Thursday, January 29, 2015

Valentine's Day Fundraiser

Well I'm less than 3 months away from setting out from Rehoboth Beach, DE and I'm really starting to get excited about this trip! I've emailed my itinerary to The ALS Association in the hopes that I'll have the opportunity to meet some people on the frontlines of the struggle against Lou Gehrig's disease. In the interests of raising additional funds for this trip I've decided to raffle off a $25 gift card to Ruby Tuesday in honor of Valentine's Day. Each raffle entry costs $2 and you can enter as many times as you'd like. Here is how to enter:

1) Email me at wrosselet@yahoo.com with the following details: A) Name, initials, or a username (no need to divulge personal details if you don't want to), B) your mailing address (or a PO Box, again don't feel compelled to divulge personal details; we can figure out how to get the gift card to you and keep your information private) and C) how many entries you want to purchase.

2) Send a check or money order made payable to Wesley Rosselet to: Wesley Rosselet 10 Lafayette St. Apt. H Hanover, PA 17331 or visit www.paypal.com and send money to wrosselet@yahoo.com. To confirm my identity, you can see my eBay profile (username: wrosselet), Facebook page (wrosselet) or Twitter account (@WesAcrosstheUSA).

The winner of the raffle will be announced on the morning of February 10th (leaving 4 days to mail the gift card for Valentine's Day) both on this blog and on the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/WesAcrossAmerica).

Thanks for participating in this fundraiser! And remember that all funds not used on the road are being given directly to an ALS family in financial need.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rough Itinerary

Well here's a list of the towns I'll be passing through and rough dates. Keep in mind this is just theoretical at this point. I'm uncertain how my body will handle the abuse I'm trying to throw at it so there may or may not be updates coming. But as of now, I *think* this itinerary is relatively accurate. If you have any recommendations for places to eat, sights to see or people to meet, let me know either in the comments or via email at wrosselet@yahoo.com. :-)

