All posts by Jim

Day 29 – Golconda to Murphysboro IL

My campground hosts never showed up last night so I thanked them for their donation to the cause and slept on their porch. I would have put up the tent but I knew I could hit the road earlier if I didn’t have to dry out a tent, and the porch was perfectly comfortable with my sleeping quilt and air mattress. (FYI if you’re new to sleeping quilts – they save weight because they don’t have a back, which in regular bags doesn’t do much good anyway because the loft gets squished beneath you. The quilt is down and like a bag it can be cinched up at the feet and even at the head, but your air matress keeps you warm below. Mine can be compressed down to a tube about 6″ diameter and 8′ long – it’s tiny).

Porch camping. First I just leaned the bike and waited. Then I unpacked my tablet to blog. Then I got out dinner. Around dark I committed and unrolled my air matress, sleeping bag, and pillow (air pillow – a luxury at about 2 oz).

I ran out of coffee so I bee lined for the local dariette in town for breakfast. The scene there is getting pretty familiar – one or two tables of farmers and other local gentlemen, generally older, sipping coffee, having breakfast but mostly solving all the world’s problems. It’s exactly like the scene I’ve visited my dad at when he was alive, downtown in Bolivar MO.

That ribbon of highway

I still pass scores of cemeteries on the route – at some point I just stopped photographing them. But even here, they are quite old – this cemetery was founded in 1849. I mean, not east coast old but still…

Harley’s of southern Illinois. Relationships can only be guessed at from the stones.

It was the second day of pretty serious hills and it’s starting to get a little old. There were several long stretches where the road is straight but rises and falls with the hills. You try to run down the hills as fast as you can and hang on to all the work you did to get to the top of the hill by turning it into momentum to get you as far as you can up the next one. But it’s a losing game from a physics standpoint. The faster you go, the more your wind resistance increases – so you lose energy faster at the bottom of the hill when you’re going fastest. So you only make it part way up the hill and you get to climb another one. Shift into the easy gear, crank, crank, crank to the top of the hill, run down shifting up into bigger and bigger gears as you go faster, then as you go up the hill, shift lower and lower until you’re in your grandpa gear again and at a walking pace. Repeat until lunch.

Climb, climb, climb, descend. Climb, climb, climb, descend. Repeat as necessary.

I hadn’t counted on southern Illinois being so pretty (or so hilly). Actually it reminds me a lot of Missouri. For some reason I thought the land between the Ohio River and the Mississippi would be flat. Illinois could work on their litter problem though (actually western Kentucky too). On much of this trip, ever since Maine, I’ve been impressed with how little litter is along side the roads. I remember there being a lot more when I was a kid – all kinds of cans and McDonalds wrappers and such. But this morning I saw quite a bit by the road. There’s a little old lady I know from Chinatown in Oakland that could feed a family of four with the aluminum cans I saw on one hill this morning.

I met Eastbound Kevin this morning. I was impressed with how light he’s traveling. He just has an insulated “space blanket” and wears all his close at night to stay warm. He started in Astoria OR but had to take some time off due to a hand that went completely numb. I would say that’s a fit issue, eh Coach Matt?

I have seen so many churches in this part of the county, from little country ones to big suburban ones. I’ve started noticing their billboards more. They say everything from “potluck next Tuesday” to bible phrases that I don’t quite get – like this one.

“Repent for the Kingdom of God is at Hand”. I didn’t have a clue what that meant so I looked it up. I thought that repent meant to ask forgiveness for ones sins – which is one interpretation. Another is that “to repent implies a total alteration in the mind, a change in the judgment, disposition, and affections, another and a better bias of the soul. Consider your ways, change your minds: you have thought amiss; think again, and think aright. True penitents have other thoughts of God and Christ, sin and holiness”. I like that interpretation but “repent” is such a heavy word and I don’t like it. It implies, shame and original sin; ideas that I don’t think do us much good.
“Jesus is Love” which we all know, of course, is a song by the Commodores featuring Lionel Ritchie.

