Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Chris Mull's Journal for Simon Says Bike

Chris Mull is texting in a daily journal for us as he bikes with his brother, Andy, and their support guru, Ken, to Lake Erie. 

DAY 1 (August 1, 2020)
Today was a great 1st day! I felt very energized for the first 80% of the ride until the heat and hills towards the end, but nothing that I couldn't over come. 67 miles in 4-1/2 hours, average speed 15.6 mph. We made great time today and got to Blakey State Park at noon. Tomorrow, we are starting at 5 AM to get an early start and beat some heat. Our goal tomorrow is 90 miles and end up at Grove Hill, Alabama.

DAY 2 (August 2, 2020)

Good 2nd day. We did have some bike computer navigation difficulties. Basically Andy and I rode apart from each other the entire time. I missed a turn so I did an extra 8 miles!!! So I did 78.5 miles an Andy did 70.5 miles. We made it to Purdue, Alabama. We are camping at Issac Creek Campground. I felt pretty strong all day. Had some good hills on the beginning and end of the ride.

DAY 3 (August 3, 2020)
Day 3 went very good!! We are now in
Coffeeville, Alabama at a state park. It was a little shorter of a day, it will be a good rest day! I took another wrong turn today but it saved us about 8 miles, but we had to risk our lives with a lot of logging trucks!!! 😳

DAY 4 (August 4, 2020)
We got off to an early start on day 4 out of Coffeville, AL, on the road at 5:15 AM, trying to beat the heat. Our goal was to make it to Linden, AL (50 miles) if I felt good, try to make it more north. Well, we ended up going to Saltwell, AL (71 miles). Felt pretty good for the 50 miles BUT the next 21 miles were a little tough on me. It was very pleasant the first 35 miles with the temperature in the upper 60's, but it soon reached 93 degrees by the end of the ride!!! πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…. Maybe should have stopped in Linden, AL, but all is good. 

Fighting an upset stomach for the last 3 days, I believe I need to find the right diet and the right amount. I probably have overloaded my stomach with a lot of good stuff which my body is not used to!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers!!! They are working!!!

DAY 5 (August 5, 2020)
Day 5 done! Made it to Pickensville, Alabama, 74 mile ride, 336 miles total. It was a great day. Met Harley Martin today, he stopped and seen us while we were resting on the side of the road, he gave us a $100 donation!!

Day 5 started out very rough, I've had an upset stomach for several days now, wasn't feeling the best this morning. Turned on my Contempo ray Christian tunes and it was all on after that!!! It was probably my strongest day so far!! Praise the Lord!!! Started off a little hilly and then flat tened out for about 75% of the ride. Registered 73.8 miles, making the total to 336 miles. I have been able to register every mile so far for the 5 days. I have built up my confidence now and know that I can do this. Believe me, I've had some doubts that I can do this and I know some people had theirs doubts for "good" reason!!! Let's do this!!! Day 6, here we come!!!

DAY 6 (August 6, 2020)
Day 6. I got off to an early start, about 5:10 AM. Andy usually gives me a head start of about 45 min-1 hr start because he is faster than I am. We then usually meet around the 45-50 mile mark. I felt the best of any day. Stomach felt really good, I am not eating so much and it's making a big difference. I think I was putting too much energy crap in my body and it didn't like that! At about 30 miles in I ran into road closed because of a bridge out. I rode up to it and decided to trek through woods, briars and mud to get through to the other side. I was successful except some minor cuts and a lot of mud on my shoes!! The day did have more navigation problems. My GPS was giving me wrong directions or I missed a turn. (I may have missed a turn! πŸ˜‚) so I ended up about 17 miles northeast of where we are camping. Not a bad thing, Ken picked me up in Amory, MS and brought me back to camp, he will then drop me off in the morning at the same point which is on our route. Andy made it to camp and will leave from camp in the morning from Aberdeen, MS. We will meet up somewhere in our route, hopefully. Did 71 miles and we have a total of 407 out of 1500 miles complete! Overall, a strong day. I have a light day tomorrow of 53 miles. 

