Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 20 - Wabash, IN to Pontiac, IL

Total miles on a bike: 0

Total miles in a car: lots!

I woke up early in my posh hotel room and had an early hearty breakfast with great intentions of getting out and riding. By 9:00 I rolled my bike through the lobby to look through the doors to see pouring wind and rain with the possibility of afternoon thunder and lightening. I walked back to my hotel room and revised my plan for the day. My good friends from Ski For Light, Doug and Lynda, happened to be on a road trip in my general direction and picked me up for a great ride to Pontiac, IL. We had a blast in the car catching up and sharing stories. We arrived to Pontiac and found a hotel for the evening. We enjoyed the local mexican fare and had a relaxing evening in the hotel. I love meeting new friends along my trip, but there is something huge to be said for meeting up with friends. I am so thankful for both Doug and Lynda - the dinner and hotel room was nice, but their company was the best treat of all!

A quick story - The bagged hand

This story is dedicated to a certain Angee Streeter as it relates to the hand in a mitten. Several days ago during the rain I put grocery plastic bags over my gloved hands and placed a rubber band around my wrists to secure my expensive waterproofing technique. As I was riding along the 100th car honked at me and out of my impulsive rage I gave them the bird (sorry Mom). I, however, think the message might not have been clearly communicated because all that anyone could see was a white plastic bag covered hand. Lesson learned - plastic bags = good water protection and plastic bags = inability to flip someone off. It is probably for the better anyway.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 19 - Monroeville to Wabash, IN

Total miles for the day: 66
Total miles to date: 946
Highlight of my day: Meeting Denny (pictured). This jolly man farms soy beans, is saving up for his dream of owning an airplane, takes care of his ex-wife who has MS and rides his bike 7 miles each day. He rode 4 miles today with me on his sweet single speed, old school red huffy. During our short time together he said multiple time, "oh my land!" "I hope we can meet again someday" and "riding with you is the highpoint of my day!" He apologized for not having his wallet on him because he wanted to give me some money, but the short 4 miles he spent with me and a hug was worth more money than he could have given me.
I started my day at 8:00am at the Kickin Chicken where Missy, as promised, served me breakfast on the house. The pouring rain outside encouraged my prolonged stay in the restaurant and I even fell asleep on some chairs. The rain ceased at 10:00 and I rolled away from Monroeville. I arrived to the Holiday Inn in Wabash by 4:30. After the boring routine of taking care of all things a touring cyclists must tend to, I made my way downtown and enjoyed a lovely dinner. The quality of my dinner however, surpassed the quality of my dinner conversation. I struck up a conversation with the couple next to me. At one point in the conversation the gentleman expressed that he did not understand why we do not teach blind students sign language. Simply put, the conversation lacked intellectual stimulation.

Side story: Several months ago I helped on a set of Criminal Minds with a sighted young actor, Jake Cherry, acting as a blind boy. Jake's mother, Shari, and I hit it off and have kept in touch since my visit in L.A. She paid for the hotel room for me tonight to make sure I could see the Criminal Minds episode that I assisted with. I want to give a big electronic hug and kiss to my friend Shari - the hotel room is a real treat and I was thrilled to see the episode!

My impression of small towns in the Midwest thus far: It breaks my heart that everyday I see these small towns with shut down factories and meeting oodles of jobless folks. I am witnessing the effects of this recession first hand, and yet everyone I meet wants to do anything and everything they can to support and help me. I also sadly must report a serious presence of discrimination and bigots.

I am super excited that tomorrow I will meet my good friends Doug and Lynda from Ski For Light for a great evening together! I must trudge along in the rain though as the weather forecast looks awful!