Consequently, with the peddling being kind of repetitive, I starting thinking about some of the church signs. One little country church had a bold sing proclaiming “Jesus Loves You” which at first I thought seemed kind of empty but then I started to appreciate it. For me to appreciate Christianity often takes what I imagine is a slight re-working of what I think they meant. I see “Jesus Loves You” as a way of saying – “you’re perfect, just the way you are” which is something that we call all use reminding every so often. But this is in opposition to what I often hear from Christianity; that we are all sinners until we are born again, or confess our sins, or repent. That just seems backward to me. It’s the fundamental east vs west difference, right? West says we come from the original sin so we must be forgiven. East says we are all perfect but sometimes we screw up. In my own personal philosophy I’m going to side with the east on this one, and its my belief that’s what Jesus, the carpenter, surely meant.

Well I was thinking along those lines when I came upon this bus emerging from the forest.

Nature always wins – eventually.

It’s amazing how nature works to absorb our work back into it. It’s pretty quick at it really.

After taking that picture, I got back on the bike, and I felt like a good conversation had been interrupted. I was eager to get back to it. And I said out loud to myself, “So, you were saying?”. I laughed out loud at that too, because it was so ridiculous – like I caught myself talking to myself. No one for miles knowing it, and had you been there, you’d think I was nuts, and maybe you will anyway now that I’ve invited you there.

My fellow energy geeks will recognize this as the cut-rate, non-trademark infringing Willie Wirehand. Most of you over 40 have seen his more popular brother, Reddy Kilowatt. Here’s a comparison for perspective; Reddy is to Willie as Lego is to Megablocks. Frankly I’m stunned that anyone would want a logo that looked anything like Reddy Kilowatt these days.
I wash and dry your clothes, play your radios, I can heat your coffee pot, I am always there, with lots of power to spare, ’cause I’m REDDY KILOWATT!
For a long time I’ve wanted to do a photo series on how we butcher trees to accommodate power lines. Case in point; see the perfect rectangular hole put in this tree? I could do a whole poster with any number of similarly scarred trees. I can’t tell you how many photos that I’ve shot carefully to eliminate power lines or minimize their impact. We give up a lot when we give up all this space to power lines. Have you ever seen a neighborhood where they’re buried? It’s a huge visual improvement.

I arrive at my humble abode for the night, ready for a hot shower. Maybe I’ll have two.

America’s most average hotel. Perfect.

Lately I’ve been hungry for salty snacks – wonder why…

Yes that’s good old NaCl. Lots of fluid and salt replacement tonight.

Day 28 – Sebree KY to Golconda IL

No one else joined me at the church last night which meant I could get up and start banging around early. Still somehow it’s hard to get out the door quickly. Entirely my own doing but I need my coffee, I need to shave (every once in awhile), I’ve got to get water bottles ready, some food in me, sunscreen, bags packed etc. I’m getting better at it but still seems like it takes too long because I love that morning light, and I want to spend more time in it.

This morning all the flowers were turning their faces to the rising sun.

Still I was on the road by about 7:15 and what great weather I had. I don’t think it got over 80 all day so I got a lot of miles in, mostly before lunch. The morning was an overall descent where I crossed the Ohio for the last time – this time by Ferry. I think if I had gone by kayak from Cincinnati to here it would have been a lot faster. It’s surprising how hard it is to follow the river for any distance on land.

Tyson “chicken houses”. I’m pretty sure these were empty at the moment. Pastor Bob says you have to air them out a couple of weeks in between to keep down disease. They still smelled horrible.
Tractors do not look like they used to.
Word of Truth Baptist Church. Most churches around here seem to be Baptist.
My last crossing of the Ohio, this time into Illinois
Anyone know what these are? Are they purple Martin houses? They are very common at Amish houses.

I only met one other cyclist on the road today. Brian is from Minnesota and is crossing the country with his brother. His brother drives the RV while Brian pedals all day, and then they camp at night. Now that’s brotherly devotion. This way Brian doesn’t have to carry any real weight and he even has a backup bike if he runs into trouble.   I think it must be hard for Brian’s brother not to put on 15 lbs this way, sitting across the dinner table every night with someone who’s just ridden 80 miles has got to be tough not to follow suit.

Brian from southern Minnesota – riding from Astoria OR to York Virginia

 

Plymouth Fury – mid ’60s. I love these and the Impalas same vintage.