DAY 7 (August 7, 2020)
Day 7: woke up felt good, ate a big bowl of Frosted Flakes and coffee for breakfast. Ken took me to my drop off point in Amory. I got out of the truck and then lost all my breakfast in the parking lot!!! 😨😨😨. Then I started out in the wrong direction (gps problems). Got back on track and had a pretty good day. Oh, something got into the back of my shirt and started biting me. Ouch ouch ouch!!! Stopped and threw off my helmet and shirt. Didn't see anything but it sure did hurt!!! I did get to ride about 13 miles of the Natchez Trace, it goes all the way from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN. Wish we were on that longer, very nice road for biking!! Andy met me at around 5 miles from the campground and then Ken showed up also, so we all sat by the side of the road and had cocktails for about 25 minutes. We all then resumed to timishango campgrounds very nice campgrounds) overall a very good day. 61 miles for the day and 468 miles overall. Tomorrow...Tennessee, here we come!!!! Thank you for all your continued support, donations and especially the prayers!!!

Last picture is Ken taking me to my drop off point at 5 AM. I still had Frosted Flakes inside me πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

DAY 8 (August 8, 2020)
Day 8. Felt very good this morning, very excited about the bike course that google maps helped me out with! I went against our original  bike route to try and save 20 miles to get to the next destination. So off I went, about 14 miles into the trip, I seen "road closed"! This road was 16 miles of my 48 mile trip! There was a gate that was locked and a sign saying "no vehicles allowed". And the real bad thing was, it was gravel!!! If I turned back it would have probably cost me 20 miles! So what do I do...I go for it! My gps said 8.5 miles and then a little jog in the road. So I said, I can handle 8.5 miles of gravel if I take it easy. Off I go, I get to the 8.5 mile mark and my gps says to continue on for another 7.5 miles on the same gravel road!!! πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬. So 16 solid miles of slow gravel road πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜€. As it turns out, I made pretty decent time on the gravel road AND the scenery was awesome, it went right along a big river for almost the whole way there! I then met Andy around the 40 mile mark. ΕΈRight when I joined Andy it Happened!!! We finally seen our first bicyclists in 8 days!!! A group of 3! We then continued on and Ken met us at mile marker 45. We had a cocktail at roadside and arrived at Green Acres RV Park. The fanciest RV we have been to yet! It has a pool as well!!! So I made up an extra 20 miles with my hard and difficult shortcut but it was an adventure and I don't regret it!!! So we are now in for 528 miles. All is good, tomorrow we have a 55 miler!

DAY 9 (August 9, 2020)
Day 9. The days I love!!! No drama!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. BUT where's the adventure and memories at when everything goes right???? Never thought about that, a lot of our most memorable moments in life are the ones that come from our mistakes, faults, forgetfulness, misunderstandings and weaknesses that we can look back at and laugh. It's not usually the moments where everything goes right, those are boring!!!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Everyday I feel I'm getting smarter and stronger. Smarter in terms of how I eat and drink before, during and after the ride. I got off to an early start at around 5:10 am, and I was at the campsite by 10 AM. 60 miles, 588 miles total. There was a hill inside the Mousetail State Park That has a 19% grade (which is very very steep for a road hill). A normal street hill is around 7%. It was the steepest hill I ever came across, unfortunately I was unable to get up it on the bike! πŸ˜‚. (BTW, Andy made it up the hill!!). So for the most part, it was a boring good day of biking...which is always good. The Tennessee scenery is everything I hoped it to be, beautiful!!! Tomorrow we have a big day with 70 miles with over 5000 feet of accents which means a lot of HILLS!!! So it will be an early night to get a good night sleep!!! Thank you again for the continued support and especially the prayers!!! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

DAY 10 (August 10, 2020)
Chris texted:

Day 10: going in I knew this was going to be a tough day. It ended up 75 miles and 4770 feet of climbs. LOTS of hills here in Tennessee!!! I felt pretty strong most of the day but the last 20 miles was tough but I pushed through. I got off to an early start, just a little before 5 AM. Finished up just after Noon. No big drama to talk about, weather was getting pretty hot by noon, 94 degrees. So overall, a big success. We are staying at Cane Creek RV Resort, pretty nice facilities. We are just south of the Land Between The Lakes Park. We will end up in Kentucky tomorrow!!! We are scheduled for a 70 mile day tomorrow with over 5400 feet in climbs!!! I have my doubts. So As a backup plan, I can stop before the 70 miles and Ken will pick me up and then drop me off the next morning at the spot to start. But we will see how the day goes. We are now at 663 total miles!!! Thank you for all the prayers and encouragement!!! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

DAY 11 (August 11, 2020):
Day 11: we fought a storm and 50 MPH winds about a 11 PM the night before which interrupted some of my "body recovery" but not too bad! Got off at 5 am on the bike, had to dodge a lot of debris that was laying on the road from the night before. There was actually part of a tree blocking a whole lane about 12 mile in on the ride. So I got off to a good start then about mile 20 I stop at McDonald's. There I realize I don't have my phone πŸ˜³πŸ˜³πŸ˜³!!! I start to back track my ride about 4-1/2 miles and the cone back to Macdonald's without finding it! Now I'm freaking out a little. I borrow McDonald's phone to call Tracy to get Ken's cell phone number, as I was talking to her I see Ken next door at a gas station. I told Ken to use the "Phone Tracker" app that I set him up with to find my phone. It locates it about a mile up the road. I jump in the truck with Ken and we go directly to the location and find the phone on the side of the shoulder of the road!!! Thank you Jesus!!! So we go back to McDonald's, Andy meets up with us and we have a breakfast sandwich in the parking lot. So I put an extra 9 miles on trying to find the phone on top of a big mile day with a lot of hills! And also lost precious "cool weather time". So I continue on with doubts for the day. I ended up completing the entire route despite all the complications! I ended up putting 78 miles in with nearly 5000 feet of climbs! Yes, I was tired. This puts us to a total of 729 recorded route miles for the trip, nearly 1/2 of the 1500 schedules miles!!! And yes, we made it into Kentucky!!! I tell you, your prayers are working for us!!! Thank you!!

Pictures: one is of my usual breakfast of champions that I have every morning! The picture of the pond is actual Golden Pond from the Peter Fonda movie!! ! Another picture is our standard roadside stop!

DAY 12 (August 12, 2020)
Looked like a high chance of rain today so we decided to get a good jump in the morning to get some dry time in. I left camp at 4:45 am. I needed to give my legs "somewhat" of a rest so I decided to take a more direct and flatter route to our next destination rather than take the bike route. I ended up with 52-1/2 miles on the day. My legs still were not healed up yet after the 2 big days of hills in Tennessee! The ride didn't go bad but my legs seemed to be a little sluggish. It did not rain for the entire ride!!! Praise the Lord!! I will take a direct route tomorrow again in order to get more rest for my legs. We are currently over 1/2 way through the trip! We did some figuring and we are ahead of the game on arriving August 25th in Cleveland. We really pushed some miles in the beginning of the trip so we are going to pull back a little on some lesser mile days!!! Thank you for support and keep those prayers comin!!! They really work!!! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

Day 13 (August 13, 2020)