Date Location Started Location Finished Miles Traveled Total Distance
04/27/15 Rehoboth Beach, DE Denton, MD 48 48
04/28/15 Denton, MD Crofton, MD 53.9 101.9
04/29/15 Crofton, MD Occoquan, VA 50.54 152.44
04/30/15 Occoquan, VA Fredericksburg, VA 55.76 208.2
05/01/15 Fredericksburg, VA* Fredericksburg, VA 0 208.2
05/02/15 Fredericksburg, VA Doswell, VA 50.66 258.86
05/03/15 Doswell, VA Tabscott, VA 51.68 310.54
05/04/15 Tabscott, VA White Hall, VA 52.45 362.99
05/05/15 White Hall, VA Vesuvius, VA 47.04 410.03
05/06/15 Vesuvius, VA Buchanan, VA 45.92 455.95
05/07/15 Buchanan, VA Blacksburg, VA 56.6 512.55
05/08/15 Blacksburg, VA Blacksburg, VA 0 512.55
05/09/15 Blacksburg, VA Max Meadows 56.8 569.35
05/10/15 Max Meadows Grindstone Campground 47.85 617.2
05/11/15 Grindstone Campground Honaker, VA 58.16 675.36
05/12/15 Honaker, VA Elkhorn City, KY 41.28 716.64
05/13/15 Elkhorn City, KY Pippa Passes, KY 53.02 769.66
05/14/15 Pippa Passes, KY Buckhorn, KY 56.3 825.96
05/15/15 Buckhorn, KY Buckhorn, KY 0 825.96
05/16/15 Buckhorn, KY Sand Gap, KY 51.17 877.13
05/17/15 Sand Gap, KY Bryantsville, KY 48.73 925.86
05/18/15 Bryantsville, KY Bardstown, KY 60.56 986.42
05/19/15 Bardstown, KY Sonora, KY 49.38 1035.8
05/20/15 Sonora, KY Fordsville, KY 62.22 1098.02
05/21/15 Fordsville, KY Sebree, KY 52.42 1150.44
05/22/15 Sebree, KY Cave in Rock, IL 55.21 1205.65
05/23/15 Cave in Rock, IL Cave in Rock, IL 0 1205.65
05/24/15 Cave in Rock, IL Goreville, IL 58.46 1264.11
05/25/15 Goreville, IL Ava, IL 50.5 1314.61
05/26/15 Ava, IL Farmington, MO 68.97 1383.58
05/27/15 Farmington, MO Ellington, MO 59.7 1443.28
05/28/15 Ellington, MO Summersville, MO 46.34 1489.62
05/29/15 Summersville, MO Marshfield, MO 85.32 1574.94
05/30/15 Marshfield, MO Golden City, MO 82.54 1657.48
05/31/15 Golden City, MO Chanute, KS 93.55 1751.03
06/01/15 Chanute, KS Chanute, KS 0 1751.03
06/02/15 Chanute, KS Cassoday, KS 96.29 1847.32
06/03/15 Cassoday, KS Nickerson, KS 87.71 1935.03
06/04/15 Nickerson, KS Alexander, KS 102.96 2037.99
06/05/15 Alexander, KS Leoti, KS 98.7 2136.69
06/06/15 Leoti, KS Haswell, CO 100.7 2237.39
06/07/15 Haswell, CO Pueblo, CO 88.37 2325.76
06/08/15 Pueblo, CO Pueblo, CO 0 2325.76
06/09/15 Pueblo, CO Silver Cliff, CO 54.29 2380.05
06/10/15 Silver Cliff, CO Salida, CO 48.25 2428.3
06/11/15 Salida, CO Parlin, CO 52.13 2480.43
06/12/15 Parlin, CO Black Canyon Campground, CO 51.94 2532.37
06/13/15 Black Canyon Campground, CO Montrose, CO 24.13 2556.5
06/14/15 Montrose, CO Placerville, CO 49.2 2605.7
06/15/15 Placerville, CO Rico, CO 36.6 2642.3
06/16/15 Rico, CO Lewis, CO 47 2689.3
06/17/15 Lewis, CO Monticello, CO 51.15 2740.45
06/18/15 Monticello, CO Lake Powell, UT 59.68 2800.13
06/19/15 Lake Powell, UT Lake Powell, UT 0 2800.13
06/20/15 Lake Powell, UT Hanksville, UT 95.92 2896.05
06/21/15 Hanksville, UT Torrey, UT 47.96 2944.01
06/22/15 Torrey, UT Boulder, UT 35.9 2979.91
06/23/15 Boulder, UT Escalante, UT 27.46 3007.37
06/24/15 Escalante, UT Panguitch, UT 66.79 3074.16
06/25/15 Panguitch, UT Panguitch, UT 0 3074.16
06/26/15 Panguitch, UT Duck Creek Village, UT 40.61 3114.77
06/27/15 Duck Creek Village, UT Duck Creek Village, UT 0 3114.77
06/28/15 Duck Creek Village, UT Springdale, UT 85.36 3200.13
06/29/15 Springdale, UT Fredonia, AZ 49.73 3249.86
06/30/15 Fredonia, AZ Grand Canyon North Rim Campground 72.56 3322.42
07/01/15 Grand Canyon North Rim Campground Fredonia, AZ 72.56 3394.98
07/02/15 Fredonia, AZ Washington, UT 68.3 3463.28
07/03/15 Washington, UT Mesquite, NV 53 3516.28
07/04/15 Mesquite, NV Valley of Fire State Park, NV 47.2 3563.48
07/05/15 Valley of Fire State Park, NV Las Vegas, NV 38.9 3602.38
07/06/15 Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas, NV 0 3602.38
07/07/15 Las Vegas, NV Mercury, NV 70.7 3673.08
07/08/15 Mercury, NV Beatty, NV 57.5 3730.58
07/09/15 Beatty, NV Goldfield, NV 66.6 3797.18
07/10/15 Goldfield, NV Mina, NV 84.3 3881.48
07/11/15 Mina, NV Mono City, CA 71.3 3952.78
07/12/15 Mono City, CA Yosemite National Park 20.3 3973.08
07/13/15 Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park 0 3973.08
07/14/15 Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park 0 3973.08
07/15/15 Yosemite National Park Modesto, CA 88.2 4061.28
07/16/15 Modesto, CA Livermore, CA 52.3 4113.58
07/17/15 Livermore, CA San Francisco, CA 42.8 4156.38

*Bold locations are rest days and the entire day will be spent in the same general area or (where opportunity permits) motorized transport will be used to visit nearby areas.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Not So Much Fun Stuff