Which brings me to my endorphin-fueled epiphany of the day; everything is contagious. I’ve heard it said before about eating habits – that some areas of the county are heavier because everybody eats like everyone else (ok gross generalizations yes but just for discussions sake). I think the same is true about working habits, and exercise habits. If you live where everyone plays golf, you play golf. If everyone comes to school talking about the internet meme of the day, you go on lookout for internet memes. So choose your neighbors and friends wisely – you’re going to end up like them. I’m sure that you’ve probably had a version of this thought before but somehow this morning in the wilds of Kentucky it seemed profound enough to put down in my notebook.  Ok, please discuss. Where does this break down? Free will? Pish posh.

Brian confirmed one thing that I’ve heard before – that the Ozarks have the toughest hills on the TransAm. They have a million little steep climbs where you go up, sometimes at grades over 15%, and then right back down and you start on another one. He said that he had a 70 mile climb in Colorado that wasn’t that hard – just a very mellow grade for a long way. So I have the Ozarks to look forward to.

I am getting antsy to get to Missouri, see family and have a little down time. I had a vague goal of getting to Bolivar by July 4th that I’m going to have to buckle down to make. I need to spend some real planning time with maps tonight and see if I can do it.

Speaking of tonight – I’m currently pilfering electricity to run my MiFi to post this. I didn’t get to this campground until about mile 90 and I’m pretty much out of gas. But no one is here, the showers and bathrooms are locked. So I’m kind of “squatting” here to see if anyone shows up. If they don’t I’m sleeping on their porch tonight. It’s a weird conundrum- they have a sign signifying this is a campground, I called the number and left a message, and there are all these empty RVs around. This is where the adventure happens eh?

As the sun is going down a few rain clouds darkened the skies and left this wonderful glow shining under them.

I have thought quite a bit about the whole “adventure” side of this trip. It was probably the most common reaction that people have had when I tell them what I’m doing. “Oh you’re going to have such an adventure.” Well yeah I hope so but when things mostly go right, it’s not such a big adventure. I mean its been fun and interesting, fascinating really. But there’s a part of me that keeps waiting for old farmer McGillicuddy to strike up a conversation with me and mention the funny goings-on down at the old mill. That’s the way it works on Scooby Doo. More than likely though I wonder if the adventure really starts when stuff goes wrong. And this evening, I’m 50 miles from any real hotel, 20 miles from another campground, I’m tired and I’m staying here. Adventure!

My favorite sign of the day that I failed to get a picture of; on a small house by the roadside: “Indoor Yard Sale.” Doesn’t that mean “Store”? Actually it’s brilliant. Got right around those tough Western Kentucky zoning laws.

I had a late lunch in Elizabethtown. The first place I went in smelled so off I turned around and walked out, and I’m glad I did. I wandered down by the river and found the E-town River Restaurant. Most of the menu was catfish so I went with the catfish. You know they’re serious about their catfish when you can choose your catfish “river” or “pond”. Who chooses pond? Heavens.

E-Town River Restaurant. Literally on the river.
Catfish sandwich, fries, hush puppies, BBQ baked beans, coleslaw, and sweet tea. Southern IL is the south. Ya’ll know what hush puppies are, right?

One table of bikers (i.e. Harley variety) started up a conversation with me about the trip and pretty soon I ended up talking with everyone in the restaurant, one after another. For some reason, one guy wanted my advice on what electric bike to get his brother with a bad ankle injury but I felt sorely unqualified to answer that. One woman said that she overheard that I was “self-supported” (in cycling means on your own, no SAG wagon or someone to get you out of trouble) and she met me in the parking lot to buy me lunch. She wanted to help me on the journey in some way. I told her she didn’t need to do that but she insisted. So I told her I was raising money to help the environment and that I would put it to that cause. I wish I had thought to do a selfie with her – I think she would have liked that – but I was kind of thrown off balance by her. Next time I’ll try to stay a little more Mile 1.

Mile 1

Which reminds me of a good question Megan had in the comments last night about conversations on the environment. I’ve kind of been a chicken in that department I’ll admit but we’re in sync because I was thinking about it as I rode today. I just have to jump in and be a little more gutsy about that. I think it’s hard for me to resist my natural tendency when I’m out in an area where I don’t know people – I want people to like me. But that’s probably way overrated. One thing that I “knew” before this trip but really know now, is that electronic media is a crappy venue for any real understanding to occur. Facebook et al offer venues for people to just spout their beliefs and essentially walk away. If you’re standing face to face with someone, you can’t do that. When the barriers are gone, people are overwhelmingly fair (or at least fairer) with each other.

