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David Freeze is ‘ready to get rolling’

Welcome to my first daily update on this year’s cycling journey. I’m going from Mobile, Alabama, to

Toronto, Canada. The trip should take about 35 days, ending around Aug. 4. I often sign my books with

a statement about riding along on the journey. I hope many of you will.

Susan Shinn’s kickoff story last week was great and I won’t recap it. With this writing, I want to update

everyone on happenings pertaining to the trip this week and some more thoughts of my own.

One thing that I discover when just a few hours away from departure is how many things remain to be

done last minute. On Friday, I had a root canal, picked up some final things for the ride, and worked on

squaring away a host of other issues.

The root canal had to be done according to my dentist, Dr. Tanya Williams. She said I wouldn’t have

any fun with an abscess while on the ride. I have never had one, but certainly agree with her. So, my

face was numb for most of the morning, about like my rear will be for the first few days of the ride. I

picked up something to help with that as well.

Other last minute purchases included a few specifics. By starting in Alabama this year, I will

experience warm weather at the beginning of the ride and pedal toward cooler temperatures but hope

to experience no temperature extremes. This past week’s high in Toronto was 71. With that knowledge,

I bought a very lightweight and less bulky sleeping bag, only rated to 50 degrees. It comes in such a small

bag that I am worried that I can’t get it back inside that bag once it’s out.

Another purchase was a new helmet rear view mirror. I had a very good one on my helmet until the

accident last year. The mirror was broken in the fall and the replacement installed today is not as good. I

will start out with the smaller one with an eye toward replacing it later.

I’ve been asked several times this week about why I chose this summer’s route. There are several

easy reasons. My first goal is to see more of America from the bike. New states will include Alabama,

Mississippi, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. I am excited to see these states as well as Ontario, Canada.

Another reason is that I love history, especially the Civil War period. I’ve been to many of the

battlefields but never Shiloh, one of the most studied battles by historians. Especially interesting is that

the route will follow much of the main Underground Railroad path that was used to free over 6,000

slaves. I had crossed another spur of the UR in Connecticut last year and have read extensively about the

Alabama to Canada route since. Visiting these areas will certainly be very timely now after the recent

tragedy in Charleston. I will share my perspective as we go.

One last reason is that I love riding along the water, ocean and large lakes included. This trip will

include an official rear wheel dip in the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls. The

recognized northern terminus of the UR is Owen Sound, Ontario. It just happens to be on Lake Ontario,

so I will do the front tire dip there even though the ride is currently scheduled to end a few days later.

Different this time is that I am not riding through North Carolina along the way. I will visit Kentucky

again, one of my least favorite states. It is the state that makes cycling difficult, more than any other

that I have ridden in. Poorly positioned rumble strips mean that I have to ride in the traffic lane and dogs

that appear bred to chase cyclists for sport, are the two worst issues. I am hoping for better this time.

Also different is that my passport will be used to enter Canada, making this my first international

ride. Poor planning (didn’t take my passport) kept me from being prepared to ride into Canada while on my last trip.

I am about to load the bike and my gear as I prepare for an early start on Sunday morning. My

daughter, Ashley, came by to help out on packing the gear but we mostly talked about things. Each piece of gear was evaluated not only for its value, but also for weight and bulk. At this point, I

feel like I’m ready to head south. A few pieces you might remember are making the trip: the

same pair of shoes that were knocked off my feet last year in the accident; and my book of devotions and

the handmade angel will ride again as well. My lucky socks from the Sock Guy, with the four leaf clover.

At this writing, I am about 36 hours from joining the land of dirty socks, sweaty shirts and exciting

adventure. My next report will be from Mobile. You will find out about the trip south by car and my

plans for the first day north by bike. See you then!

Once again, please feel free to send me a message at david.freeze@ctc.net



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