Got on the road about 5:30 am. About 30-40% of rain for ride, we did not see a drop!! Thank you Jesus!! Fought a little fog this morning by was not an issue. About 15 minutes in I en a blinking bike light coming towards me! I was getting excited to see another biker was just Andy coming back because he missed a turn for his route!!! What a let downπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. An hour into two ride, I saw something tat resembled a biker in the fog coming years opposite direction and he went right by. I turned around and yelled an waved for him to come back. I felt like Tom Hanks yelling out for Wilson!!!!! He turned around I think I almost got hit by cars when turning around πŸ˜‚. πŸ˜‚. He had a touring bike with all the saddle bags and gear!! He was actually riding from Virginia to Oregon!!! He said he should arrive around around mid September! I got a picture with him and he got a picture then we departed. I looked at the picture I took and got a picture of my hadle bar πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. I looked back and chased him down again to get another picture πŸ˜‚. He was a super nice guy but was probably thinking this guy is off his rocker!!! It was a really good day! Short day of 45 miles but a day I needed. My legs are feeling a lot better. I made it to Owensboro around 10 AM and waited for Ken to arrive at our destination, Diamond Lake RV Resort! Tomorrow Andy and I are going to ride together on the bike route to Hawesville, KY, about 55 miles. We haven't rode together since the first day. He has a faster pace than I do. I like my steady eddy pace, so we will see how tomorrow goes!!!

DAY 14 (August 14, 2020)
If it was goin to be one day that it was going to rain, it probably will be this day!!! We been very very fortunate so far!!! Got off to a good start at 5:30 AM, got about 15 mile in and it started raining and didn't quit until about mile 38. So about 1/2 the ride it rained. I'd rather it not rain but it stayed pretty cool for the whole ride at about 72 degrees! Always gotta look at the positive!! I pray before each ride in the morning along with countless prayers out there from all of our friends, family and supporters!!! It is amazing that we have biked over 900 miles and the only bike maintenance that we have had was 1 flat tire and Andy's bike and some loose spokes on my rear tire and not really 1 close call to think of for the both of us. And, only one wet day!!! This is almost unbelievable!!! Our God is awesome and he is answering prayers and looking out for each one of us if we would just ask!!! It was a great day despite the rain. A fairly easy day with only under 1000 feet in climbs for 54 miles! Legs are feeling strong and for the first night in 14 days we are staying at a Holiday Inn Express!!! And boy does it feel good!!! Thank you Jesus!!!

DAY 15 (August 15, 2020)
Left drop off point at 5:30 am. Sort of a non eventful day on the road except Ken losing his phone! I put in 63 miles, 3300 feet of climb and made to Corydon, IN. Sorry for the short blog but fighting to keep my eyes open this evening πŸ˜”

DAY 16 (August 16, 2020)
Day 16: this was a tough ride today, 77 miles, 3500 feet of climb. But, it was an enjoyable ride! My favorite part was biking on the trails along the Ohio River overlooking Louisville on the other side along with the sunrise, it was some great scenery!!! We made it to Madison Kentucky. Along the way on a back road with loose gravel, I arrive just after car went off the road and flipped over on its roof. The police was there and the father arrived. I asked if everyone was ok, he said his son's name is Tony and was taken to the hospital and was ok but very shaken up. Then I was almost to my destination in Madison and the car that was right next to me must have been looking at me or something, but sure he wasn't looking at the car stopped in from of him 😳😳! Crash!!!! Rear ended the car pretty hard in front of him. Everyone was ok, but there was some beat up cars! Other than that, everything went according to plan. We have a very short day tomorrow! About 30 miles, then we are going to go check out Noah's Ark and maybe hit a casino. Then on Tuesday, we will make it to Cincinnati!!!

Day 16 extra: we went into a tavern in Madison, IN this evening but it was closed. So a middle aged couple also tried to get in and we asked them if there was anywhere else to go? They said, follow us. So we followed them to another Tavern called Shipley's. We introduced ourselves and gave them a copy of the Mullet Wrapper and told them what we were doing. We each ate a burger and a couple beers. The bartender came over and told us that the couple picked up our tab! Then we got into a conversation with another couple sitting right behind us. David, was the gentleman's name. He said that he was tested positive for prostate cancer. So Ken and I told him our stories of our treatments. We said our good byes and told him that I hope everything goes well with his treatment and told him I will be praying for him.  On our way back to the campsite, My wife Tracy calls me. She tells me that someone by the name of David that just talked to us donated $500 online!!!! Praise the Lord!!!!

DAY 17 (August 17, 2020)
Day 17: got off to a little later start today due to a short riding day. Put in 37 miles with some very flat terrain. It was a nice ride! We are staying a Smugglers Cove Marina, very nice area! We did get to see Noah's Ark today, we all really enjoyed that trip!

