The End of the Road

Tennessee 13 500px

days.  On the 13th, even!

Wheel full 70pxA couple of folks have asked me if Gary and I will be able to cycle all the way to the mouth of the river- the place where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  Unfortunately, no.  Here’s why.

The End

cue The Doors

LA 23 200px

Wheel full 70pxLouisiana State Route 23 is the road that parallels the Mississppi River for all but its last few miles down the delta.  It ends in an oilfield services town named Venice on the west bank of the river, and then a local road heads out into the bayou a couple of miles/kilometers further west.  And that’s it.  The main flow of the river, as you can see, continues on for for about another 15 miles/25 kilometers to an uninhabited place called Pilottown then splits into three main channels that extend for around another 15 miles/25 kilometers until they finally drain into the Gulf.

Wheel full 70pxAnother interesting thing is that, unless we see it out the window from our plane home as we take off from New Orleans, we will never see the Gulf of Mexico while on our trip.  So close and yet so far.


Three’s a Charm – WOW!!!

Wheel full 70px My friend Jean Aime Bigirimanawho goes by JaBig Chocophile on facebook [link] has made it to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories on the shore of the Arctic Ocean after pedaling his single speed bicycle across Canada.  He cycled 17,763 kilometers/11,037 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and then north past the Arctic Circle to the end.  I first posted about him here [link] and then again here [link].


Wheel full 70pxI can’t add anything to his amazing story other than my heartfelt admiration and congratulations. His post on his facebook page made after he completed the ride is here [link], and it is a joy to read.

Wheel full 70pxAn amazing achievement by an amazing guy.

Hey fellow bicycle fanatics/GoPro users:

Wheel full 70pxI posted about this time last year that I was on the fence as far as purchasing a GoPro camera for my long bike trip I was planning for later in the year. Ultimately I did not get one to take with me. Fast forward to last December- I updated my iPhone 6 Plus by two model years to an iPhone 7 Plus, mainly for the improved camera and addition of water resistance. Because my old iPhone was in just about pristine shape ATT gave me an excellent trade in amount for it, and it just so happened that they had an incredible discounted price on the remaining GoPro Hero 4 Silvers they had in stock. So, for a couple of bucks, I wound up with a GoPro.

Wheel full 70pxThe thing is as finicky as I thought it was. The controls are not particularly intuitive and shooting, whether video or still, through a fisheye lens all the time takes some getting used to. The internal battery capacity is minuscule, so I pretty much right away had to go buy a couple of six hour battery backs to make the thing functional on longer rides. I finally decided on a helmet mounted setup, and am getting competent at using my iPhone to control it. I’ve decided that video of bike rides is pretty much not for me- things just go by too slowly on a road ride to make them compelling viewing for any length of time, and I’m not about to start putting hours into creating tightly edited shorts from a four or five hour ride. So I’m taking still photos with my GoPro.

GoPro 800px

Wheel full 70pxI had to figure out how to aim the camera to eliminate the worst of the “goldfish bowl” effect of the fixed fisheye lens. I think I pretty much have that under control, but the photos still are no substitute for the composed ones that I can stop and take with the small Canon digital camera that I carry in my bag, or even my iPhone. But there’s a trade off, and I discovered this on last year’s ride. You just can’t stop every five minutes because there’s something you want to get a photo of. It breaks the momentum and eats into the time you have to get in the miles you want to travel that day. So GoPro it will be this year for a lot of my photos.

Wheel full 70pxAnd there’s my remaining issue, and the reason for this post. Can anyone help me with the following two questions, please?

1. Friends have observed that my Strava photos are not geotagged, i.e. coded with the lat-lon coordinates that allows a program like Strava to locate where they they are taken along the ride. This is because I am importing them from the GoPro after the ride is complete and the GoPro, incredibly (at least IMHO) does not provide for this to be done. I mean, how hard could it be on a wildly (again IMHO) overpriced camera intended for use during active outdoor recreation that often involves travel from point A to point B to incorporate a basic GPS circuit that would geotag the photos? So, is there any sort of fix for this? A hardware fix, like some sort of GPS back (although it would need to incorporate an extended life battery as well to be truly useful, see above)? Or a software one, where the photo could be automatically sent to the iPhone, which would add the geotagging to it on they fly? If anyone has any advice or input on this I would love to hear it.