Well I haven't been up to too much that's interesting enough to report. But I have had a couple nasty experiences I think I'll share. Here are 3 stories of setbacks I've suffered in the past couple of months:

1. I was headed out of Hanover on the way to Seven Valleys when I got a flat tire. It was my first one in several months but still annoying. But the great thing was that this was the very first time I got a flat and changed it all by myself without any outside assistance at all. Anyway, I continued on and arrived in Seven Valleys about an hour or so later. I took the Heritage Rail Trail down to Glen Rock and was starting to head home when my stupid iPhone went from about 65% battery to 4% in the span of a second. Moments later, it completely died. Mind you, I'd left town with my in-phone battery at 100% AND a spare battery also at 100%. I know GPS drains the battery but 200% in less than 3 hours?!?! For the record, my new phone runs for about 3-1/2 on constant GPS (I had the GPS off for about 45 minutes in the middle of this ride) and drains to about 55% so my complaint with Apple is not unwarranted. Anyway, there I am stuck at the side of the road with no navigation or ability to contact anybody. I just start praying. Amazingly, my phone turns on again after a few minutes and I can see enough of my route to get to a road I'm familiar with. I make it the rest of the way home without further frustration.

2. A couple weeks later and I'm riding the same circuit as story number one and literally less than a mile from where my phone died on the previous venture I accidentally ride onto the shoulder which is mostly gravel. Well my narrow tires don't handle deep gravel very well and I end up doing a face plant on the side of the road. I groan for a minute and then drag myself up off the ground. There's blood above my eye. Not just a tiny little bit either. However, I don't think it's THAT bad of an injury so I get back on Fledge (my bike, named after a horse in the CS Lewis book "The Magician's Nephew") and pedal the remaining 15-ish miles home. Once I get home I take off my helmet and beanie and see that the gash above my eyebrow is considerably worse than I'd thought. It looks pretty deep. So I decide to call my stepmom and get a ride over to the urgent care facility. They end up putting three stitches in. My eye doesn't look so good for the next couple of weeks.

Immediately after the injury

About 2 or 3 days later
3. I'm riding home from work the night of the 23rd. It's rainy and misty outside and visibility is low. I'm decked out in all my reflective gear with 5 lights and my reflective rain jacket. A car pulls up to the stop sign of the street perpendicular to the one I'm riding down. He stops but then starts to pull out apparently not having seen me or paid attention to a bicycle. I yank on my brakes but they aren't as effective in the wet weather. I can see the collision coming a few seconds before it happens. My front tire hits the front of his vehicle which is still slow as he's just coming out of the dead stop. I'm going no more than 3 or 4 miles per hour when impact occurs but it's still enough to eject me from Fledge and up onto the guy's hood. My shoulder takes the brunt of the impact. I hit it mercifully lightly but Fledge isn't so lucky. The front tire is pretty bent up. Thankfully, the driver gets out and is very apologetic. A pickup truck driver gets out as well and I get the offending driver's information. He seems honest and upright and promises to pay for all my repairs at the bike shop. He's very concerned that I'm not hurt so I show him I can move around just fine and don't have any serious injuries. As I write this, Fledge is in the shop and the parts for my repair have been ordered. Hoping to get my aluminum horse back sometime this week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Goal Reached

Well the last major preparatory ride of the year is finished. In 2 days I covered 142 miles and crossed the state of Maryland twice over. Before setting out on Thursday morning I had butterflies in my stomach. My sleep was poor quality and too short. I imagined getting a flat tire near Mt. Airy or Damascus or having some kind of run-in with a car or just having no energy left to keep pedaling. This was an ambitious goal for myself. My last significant ride was in August when I went to Baltimore; that was 2 months ago and almost 25 miles shorter than the ride I was attempting on Thursday. Nevertheless, I got up, put my cleats on and set off down the road. It's funny how starting to do something takes away a lot of the fear of doing it. Within 5 minutes of setting out I had a smile on my face and was pedaling away down Beck's Mill Road toward the Maryland state line. That's a lesson I'm learning both on a small scale and a big scale. I often find myself approaching hills on the road and thinking really intimidated kinds of thoughts like "This hill is way too big. No way I can make it to the top without a little bit of walking." But often by the time I've actually started the ascent I look upwards and the sight is so much less frightening than it was at the bottom. Sometimes I look up and it hardly looks like I'm ascending at all or I'm halfway finished with it a mere 15 seconds after starting. I think there will be many moments like this over the coming months.

