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An Unusual Sight

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Semi with Bicycle

 

The cross country trip is now halfway complete. We have seen so much, and I will go into more detail later on some of our favorite sights. In the meantime I wanted to post the above photo of something I had never seen before: a semi truck driving on the New Jersey Turnpike with a road bike strapped to the back of the cab. The bike looked as if it might have been a big box brand, but nonetheless it looked as if it were there on purpose, and that it probably gets ridden. Even truckers like to ride bikes it seems.



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Memphis

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WDIA Memphis

 

Yesterday we reached Memphis, Tennessee. We spent the day touring the National Civil Rights Museum as well as wandering the city a bit before heading south to Clarksdale, Mississippi. I remember liking Memphis from my trip back in the late 80s, and after yesterday’s wanderings, I like it even more now. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and there’s so much to see that you would need several days to do it justice. Now we are in Clarksdale, the town known as the birthplace of the blues. We had dinner at Ramon’s, loved by the locals for their absolutely scrumptious deep fried shrimp, and the side of pasta swimming in butter couldn’t have been more delicious. This is the part of the trip I have really been looking forward to, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. Next stops are Vicksburg, then Natchez, and down to New Orleans.

Photo above of the original home of WDIA Radio – “The Heart and Soul of Memphis”.



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The Southwest

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VW in Arizona

 

Day 2 of the road trip, and we are in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The scenery on the drive so far has been spectacular, with impressive rainstorms along the way. The skies and vistas in the Southwest, like the one above,  are so huge and vast that you sometimes get the feeling of being able to see forever. Last night we camped in a campground in Arizona called Homolovi State Park. It was a great find. The next post will probably be from somewhere along the Mississippi River. Looking forward to reaching that “Ol’ Man River”.



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Helix

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This is a folding bike from Helix that looks amazing, and is in the early stages of a Kickstarter campaign. The design is brilliant for creating the most compact folder available. I hope this project moves forward, and I hope I am able to try one when they are available.  The website details the build, the materials, and the timing of the project.



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And We Are Off!

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VW in parking lot.

 

The drive across the country starts today. The VW is prepared and road worthy, and I trust it will get us everywhere we want to go. Follow Velospeak on Instagram to see our progress. Happy Summer!



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USA

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USA Map

This is a map of the US with our tentative route in red. If I’m counting correctly, it looks like we will visit between 30 and 32 states on this meander through the US. I am so looking forward to showing the kids how varied different parts of this country are. Anyone interested in following the adventure should be sure to follow the Velospeak Instagram account. I plan on posting photos daily. The VW van will be loaded up Friday afternoon, and the trip starts the following day. “Off we go into the wild blue yonder!”



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GSI Stainless Steel Percolator

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Perculator

A week from tomorrow, I will embark with my family on a cross country trip in the VW Eurovan Camper. The trip has long been in the planning stages, and outfitting the camper with everything we might need has been job number one. Coffee is, of course, a priority, so a lot of thought went into what we might bring along for the journey. The option we have chosen is the GSI 14 Cup Stainless Steel Percolator. I received this beautiful piece of hardware some time ago, but as often happens, my many plans for camping were scuttled, and only now have I finally tried the percolator out. On a few trial runs, this seems the ideal piece of equipment for the VW camper. It easily stows away in the cabinet below the sink, and fits well on the stovetop. The operation is simple, the coffee quite good, and clean-up is not a problem. Best of all, the stainless steel finish is one that resists scratching and looks like new after each use. I think this will be a rock solid addition to the long list of supplies in the van. GSI is all about the outdoors, and their product lines will fulfill anyone’s outdoor needs.



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Mission Workshop

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Mission Workshop, LA

 

Mission Workshop has come to be known for the excellent quality of their bags such as the ones seen above. What some may not know, is that they also make clothing that rivals the design and quality of the bags. As is the case with most of what they do, Mission Workshop produces a small, carefully selected range of apparel that is all top notch. I’ve been lucky enough to wear many of the pieces, and I can unequivocally say they are all exceptional. From the top of the line Remi hooded blazer to the more moderately priced items such as the District Henley, they are all welcome additions to any wardrobe. I found myself wearing the Remi blazer for a good part of spring and loved its utility and good looks. Now that the weather has warmed up, I seem to be living in the District Henley. It is  a well designed piece, and it pretty much can be worn with anything in your closet. It is made from merino wool, so it goes a long way between washes if need be. The District will be a staple on our upcoming cross country trip, as laundromats may be few and far between. It will join the VX/R8 Field Pack, another staple for the upcoming trip. Mission Workshop is a company to be watched. Production is in the United States and Canada, the quality is phenomenal, the release schedule of new products is well paced and deliberate, and the overall ethos is one to be admired. These are all products made to last a lifetime, an unusual approach in these days of disposable goods.



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De Marchi

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Emilio De Marchi has been producing high quality cycling clothing since 1946. Shortly after the end of World War II, his passion for cycling translated into what is now considered the oldest cycling clothing company in the world. De Marchi makes everything from technical clothing to lifestyle pieces such as the one pictured above. A lot of it has a certain retro feel that is instantly appealing to those steeped in cycling tradition. The Tradition Polo is sewn in Italy from Italian materials. The quality is evident in the stitching and mother of pearl buttons. The slim fit makes this piece a pleasure to wear, and the three rear pockets give it a distinct cycling appearance. The De Marchi website has a treasure trove of clothing worth looking through, and one day, I’d love to show my affinity for all things Swiss, and get the 1954 Koblet vintage cycling jersey. Also, be sure to have a look at the blog as well as the history of the company. It is all fun reading.



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