From the Deep South to the Northwest

"Come on, letīs see what is beyond the next hill."

Introduction, March 2005                                             Shortcut to Journal

Hello, we are Maren and Peter Helm, in our late-fifties living in Hamburg, Germany. We have done touring cycling during the last 25 years. Since our early retirement in 2001 we make one extended bike trip every year. 

 

        

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It started with the TransAm Bicycle Trail in May 2001 in Virginia. It was during this trip in Bardstown, KY that we ran into another couple on bikes. It was Mike & Marilyn from Wenatchee, WA, also on their way across the US (see their TransAm journal and our meeting in Kentucky). We rode with them for 4 days and stayed at some very memorable places. When Maren broke her ankle on a rest day in Colorado, we had to interrupt our bike trip, rented a car and toured in the Norhwest.

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The friendship from the road developed and when we returned to the US in May 2002 to continue the TransAm ride, Mike & Marilyn arrived also in St.Louis, MO, to accompany us on our re-start. We rode together on the Katy Trail (see journal) , then joined the TransAm Trail again in Eastern Kansas. This time we made it to the Pacific Coast without any injuries. 

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Due to the international political turbulences in 2003, Maren and I opted to stay in Germany that summer. So in June we started a trip - right from our doorsteps - to the town of Konstanz (by Lake Bodensee) in the very south of Germany. During this tour (1,200 km / 3 weeks) we mostly traveled on signed bike trails layed out along the many German rivers and stayed for the majority of the nights in Youth Hostels.

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Also in 2003, Mike & Marilyn  traveled abroad and visited us in Hamburg for a three weeks long bike vacation in Northern Germany and parts of Denmark (including a very close encounter with the Danish Queen Margarete herself!). 

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In December 2003 to February 2004 we traveled to New Zealand. We started on the Northern Island, cycled around the Coromandel Peninsula and around the East Cape, the latter a pretty isolated and beautiful region. At Christmas we shipped to Picton on the South Island. We traveled clockwise down the eastern coast (Kaikoura, Christchurch), then across the more mountainous inland stretches (Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Lake Wakatipu) to the southernmost point of our tour in Te Anau. Then a two day cross country trip via Mavora Lakes to Queenstown, over Crown Range and Haast Pass up the West Coast and over Arthur's Pass back to Christchurch, where our trip ended after some 2,800 km and app. 9 weeks of riding.

 

But after we have not biked in the US for so long it seems to be time to return. And here we are: We will fly in to New Orleans, LA on Tuesday, March 15. We fix our bikes and off we are via Baton Rouge, LA to Natchez, MS where the Natchez Trace Parkway begins. We will follow it into Tennessee then hit Western Kentucky and the South of Illinois and make it to St. Louis. From there we plan to follow the newly developed Lewis & Clark Bike Trail up the Missouri River to its headwaters in Montana, make it across the Rockies and eventually reach the Pacific Coast in Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River. More details will follow once we are on the road and progressing. 

 

 

This roughly 4,300 miles long trip will keep us busy for about 4 month. During this time I will try to fill this journal with reports from the road on a more or less regular basis to Marilyn, who does the job as our webmaster. The biggest challenge for me will be posting of the photos directly from my camera via a strange computer. Let's see what I can do. 

      

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March 13, 2005 - Preparations

                1) Equipment-1Internet.jpg (95652 bytes)    2) Keller-1Internet.jpg (87019 bytes)

1) It seems impossible to carry all this stuff on our bikes (and the
tent-equipment is filled in the bike boxes).

2) It's a tricky job to disassemble the bikes to make them fit into the
boxes, and hopefully get them back from the airline without damages.

 

Journal
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March 15-23, 2005 - New Orleans, LA to Natchez, MS

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March 24-31, 2005 - Natchez, MS to Tulepo, MS

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April 1-April 14, 2005 - Tulepo, MS to Marion, KY

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April 15-25, 2005 - Marion, KY to Booneville, MO

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April 26-May 19, 2005 - Booneville, MO to Sioux City, IA

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May 11- May 20, 2005 -  Sioux City, IA to Pierre, SD

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May 21 - June 8,  2005 -  Pierre, SD to Watford City, MT

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June 9 - June 22,  2005 -  Watford City, ND to Dillon, MT

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June 23 - July 13,  2005 -  Dillon, MT to Wenatchee, WA

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July 18 - July 27,  2005 - Wenatchee, WA to Astoria, OR

   

          Other related links

            Mike and Marilyn's TransAm Bike Trip 2001

            Katy Trail 2002