Day 18 - Bowling Green, OH to Monroeville, IN

Total miles for the day: 94
Total miles to date: 880
I hit my record high miles in one day - I think I would like to credit this to the delicious smoothie my amazing host, Lisa, made me for breakfast! I pushed off nice and early at 7:00 into the warm rain. I never thought I would be so pleased to ride in the rain, but I had tailwinds baby and that makes everything so sweet! Often times during the day I create small goals such as 1 more hour, or 10 more miles, or reach the next town and I will treat myself to a phone call to a friend, a nap, a snack etc. This morning my goal was to reach the next town's laundromat and by this time the weather had dropped and I was cold and wet (30 miles journey) - I never dreamed I would be so motivated and thrilled to reach a laundromat. Once I arrived I changed clothes and threw all of my sopping clothes in the dryer and had a nice picnic lunch in the laundromat. It was heavenly! I struck up a conversation with an elderly woman and on her way out she handed me a $10 bill and told me treat myself to a nice dinner. I accepted the money not because I needed the money, but it meant the world to her that she helped a girl such as myself out. Funny moment of the day: there was a junction 5 miles outside of a town called Defiance. I was stopped at the stop sign next to a car and this elderly woman in her car looks at me like, "go to hell you damn bicyclist!" I shrugged my shoulders confused as to her hatred filled gesture - I laughed and gave her a sarcastic wave. About 30 minutes later I had arrived into the town and I pulled up to a stop light - it was the same woman! I laughed and got real close to her car and just waved sarcastically, this of course made her even more angry as evidenced by her facial expressions. Her anger confused and amused me. I rolled into Monroeville around 5:30 met by Warren who volunteers to manage the Town Pavilion. This tiny town of 1,500 have established a shelter for touring cyclists including shower, laundry, and a kitchen to cyclists to use free of charge! This adorable retired elderly man exuded Monroeville pride and gave me the rundown of the history of the cyclists that had made a stop in his town. Adventure Cycling even awarded this town in 2005 as the best hospitable town on the established bike routes throughout America. I summoned some energy after showering and settling my things for the evening to head to the booming downtown. I hung out with some high school kids at the Whippy Dippy for some hard earned ice cream. I finally found the courage to step into a small town bar. The Kickin Chicken and had a fantastically interesting evening. As I opened the door cautiously to assess the establishment, it was like a scene from a movie. The 9 men and one woman turned their head fixated on this outsider walking into their bar. I sat with my beer for a short period until Dale struck up a conversation. Soon there after many of the locals stretched their necks and ears to join the conversation. The drinks offers multiplied the longer I sat in the bar. It was time to go when the good ole' boys started to get a little rowdy. The owner/bartender, Darrel, apologized for their behavior, but I would have felt jipped had they not been themselves. Darrel the owner asked about my plans for breakfast and he offered a breakfast on him if I came back in the morning. "My wife Missy is cooking breakfast, she will take care of you," Darrell said. Another great day!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 17 - Vermilion to Bowlling Green, OH

Mileage for the day: 40

Total mileage to date: 786

A solitary tear rolled down my face today from the never ending blasts of winds screaming at a mach speed of 35 mph. I spent the day with my head down doing everything I could do to move the bike in a forward direction and staying upright on the right side of the road as the wind was determined to push me into the road. I pretty much gave up when I hit a trip record - my slowest speed yet... 4.3 mph with serious effort! My bike even had trouble shifting from the middle chain ring to the smallest chain ring in the serious wind as if I were climbing a significant hill. I exercised my thumb and a certain Dave Morris pulled over to offer much needed assistance. Dave is a horse shoer and before he could give me a ride we had to visit one of his clients to fix the pony's hooves. The client and Dave roped me into herding the pony into the barn - it was a riot. Three adults running around a fenced in area to trap this feisty pony. I watched Dave care for the hooves of the pony and it was amazing to watch him work. We hopped back in the truck and made our way to Fremont where I was to meet a photographer of a local newspaper in Fremont, OH. We took the photo and off we went again in Dave's truck. Dave dropped me 10 miles before my destination and it took me 2 hours to bike the rest of the way to Lisa's (couchsurfing host) house in Bowling Green. Lisa and I really hit it off - she was a great host and we indulged ourselves at a local vegetarian restaurant for dinner. Tomorrow is calling for rain, but at least the winds are supposed to be in my favor. I will take the drops of rain over the wind any day!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 16 - Cleveland to Vermilion, OH

Total mileage of the day: 40
Total mileage to date: 743
Today I rode an easy 40 miles in the hottest day yet (80 degrees) on my trip - the sun and warmth was so nice! It was also the most urban stretch to date as I left from Cleveland. The good news my knee and Achilles tendon are both improving! The cycling was uneventful and fairly easy with the flats. I arrived in Vermilion, OH around 4:00 and I met my wonderful host family and had an awesome evening! Sam, the father of the household was a doctor and an amateur bike mechanic. As I sat lounging in the sun on the back porch icing my knees, he was in the garage giving Charlie the bike some TLC and a great tune! We had a wonderful Asian style cookout with delicious wine and beer. We also played a fun family game of banana grams (fast pace scrabble). After all of the evening activities Sam, Rachel and Mike went to downtown Vermilion to enjoy an evening drink. Mary, Taylor and Sue were also tons of fun at dinner! All in all a wonderful day!

