Total Miles: 800
Rider: Julie Mennecke-Hnatiuk; Retired, Non-Member.
Summary: It was called a family trip. It was the first year of Bikecentennial. I think we went through Appalachia. I had never even seen a mountain before this trip as I'm third generation Chicago.; Commercial Trip
Health Issues: My little girl got quite sick one day in Kentucky. I think it was the water. It was scary, because I didn't know how we would get home if she couldn't finish the trip.
Motivation: My family had suffered a series of tragedies. My husband, age 42, died of a long illness. Six weeks later my 8 yr. old girl was hit by a car and died. My parents were killed in an explosion. My children and I were having a hard time dealing with all of this. I read about this trip in the Chicago Tribune, and went and bought a 10 speed for my then 11 year old daughter and myself. Her bike was a Schwinn varsity which weighed almost as much as she did. My bike was a Raleigh, also quite heavy. This was 8 years after my husband died. My daughter doesn't remember her dad or her sister. This trip helped greatly with our healing.
Most Challenging Aspect:As I said, we are from Chicago. Climbing the mountains on those heavy bikes was difficult. I had never been on a 10 speed before I bought this one.
Favorite Experience: Meeting a family in a town in KY. I loved it. I don't remember the name of the town.
Least Favorite: I guess having to walk our bikes up the mountains, and I wasn't crazy about sleeping on the ground. I was looking forward to the last day because it was flat, but it was so extremely hot and humid. I ended up walking the last mile. My daughter said, "Mom, don't walk the last mile." I answered, "I will never get on a bike again." But, I'm still riding. My daughter now lives in Denver and is a very outdoor person.
Tips: Make sure you have the right bike for the trip, and train, train, train.
Date Entered: May, 2006
Photo by Dennis Coello