Day 4 April 1, 1999

Well, I got within a mile of my aunt and uncles' home, hit a rut, blew out my front tire, twisted the frame of the bike and suffered a compound fracture of the left tibia.

Broken Tibia

APRIL FOOLS!!! Sorry, I had to do that. ThatĚs the first thing we learn in "Bad Teacher Humor 101" back in college: never let an April 1 go by without some really lame joke ‚ kids love it.

What a difference a day makes. Temperatures in the "lowlands" of Asheville and Hendersonville, down off the parkway, were in the high 70's today. This makes for excellent biking. And I finished with a relatively light day, 30 miles, over gently rolling terrain. Piece O cake.

Meet Ralph and Christine Draves of Asheville. Ralph is heavily involved in the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and just celebrated (and I do mean celebrated) his 75th birthday last week. Way to go, Ralph. Christine works at a used book store in town and loves her job. She's British (I asked politely if she was Irish, and she still let me stay in their house.) So I've made two new friends of two very nice people. Thank you again, Ralph and Christine for your hospitality. Ralph, the meal was delicious.

Bike Comparison
Just in case you wondered what the difference is between the bike a guy who's 6'5" tall rides and the bike a guy who's 5'6" tall rides.

Sandburg Home
Carl Sandburg Home

Just outside of Hendersonville is "Carl Sandburg's Home". "Wait a minute," you Illinoisians are saying, "he's OUR guy!" But, in fact, folks, he left us when he got rich and famous and moved down to this wonderful climate with his wife to finish out his years.
Now all Illinois citizens know Sandburg for his wonderful biography of our native son, Abraham Lincoln, one Illinois native national treasure writing about another.
So wasn't it interesting to discover that his home down here is perched in a neighborhood that contains the summer homes of not one, but several members of Jefferson Davis' cabinet?

But here's what I really liked about Sandburg - the man was a romantic. In the interest of any of my male students who might be reading this page, take a lesson, boys.

Young Sandburgs
A younger Carl and Paula Sandburg

Love Letter
This is a postscript to a letter sent by Carl to Paula before they were married. This is a lucky woman.

Sandburgs Later
Carl and Paula a few years later

And so my trip ends on an Illinois note. I put in about 180 miles in very mountainous terrain over four days. I climbed cumulatively over 8000 ft. I spent a lot of that time at about 3 1/2 -4 mph, but my highest speed was 39 mph. I worked hard, I ate well, I slept great, I was in the great outdoors. I learned a ton about my bike and equipment, about my own physical abilities and mental stamina, made new friends and renewed good family ties.
I want to thank my Uncle Hal, my Aunt Rosalie and my Cousin Kathie for being, well, my family.
So long.

To my students, see you bright and early on Monday!! What's that you say? More extra credit? Well, ok. Tell me what other artistic medium Carl Sandburg was involved in besides writing. 5 pts. as per the usual system.

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