Road trip! Georgia peaches head to Blue Heaven on bicycles

Posted on May 2, 2010


Babs Young sent me an email.  Her friends Joanne Robben and Tom Sellmer spend every summer at their cottage on Torch Lake.  This year they’re going green.  They’ll make the trip up from Georgia on their bicycles.  Meet Joanne and Tom.

This is the 1600-mile trip they’ve just begun.  They expect to arrive at Torch Lake between June 5-10.

Here’s their first postcard, written by Joanne:

We leave tomorrow on our bicycle trip to Michigan!! I have planned this for so long, spent so many hours at the computer doing routes, and we have ridden so much to get ready. I just can’t believe the time has come. Tom has worked hard to have our equipment ready and he feels like we have the tools and spare parts we might need. I think he is as excited about this as I am. I think we are ready!

We weighed the bags once packed, and Tom has 40 pounds, while I have 27. We were very pleased, as those amounts were less than we expected. I still have food to add, so I expect to be at about 30 pounds, and I’m sure Tom will have something more. His bike, loaded, weighs 83 pounds, while mine weighs 58. He is carrying both sleeping bags, air mattresses, and the tent, and I feel like I need to take some of his load, but he’s being stubborn about that. We are planning to stay in motels most nights but will camp when necessary. Like next Tuesday night, between Montgomery and Selma, where there are no motels.

You will notice we are going significantly south, and then west, before heading north toward our eventual destination. Are we nuts? We just didn’t want to deal with the Smoky Mountains, or the foothills, so we made a decision months ago to do this instead. It will take us probably an extra week to do it this way, and we will still have lots of hills on our ride, but it seemed like a better choice to us. Looking at the map now, it seems just crazy, but it’s way too late to re-visit that decision.

We plan to average 50 miles a day, which is not an aggressive goal at all. We feel that is something we can maintain day after day, and of course we can always do more, as long as there is somewhere to stay at the end of “more” ! I pretty much have towns lined up at that distance, so it will be interesting to see how it changes.

I am very excited, and very nervous. Ready to pull out of the driveway tomorrow and get started. Looking forward to all the new things we will see, and the people we will meet. Looking forward to the feeling of contentment and well-being that I always have at the end of a day of cycling.

Tom says he feels prepared, that he has left all of his business interests in good hands, and he is ready to follow me (I have the maps, and I usually ride in front to pace us).

Well, cool, sez I.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they get up to, and to whether any of the “tools and spare parts” come into play.