Clicking the week’s summary chart will bring up a detailed route map for the week including elevation gains. After the summary and overview of the week and Sheila’s op-ed piece, you’ll see the posts in order starting with the first post of the week.You can view any week of posts by clicking on the week in the sidebar.

Click to see week-6 overview summaryThis week we crossed the Mississippi into Wisconsin, where we saw a shift from the flat straight roads of the Great Plains to hilly, curvy and lush roads. During the week we shifted from intense heat to intense thunder storms, and viewed a wide assortment of birds and wildlife. At the end of the week we made our final time-zone change when we crossed Lake Michigan by ferry.

This week’s op-ed from Sheila

It’s hard to believe we’re already two-thirds through our itinerary. We still have three weeks left packed with many more adventures including: three days in Canada where we may not be able to post on the blog, a visit with our dear friend Grace when we get to Niagara Falls, and then a tour through New England wrapping up with some time with my brother and family. A lot to look forward to and to be present for.

Still, I can already feel some sadness that this tour will be ending. While I’ve loved every minute of  it, there is contradictorily a bit of a tug toward our home life and city routines as well. This is the longest we’ve ever been away from home. Though I must say I do NOT miss hearing the omnipresent sirens here are some things I do miss:

  • Morrie, our cat
  • our bed and shower
  • our daily meditation practice and weekly Sangha
  • our friends (and playing pinochle!)
  • our healthy food habits (VitaMix and Coop)
  • my regular yoga practice

In some ways this is also a tour of America’s schools. We mostly stay at high schools with an occasional middle school, university or campground. It’s interesting to see how much they vary and  yet are the same. Each day when we get in we check the info board for the weather report and then check out the school’s gym. One of the first things I look for is a place to plug-in the technology to charge and as our blogging headquarters. Here are some of the other variables we consider before making our decision of where to sleep for the night:

  • Is it likely to rain overnight?
  • Is it hotter inside or outside?
  • Is there air conditioning? Or fans?
  • Do the lights all turn off or are there security lights that will remain on?
  • Where are the bathrooms and do the doors close quietly?
  • Where are the snorers sleeping?

We’ve become connoisseurs of locker room showers as well. It’s amazing how many of them use an extremely high pressure spray that is a bit like getting sand-blasted. Sometimes there’s no hot water and sometimes it’s so hot you’re expecting to be scalded before you’re done. Most do not have anywhere to set your soap and shampoo except on the floor. If there’s a handicap shower it’s usually the best choice as it has a handheld nozzle with a better spray. Even the bathroom sinks have a range of utility. Many have a gang sink where you use a foot pedal to activate an arc of spray. You can’t wash water bottles with those. Others have the push button that dispenses a timed surge of water. And a rare few have normal hot and cold faucets with manual controls. They’re always welcome.

Ah yes, it will be lovely to be back home with our ideal shower, sink, and bed. But not knowing what to expect is part of the adventure of it all.

The longest short day