Archive for June, 2008

Impressions In the Mud – by Deanna

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(an article I wrote for the Greater Dallas Bicyclists Newsletter many years ago)

Up before the dawn. It’s raining, drizzling really. The western horizon beckons. Promise of adventure. We hit the road and leave the Dallas city lights behind.
I think the sun is up. It’s not dark but the sky is still gray. We wonder if it will even be possible to ride in this rain. If not, then plan B, Fort Worth Museums. Pass through Fort Worth, then Weatherford, then Mineral Wells, then just before Graham we turn off toward Possum Kingdom Lake. Fall color, no possums. Phyllis is ready for anything. Rain has stopped, sky looks white in spots where it was once gray, still no blue.
I start to drag my feet. Now how do we find the start? This is the map? How long is the trail? Sag? Sippery? Rocky? Creeks? Technical downhill? Just what does “technical” mean anyway? Do I need to know how to use a slide rule? Phyllis sees all kinds of possibilities. Well, if we cut off here we will avoid that mountain, and if we take the bail out we will cut off several miles and the “technical” downhill run is no problem! We’ll just walk that part. I ask if she brought her compass.
Race director looks at me and gives good advice. “Keep the red flags on your right and the blue flags left. Do only what you feel comfortable doing and have fun.”

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Phyllis Completed the Adventure Cycling Coast to Coast Across America Bike Ride

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GRANNYGEARS:  Trans Am Photos

Several years ago my good friend Phyllis Hassan decided her first adventure after retirement would be a coast to coast across America (aka:TransAM) bike ride. Phyllis was originally planning to ride with a friend from Lone Star Cyclists, but Liz’s cancer prevented her from joining Phyllis on the journey.

Phyllis completed the TransAM route mapped out by Adventure Cycling.

Here is a map showing her route.

I started up this website as a way for her friends to follow along with her adventure.

Phyllis completed the journey, on her own and completely self-contained for most of it. At times joined by friends from home or new friends she met on the road.

I decided to continue with this website in her memory, after a tragic accident took her life. A careless motorist drifted into the 5 foot shoulder she was riding her bike on. The accident happened just south of Ft. Worth Texas, not far from her home in Arlington, a couple of years after her TransAM ride.

Those of us who knew her, miss her still.

I feel pretty sure that if Phyllis were here today, she would scold me for moping about, and tell me to get on with it and have some fun and celebrate the good life she lived.

So….. lets talk about the good times!!

Here is the account of her TransAM adventure:

(To read the same story on the original grannygears website, click here.)

The Adventure Begins – By Phyllis Hassan

Last November Liz asked if I would ride across the country with her. I said yes. And so we agreed on this huge adventure.

I had no idea that getting ready for the trip would be so much fun. I have really enjoyed pondering gear options, training (believe it or not), and reading email from the many who responded to our Adventure Cycling ad for travel companions.

The bicycle


I bought a Cannondale T2000–a magnificent charcoal gray steed that would give me every mechanical advantage possible to ride those 4,000 some miles.

I added a suspension seat post, and gearing even lower than Cannondale provided, thanks to the sound advice of my experienced cross-country friend, Eddie. The bike came with 35mm tires, which were very sturdy and gave a smooth ride but it was such an effort to make the wheels go round that I have changed to 32mm tires. I used Blackburn front and rear racks (low riders on the front).

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My daughter’s honeymoon adventure

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Jenny and Mac were married in California, moved to Ohio, and rode their tandem to Maine.


June 10 – 13, 2004

Thurs June 10

Time finally stopped for a little while. We started packing on Monday, picked up the trailer on Tues and spent Tues & Wed figuring out how to get everything in the trailer & van, giving away stuff that wasn’t going to make it, and making last minute trip preparations. Friends & family helped us by giving us food, taking away furniture & trash, and cleaning. We decided to go ahead and start driving Wed evening because we needed to get on the road. Jeremy S.’s parents graciously let us show up at their house in the middle of the night to sleep. We’ve been alternating drivers, or at least taking a break, every 2 hours. I can comfortably drive the van with the trailer. It’s very stable & has been going up hills no problem. I get a little stressed in traffic or towns. I won’t be disappointed if I never have to back it up. Fortunately Mac is an experienced trailer driver. We took 101 to 20 to 5 and spent the night in Sacramento. This morning we started on 80 and we will probably stay on it until Nebraska. We are camping at Mill Creek, a BLM campground with vault toilets, picnic tables, & grills. We are the only ones here. There are some large insects (~2 inches) that are reddish brown with long legs & they jump. The creek is gurgling & I think I hear an owl. Mac made a gourmet Thai dinner and then played his guitar for me. We are near Battle Mtn. Nevada. Their billboard has a picture of the Statue of Liberty and says, “Voted the armpit of America; We didn’t think anyone was looking.” Yawn! time for sleep.

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