Thursday, August 26, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Liverpool, NY to Rye, NH 8-4 to 8-9-10

I biked it all--yes, all 3,751 miles from Astoria, OR to Rye, NH! The finish at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, NH felt like a long time coming, but the trip overall grew into one big blur of memories--7 days we biked centuries (over 100 miles), but the hardest part for me was climbing the mountains--the Cascades, the Rockies, and the Appalacians. As soon as we crossed over the Vermont state line, I breathed a big sigh of relief to be back in New England again! We averaged 82 miles a day during the 45-day trip of cycling (plus we 5 rest days). Barbie Zucchi and Adele Ames came to the banquet in Manchester, NH, and they brought a yummy picnic to the beach the next day (chicken, cornbread, fresh fruit, etc.) where I was also greeted by Pam, Jocelyn, and Alyson Veilleux and Carol and Cathy from RI! What a wonderful group to celebrate our victory--and even, "wow" balloons from Mom Zucchi! It was a great group of cyclists to travel with--diverse backgrounds, the youngest was 17 and the oldest was 66! I'll try to have my namesake post some pictures in a couple of weeks--the pictures from the last day weren't on my camera, and I'm having technical difficulties posting pictures from a Snapfish album by Adele. I appreciated all the e-mails and facebook comments of encouragement--I read them all, although I was often too tired at night to respond. Thanks for going along with me on a bicycling journey across America!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brantford, ONT, Canada to Henrietta, NY 7-31 to 8-3-10

Wow, only 6 more days of biking to go--but who's counting?! This trip has been quite a challenge--so far, I've logged 3,183 miles! Forty-six of us are going all the way across country--2 are from Switzerland, 2 from Canada, 1 from England (formerly from Scotland), and one American lives in Hong Kong--so our backgrounds are quite varied. Numerous other riders have joined us for segments of the trip or even for just a few days. Biking in Niagara Falls, on both the Canadian and American sides, was extremely busy due to zillions of vehicles and pedestrians--tourists from all over the world visit the Falls. On my final day off, Monday, August 2, I took the Maid of the Mist boat ride that goes quite close to the Falls--it was a beautiful, warm summer's day so I didn't mind getting wet! The Falls are so beautiful to see up close--as well as at night when the lights change color on the Falls. After the boat ride, we went to get an ice cream , I took a nap, and then a group of us had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Today, we biked 83 miles, mostly flat farmland in NY. Tomorrow, we bike 93 miles, so I need to get some sleep. The days fly by with biking, eating, going to rap meetings (finding out about the next day's ride), laundry, and bike maintenance. Soon we'll be dipping our bike wheels at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, NH!
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Mount Pleasant, MI-London, ONT, Canada July 27-30, 2010

O, Canada! Today, we biked across a huge bridge spanning Lake Huron from Port Huron, Michigan to Sarnia, Canada--the bridge was closed to other traffic while we biked across. We had a sag vehicle in front of us leading with the other sag vehicle and luggage truck following the bikers. There were two huge expansion joints (king pins) where we had to walk our bikes--my bike slipped down in one of the cracks on the first set of king pins so Ian (from England, formerly from Scotland) carried my bike and his across the second set of king pins. Other than that, it all went smoothly--we were waved through Canadian customs as our paperwork had been pre-screened. It was the only day that our group all cycled together--at least for a few miles, then we all spread out in our ususal fashion of taking pictures, stopping for personal needs, having a snack, or just biking in a faster or slower fashion. The Canadian countryside is similar to Michigan's where we just left--lots of farms, livestock, wild flowers, and countryside. The roads seem a bit smoother here and some of the houses seem a bit more prosperous. We biked 89 miles today--my total mileage for the trip is 2,958 miles! So tomorrow I should hit over 3,000 miles--it's fun to look at a map to see how far we've traveled. The weather has been excellent for the most part--it has only rained two mornings--and we are at Day 40 today! We stay in Canada till Sunday, July 31, when we'll cross over to Niagara Falls, NY. I've never been there, and I'm sure I'll really enjoy it as our final rest day will be there on Monday, August 1! Only 9 more cycling days--and 3 more states!
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Worthington, MN- Ludington, MI July 19-July 26, 2010

A few inquiries have been made as to where I am and why haven't I updated my blog!
All is well--since my last blog, I've been busy biking 612 more miles through 3 more states (MN, WI, and MI), for a total mileage for the trip so far of 2,686 miles! Today, our rest day, we biked to the ferry in Manitowoc, WI, took the 4 hour ferry ride to Ludington, MI, then biked to our hotel. So only 10 miles on our rest day, but to give you an idea, last week we had 2 days of biking over 100 miles, followed by 2 days of biking over 90 miles! By the time we get in, showered and changed, go to dinner, read e-mail if the internet connections are cooperating, we have to get ready for the next day and get some sleep! The picture at the left was taken at the Sparta-Elroy bike trail in WI, made where railroad cars went through the tunnels. We carried flashlights to see in the dark as we walked our bikes throuh the three tunnels, then biked on the bike paths. Tomorrow, we bike another century (over 100 miles), so I'll keep this short and catch some shut-eye. Only two weeks to go until we've completed our journey--and today, I was happy to be back in the Eastern Time Zone because that means I'm closer to home!
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chamberlain to Sioux Falls, SD July 16-18, 2010

Today is our rest day in Sioux Fall, SD--that means, no biking and sleeping in till 10! I also got a pedicure and manicure and did some miscellaneous shopping at Target and Walmart (need those Power Bars to keep going)! I just figured out that I've been on the road for 31 days in 28 motels! The low temps for biking have been 45 degrees on 3 mornings and the high temps, 100 degrees, going into Boise, ID and yesterday, going into Sioux Falls, SD! There are lots of farms and plains in South Dakota--sometimes, I've been excited to see animals, as when I petted this miniature horse! On Friday night, some of us went to a rodeo--great local fun--in Mitchell, SD. Earlier in the day, we visited the corn palace in Mitchell, which is huge enough for basketball games and graduations!
Let me divert and tell you about two random acts of kindness on this tour:
When I was biking into Casper, WY, I was suffering from a physical and emotional meltdown--just couldn't cut the mustard any more. It's exciting to be biking across the country, but it can also be exhausting. Another cyclist, Margot Weinstein from Greenwich, CT took it upon herself to bike at a much slower speed than normal to ensure that I finished for the day. It's not easy to cut back on one's cycling speed to help out someone else--I'll never forget how kind Margot was to take this selfless task on. I was able to bike on and finish for the day!
On day 24, when we were biking from Wall to Pierre, SD, I was leaving the rest stop at mile 58 when Barb, one of the tour leaders, said, wait a minute, I have something for you. She went to the cab of her truck and gave me a picture postcard from Ellie with Leki and Ellie swimming in the condo pool. The sun was strong the day I took their picture, and Leki has one eye closed. For the next 21.3 miles of biking, we encountered the strongest headwinds I ever encountered on a bike--it was just like biking against a wall. But I had put the picture postcard in my mapcase on the front of my bike, and whenever I felt totally discouraged, I'd look down and see Leki winking at me, telling me that I could do it!
Without these two acts of kindness, including numerous e-mails, I wouldn't have been able to bike the 2,074 miles so far! Tomorrow, we bike into Minnesota, our fifth state! We are more than half-way home!
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Friday, July 16, 2010