Ok one final picture. I swear that I did not set this up. Know how I’ve been ranting about all that lawn mowing? OK this guy has figured out a solution.

The mower-cycle.  Serendipity plain and simple.

Ok we’re not going to discuss that little 4 mile wrong turn at the end of the day. Chalk it up to low blood sugar.

Day 27 – Hawesville to Sebree KY

Leaving Vastwood Park

Sunset last night – sailors delight.

It’s hard to get up and out early when you camp. The high humidity here means everything gets covered in dew and I don’t like to pack up the tent wet. So I needed to move the tent over to somewhere the sun hits and let it dry out before packing. Still I think I was on the road by 8:30 which isn’t bad. It’s just that I really like those early hours the best, before the breezes and traffic kick up and the temps are cool. It’s just the best time to ride.

The morning was lovely and I passed through a lot of Ohio river bottomland – covered in corn, soybeans and tobacco. There are also a lot of power plants around – I saw 2 coal plants and I think a nuclear plant across the river in Illinois. I’ll spare you pictures of those.

Tobacco farms
Lotus?

I came as close to “bonking” as I’ve come. Bonking is when you let your body run too low on fuel and you hit a wall where you just can’t perform anymore (Coach Matt fill us in – I’m sure I’m over-simplifying). Anyway, I had a light breakfast at camp, and was just snacking on bars this morning which seemed fine until about noon. At that point I was trying to navigate between two courses, and off any prescribed route. I was feeling stupid and starting to think about food all the time but not finding any options. Way too late I hit a Circle K and I hit that place like a tornado. Problem was, they don’t actually have any food at a Circle K. They were even out of pre-made sandwiches, and pre-made burritos – not even a hot dog in sight. They did have “Kind” bars which do me well in the saddle, and Clif bars but I couldn’t resist a bag of salty corn chips (even after thinking all morning how we grow way too much corn, but I’ll save that rant for another day) and GORP. At that low blood sugar level, I lose my mind and can’t make good choices. So next time I need to not end up high and dry.

Oh dear, I’ve lost my mind again.
I forgot these existed – don’t see them much in Orinda. This one is full of hickory logs.
Used lawn mowers. Oh no here I go on lawn mowers again. It’s just that yesterday and today I must have seen 50 people out mowing their yards. Here’s where their mowers go when they trade them in for new mowers. At the Circle K while I gorged on junk food, three different guys came by to fill up gas cans to take home to their mowers. Can’t we come up with something else to do with all this industry?
I saw oil rigs in NY and Ohio but not running. This one was running, probably pumping out mower fuel.
The Green River and coal-fired plant in the background.

On the TransAm

Today I reached a route milestone too. I’ve patched together several routes from Adventure Cycling and around 12:30 I finished the “Underground Railroad” route that I’ve been following and drew my own course down to the tradaitional Trans America, or TransAm route. This matters because the touring cycling traffic on the TransAm is much heavier than just about any other route in the country, and sure enough I saw my first “Eastbound” brethren 15 minutes after joining the main route. It was energizing to meet some other cyclists, even if they were going the other direction. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen anybody else touring (Annika and Nico near Dayton) and it was surprising how much that mattered to me this afternoon. We all want to be part of a group who understands us, I guess. Or most of us do, anyway.

Reaching this sign was really important to me. Route 76 was the first official bike route across the country and still the most popular one for coast-to-coast cyclists.
I saw at least 7 “Mile 1” signs today. Then I realized that the Kentucky DOT must be run by a Buddhist. They are all “Mile 1”. Mile 1 is really all we get. We are always right here, right now, at mile 1.

One of the first TransAm tourers I saw was Tara and her sons Grant and Grayson. I’ve been thinking I’m pretty studly doing all this pedaling and here these three come – one one bike. Not many folks take this on at all, let alone with two kids. And hats off to you two boys – maybe someone your age has finished this before but I haven’t heard of them. They were taking it in stride, and dad Darren was down for a visit today to support them.

Tara, Grayson, and Grant. Note Pringle can holder.

Sebree Kentucky

Downtown Sebree. Like so many small towns, it’s seen better days. Good bones though.