We also had another interview with a local newspaper! Early start tomorrow morning, going to try to beat some of the rain for a ride into Cincinnati, OH!!! We feel when we get into Ohio, its home free home!!! Thank you everyone for following our adventure and especially the prayers!!!

DAY 18 (August 18, 2020)Day 18: I knew it was going to be sort of a busy narrow dangerous road going up to Cincinnati before I woke up. Got off to an early start before 5:00 am to beat traffic and the rain that was coming in. So, 1/2 mile into the ride a vehicle pulls up to ma and shines a light at me. He goes up further and turns around so I pulled over to see what this person wants. He pulls up and says that there is a man hunt for a guy that they have surrounded in 3 mile radius. I'm like, wow! As it turns out, Andy has interaction with and approaches the guy without a shirt hiding behind a motorcycle !!! πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜€.  Never know if they caught him? 

So we had a about 20 miles of intense hilly, narrow, dangerous road that we ended up getting through. After that, we knew it was going to be easy breezy and fun, knowing we will be in Ohio!!! We made it to the Purple People Bridge and had some friends meet us there and had some celebratory cocktails at 9:00 am ! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Finally got across the bridge into Ohio and made a start on the Trail to Erie  trail for a few miles. It was a fun and exciting day! Ended up doing 55-1/2 miles. 

DAY 19 (August 19. 2020)
Chris texted:

Day 19: We decided to sleep in a little bit this morning and do a later start today...because we can πŸ˜‚! I got on the road at about 7:15 am. The whole ride of 75 miles was ALL bike Erie Bike Trail. It's good and bad. Good that it is very safe and it is very direct to where we want to go. The bike trails are old rail road tracks converted to very nice paved bike/jogging paths. So therefore very straight and very flat! So therefore 75 miles of it gets a little monotonous at times. The scenery sometimes always seems the same...a tunnel of trees!!! I met Andy Andy and Ken at about 56 miles. So me and Andy ride together the last 19 miles. There was a pretty strong head wind for the entire day! So when we were in the woods it didn't affect us too much, but when we were out in the open, it was a bit of a struggle. So the last 19 miles with Andy, I drafted behind him to cut my wind resistance. It was a big relief!!! They say drafting behind someone takes about 30% of the work off the person drafting. Well, I could tell!!! BUT, I still had to keep up behind Andy's ridiculous pace though! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. We made it and we made very good time for the day despite the head wind. Tomorrow we will be going through Columbus, Ohio!!! Very exciting!!!

DAY 20 (August 20, 2020)
Day 20: got off on the road at about 7:15 am. It was a brisk 51 degrees this morning on the road!!! Brrrr! Had to wear a long sleeve for the first time! So Andy and I rode together today and about 38 miles in we reached downtown Columbus, Ohio!!! We stayed on High Street for a bite to eat at The Chop House!!! Great donuts and great burgers!!! Then we biked another 10 miles from there to Westerville, OH for a total of 58 miles for the day. It was a good day!!!

DAY 21 (August 21, 2020)
Day 21: got on the road about 7:15 am. 58 degrees this morning, a little warmer this morning than yesterday. I felt really good today, we were only intending to go 50 miles today but we went 67 miles! Just less we gotta do tomorrow. I have been doing some surveys while I'm riding. Every person I see or biker I say good morning to or good afternoon. So far i at least said it at least 700 times. A lot of people on the bike/jogging trails. I would say only 20% of the people say hi back or even acknowledge you!!! So I'm thinking people just are very nice. I am going to say most bicyclists are pretty snobby people!!! Just my opinion. But in everyone's defense: 1) they had headphones on and can't hear me 2) they are not used to anybody saying hi to them so they are in just complete shock to say anything back 3) they may have mumbled something back at me and I couldn't hear them. I will continue to say hi to everyone regardless of their responses. It may cheer someone up that I don't even know it. I personally don't need a reply back regardless. If I do expect response back, 80% of the time I would be disappointed! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Tomorrow will be a 50 miler to Massillon, OH. 