2. Failing a solution to #1 above, is there even just a way to get the iPhone and the GoPro to transfer photos taken by the GoPro automatically, as opposed to by the means of a batch download after the ride is complete? I use the GoPro program “Capture” to control the GoPro from the iPhone and to batch download photos currently, but cannot find anything in the program set up to make it do this. I have also looked on the ‘net and found nothing, which is usually a bad sign. Is there a 3rd party app solution? Again, I’d really hope someone has figured this out.

Wheel full 70pxThanks in advance for reading this long post, and for your thoughts to those who offer them.

So This is Cool!

Wheel full 70px Scroll down to see the map from top to bottom- or, as we call it, from brook2bayou.

Route 170406 800px

Wheel full 70px Apparently WordPress only cares that your images are not more than 800 pixels wide. Tall, hey! Who’s checking? So a route that runs pretty much north to south can be shown at a scale-size sufficient so that you can actually figure out where stuff is.

Wheel full 70px That, by the way, is my final cut at route planning for the trip. I joined all my segments- all 45 of them- together in Ride with GPS to create one long route, and of course discovered a couple of mistakes. And that was after I thought I’d gone over the route in mid-March with the digital equivalent of a fine tooth comb. There was really only one significant rerouting adding about a mile and a half. Other mistakes getting fixed, like going 50 yards up a side street or a small “there and back” circle, reduced the length, though, so I wound up only four-tenths of a mile/650 meters off on a route that is 2,250 miles/3,620 kilometers long.

Wheel full 70px So now I will break this long route back into 45 pieces, secure in the knowledge that my start and end points each day/50 mile/80 km segment are precise. That will also, unfortunately require me to redo the detailed elevation profiles, but I’m going to work with the ones I have done for a while, as they are close enough to plan off of. I will have to fix them, though, before I do the cue sheets. That’s several days work, unfortunately.

Wheel full 70px Well, it’s 50(F)/10(C) degree here in Alaska again today. There may be a “first in 2017” bike ride in my weekend coming up. We’ll see.

They Just aren’t the Same

apples ≠ oranges

Wheel full 70pxI’m spending the day doing hand-built detailed elevation profiles for the Mississippi River ride on a website called GPS Visualizer.  Both RidewithGPS and the Google Maps API will automatically create profiles from a route, but for the reason I will explain here I find them about useless for anything other than quick general info.

Wheel full 70pxHere’s why.  The next two images are greatly reduced Google Maps of two of the 50 mile/80 km days I have broken the entire 2,250 mile/3,621 kilometer route into.

Wheel full 70pxIf you look to the last 25 miles/40 kilometers of each day’s elevation chart you will see a what appears to be a honkin’ big hill in about the same place each day.  Note that the x-axis “Distance” of each chart is exactly the same length- 50 miles/80 km.  If that’s as far as you look, though, you are left with a sense that each day there will be quite a challenge right after lunchtime.  A closer look, though, discloses that the y-axis “Elevation” of each chart, even though appearing to be divided into equal units, could not be much less comparable.  The elevation “window” of the day on the left is about 400 feet/122 meters.  The day on the right is about 40 feet/12 meters.


Wheel full 70pxNow, I know that the folks at Google Maps and at RidewithGPS aren’t trying to mislead or confuse me.  I’m sure that there are considerations that cause the charts to be created the way that they appear, and that in fact most everyone takes away useful info when they look at them.  But here’s the two GPS Visualizer charts for the last 25 miles/40 kilometers of each day with the Elevation axis using the same measurement units.  First, the one that we know has the truly monster hill.

018-S St. Paul to Hager City Mile 0025 to 0050 800px

That clearly is going to present a challenge.  The second chart…

082-vic New Roads to South Baton Rouge Mile 0025 to 0050 800px

Not so much, eh?

Three days, 150 miles to go

Wheel full 70px After riding yesterday to the very tip of Florida’s Atlantic Coast beaches at the north entrance to Biscayne Bay


today I will make my way onto the Florida Keys! Here’s a couple of postcards from yesterday’s ride, which somehow managed to include a leaky gas main and a little less than two hours of riding across the Miami metro area at night.




Wheel full 70px I’m starting the day in Cutler Bay, a completely unremarkable portion of Miami’s urban sprawl north of the old Homestead Air Force Base, which has been decommissioned and closed.   I’ll head south on minor roads until I run into Card Sound Road, which crosses onto the Keys east of US Highway 1 over the toll bridge shown on the map.   From there I’ll ride to John Pennekamp State Park just outside Key Largo and camp there for the night.

Wheel full 70px Here’s where I am right now in the context of the entire trip


and of Florida


and of the Keys.


Wheel full 70px Margaritaville, here I come!