Monday, May 25, 2009

Final Thoughts

We made it home safely from Albany, NY after driving straight through. We are still pretty tired, but we are starting to feel as if things are getting back to normal. I still find it fun to ride in a car. The 17 hour drive didn't bother me at all. I felt like doing one final post to give a brief overview of the whole trip.

We started off with good attitudes, but after the 95-105 degree average temperature the first couple days, we knew we were in for it. During the second day as we battled a 15 mph headwind, it crept up to 95 degrees by 10:00 am. I remember thinking to myself, "what am I doing out here?" I never quite figured that one out. In fact, the heat was so bad this day that the manager at our hotel gave us a free room because she felt so bad for us.

We learned that taking an unsupported trip means you will have to be willing to hitchhike, and we ended up accepting 7 rides (8 for dad) totaling 160 miles when there was extreme weather, impassable roads and bike breakdowns. A huge thanks goes out to Richard and Mark, Fran,Whitney, New Mexico Tom, Scott, Don and Sherry, Missouri Tom and Donny. We could not have made it if it wasn't for all of you guys. We greatly appreciate everything you all did for us. And Ben, thanks again for picking us up at the airport...that was awesome.

We also found that near the end of the trip, the less humorous we were. Getting up every morning at 6:00 and eating the same continental breakfasts followed by 100 miles or more of biking was quite the physical and mental strain. Our mood could go from good to bad with as little as a rude comment by a person out the window of a car, or a honk. We would also get on each others nerves from time to time. I found out that the best way to deal with this was to not be the first person to break the silence after we got mad. At one point, we didn't say a word for a good 90 minutes. I had to relieve myself 30 minutes into this 90 minutes, but I would have rather soiled myself than break the silence. I'm not sure if I could have made it much past that hour and a half. Thankfully Dad said something, and I immediately said I needed to hit the weeds.

All in all, we are happy this insane ride is over. We are glad we did it, even though we were sick of it by day two. Actually, it isn't quite over for me yet. I have a 15 hour drive back to Colorado Springs Dad says he won't be thinking of doing another one anytime soon, but yeah right, that's what he said four years ago, and he's done two more since then. I politely told him next time he has the notion to not even ask me, because even though I would know better, I would probably end up saying yes.

Alright...that's all, folks. Thanks for tuning in to read about our adventures. We are in the process of getting the pictures on the computer. If anyone would like to see them after they're uploaded send an e-mail to my mom at and she'll send them to you via Kodak Gallery. I am going to load up the car and go to bed. Goodnight.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The four of us left our hotel in Albany, NY at 9:00 this morning. I'm typing this in the car at 8:45 p.m. We're about 50 miles from Chicago. After a pretty good night's sleep Phil and Blake felt sufficiently rested and they have been doing all the driving today. We should be rolling into Winona around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.

Blake said he'd blog tomorrow sometime. Time to get a little sleep here in the backseat...


Friday, May 22, 2009

Keene, NH to Salisbury Beach, MA - 118 Miles

They arrived at Salisbury Beach, MA this afternoon at 5:55 p.m! Day 32 of bicycling. Maisi, Jordan and I were there to cheer them on and we took lots of pictures.

We just arrived at our hotel in Albany, NY (midnight) after driving a few hours and eating supper...more later.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Amsterdam, NY to Keene, NH - 122 Miles

Blake said they didn't eat real well today...and not enough. There was no breakfast at their hotel so they went down the road to--you guessed it--a Dunkin' Donuts, where they each ate three and had some coffee. At about 10:00 they stopped at a McDonald's for something...I'm not sure what. Then, at 1:00 p.m. they stopped at a convenience type store and got a 5" sub. That was at the 56 mile mark. From mile 56 to mile 122 all they ate was a bag of M & M's. Good thing they're almost finished with this ride. I don't think their bodies could take much more of that good 'nutrition'.

It was pretty warm today. They got rid of their jackets within ten miles of starting out. They stopped at a bike shop in Brattleboro, Vermont and now Blake can finally shift his bike into first gear (for the first time in 1.5 weeks).

Maisi arrived around 4:00 p.m. today. The three of us went into town, walked around a bit and ate supper at The Bell in Hand Tavern which is billed as "the oldest tavern in the United States". Good food.

We're looking forward to meeting the guys tomorrow afternoon...ONE DAY LEFT!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Syracuse, NY to Amsterdam, NY - 120 Miles


No stories to tell about today...120 miles. Just glad to complete the ride. They probably burned off their Dunkin' Donut binge from yesterday.

Nothing to report from the guys so I'll tell you what Jordan and I did today in Boston. We went on a Whale Watch cruise (in connection with the Aquarium) and did we ever see a show! The guide told us we were fortunate to see three different kinds of whales...fin whales, Minke whales and humpbacks. The fin whales were 75 feet long. We also saw a mother humpback and her calf. The mother was teaching her calf how to slap his tail (fluke) on the water and how to dive. We must've seen that mother's tail come out of the water 35 times, and she was quite close to our catamaran. After the cruise we took a long walk downtown. It was a gorgeous evening. As we took the subway back to the hotel we made one more stop at Cambridge and walked through the campus of Harvard. Beautiful buildings!