You’ll never guess where I’m staying tonight – but the Sebree First Baptist Church. Sebree is the first town of any size (pop 1350) that I’ve come to on the TransAm route. And the FBC has a long tradition of hosting cyclists (they even call us cyclists, not bikers). I was met at the door by retired Pastor Bob who probably took 30 min out of his day to show me the facilities, where the cots are, where the laundry is (!), the kitchen (!), the shower (!!!) and what the Wifi pass is etc (btw – fastest internet I’ve had the whole trip 10MB down, 5MB up!). These folks really know how to host cyclists because they’ve been doing it for over 30 years.  They don’t charge anything and don’t solicit donations (“God has been very good to this church”).

The map showing where all the cyclists are from.
Pastor Bob has hosted cyclists for over 30 years. He went to school at the former Babtist Seminary in Mill Valley.

Pastor Bob knows a lot about his Parish too and he filled me in on some of the local info. He said that there are a lot of jobs around here but many are low paying. E.g. Tyson has a big processing plant here where they process about 2 million chickens a week. Yes you heard that right. 450 chicken “houses” x 25,000 chickens each x an 8 week lifespan = 2M. It’s truly enough to make you vegetarian or at least more selective about where your chicken comes from. And I know those jobs are pretty lousy. He said that about “half the county is Hispanic” now which I don’t doubt after my trip to the grocery store (not for chicken).

The high paying local jobs are coal mining. The local mines are all subterranean (unlike East Ky) and the coal is 600 to 900 feet down. Those are very good paying jobs but in decline. He was quick to point out that it wasn’t environmental regs that were slowing down coal, it’s cheap natural gas. He’s spot on there except he left out solar  and wind.

So I find myself in an interesting position tonight. Here I am, a liberal energy geek, doing everything in my power to end the burning of coal in the U.S. , enjoying the hospitality, generosity, and kindness of Bob’s parishioners, many of whom are no doubt coal miners (or were). Is there a conflict there? Should I turn down their shelter for the night. I think not. Not just because it’s self-serving, and I like to be comfortable and have fast wifi. But because we are each, the good folks at the Babtist Church, and me, doing what we feel is right. Their hospitality came with no qualifiers or demands and for that I am grateful. But it doesn’t change what I believe – that ending our use of coal is better for all of us. We need to do what we can to find others good jobs for people but I do not believe those are “good” jobs. They may pay well, but they are high risk (acutely in terms of mine safety and chronically in terms of long term health impacts), and more importantly it’s not a “good” job if it depends on using coal that leads to a CO2 and particulate emissions that make the world worse off for everyone, miners and their families included.

The whole situation is much like another part of the conversation I had with Pastor Bob. We spoke about tobacco farming and I mentioned that I assumed that was in decline. He said “oh no not at all.” In fact he seemed a little put out that many tobacco farmers had accepted government buy outs that were supposed to ease their transition away from farming tobacco. According to him, many used those buy outs to just increase their acreage to grow more. Hmm. Brings up something that occurred to me as I pedaled past field after field of tobacco. How do those farmers sleep at night? How do they square that, knowing what we know now about tobacco. How is that morally any different than growing cocaine? What is a “good” job anyway?

The Amish are looking better and better all the time, funny bikes and all.

Tomorrow I should get up and out early cause I’ll have no tent to dray out. I should make it to Cave-In-Rock and into Illinois.

Day 26 – Georgetown IN to Hawesville KY

Wow what a difference a day makes. Today was living the dream – great temperatures, sunny skies, no big breezes and good roads. I even found a cool spot to camp ($8, free wifi and hot showers OMG). I got a pretty early start, had 50 miles in before noon, about 80 total, with 4000 feet of climbing and it all felt easy. I crossed back in to Kentucky and finally made it into Central Time Zone (1 of 3!).

Sometimes the sky is more interesting than the landscape.

I had a beautiful cruise along the ridge into Corydon first thing this morning. I even got in with a pack of racers for a mile or so which I got on the gopro – we’ll see if I can add that. It was fun riding with them for a bit but a couple of little rolling hills and they left me for dead.

CAPTION CONTEST: INSERT YOURS IN THE COMMENTS.

Crossing back into Kentucky the Adventure Cycling route took be through backroads almost all day. Very little traffic on most of the roads and one guy even slowed down to offer me water at his house. This part of Kentucky seems better off than the hills I was in to the East – with more prosperous looking farms, homes and towns. The woods here are dominated by oaks and when it’s still I hear locusts and woodpeckers in the forests.