Day 15 - Buffalo, NY to Cleveland, OH

Total mileage for the day on bike: 0
Total mileage for the day in the car: LOTS
Total mileage on bike to date: 703
I had such a wonderful day today even though I never hopped on the saddle once. I walked to a lovely cafe for a yummy tofu scramble breakfast enjoyed walking around in the sunshine in downtown Buffalo. My VERY good friend, Glenn Beachy, picked me up at 11:00 for our day together. We drove around Buffalo taking care of some important errands and then made our way west. We stopped at the Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA for a nice walk on the Lake (which really seemed more like a beach). Our bellies were talking to us so we cruised down the main street and found a cute Jamaican restaraunt. When we walked in they were in their 5th hour of business ever - it was their first night of business! It was delisciously spiced yummy food and the owners were filled with love and warmth. We made our way towards Cleveland and ended the night with some hard apple cider and ice cream. I had such a good time with Glenn and I am ever so grateful that I had a day off of the knees and Glenn caught me up on some miles that I had fallen behind on.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 14 - Lockport to Buffalo, NY

Mileage for the day: 40
Total mileage to date: 703
I had the laziest morning to date on the trip and it felt great! (although I probably needed it considering I had a few drinks the night before - hehe) I rolled out by 12:30 to head for Canada. It was a relief to be riding faster than 7 mph, although I became quickly frustrated with myself as I got lost several times. I crossed the border and the officials didn't even look at my passport (good thing b/c it looks bloody from the beet juice). The vehicles have to pay $1.50, but when I pulled up on my bicycle the booth operator looked at me bewildered and yelled to the next booth over, "What do we charge cyclists?" He told me I owed 50 cents and I told him I would have to dig it up. He said to me, "Never mind, just go on through." I yelled thanks as I pedaled away. I got lost several more times as I had rode through the hugely touristy Niagara Falls area where everyone was equally confused and lost. I finally saw the gem just in time for me to cross back over the border. One of the saddest parts of my day was I lost one arm warmer, they are hard to find and especially ones that look like cool fake tatoos! I arrived at my couch surfing host's (Ben) house and we walked to the most delicious New Orleans vegetarian dinner from this tiny little food shack. Later, several of Ben's friends came over for fire, s'mores, great conversation and beverages. I was overall impressed with Buffalo - there are some really neat parts to the town and everyone was super interesting!

Day 13 - Rochester to Lockport, NY

Total mileage for the day: 44
Total mileage to date: 663
A tough day today to say the least. I was extremely thankful for my amazing host, Rudy, who drove me through downtown Rochester and dropped me off on a bike path so I didn't have to bike through the city. Although, I could have wished for better weather when he dropped me off. The gloomy clouds, hints of rain, full on head winds and temperatures below 40 were discouraging. With the combination of the spirit breaking ever present headwind, gravel path (as opposed to concrete) and cold temperatures it took me a total of 7 hours to pedal at an agonizing 6 - 8mph the measly 44 miles. I was thankful for the lovely ladies at a random hair salon who gave me a water refill (Hi Maureen!). I knew my luck had to turn around and it did so when I uncharacteristically stopped for lunch (I had to do something for my spirits and to warm up). I found a quaint tea/lunch house and enjoyed my conversation with the owner and her husband. Before the bill came a man approached me and said, "I have covered your bill, good luck with riding across the country." Steve almost brought tears to my eyes for his random act of kindness. The day continued with mundane pedaling along the empty canal until I finally arrived to my destination. I arrived at Dave's (my couchsurfing host) house even though I never met him because he is vacationing in Florida - he just left his house unlocked for me. Kim, another local couchsurfer, picked me up and took me out for the evening. We went to Buffalo to meet up with some her friends - after a fun and long night of Mexican food, drinks and great conversation with Buffalo locals I made my way to bed for a great night rest.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 12 - Wolcott to Rochester, NY

