Summer fast approaches. I lost a lot of last summer riding time due to shoulder surgery and want to make up for it. So I am trying to decide upon a week to ten day ride/tour. Would be fun to be meeting up with Hammer Boy on the Souther Teir, but this isn't the year for it. I have one credit card tour of two days planned for spring. I plan on one short supported tour of probably three, maybe four days, in the home area. I would like to take two big trips but my wife and son and daughter-in-law have reminded me that we have one of those big numbered anniversaries this summer. So I have narrowed my one week-ten days away from home to the following options.
1) Ireland - One week unsupported/credit across --fly into Galway, take pedals,saddle, and panniers, rent the bike (Saracen-hyrid 8 speed or Raleight touring) and spend six to seven days touring the south end. I have had several communications with a bike shop in Ireland and this could be a really easy and fun tour. If not this summer, probably next.
2) Oklahoma Freewheel - very convenient,starts about 100 miles from my house-goes south to north to Coffeyville, KS-first half will be traveling acres and acres of nothing but acres...have seen most Oklahoma before.
3) B. A. K. (Bike Across Kansas) interesting and I can probably do it but will need to train a little harder. Its a long way across Kansas, Toto. I figure you either love or hate this trip. I've also seen most of Kansas before. Would also probably require two days on each end to get to the shuttle point, then shuttle to the start, then reverse the process at the end.
4) Katy Trail - had this 250+ mile rail-trail trip planned for last summer but did shoulder surgery the week of the trip. Its not too far from home to drive, and Mrs. Mono could also go on her Giant Cypress or provide SAG so I could sample the wine shops at night. This would be a trip on MTB with slicks.
5) GITAP - Grand Illinois Trail and Park tour also sounds like fun, ride the hybrid or mountain bike. I've not seen much of Illinois.
6) Touring Ride in Rural Indiana---right now leaning toward this for a week in the summer. Its a ride to a park, then local tour the next days, then another park, local tour...etc. I like the low key riding pressure and staying in one place for two days. Full SAG support. You can also stay in the park inns every night or so for a more civilized living style just in case you find some wine you want to sample. This trip might also be the least hassle as far as getting there with the bike. Right now I think I can roll on my bike at Amtrak in Fort Worth and roll off the next morning about 12 miles from the start of the tour. This means I could get everything I need in two panniers and bed/tent roll. Stepping off a train in Indianapolis wearing funny clothes and riding a bike is a little intimidating but my experience is that if anything goes wrong you can always get home with an American Express and a few dollars in cash.
So many options...so little time.
I would appreciate opinions from anyone as well as hearing if you have any summer tour plans.