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Showing posts from July, 2011

T-Storm Last Night

I think the cloud cover blocked our check-in last night, or I may have forgotten to hit the button in the scramble to set up camp. We're alive though!

Days 6&7 Llyod, New Paltz, and the Mohonk Preserve

7/28 Day 6: Lakeville, CT to Lloyd, NY      Bad news this morning: Dustin and Beth are calling it quits for the ride. They stalled out by the Barkhamsted Reservoir in CT and couldn't make their beat-up legs go any further. I feel badly that their trip and all of our big plans to get to the west coast together will not end as planned. We all wish they could ride on with us, as their company and positive energy will be missed. Good luck guys!      After hearing from Dustin, we set out and were shortly greeted by the border of New York state, our fourth (counting Mass.) so far. It was a pretty quick-paced ride for the four of us, and before we knew it we had shot up another big climb of about 800 feet. Our reward at the top was a great view of the Hudson River Valley with rolling corn fields dotted by farm houses. One thing that has really amazed me is how quickly the urban sprawl gives way to some very pretty rural scenes. It sounds obvious, but nothing drills the point home like bike…

Days 4&5: The First People in History to Be Surprised by the Appalachians

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7/26 Day 4: Manchester, CT to Windsor Locks, CT- 20 miles

So today we took a day "off" and only rode the 20 miles north to Windsor Locks, the beginning of the ACA trails for us. We slept in late today, had a great breakfast at the Ellis household and headed out. Our day was pretty mundane; we stopped by the bike shop, the grocery store, and generally noodled around as we took our time to allow our tired muscles to rest up. The real action didn't happen until we got to Windsor Locks. We had planned to stealth camp behind the Windsor Locks High School, but found that it was actually a skate park full of people and not really ideal for our needs. Meanwhile, dark thunderheads were rolling in- and fast. We knew the forecast called for storms, but had hoped we would be lucky enough to avoid rain for the 4th straight day. Our hope was not well founded. As the winds picked up we decided to call the Windsor Locks Police and see if they knew any place for us to camp. T…

Day 3: High Rollers

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We split up again today, because Dustin and Beth had some early mechanical problems and were further hampered by Beth's lack of clipless pedals. Dustin, being the gentleman he is, volunteered to let her use one of his pedals while he used one of her platform pedals. So they both had a mismatched pair, and ultimately found the long climbs of the day, a steadily worsening rainstorm, and two previous rides worth of fatigue a little too much to bear. While Mandi, Ben, Erin and I made it the 40 miles to Manchester, Conn. before the rain really got going, Dustin and Beth found themselves huddled under the overhang at Tolland Intermediate School. Thankfully, Mandi's cousin Kim has a very hospitable, and obliging, husband who was able to rescue them from their refuge about 10 miles out from our destination. Amazingly, they are still in good spirits despite their equiment setbacks and I've been super impressed with Beth's resolve. (Sorry for the centered paragraph alignment her…

Some inspiration

Some inspiration sent to us from a friend:

Dutch author and amateur cyclist Tim KrabbĂ© expressed this idea of ‘glory through suffering’ very eloquently in his 1978 novel, The Rider:

“The greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. That is nature’s payback to riders for the homage they pay her by suffering. Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses; people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride. ‘Good for you’. Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas. Nature is an old lady with few friends these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms, she rewards passionately.”

Days 1 and 2: Who Knew Connecticut Was Nice?

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Well, alot has happened in the last two days. Most importantly, everyone is safe and sound. Day 1 got off to a rocky start as logistics conspired against us to force a fractured start. Beth decided to join our crew at the eleventh hour (literally!) after months of wrestling with the decision to go or not. Ultimately, Dustin won her over and when Saturday morning rolled around they had to jury-rig a few things for her and do a whole load of last minute packing and gear arranging. Erin, Beth, Dustin, and I were so delayed that we missed our start time with Ben and Mandi at the beach in Sandwich by a few hours. All's well that ends well, though, and we're happy to have Beth along and she performed admirably on her first two days despite not having clipless pedals. After a long day in the saddle, we four pulled into Fall River shortly after nightfall and a couple hours behind Ben and Mandi. We shoveled some food down our throats at Ben's family's home and hit the ha…

Heat Wave Rages, D-Day is Here

The day of days is nearly here and holy god is it hot out. The heat index today is 108 degrees, and it's easily the hottest I can ever remember it being in Boston over the last 7 or 8 years I've lived here. Tomorrow when we kick off the trip shouldn't be too much better, but the heat is supposed to break by Sunday for our ride into Rhode Island.
         While the last week has been broiling us alive, Erin and I and Dustin downstairs have been packing, loading, and dismantling the house, giving away, selling, or donating everything we can't take with us. It's been a mile a minute, and we hadn't had a second to register what we've actually been doing until now in the empty house.  As I write this I'm sitting on the bare floor of my living room with nothing but a few dust bunnies dancing around on the hardwood to be seen. It's the first time in 8 months that I've said, "Holy crap, everyone was right. We are insane." It's been…

SPOT Us!

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Almost one week to go til departure and Erin and I are about to head back to Boston from the beach and dismantle our lives. In other news, I just acquired a Spot device, thanks to my wonderful parents. With this gadget I'll be able to send check-in messages to the world and, more relevantly, to a shared page that will link to the blog. On that shared page you'll be able to view the location of our check-ins for the last seven days. The only location point on the map right now is in North Carolina, where I'm at the beach with my family, but it should give you guys an idea of the map's functionality.

The device is named Argus, after Hera's trusted watchman who had a hundred eyes. When Argus slept, only half his eyes would close, so he was always on guard. This little device keeps us safe and able to call for help whenever we need to, wherever we are, and lets you keep a close eye on us too.

For more info go to findmespot.com

Boston to Provincetown: A Time of Great Learning

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This is primarily an excerpt from our super-secret riders-on-the-trip-only e-mail thread, but I think it has a few pieces of good advice for anyone following the blog and our trip who thinks they might want to do something similar one day. I also want to include a packing list for you loyal followers sometime soon. One quick thing, before we get to the meat of it, don't ride 6A up the Cape, it's a stupid thing to do. There is no shoulder, or bike lane- take the bike path!   

So, on Sunday June 26 and Monday June 27th Erin, Dustin, and I embarked on our first fully loaded test run. Our planned route was from Boston to Dustin's parents' house in Sandwich, MA (about 70 miles) and from there to Provencetown (about 62 miles) and we had a few real revelations. The first, and most obvious, is that riding a fully-loaded bike is much different than just bombing around town. Tight turns are pretty much right out. You don't notice it as much riding, but it certainly saps …