Total mileage for the day: 2
Total mileage to date: 619
As I stumbled out of bed this morning I made a tough decision not to ride today. My knee has progressively worsened and I am concerned about its well being for the remainder 57 days on the bike. I strolled down main street of Wolcott, NY and stepped into a diner for a hearty breakfast. I encountered several men eating breakfast at the bar and experienced the saddest moment of my trip so far. The men bantered about politics, economics and such, but then they broached a topic that broke my heart. I will sum up the conversation with a quote from one of the gentleman, "I hate niggers!" One even said to me, "you wouldn't recognize us with our sheets on." Tears are rolling down my face as I type this remembering this conversation and how freely these men shared their disgust and disapporval for "niggers." I suppose getting to know America does include getting to know all walks of life - even those who struggle to love and accept those different from themselves. I met an older couple (they were not public racists though for the record) in the diner that were heading to Rochester and they offered me a ride. I arrived at 12:00 and had 5 hours to spend until my host came home for work. I used my cute charm to convince the bellhop at the Hyatt to hold my bike, bag and trailer so I could cruise the downtown free of worry from the theft of my bike and trailer. I entertained myself by strolling around downtown Rochester, loitering at the library, enjoying a lovely lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant and visiting the local bike shop. Perhaps my favorite moment of the day was meeting Jeremiah. He advocates ( the Irish culture which includes carrying a xenophilia spirit. He enlightened me on my favorite new word - Xenophile - a person who is attracted to foreign peoples, cultures, or customs. Imagine that in the morning I was surrounded by men who outwardly shared their hate towards people of color and then I meet this beautiful man on the bike trying to share his passion for loving foreign peoples, cultures and customs. I hope to cross more Xenophillias in the upcoming days then those who enjoying wearing sheets. I suppose I should be thankful traveling in these parts that I am white.
Onto less heavy topics, the weather should be good tomorrow as I head to Lockport, NY. Let's hope my knee holds up better tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 11 - Pulaski to Wolcott, NY

Mileage of the day: 52
Total mileage to date: 617
Today was supposed to be my first day with two cycling friends (one of whom has a visual impairment) but the rain prediction deterred their travel. I took a lazy morning and rolled out around 10:00 for an uneventful cycling day with pretty darn good weather. I pulled into the town of Wolcott, NY and set myself up in the Wolcott Hotel which was generously donated by Rick and Ken who were planning to be here with me. Some folks (Ross, Kim, Don and Marj - picture to be posted soon) from the Wolcott Lion's Club picked me up and took me to a yummy seafood dinner on the bay next to Lake Ontario. After dinner Don and Marj had us over for homemade chocolate cake, ice cream and some quality entertainment from Don on the synthesizer.
I already miss the beautiful mountains as today I discovered the not so interesting parts of New York. Tomorrow will take me 65 miles to Rochester. I am off to ice the legs and get some deserved rest.
I would also like to comment that even with my poor sense of direction in the 617 miles I have only added a total of 7 miles by taking a wrong turn many days ago. I am very proud of myself.
An additional random comment - I went to a bike shop several days ago and the owner said in the 14 years of owning the bike shop I was the earliest rider heading west than she has seen before. I am not sure if that is something to write home about, but it does make me feel a little hardcore!!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 10 - Booneville to Pulaski, NY

Mileage of the day: 48
Total mileage to date: 565
My host Dan was kind enough to wake up at 5:45 with me and he even rode the first mile with me at 7:00am. I woke up early to beat the rain that was supposed to come down around noon time. I must be tight with mother nature because the rain held off until my arrival and I had my first day of MAJOR tail winds! It took me 4 hours to go the 48 miles - it was a sweet ride. As soon as I arrived the winds picked up in a major way and the rain started comin down. After enjoying a leisurely 3 hour lunch at the local diner my new 90 year old friend Bob apporached me as I was leaving the diner. I left the diner to head to the post office when I took a wrong turn. Bob was waiting at the top of the hill to help redirect me to the post office. After the post office I went next door to the library to hop on the internet and Bob is right there escorting me into the building. He asked if I had a place to stay and he offered up his house if I wanted. The incredibly social being that Bob is introduced me to all of the wonderful ladies working at the library. Within 30 minutes the ladies invited me to a community dinner and one of the ladies is even picking me up so I don't have to bike in the rain. I am staying at a hotel in town that has been donated by the Pulaski, NY Lions Club.  I went to the nutrition class which was serving a yummy vegetarian dinner and Esther took me back to my hotel afterwards.  A great day with some incredibly generous people! 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 9 - Long Lake to Boonville, NY

