Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Touring Series: Pre-Tour Happenings

A Guitar Ted Productions series.

Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale as it was posted on the blog in 2009. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post. 

 Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.

As the weeks wound down to our appointed time of departure, which was the week after RAGBRAI again, there were many quick developments in The Race Against Death Tour. First of all, we all got two weeks off work to give us more time. We were not going to be denied the planned finish this time around!

The other development of note was a bit more complicated.  There was a fellow by the name of Tim who was a coworker of mine. He was another mechanic at the shop. He wanted to go, but he wasn't sure about coming, or whether he could hang, and several other excuses that he created for not coming. Well, I went into "intense mode" again on Tim, much like I did with Ryan. Tim also didn't have a bike, and he was short of stature, so finding one for him wouldn't be easy.....or so I thought!

There was a good customer that just happened to say she was thinking of getting rid of her old Trek 650 touring rig. It had racks that were painted to match and it was all there ready to roll. It was as if it was meant to be. So Tim ended up with it. Here was a fourth traveler! I was stoked.

I developed a route that went through Tim's hometown, went to the Black Hills, and then south to Colorado over the Rocky Mountain National Park and down to Winter Park. I figured that with 100 mile average days we could get there and have two "mulligans" if we needed them for bad weather or rest.

I found campsites along most of the route so we wouldn't have to "beg" for a place to stay, like we did the year before, and I even found roads with low traffic counts to ride on. I thought I had it pretty well figured out, and Troy was pleased. He signed off on the plans and we were good to go.

Things were being prepped and readied. It would be just a few days to go now before we set off westward. About two days before the tour, Tim bailed out on the trip. He really didn't want to talk about it either. I never did find out why, but he did say at the time he might recant. I said whatever he wanted would be best, and hoped he would come. It was kind of a bummer to me, since I felt bad now about twisting his arm so hard to go and he with all this gear bought, and a bike I basically pushed him into buying. But that would all work out years later.......


So, this was a weird situation with regard to Tim. I never really quite understood what happened, but the bicycle which was procured for him, which fit perfectly, by the way, ended up being a bike he used for a bit regardless. Then as time went on, Tim decided to move to Chicago, and I heard that this bike was available. By this time I had married Mrs. Guitar Ted and that bike fit her to a "T". So, I ended up with it again! But that's not the end of this story.

Years went by and Mrs. Guitar Ted never did grow to like the bike. It languished in my basement until another co-worker thought it might fit his son. He purchased the bike from me, then found out immediately that it was too small! It then was sold to a local guy who cannot get a driver's license and he used it as a "daily driver" until recently when it was traded in again where I work for a new Salsa Marrakesh. So......I may have to grab an image of what is left of it for the Touring Series.

Next Week- "The Race Against Death Tour" begins!

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