General Meeting via ZOOM
January 28, 2021
Please join us - everyone is welcome (Link will be provided once it is available)
My name is Kathy McElligott. I’ve been a Folks on Spokes member since 2017 and was recently invited to be a Board Member-at-Large. I have lived in Orland Park for 23 years across the street from the Orland Grasslands, so I have no excuse not to get out and walk or bike almost every day!
I am a retired school nurse administrator for Matteson School Dist. 152. Although I enjoyed the challenges of overseeing the health care needs of staff and students at seven district schools, I enjoy retirement even more. My partner Ed and I love traveling and while the pandemic has clipped our wings a bit, we still go to our cottage in Cable, WI and our condo in Cottonwood, AZ.
On January 28 I will present a Zoom program about my cross-country bike trip in 2015, but I wanted to share with you some of the bike tours that led up to that epic event and also the tours that followed.
My first overnight bike tour was with my 12 year old granddaughter, Mary Rose. “The Heart of the Underground Rail Road” tour was with Adventure Cycling Assoc. in June, 2009. Camp sites, meals and sag support for luggage was provided. We biked from Cincinnati to Oberlin, Ohio, following the path of escaped slaves as they made the harrowing journey to freedom. It was an eye-opener and a bonding experience for us both.
Next was in June, 2010, also with ACA called “Intro to Road Touring” in the Kettle Moraine area of southern Wisconsin. We had to schlep all our own camping gear plus help with the group cooking gear! Lots of killer hills were made harder with added weight. To say it was a challenge is an understatement, but I learned an important lesson; less is more!
My first GOBA (Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure) was again with Mary Rose in June, 2011. GOBA does yearly loop tours focusing on different rural Ohio destinations. GOBA is family oriented, kind of like RAGBRAI without the drinking. Meals are provided by local communities, mostly churches, for a nominal donation. Best food ever!!!
Another ACA tour in September, 2011 with my partner Ed: “The Black Hills Loop” in South Dakota took us on the Mickelson Trail past Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. We visited Deadwood, Wind Cave National Park and Beautiful Custer State Park. Those prairie dogs sure are cute! This was an inn-to-inn tour where we only had to transport our personal belongings. I learned that the weather on the Great Plains can change from 90 degrees to 32 in a day. Packing for all possibilities is a must.
September, 2012 found Ed and me in California with Undiscovered Country Tours. We followed the Central Coast wineries in Sonoma and Mendocino starting in beautiful Healdsburg to Bodega Bay (remember “The Birds” movie?). This was our most upscale tour: a retirement gift from Ed’s boss.
June, 2013, another GOBA, always fun, this time with my grandson, Connor. Another bonding experience. We got separated a couple of times, and I panicked, but all was well.
February, 2014; Florida Keys with Senior Cycling, can be best described in one word, “Fun.” Sun, warmth, ocean breezes, flat roads along HWY 1, and all the ice cream you care to eat! The Seven Mile Bridge above the ocean really is seven miles!
March to May, 2015: Southern Tier Cross Country with Woman Tours. I’ll be talking about this in the January 28th presentation.
April, 2016: Followed the Natchez Trace, a National Park Parkway, 455 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee with ACA. Lots of history about Mississippi River travel and trade. The final day’s push up into Nashville was killer, but we made it and celebrated with, what else, barbeque!
June, 2016: Road Scholar “The Katy Trail” in Missouri, following the journey of Lewis and Clark along the Missouri River. Again, lots of history. We stayed in motels with sag support. A good first time tour; the road is flat and pleasant.
June, 2017: “Rustic Pennsylvania” with Road Scholar. The wild azaleas and roadside waterfalls were breathtaking. A truly beautiful part of the country with many rivers whose names I cannot pronounce!
August, 2018; we liked Pennsylvania so much Ed and I decided to do the GAP Trail (Great Allegheny Passage). Highlights included several long railroad tunnels, the Duquesne incline ride in Pittsburgh and standing with one foot in Maryland and one in Penn. Road Scholar food and hospitality are unbeatable!
March, 2019; not a bike tour, but I thought I’d mention it for all the hikers; “Hiking Granite Gorge and Havasupai” in Grand Canyon with Road Scholar. We spent two days at the bottom of the canyon in the Havasu Village of Supai. Hiked to the unbelievably blue Havasu Falls. I hope to return to the Grand Canyon in 2021 and stay at Phantom Ranch after the pandemic recedes.
Finally, June 2019, another GOBA, this time with granddaughter Sophie (Mary Rose’s sister). We started out soggy and wet on the first day. I offered to throw in the towel, but Sophie wouldn’t hear of it. Eventually the weather cleared and we had a great time. Had a fun off day at Cedar Point Amusement Park on Lake Erie.
Finally, at Fern’s urging, she wanted me to mention that I am an author of two books. “Mommy Machine,” (Heliotrope Press, 2008) is about a trio of women whose friendship sustains them through life’s tragedies; losing a child, raising a grandchild, failed relationships, and coming to terms with one’s identity. “Mommy Machine” is available through the author at email@example.com for $10 plus shipping.
My latest novel, “1638 East Palace” (Adelaide Books, NY, 2019) is the sequel to “Mommy Machine.” It follows the stories of Elaine, who is raising her grandson, Colin: Trish and Christa, who are struggling with the roadblocks of same sex adoption: Elaine’s love interest Chuck: Christa’s ex, Mercedes, and more. There is a killer section about Christa’s ill-fated bicycle trip whose consequences linger long after the trip is over.
Currently, “1638 East Palace” is available through the publisher, Adelaide Books at a 15% discount through December 31, 2020. Visit http://adelaidebooks.org
“For our authors’ followers and friends when purchasing books in our online store – discount code AUTHORSGUEST will give them 15% automatic discount on all purchases. Share this discount code with your friends and followers.
Our online store offers multiply payment checkout options – credit/debit card, PayPal, ApplePay, GooglePay, and AmazonPay, with standard or expedited shipping (mostly via Amazon).”
Thank you for reading. I hope you’ll join me on January 28. I will happily answer any and all questions about bike touring.