For the curious, for those that would like to join us for a leg of the journey, or visit us when we are camped nearby, here’s the 2012 Itinerary!

Day 0 — June 17th — Seattle, Washington (orientation day!) — 0 miles

Day 1 — June 18th — Seattle to Easton, WA — 91 miles

Day 2 — June 19th — Easton, WA to Vantage, WA — 72 miles

Day 3 — June 20th — Vantage, WA to Odessa, WA — 83 miles

Day 4 — June 21st — Odessa, WA to Spokane, WA — 77 miles

Day 5 — June 22nd — Spokane, WA (rest day!) — 0 miles

Day 6 — June 23rd — Spokane, WA to Sandpoint, ID — 76 miles

Day 7 — June 24th — Sandpoint, ID to Thompson Falls, MT — 88 miles

Day 8 — June 25th — Thompson Falls, MT to Missoula, MT — 101 miles

Day 9 — June 26th — Missoula, MT (rest day!) — 0 miles

Day 10 — June 27th — Missoula, MT to Avon, MT — 99 miles

Day 11 — June 28th — Avon, MT to Townsend, MT — 61 miles

Day 12 — June 29th — Townsend, MT to Harlowton, MT — 101 miles

Day 13 — June 30th — Harlowton, MT to Billings, MT — 92 miles

Day 14 — July 1st — Billings, MT (rest day!) — 0 miles

Day 15 — July 2nd — Billings, MT to Hardin, MT — 56 miles

Day 16 — July 3rd — Hardin, MT to Sheridan, WY — 85 miles

Day 17 — July 4th — Sheridan, WY to Gillette, WY — 112 miles

Day 18 — July 5th — Gillette, WY to Newcastle, WY — 76 miles

Day 19 — July 6th– Newcastle, WY to Rapid City, SD — 81 miles

Day 20 — July 7th — Rapid City, SD (rest day!) — 0 miles

Day 21 — July 8th — Rapid City, SD to Kadoka, SD — 102 miles

Day 22 — July 9th — Kadoka, SD to Pierre, SD — 96 miles

Day 23 — July 10th — Pierre, SD to Miller, SD — 73 miles

Day 24 — July 11th — Miller, SD to De Smet, SD — 77 miles

Day 25 — July 12th — De Smet, SD to Tyler, MN — 78 miles

Day 26 — July 13th — Tyler, MN to New Ulm, MN — 87 miles

Day 27 — July 14th — New Ulm, MN (rest day!) — 0 miles

Day 28 — July 15th — New Ulm, MN to Owatonna, MN — 72 miles

Day 29 — July 16th — Owatonna, MN to Winona, MN — 90 miles

Day 30 — July 17th — Winona, MN to Viroqua, WI — 66 miles

Day 31 — July 18th — Viroqua, WI to Madison, WI — 100 miles

Day 32 — July 19th — Madison, WI (rest day!) — 0 miles

Day 33 — July 20th — Madison, WI to Belvidere, IL — 94 miles

Day 34 — July 21st — Belvidere, IL to Morris, IL — 106 miles

Day 35 — July 22nd — Morris, IL to Valparaiso, IN — 84 miles

Day 36 — July 23rd — Valparaiso, IN to Kendallville, IN –109 miles

Day 37 — July 24th — Kendallville, IN to Napoleon, OH — 70 miles

Day 38 — July 25th — Napoleon, OH to Sandusky, OH — 90 miles

Day 39 — July 26th — Sandusky, OH (rest day!) — 0 miles

Day 40 — July 27th — Sandusky, OH to Burton, OH — 92 miles

Day 41 — July 28th — Burton, OH to New Waterford, OH — 59 miles

Day 42 — July 29th — New Waterford, OH to Washington, PA — 62 miles

Day 43 — July 30th– Washington, PA to Confluence, PA — 88 miles

Day 44 — July 31st — Confluence PA to Bedford, PA — 81 miles

Day 45 — August 1st — Bedford, PA to Gettysburg, PA — 100 miles

Day 46 — August 2nd — Gettysburg, PA (rest day!) — 0 miles

Day 47 — August 3rd — Gettysburg, PA to Clarksburg, MD — 60 miles

Day 48 — August 4th — Clarksburg, MD to Washington D.C. — 42 miles

The departure date looms nearer. The bike has been shipped off using bikeflights.com. I’m doing things other than road biking (walking, running, mountain biking).

One of the things that we were all advised to do was to set up our tent and anything else that needs assembly or setting upĀ before we head out to Seattle for the ride. 2010 Big Rider Chuck Field loaned me the tent he used on TWO Big Rides (the man has done two!) and he swears it will keep me dry and comfortable. I set it up on my front lawn today to make sure I could do it all by myself. The pole system for the quarter dome is a little more tricky than what I’m used to. There are three poles attached at these plastic pivot points and you can’t separate them (probably for the best). I wound up putting them in the tent backward before finally getting it right. It took ten minutes to set it up all told, but after 7 weeks in it, I’m sure I’ll shave that time down quite a bit!

Tent is all set up. I’ll have to bring some p-cord for windier days. Dog for scale!

Home sweet home for the duration of the Big Ride! Chuck will get it back when he meets us at the finish in D.C.!

In addition to setting up the tent, I also inflated my Aerobed Pakmat for the first time, generously gifted by my mother for x-mas 2011. The pakmat is a thing of genius– the canister that protects the uninflated mat is also the pump. It took about a minute and a half to pump up fully, but I wound up using the pushbutton valve to deflate it somewhat until it was the right firmness. Awesome feature!

Fully inflated pakmat. Definitely suitable for tall people… it’s really long!

I also needed an excuse to get a second giant duffel bag, and since James’ luggage is kind of old, I decided to order him an L.L. Bean rolling duffel in extra large (I have one in pink), monogrammed, ridiculously yellow. I will be promptly borrowing it for my big ride. The plan is to lay out my two duffels in the living room and keep an inventory of what goes into each as I pack. Once it goes in and is recorded, it does not come out! Since they are obnoxiously colored, they should be easy to spot on an airport carousel as well.

The time is nigh, people. I am excited!!!

I think one of the wildest, funniest things so far has been reconnecting with my college admissions counselor (who did the ride back in 1998 when there were 730 Big Riders for its inaugural year!). He happens to live in Seattle and will be meeting up with me when I arrive at the end of next week! Thanks to his generous contribution, I made it past $7,000 yesterday.

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You may have noticed that I increased my fundraising goal from $8,000 to $9,900. The other day I realized that I had already raised two dollars for each mile I will ride on this trip. I just decided… I’ve got all summer– I’m going to make it three dollars per mile! So if you haven’t been able to make a contribution yet, please follow the link on the right and help me reach my goal. It has been so very humbling to receive so much support thus far, and I am continuously amazed and touched by the generosity of friends, family, and perfect strangers.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and those who have donated to this wonderful cause!

Zach took me out for one of my last long rides before the BIG ONE on Monday… I totaled 85 miles and about 4000 feet of climbing. The hills of Wildwood kept me busy and I really, really, REALLY wished I had my inhaler at times. One valuable lesson I learned was not to eat a plate full of eggs 45 minutes before departing… it sat like a brick in my stomach for four hours, although once it digested it was like rocket fuel! Once back at Clayton Rd. I was able to fly all the way home going 18-20 mph.

What you can’t tell from the pic was that I was trying to stay stable just to the right and behind Zach so he could snap a decent picture. My goofy smile is saying, “yes, it is hard to keep up with Zach, even when he’s holding an iPhone and trying to photograph us in motion!”

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