Anyway, I arrived in Westminster, MD after what felt like about 45 minutes or an hour of riding and thought to myself that there's no way I was already close to getting on the main route I was taking down through Maryland (Rt. 27 to just north of Germantown). I've found that it's so easy to lose complete track of time while riding. I arrived in Mt. Airy where I was planning to eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich I packed for myself but decided to postpone that as I'm just so in the zone and hate to take a break that I really don't feel I need. So I wait until I'm just north of Damascus to pull off the road, get some more carbs to burn and take a bathroom break. At this point I was just feeling so "in the zone" it's hard to explain. I was in bicyclist heaven plowing uphill and downhill with a light wind blowing against my face.

Eventually, I reached White's Ferry to take me across the Potomac River into Virginia. At this point, I was about 30 minutes from my friends' home at this point and was jubilant that I made it to Leesburg! I didn't even mind that the last leg of the trip was on (the often congested) Rt. 15 going right into town. Fortunately for me rush hour hadn't started yet and there weren't *too* many cars headed my way. Thursday night was spent visiting with the good friends of my family and watching Sandra Bullock dodge one catastrophe after another in Gravity. Great movie if you get a chance to watch it.

Sleep was slightly less than I'm used to although the bed was very comfortable. Grabbed some cereal and milk, visited a little while longer, packed up my bags and hit the road. Friday was a *much* nicer day for riding with blue skies and warmer temperatures. Apart from this, the ride back was very similar to the ride down. There was one close call at an intersection just outside of Westminster where a lady did not see my bike as she was making a left turn. She saw me at the last second, slammed on her brakes and almost got hit by a car a few yards behind and to the left of me. Thankfully, nothing came of it and hopefully she'll be a little more vigilant in the future.

One last thing. And this is what is going to stick with me for a long time. Making the last few turns to reach home, a sensation came over me that I'd never experienced before. A sense of real accomplishment. As a matter of fact, I got a little misty-eyed. I'd made it. I had made it. I'd finished. All 142 miles. Done. And I hadn't walked at all. It was hard. It was a lofty goal. It wasn't a walk in the park. But I kept going. I'd planned it, prepared for it, started it and finished it. As I rode down Beck Mill in the opposite direction as I'd done the day before I had misty eyes but a big smile on my face. I just felt awesome. My arms were aching. My legs were burning. But I'd made it. And I just thought that if I felt like *this* after 142 miles what am I going to feel on reaching San Francisco Bay next June?

Monday, October 20, 2014

What I've been up to lately...

Well on Thursday I'm taking the (probably) last major preparatory trip before leaving next April. Here's what I've been up to since the last update:

1. Learning about bicycle maintenance. I'm not at all a mechanical guy so when I first got my Trek 2.1 (now named Fledge) I had no idea what an investment I was getting into. Especially considering I'd bought it for a measly $150. Modest estimates would bring the value of this bike up to around $2000. So for a long time I was treating it like a $150 bike. Read that "treating a Lamborghini like a Plymouth Sundance." It gradually came more and more to my attention that doing this was recklessly irresponsible and foolish. So I started taking much better care of the bike learning how and how not to treat it and what and what not to use for maintenance and cleaning.

2. A lot of short distance trips. On my ride to Baltimore, my host told me not to underestimate the preparatory value of short rides. Longer, of course, than to work and back but not so long as Baltimore. So I've been riding to Littlestown, Taneytown, Manchester, York, Abbottstown, and a few others within a 25 mile radius of my base of operations. Manchester has become one of my most common rides. I love it because of the hills on the PA side of the border but hate it because of the monotony. I have to keep reminding myself that such rides are indeed preparing me for longer and more interesting ones.

3. Winning a YouTube contest for a $423 Visa gift card! On October 8, I was on YouTube and a banner at the top had an ad from Liberty Mutual Insurance asking how I would spend $423. I typed in a brief blurb about next year's ALS awareness trip and thought nothing more of it. When I first received the email telling me I was selected as one of the winners of the contest I was incredulous. "What contest? I never entered a contest! Oh wait... I'm remembering something." So I'm now perusing tents, cooking gear, sleeping bags and the like. Still can hardly believe I won a contest!