Mileage of the day: 74
Total mileage to date: 517
I woke with next to no motivation or enthusiasm for riding - I was not thrilled by the thought of riding in the rain. The thick fog and chill in the air did not heighten my excitement when I stepped outside. One hour into my ride the sun peered through the fog and it turned into the most gorgeous day! The 72 mile day I was dreading turned into 72 miles in the sun, no wind, birds chirping, frogs singing sweet songs and trails that followed flowing rivers. The riding was also large part downhill It was an uneventful day on the road and I arrived in the booming metropolis of Boonville greeted by my couch surfing host Dan. After meeting all of Dan's visiting friends and family members we strolled to town for some yummy Chinese and came home to some much deserved ice cream!
Random thought that may only be interesting to me: several times on my trip I have heard a very loud clanging noise from up above. I always thought it was a human but I never saw a human. I was thrilled today when I hear the clanking and quickly looked up to see a woodpecker pecking away at a metal box on a phone pole....mystery solved!
Scary thought of the day: I was chased down by a rottweiler today. All I have to say is I am so very thankful I was on a bicycle heading downhill avoiding what could have been some nasty teeth.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 8 - Ticonderoga to Long Lake, NY

Mileage for the day: 60
Total mileage to date: 443
I woke up nice and early in my lonely hotel room. I began riding with a smell in the air which reminded me of my home town - the romantic smell of the town's paper mill. The awful smell combined with the gloomy sky did not motivate me for the day. The first 40 miles were quite uneventful through the beautiful mountains of the Adirondacks. I was following a flowing river through the mountains, the sky poked through the clouds for a brief moment before the rain started. The last 2 1/2 hours of the ride were needless to say very cold and very wet. I rolled into the small town of Long Lake, NY like a drenched puppy searching for refuge. I spotted a small church and thought I would stop in to seek help. The lights were on and the door was unlocked but no one was inside. I helped myself in, changed into dry clothes and waited until someone walked to to ask if I could stay in the church over night as camping was not a great option. Chris, the pastor of the church, walked in and he quickly offered a place for me to sleep in his house next door with his family. I joined their family and their visiting parents for dinner, some Wii games and had my very own bedroom. Tomorrow's 72 miles in the rain does not excite me, but I must hop on the saddle and ride into the rain.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 7 - Middlebury, VT - Ticonderoga, NY

Mileage for the day: 25
Total mileage to date: 383
Today was supposed to be a break day with a short 20 mile ride, but it turned out a little different than planned. Today I went with my host Aviva to the college diner for a free breakfast, iced my knees, completed some boring emails and made some future bike plans. After I ate my last free meal at the Middlebury College I took off for NY with my friend. We rode about 10 miles and then he turned back for Middlebury and I continued towards NY. I was six miles away from the ferry to cross over Champlain Lake and learned the ferry is closed until May. This means I had a 25 mile reroute, except it was 3:00pm. I found a friend who gave me a boost then I hopped back on the bike just in time to ride across a gorgeous bridge which brought me to the great Empire State (NY). I arrived in Ticonderoga by 6:00pm and stayed in my first hotel and it was quite the dump.

Day 6 - Thetford Center to Middlebury, VT

Mileage of the day: 66
Total mileage to date: 358
Another amazing cycling day! Great weather, great traffic and only some wind towards the end of the day. I left Dave and Jennifer early in the morning and faced yet another frigid morning. Thankfully my day began with some steep climbs to warm me up. I wanted to note my favorite noises so far on the journey include the songs of the frogs - I pretend they are cheering me up the hills. I also named the bike I am riding (which is actually Nicole's bike) the other day. Since this is a new bike to me I have accidentally crossed chained (which is bad for the bike) a couple of times and have apologized to the bike saying "sorry," so naturally I said sorry Charlie at one point and his name was created. The brand name of the trailer is called the "Bob". So for those of you who think I am going at this alone, never fear because Charlie and Bob are with me every step (or should I say petal) of the way. After I took a nap in the sun during my lunch break I had some more hills to climb, I told myself to ride for one hour and then I can take a break. At the one hour mark there was a couch sitting on the side of this random rural road so I kicked back and took a 10 minute break on the conveniently located couch! My legs were getting upset with me as I approached the summit of the steepest hill I have ever climbed (15% grade at some points) so my new friends JoAnne and Kirt gave me a 3 miles boost to the top. I had the most magical 12 mile decent through the Green Mountains. As I approached my destination two cyclists joined me who were out riding for the day and escorted me the 4 miles into town. Once into town they gave me a brief tour and showed me all of the places I needed. I wish I had an escort in each town - they were great! I met my host Aviva (from couchsurfing) at her dorm and we headed for the dining hall for a free yummy dinner. After a lovely dinner with Aviva and her friends I went into town to just make it for the opening night of the college musical, "Bare." I stayed awake for the whole show which proves the entertainment quality of the production. I went out for a glass of wine with my friend Alex who I met through couch surfing who invited me to the show. I fell asleep quickly on the floor of Aviva's dorm room. Another great day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 5 - Conway, NH - Thetford Cener, VT

