There’s a feeling of spring in the air today. Funny how temperatures just above freezing along with some welcome sunshine can feel so balmy here in the Northland. It’s enough to start one’s brain dwelling on flowers, wearing shorts and of course… cycling! Knowing this blip of warmth is just a tease here in Duluth, we’ve taken measures to find true spring instead.
Announcing the Spring North cycling tour for 2015! The idea is to head straight south, searching out warmth and blooms in the heart of Texas. From there, we will work our way back north, as spring warms the adjoining states throughout the month of April.
Once again, we are using Amtrak and the $10 charge for taking our bikes on board to give us a one-way trip. Leaving our car in St. Louis, we’ll board the train and spend the night in a sleeper car, arriving in Dallas the following morning. After spending Easter weekend with my brother and his wife, we plan to set off from Granbury, Texas and head south to the Texas hill country. Our hopes are to catch the Texas Bluebonnets in bloom. Rich has been talking about this for a couple years now, so fingers crossed we get the timing right.
From there we swing back north, traveling through the Ozark Mountains in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. We will complete our journey along the Katy Trail, which follows the Missouri or “Big Muddy” River right back into St. Louis again. In all, about 1,500 miles.
The timing of this trip presents a bit of a challenge for us northerners. No opportunity to train! If we’re lucky, we may get a day or two on our bikes if the temperature spikes in the next few weeks. Otherwise, we will be training as we go. It’s not our fitness level that we’re concerned about – cross-country skiing has kept us in shape through the winter. But without any time in the saddle beforehand, that first week could be a bit sore on the behinds until we get used to cycling again. But we have a remedy for that too.
This bike tour does not have a solid end date. Although we can expect to complete the mileage by early May, we have no firm commitments requiring a timely return home. So we have the option of starting off with lower mileage, taking things more slowly or doing unplanned detours along the way. We’ve never been very good at veering from the original plan before, but there’s a first time for everything.
Our jerseys are ordered, the train tickets purchased and bikes tuned up for the journey. It’s still all a bit hard to conceive while there’s still ample snow on the ground. But we’re banking on warm weather in the south, and looking forward to Springing North.