So that's about it! I'll post a new blog entry next weekend after my 70 mile trip to Leesburg, VA where I grew up!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Twelve Dollar Experiment

Everyone loves stories about underdogs. They're classics! Shire-raised Frodo destroying the ring, little orphan Harry Potter defeating Voldemort, non-militarily trained David cutting Goliath's head off, and on and on and on! We love hearing about how the little people doing little things accomplished something huge! Why do we love hearing these stories? Well because we are little people. At least the vast majority of us are. We don't have any real claims to fame. We're fathers, mothers, retail employees, office workers, graduate students, teachers and friends. None of us sets world records or competes in Olympic level athletic competitions. We're pretty ordinary. That's what this new fundraising initiative is meant to celebrate...

There are about 200 of us who have liked my Wes Across America Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WesAcrossAmerica). If every person on there were to donate $1.50 per month for the next 8 months to my cross-country fundraising trip next year, that would get me well on the way to affording this trip. Since it's hard to remember to send $1.50 every month and since $12 isn't really that much money, I'm challenging everyone in the group to give $12 sometime during September to my traveling fund. This way, I can focus all my fundraising efforts on the point of this trip: ALS research! If you want to give more than $12, that's fine! I'm planning to give all excess money to my good friends, the Trasks (whose husband/father Paul has been struggling with Lou Gehrig's for the past 6 years).

So that's it! Go to www.paypal.com and send $12 to me at wrosselet@yahoo.com or mail a check or money order for $12 to:

Wesley Rosselet
10 Lafayette St. Apt. H
Hanover, PA 17331

If you don't have $12 upfront, get a jar or container and simply put loose change in it at the end of each day. If you use cash enough, I can guarantee you'll have a good bit more than $12 at the end of the month. If you live in Hanover, you can even take that jar or container to the Woodforest National Bank inside the North Hanover Walmart and tell them you'd like to deposit it into Wesley Rosselet's fundraising savings account, the special account I opened just to raise funds for this trip.

If you are hesitating because you think of this as helping to send me on vacation, remember that I'm going to be living on the edge during this trip. If I get just $30 towards ALS research in each place I stay during this trip, everything will be more or less paid for! You're not sending me on vacation so much as helping me reach a wider audience. And don't be fooled! The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge may have raised a lot of money and awareness but I guarantee that there are a LOT of people who still don't know what Lou Gehrig's Disease is. Thanks everybody!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Baltimore

Well, I don't have that much to say about the ride to Baltimore last week. I left my place around 11 am Wednesday morning and had no trouble finding my way. The scenery was breathtaking from time to time, though:

Farmlands and rolling hills
 
The texture on this road was really bump. Makes a guy who's had as many flats as I've had pretty paranoid.
 




I arrived at the inner harbor a little after 3 pm. I swung by my dad's place of employment to say hello and relax for a few minutes. Somebody had baked cookies that I soon found out were meant as a prank for someone in the office. The sugar had been replaced with salt. Argh!

Next, I took off for Barnes & Noble right on the water. I hung around there for a while waiting for my host to finish his work for the day. Eventually, though, hunger got the best of me and I walked over to Moe's Southwest Grill for an awesome Homewrecker burrito! After the long ride I'd had, that burrito was probably the best one I'd ever tasted from Moe's!

My host met me right around 7 pm and we rode the 2-ish miles to his place. I took a quick shower and then we walked over a bridge to the very artsy district of Baltimore. Turns out, there are several Korean restaurants within a small radius of where I was staying. I lamented having gotten that burrito. We stopped in at a bar with live jazz playing, had drinks and got to know each other. Upon returning home, we hung out watching a little TV with my host's roommate and then I headed up to the room where I was sleeping about 11 to check emails and then go to sleep.

After an okay night of sleep, I hung around the house until about 10:45 and then hit the road. The first 20 minutes or so were bumpy navigationally speaking. It seems that Google maps has problems with big city infrastructure. It was beautiful riding weather literally right up until I finally arrived in Hanover. About 2 minutes from my place, the rain started coming down and I was a little wet by the time I hauled my bike indoors. So that's it! Next big trip is to Greencastle, PA in late September!