Cross-country bicyclists pass through 2011.06.29

Written by David Green.

Four cross-country bicyclists took a small detour into Lenawee County earlier this month on their way to Oregon. That’s because one of them wanted to log a visit with his grandparents.

Travis Vernier, grandson of Hershel and Mary Helen Love of Sand Creek, started his journey with three college friends in Times Square, New York City, in late May. They expect to finish the trip in Portland, Ore., by the end of July.

They travel 50 to 80 miles a day, depending on weather and terrain, and had reached South Dakota last Thursday.

Each rider carries about 35 pounds of gear, clothing and food. The boys planned to camp each night but have often ended up as guests with families or at churches.

They continue to face physical and mental challenges on the 3,700-mile journey. In Pennsylvania, for example, Vernier experienced a tire problem that required him to stop and pump up his tires repeatedly over 20 miles of mountainous terrain.

In a Southern Nazarene University  news story, Vernier said last week, “from the natural beauty of the Appalachian mountains, to warm hospitality of the Heartland, experiencing America on bicycle has been an amazing and unforgettable experience.”

Vernier and one of his companions are students at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla., near Oklahoma City. The other two travelers graduated from SNU this year.

Travis is the son of Morenci native Nick Vernier and Sand Creek native Kay (Love) Vernier.

  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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