Maisi is driving up tomorrow from Baltimore, hopefully to arrive mid-afternoon. We'll have a night together before driving north to Amesbury, MA to meet Phil and Blake on Friday.

Good night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday - May 17, 18, 19


I think the fatigue, both physical and mental, are taking a toll on our favorite blogger. Blake and Phil have managed to finish the last three days without incident. I think they were rained on and wind-blown, but no bike breakdowns or other problems.

Sunday (May 17) - Niles, OH to Dunkirk, NY - 145 Miles
Monday (May 18) - Dunkirk, NY to Batavia, NY - 84 Miles
Tuesday (May 19) - Batavia, NY to Syracuse, NY - 121 Miles

The only story to relay from today's ride is this: They are so sick of the same hotel continental breakfast every single morning that they hardly ate any of it this morning. By 10:00 they were hungry so they stopped at Dunkin' Donuts, bought a dozen and finished 'em all off at once. Then they started calculating all the calories they had just consumed and realized they had LOTS of work to do to burn them all off again.

Jordan and I are in Boston tonight and will find some fun things to do tomorrow and Thursday morning, then we'll meet up with Maisi (who will be driving up from Baltimore). We're looking forward to that and are for sure looking forward to seeing Phil and Blake on Friday!

Good night.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

the past three days

Greenfield, IN to Marysville, OH 165 miles

This morning, we had great winds on our back to make up the mileage we got rained out on the night before. We made the first 55 miles into Richmond, IN where we were supposed to stay. Even though we said "never again," we found ourselves at the good old Pizza Hut lunch buffet. After lunch, we went through town which was about seven miles to finish up with what we should have finished the night before. By the time we got to the hotel we were supposed to stay at the night before, it was already 1:00 pm. Only 106 miles to go! If it weren't for the tailwind, we would have been hosed. We made it to town and immediately went to Applebee's. After dinner, we went to the Holiday Inn Express, and got a great room that we had no time to enjoy, because we didn't get there until 9:00...bummer. The only entertainment we had all day was making fun of the "Free Credit" commercials, and making up different lyrics, like we normally do. That was it for that night.

Marysville, OH to Wooster, OH 95 miles

Today started off like any other normal day. After about 15 miles, we stopped at a decent sized town to see if they had a bike shop. We got directions, and we ended up at a bike shop that looked great with a knowledgeable staff. We felt comfortable enough leaving our bikes there while I went across the street to play some guitar, and dad went next door to get a haircut. By the looks of it, I can understand why they had walk-in appointments available. Anyway, whatever the guys at the shop did to my bike, they somehow made it worse. Five miles up the road, we figured it couldn't get much worse, and we started messing around with turning some knobs and such. It works great now! I still can't get into first gear, but it is way better than after we left the shop. Then, we thought we had it made after 53 miles. When we got to Fredrickstown, we went to a gas station where there were a bunch a friendly people working. We were told that highway 95 would bring us right into Wooster, and it "is no further than 25 miles," according to one guy. We thought this was sweet, because our maps had us going another 50 miles. So, the 25 miles was easily 40, if not more. To add to the pain of it all, the last 20 miles of it were up and down on very steep hills. It was no fun. The pavement was very sub par, and I'm not sure if they have done maintenance on it...ever. The roads about rattled our teeth out. When we got into town, we went to this great Greek restaurant, and it couldn't have been better. With the exception of a lady with a very annoying laugh, and a two year old who I thought might end up throwing a fork into my eyeball, the experience and food were perfect. We got a kick out of watching the owner railroad his waitstaff for not being attentive enough. He runs a tight ship, let me tell you. We finally made it to the Best Western and called it a night.

Today, Wooster, OH to Niles, OH 95 miles

We had some great tailwinds today, but we went 70 miles before we had our first stop. 30 miles into the day, we were in the Akron area, but our maps took us around the city. Before we knew it, we were in the middle of nowhere. Dad asked a guy by the side of the road if there was anything to eat around the area when we were 50 miles in. He called it "the dead zone." We'd have to travel 20 miles before we would reach a golf course. We went into the club house and each ate a brat, some pretzels, and a snickers. After we left, we pedaled the last 25 miles into town. With about six miles to go, it started to downpour on us, but luckily we came by a pavilion in which we went under for a good ten minutes. It was right next to a church, and there was a sign out front that said, "Treasure and Trash Sale." With all the different stuff under there, it was 100% trash. We got into town and went to the Holiday Inn Express, where they wanted $119 for a smoking room king bed and a roll away. So, we called up the Fairfield across the street, and got a room for $60 instead. Not bad for a Saturday night, huh? Well, the reason we got the great rate was because the room has no TV. No biggie, we just chilled with the front desk manager, Earl, and watched the Preakness Stakes on the plasma screen in the breakfast room. We had dinner at the Outback steakhouse, and while we were waiting for the table, we got a kick out of a group of what we think were Amish 20 somethings all outside huffing down cigarettes. What was even funnier was that we think they were making fun of our outfits. I can't blame them...I haven't seen anyone brave enough to wear neon green jackets since I was about nine years old. And of course, we are still rocking the $1 flip-flops. So yeah, pretty uneventful days, but we have 138 miles tomorrow, and that will bring us to New York state. Goodnight.