DAY 22 (August 22, 2020)
Day 22: What started out to be a 50 mile ride turned into 76 miles, and 3400 feet of climbing!! The consisted of bike trails, Amish country, city streets  and a very hilly ending. We were supposed to stop in Massillon, OH but I kept on biking to just south of Alliance, OH. So our Sunday Ride will probably be about 25 miles!!

DAY 23 (August 23, 2020)
Day 23: Ken dropped me and Andy at our drop off point of about 7 miles south of Alliance, Ohio on Route 183. This was kind of a sentimental ride for us today. We rode into Alliance and stopped for breakfast sandwiches at McDonald's. Then we stopped by our Dad's gravesite at Highland Memorial Park 😒. Then we rode around the streets of Damascus to relish some of our childhood memories, that was really cool!!! Then we rode into Salem, OH and visited our brother Bill for some morning cocktails. Then stopped by BB Rooners and then to our Mom's House. Short ride of 25 miles. We then went to Pick's at Portage on the Lakes. All I can say is WOW!!! Andy, Ken, myself and all of our guests were treated like royalty from Ed, Tom, Justin, Donnie and there staff!!! Pick's property owners donated $1000 and Donnie, the business owner matched it with another $1000!!! And we received almost $500 in cash donations from the patrons!!! This place was amazing with great service and incredible food!!! Thank you to Herb Hutchinson for putting this together along with Ed, Tom and Donnie and whoever else had a hand in this!!! God is sooooo good! Words cannot express my appreciation! Thank you.

DAY24 (August 24, 2020)
Day 24: we left out Salem, OH about 7:30 AM. We rode into Berlin Center, OH to visit our hometown!! First stop was Berlin Center Western Reserve High School! We rode around the football field on the track and I got to ring the touchdown bell! Some folks were there walking the track and doing an exercise class. They probably thought we were crazy for yelling and making all kinds of noise!!! We actually talked to the exercise class and told them what we were doing and told them we were graduates of WR! I actually knew a couple of them!! It was a blast!!! Then we traveled by our old house on Shillings Road, it was a little out of the way but well worth it. Onward to Ravenna, OH where we caught the bike trail. We rode the bike trail all the way up to Pininsula, OH where we stopped for the day at the Winking Lizard Tavern. We are 23 miles out from Lake Erie!!! We then had our fund raiser at Ben's Restaurant in Berlin Center. It was a great turnout with a lot of old faces!!! We raised $1500!!! 

DAY 25 (August 25, 2020)
Day 25: the final day has arrived!!! We got to sleep in a little bit!!! We left Pininsula at around 12:30 PM. The trail was not in real good shape and the head wind was pretty strong the whole way to Lake Erie!!! We ended up on East 9th Street, drove by Progressive Field (home of the Cleveland Indians). Continued through downtown and finished up with a long down hill right to Voinivich Bicentennial Park where we were met with family and friends!!It was a joyful moment!!! We then did our ceremonial front tire dip into Lake Erie which capped off our coast to coast endeavor!!! Wow, what an adventure it was!!! What started off as a small dream between two brothers turned into something bigger than I could imagine!! I am overwhelmed by the love and support of family, friends and strangers!!! I thank Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior for the safety that was put upon us during this ride. The weather could not have been any better. Thank you for all the donations!! It is unbelievable!!! As of right now we are probably over $17,000 to be used for prostate cancer awareness!!!

Chris posted on Facebook:
What a great finishing day!! Thank you to Andy Mull for coaching me and believing in me through the entire ride! It was an awesome experience to do this together with you! Love ya little bro!!!

All of these miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the shores of Lake Erie are not just for Andy and Chris' health. They are raising money for prostate cancer awareness. Use this donate button below to help Andy and Chris with their goals raising awareness. Every penny helps. Thank you.

Simon Says Run for Prostate Cancer, Inc. is a 501(c)3.


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