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

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Casper, WY to Chamberlain, SD July 9-15, 2010

Good grief, the time has gone by quickly when I'm having such fun! Yesterday, we reached the half-way point in our journey across America--I'm so excited to have more than half of it behind me! There have been many challenges--long mileage days, hot weather, the climbs (they are the hardest for me), head winds, just feeling tired--but I'm blessed with a lot of determination and haven't had to take the sag van. My total mileage biked so far is 1925 miles! Since my last blog, we have passed lots of farmland and the plains in WY and SD. Lots of open space is available out West! In Lusk, WY, they were celebrating Pioneer Days when we arrived--a parade of covered wagons, tractors, Indians on horseback, and candy thrown for the kids to scramble for was a lot of fun! In SD, I went to the Crazy Horse Memorial (off our route so I had to really hustle) and took pictures of Mt. Rushmore. I avoided a hailstorm that day--some of the faster riders were caught in it, and I saw remnants of slush on the ground where the hail hit--the sun was out by the time I came through. The weather has been terrific. Today, we're going to the corn palace and have to load our luggage at 6 a.m., so that's all for now!
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Friday, July 9, 2010

7-5 to 7-9-10, Idaho Falls to Casper, WY

The days keep flying by--a month from today we'll be biking into Portsmouth, NH! If anyone would like to
come to our celebration on August 9, please send me an e-mail separately, and I'll e-mail you the specifics
as soon as they come available! We basically live on a day-to-day basis--we are given our route sheets with instructions the night before
the next day's ride. We left Idaho on July 5 and biked into the state of Wyoming--the third state, so far on this tour that I had never been to. The Tetons are as spectacular as I had heard--but climbing the Teton Pass Summit (8,431') nearly did me in!
It was quite steep for the last three miles of the climb--10 to 15 % grade. Well, as Teddy Kennedy said, "I don't care if it takes us all day to climb this hill....." Earlier that same day, I was climbing a smaller summit (Pine Creek Summit 6764') when two deer appeared on the right side of the road--they seem to be waiting for me there, looking straight at me. They ran along beside me for a little while, then crossed the road, and scampered up the mountain on the left side of the road. It was a very moving I haven't related to anyone yet as how can you describe a magical experience? The next day we biked through Teton National Park--that's where the picture on the right was taken (if it doesn't stop moving around on me!) I spent a little too much time there soaking it all in and taking pictures--as we still had the Continental Divide to climb that same day (Togwotee Pass 9658'). After we had biked several slow miles of the climb, we came upon road constuction. The state of Wyoming has declared it unsafe for cyclists bike through the construction, so they provided a flatbed truck for us to ride through the bumpy construction--the ride leader told me to hold onto the truck with one hand and my bike with the other hand--and this was safe?! It was part of the adventure; my bottom received a nice massage and I was glad to get off my bike seat, and best of all, I didn't have to climb those 8 miles where we were shuttled through construction! I haven't been sagged by America by Bicycle yet--although it's been tough at times when I feel pushed to my physical limits. Most of the other cyclists are faster and stronger than I--but everyone has been supportive. Yesterday, we biked from Riverton to Casper, WY--121 miles of almost entirely open space with desert and sage brush and not much else. The highlight of the day was stopping at Hell's 1/2 Acre, where the Indians reportedly pushed the buffalo into the canyon for slaughter. Today has been our rest day in Casper, WY--I did my laundry, cleaned my bike, took a nap, and will have a massage in a little while. I'm proud to report that I've biked 1,385 miles so far--and thanks for the posts, I'm not sure about how to reply to them, but I do enjoy e-mails, even if I don't have time to answer them! Tomorrow we bike to Lusk, WY and then on to South Dakota the day after!
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Burley to Idaho Falls, ID 7-3 to 7-4-2010

We have been biking in a lot of farm land, all of which seems to be irrigated by the Snake River and its canals. I think of Jill when I see the potato fields! The picture here at the left is at Idaho Falls, ID on the Fourth of July--and my mileage rolled over 1,000 miles for the trip on the Fourth of July! What a way to celebrate our Independence Day! I'm writing this blog at 4:30 a.m. on the 5th of July--as soon as day breaks, we will depart to bike over the Teton Pass with the total mileage for the day over 90 miles! Hope you all celebrated the Fourth in a spirited manner!
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Boise to Burley, ID 6-30 to 7-2-10

Our rest day in Boise was followed by a relatively easy 54-mile day, then a 98-mile day, and today, just 46 miles--but it also included a scavenger hunt! For my part, I found a fan belt, golf ball, round band-aid, and a clothes pin! Idaho has a lot of farm land, mostly irrigated by water from the Snake River--without this water supply, the land would be quite arid. The total mileage I've accumulated on this x-country trip is 837 miles! Today we visited the Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, ID on the way to Burley, ID. It's early to bed tonight as we have a 82-mile day planned for tomorrow! The weather has been great--sunny almost every day--the temp was 100 degrees going into Boise, but mostly it's been in the 70's and 80's. We are well fed and supported by America by Bicycle--yesterday, I had two flat tires caused by goatheads--a thorny thing that pierces the tires and goes into the tubes--but both times, the support team came to my rescue, and I was on the road again!
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welches, OR to Boise, ID 6-23 to 6-29-10