We just don’t have enough swinging benches anymore. Both of my grandmas had porch swings – they’re great in the summer to sit out in the shade.

One unavoidable truth of staring at country roads all day is roadkill. The forests here must be filled with possums because they are everywhere on the roads. And I’ve started to see a lot of snakes too in addition to the usual raccoons and the occasional deer. Reality of a day spent on the highway – I’m just doing all I can to not add liberal-energy-geek to the list.

Continue reading Day 26 – Georgetown IN to Hawesville KY

Day 25 – Thunderstorms Stall Me in Georgetown IN

Well damn. I knew this would happen but actually putting up with it is another thing. Today I get to practice letting go of things I can’t control, like thunderstorms and food options.

Last night I came in during the rain, and this morning it was pouring again so I decided to stay put. Sadly you don’t get to pick where you spend your rain days. Why couldn’t I be back in cool Madison, instead of here where the dining options are 1) discount grocery store 2) crummy restaurant where last night I was literally waited upon by a meth addict (no kidding and yes I am sure) and 3) McDonalds. I put these in more or less order of preference which I guess says something pretty bad about my view of McD’s (which until age 8 or so Jonah thought was practically poison. Oh it is, I forgot). Too harsh on McD’s? Close call. On the plus side for meth addicts they forget to charge you and nobody leaves them in charge of actually preparing the food (they would burn the place down) so it makes 2 and 3 a little close. Of course there’s the option of going to McD’s AND getting served by a meth addict, but I digress.

Seeing this woman addict was upsetting. I make light of it but it’s clearly a serious problem, especially here in the Midwest. And what makes me identify her as a addict? 1) She could not stop talking, or moving 2) her thoughts and the conversation caromed around like a pinball and 3) her lower teeth were a row of black and disintegrating. She was bartending and since I had a beer with my pizza this put her in charge of checking me out. I had to remind her twice that I needed to pay because she got side tracked talking about everything else. The other employees were obviously on edge but nobody was confronting her while I was around. Not an especially rosy picture of the area but that’s what I’m experiencing here.

So today I stayed in, caught up on bills and emails, and watched a lot of home improvement and tiny house videos online. I’ve got to do what I can to prep for that big project when I get home. Dinner will be chicken pot pie which can be prepped in a microwave and isn’t especially healthy but it’s at least got some veggies in it. The produce section here is way smaller than the frozen food section.

Staying put has made me anxious as hell. I have a hard time not being productive. Cycling kind of fills that for me because, even if I didn’t do anything useful other than pedal 75 miles, that feels like an acomplishment in my value-set.  So getting stuck leaves me feeling like I didn’t do anything useful and this makes me antsy and in a bad mood. Watching home improvement videos doesn’t really cut it. This presents what I like to call an AFGO – another effing growth opportunity.

I did get to talk to Megan and my nephew Tom so that’s something real. And I did figure out how to upload videos that you can view. So, in lieu of any pictures, here’s a few snippets from the last couple of weeks.

Haven’t got “embed” working right yet so you’ll have to click through… Hope these work

Covered Bridge in Windsor Ohio

Cruising through Amish country near Burton OH

Niagara Falls snippet

Day 2 – New Hampshire snippet

And since you said you’re ok with minutiae, here’s what staying in too many hotels does to you. You get to see a lot of remotes, and let me tell you these things are some of the worst designed crap you can lay your eyes on. Now I don’t watch tons of TV but with this one, it was hard to tell how to turn it on at all.

Total number of buttons? 63 I kid you not. This is, so far, the stupidest remote that I’ve yet seen. Apple TV has a single 4 direction rocker button, a center button, and two buttons below. That’s a total of 7 buttons (if I recall correctly, baybe 8). It is faster to use that this ridiculous thing. Who designs this crap? Who let this out the production door? Asleep at the wheel. Not that I actually care about saving remote time – it’s the complete lack of attention to what you’re doing, what your job is, that offends me. 

So the one on the feature image is actually not bad, coming in at only at “only” 40 buttons.

And here’s the other design issue. God forbid you have multiple devices, less you end up with this at the end of your couch (and yeah sorry but I’m “outing” you on this one Ron):

Button count?  I get 209 or so.

Yes, you could probably program these into one “universal remote” but that would take all day and when you were done no one would be able to use it.

Drones are definitely going to solve this problem for us.