Blair, NE to Clarion, Iowa


  1. A son said I should have more pictures of “me” and that he thought people would like to see me in action.   Here I am doing the post in Clarion, Iowa.   Don’t I look thoughtful?
  2. Sign welcoming me to Clarion, Iowa.   If you look at a map I did 180 miles today.   Well that is not quite true which is explained below.
  3. If you look carefully you will see that MG (Miracle Go) is under the scalpel.   Gene, the doctor at “The Bike Store” in Fort Dodge Iowa is doing his best to give her a “bike lift (face lift for bikes)” .   This is also explained below.

The saga continues and if you remember MG had two flats going into Blair Nebraska and the cause for her recurring “flats” was unknown.

Also, as background information, a bike’s wheel should always be “true”.   That means when it revolves around the axle in should not wobble side to side.  This wastes the pedalers energy and produces a wobble as the bike goes forward.    When a spoke breaks the wheel can no longer be “true” since you now how an odd number of spokes applying unequal forces to the wheel.   Now for the story . . .

When I went to bed last night after replacing both the tire and tube on MG I felt okay.   I couldn’t find anything to puncture the tube on the rim, the tube and tire were new, I completely removed all of the broken spoke, and I had ridden the bike without issue for a couple of miles.   With all that being said, I still didn’t feel completely comfortable because the back wheel has been trouble.

This morning I took off at my usual 6:00 a.m.   I kept looking at the tire and stopped at the 2, 6, and 10 mile points to check tire pressure.   The wheel did have the expected wobble since I was missing a spoke but it was much less that the wobble going into California weeks before and I felt it would get me to Wisconsin.

I went through Missouri Way, Logan and was pulling up a hill in Woodbine when the familiar “pop” broke through the tranquil morning (had 45 miles on my bike at this point).   The pop, upon checking the tire, actually was strong enough to break the tire not just the tube.   While I had a spare tire and tube I was tired of patching the problem.   I needed to get the spoke fixed.    The bike couldn’t even roll at this point since the tire wouldn’t stay on the rim.

I talked to a couple of people in Woodbine and not only was there no bike store in Woodbine, they didn’t think there was a bike store within 100 miles.   Not wanting to retrace my steps to Omaha I started hitch hiking for Fort Dodge about 90 miles away.

This is where hero #1 comes into play.   Jeff was hauling a bulldozer to Minnesota and stopped.   He is an entrepreneur that has many business interests.   He had me lay MG up on the trailer (hated to see her laying on her side and not tied down) stating that she wouldn’t fall and started out.    As we were discussing this and that he decided he could take a side trip to Fort Dodge (even though he had several commitments and was expected to be working till 3:00 a.m. tomorrow morning).   He drove MG and I straight to the only bike store in 100 miles.   How can I ever express my gratitude to this gentlemen?   My expectation was a day or two of hitch hiking at a minimum.

The name of the only bike store within 100 miles and located in Fort Dodge is called “The Bike Store”.   The man in the picture is Gene.    He started working on MG immediately.   He replaced the one spoke I knew about and found another that had come off as well.   He replaced the tire and tube.   I had stretched the chain beyond its tolerance levels (remember the big mountains) and it needed to be replaced.    He then trued the wheel so that it is so straight that you can’t see any “out of alignment” at all.   Lastly he replaced the carriage (gears in the back) since the chain’s elongated state also wore down the carriage.   Bike was back together and ready to go at 2:00 p.m.   I had a choice to stay in Fort Dodge or continue to add some miles.   Adding miles was the decision and we finished the day with 80 miles.   I would consider this a full day.

Thought of the day: If you are on your “bike of life” and not pedaling and steering somewhere then are your really going anywhere?

Navy Pilot Tie In: Many years ago I was a Navy Pilot.   One of the things they teach you is to Aviate, Navigate, and Communicate and in that order.    I think this has a lot of applicability to our lives.   I feel you must:

Aviate: Accomplish all those standard functions to ensure that you can live.   This would include paying the bills, taking the kids here and there, getting the car fixed, getting a house or apartment and making the payments and all other items that just allow you to live on your piece of the earth.

Navigate: This step requires that you know where you’re going and have plans on how to get there.   This would include working for a promotion, moving to a more favored company, figuring out how to impress a man or lady that you might want to get to know better, or any other long range objective.   Remember that if your “long range objective” is to far out there you should have intermediate objectives to measure your progress.

Communication: Last but certainly not the least important.   This is the step that allows you to discuss where you are going and what you want to do with others.   This might be your parents or a trusted friend or mentor.   Ultimately collecting information from others that have been there and done that may have a key piece of information that allows you to confirm the path you’re on and modify your plan accordingly.

In any case some of my ideas are redundant and the intent is to through the ideas in your direction to do with as you think appropriate.

Hoping you took a great day (today) and made it better!

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