Today is our rest day in Boise, ID--very much appreciated after biking over 600 miles in 8 days! To recuperate, I enjoyed a having a massage and walking around the city of Boise. The biking in Oregon was beautiful but challenging--one day we biked 117 miles and climbed 2 mountains, followed by 82 miles and climbing 3 mountains the next day! Oregon is a very scenic state--some of the highlights were seeing Mt. Hood, wild horses, abundant wildflowers, the high desert, Indian reservations, cattle ranches and farms, trains, fossil canyons, and even a little interstate biking (in the west, we occasionally have to bike on the interstate when there is no other road available--we hang tough in the breakdown lane). The last two days were pleasant surprises of some downhill riding, following the Snake River. The weather has been great, sunny every day, with a few breezes and a light wind to add some diversion. We have a lot of very strong cyclists in our group, and I was sad to see my two pals from MN leave yesterday--they had planned only to do this segment. We became instant friends on the day before our ride started officially, when some of us biked to the Pacific Ocean (so we'd bike coast to coast), and the three of us got lost!
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

St. Helens to Welches, OR 6-22-10

Today was quite an awesome day--we had been biking along the river for part of the day, and then along a rural area with lots of wildflowers, when I spotted Mt. Hood! "This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land......" (Arlo Guthrie was singing it just for me.) It was a clear, sunny day--in fact, the tour leaders said that it was the clearest viewing of Mt. Hood that they had seen! Another highlight of the day was having lunch at Calmity Jane's in Sandy, OR--the burger and fries were yummy! The day started off with mostly flat roads, the hill climbing was towards the end of the day--77 miles with 3,150 feet of climbing. Tonight we are staying at the Resort @ the Mountains in Welches, OR--the lap of luxury in a wooded setting. Wow!
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Astoria to St. Helens, OR 6-21-10

Today, we officially started our bike trip across America! There I am in Astoria, OR, at the start of our ride. It was a cool, cloudy day (temps in the 50's and 60's) with a dampness in the air--the weather reminded me of days spent in Addison, ME in my youth. There are 47 cyclists who are going all the way across to Portsmouth, NH--another 13 cyclists started today with plans to do part of the ride. We are fortunate to have 6 staff members supporting our ride--I was especially thankful around mile 15 today when some shifting issues developed on my bike, but the problem was quickly remedied by our tour leader. I biked the 70-mile route averaging 12 miles per hour, which I thought was great considering the long, gradual climbs we had--the route sheet said we climbed 3,250 feet.
The logging trucks and fishing activities reminded me of Maine as well. After the 50 first miles of climbing (and then going downhill, too), I was delighted to find that the last 20 miles were flat. In fact, it was so much easier biking that I thought I had Leki on a third wheel behind me doing all the pedaling and letting me just coast! Who would like to come on the ride tomorrow?!
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Biking to the Pacific Ocean, 6/20/10

We biked 30-miles round trip to the Pacific Ocean so we could say we biked coast to coast! The weather was a bit of a mist, open and shut as they say in Ireland, temperature about 60. That's the Pacific Ocean behind me in the picture. After returning to Astoria, I had lunch at the Astoria Sunday Market, complete with entertainment and lots of things to buy. I really couldn't buy anything as America by Bicycle has very strict weight limits on our luggage, 50 pounds, and my two bags weighed 52 pounds at the airport! The tour leader writes an interesting blog, if you'd like to read more. At 3 p.m. , we had a 3-hour orientation meeting (after the meeting, a cyclist from MN said that the only thing he is doing right is hydrating!), dinner, and then another meeting to go over the route for Day One! This is the second time I've posted 6-20-10 so I hope it goes through this time! Happy birthday to Mom Z!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bike Arrived in Portland, OR/June 16, 2010

This will be the most informal blog ever--just a way to keep you posted on my trip across America! I don't plan to post every day--if you check out the daily mileages at, you'll know that some days I'll be lucky to get to the hotel in time to take a shower and head for dinner! We actually start biking on Monday, June 21--I'm flying to OR on Friday, June 18. The reason I titled my post Bike Arrived in Portland, OR is because I FedEx-d my bike on June 10 and of course, I'm a little anxious to see that it arrives in Astoria by Friday, June 18 (Fed Ex doesn't deliver over the weekend)! I've also been advised that it isn't safe to post to Facebook that you're away from please post here or send me an e-mail, O.K.?