsin.  I estimate it will take about 14 days of riding, spread over about 17 days

    What will your route be?

    I hope to be very flexible about my route and timing.  I have driven many of the possible roads along the route, and visited many small towns.  There are two main options.  The beginning and end of the routes are the same, they differ in how I will cross the eastern half of Nebraska.

    The trip will begin by  riding east from Fort Colllins on state highway 14 to Sterling, then following the Platte river to North Platte, Nebraska.  This will take three or four days.  At North Platte there will be a decision to make:  do I follow the smooth, downhill, but somewhat busy US highway 30 along the Platte, or do I head into the sandhill country and enjoy smaller towns, lighter traffic, and more hills?  This is a decision I will make at the spur of the moment, the morning I leave North Platte.

    The first option will be about 960 miles with about 17,800 feet of accumulated elevation gain, while the second option is slightly shorter, at 944 miles with about 30,500 feet of elevation gain.  Here is a map showing one possible northern route.

    Small map of possible route.  Click for larger view.

    Click on the map above to see a much larger view.  The numbered points along the routes indicate possible nightly stops, although I am not setting an exact schedule -- it is much better to be flexible in case some thing interesting comes up.

    Why are you doing this?

    I have lived in Fort Collins for about 15 years.  During the course of that time, I have travelled back to Wisconsin at least three times a year, sometimes as many as six.  I estimate I've driven back and forth about 30 times,  by many different routes.  I've flown about 20 round trips between Denver and Minneapolis on commercial airlines.  I've flown a Cessna 172 from Fort Collins to Boyceville.  In other words, I've used just about every viable form of transportation except rail, horse, foot, and bicycle.  I have always enjoyed bicycling, and as a recreational rider have ridden about 2000 miles in the past year.

    During the first several years of making these cross-country treks, the one and only goal was to get it over with as quickly has legally (well, almost legally) possible.  I25 - I80 - I35 - I94 zoomzoomzoom.  Then a few years ago, I began to slow down and enjoy the back roads.  Several times I have driven the entire route without even getting on an interstate highway.  There are some very nice and interesting sites to see along the way.

    A little over a year ago, I tried to contact an aquainance at work, Mike Vermeulen, whom a year before had been the project manager for one of our software products.  He had been very helpful when I found some defects in the product, and I had some things I wanted to ask him about.  Much to my suprise,  Mike had taken a year off work to ride his bicycle across the US, around Austrailia, Tasmania, northern New Zealand, and southern India. This planted the seed of the idea for this trip, but I was a long way from being in the kind of physical condition required for an extended trip like this.  I began riding more, and have been working up to this over the past year.

    Where will you sleep?

    I think I will camp about half of the nights, and stay in motels the other half.  I enjoy camping, and have done many multi-day backcountry backpacking trips.  However, I do enjoy the comfort of a real bed and a shower that it will be worth the money to stay in motels some of the time.  Many of the small towns along the way have town parks that offer campsites for little or no cost.

    What if you don't make it?

    My goal is to ride for a little over two weeks, and to have a good time and hopefully meet some interesting people and enjoy the trip.  If I don't get to Wisconsin before my time off is up, I will call friends who will pick me up wherever I am, and will declare the trip a success regardless!

    To Do list


    Bicycle touring links

    Chuck Anderson's description of a very similar route

    Mike Vermeulen's