Mileage of the day: 81
Total mileage to date: 292
Today was a huge physical day - I hit my high record of 81 miles and I went over two significant passes (east coast standard of course). About one hour into my ride I was on a high; sunny, no wind and I was baffled that not one car had past in nearly the entire hour. I soon realized the reason when I approached a closed gate with a road full of snow...hmmm...what to do? I walked about 1/4 of a mile through the snow to find pavement clear of snow and then enjoyed many more miles of no traffic since the road was closed. As I started up the first big pass a moose darted in front of me and posed for a photo opportunity. At the top of the pass I saw a sad sight of a man feeding Cheetos to a fox - some people just don't get it! On the way down from the pass I hit my trip record speed of 42 MPH. New Hampshire is gorgeous - especially through the White Mountains. As I approached mile 80 for the day I crossed over the amazing Conneticut River into Vermont, which means I basically rode across New Hampshire in one day. My hosts for the evening, Jennifer and Dave, are friends from Ski For Light. My timing in impeccable as I pulled in just in time for the dinner party. They are a beautiful couple and have offered me lots of fuel for tomorrows ride which I am very thankful for! I must rest now as tomorrow will be another physically tough day through the mountains of Vermont.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 4 - Norway, ME to Conway, NH

Mileage for the day: 40
Total mileage to date: 211
I had the most amazing cycling day in the whole world! I completed my first state and crossed into New Hampshire today. The sun shined all day, very little traffic, no wind, beautiful windy roads through forests, rivers, lakes and streams. It is amazing how quickly I can ride when the wind is not present. I realize now I should give myself more credit for tackling 44 miles yesterday in the crazy wind. I thought the picture of the Fryeburg was funny because when I read the sign I thought to myself, Fryeburg this way and "No! Fryeburg this way - on second thought it was probably funny because of my delirium. A funny thing happened, my beet salad sitting in the same back as my passport leaked beet juice onto some pages of my passport. I am sure I will be looked at with serious scrutiny in the future with officials. I am proud to say that I am staying with Becky, who is the mother of the Casey who created - this is a huge day! She is also a natropathic doctor and she gave me a test and I learned my blood type - who knew the things I would learn on this bike trip. I must get rest as I have an 80 mile day tomorrow with a serious pass to conquer - wish me luck!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 3 - Damriascotta to Norway, ME

Mileage for the day: 44
Total mileage to date: 171
I first want to say thank you for all of the comments, phone calls and emails from those showing their support and I am sorry I can't respond to each one of them personally! It was an eventful day to say the least! I got an early start to my intended 80 mile day but the wind quickly knocked down my spirit. At one point someone told me the winds were charted today at 40 mph. I took the maps suggested short cut in the middle of the day and ended up doing a loop back where I began the short cut, but luckily my new friend Lance gave me a lift and an additional 5 mile bonus to boost my spirits. I took a long leisurely lunch before battling the winds again. Later water began falling around me, but this was not from the sky, instead a helicopter desperate to control a very recent forest fire fueled by the chaotic winds. I rode through a terrible scene of firefighters, ambulances and police cars in an awkward stooper as I was merely recreating while they bustled about resolving this tragic event. Only 5 miles later did I find a major car accident and I again had to ride through in a nearly apologetic manner. 5:30 rolled around and it was time to find a friend with a truck. Ken swooped me up and took me the remaining 25 miles to my hosts house. Ian, Tegan, Trish, Tom and Natalie from couchsurfing are taking excellent care of me and I am loving the energy from this interesting and fun loving family! We will see what tomorrow's day shall bring. My bum is feeling less sore, knee and Achilles tendon are also flaring down.
Til tomorrow....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 2 - Belfast to Damariscotta, Maine

Mileage of the day: 54
Miles to date: 127
My host's, Donna, 90 year old mother (who lives next door) came over for a morning chat and coffee. I made a yummy breakfast with the eggs from her chicken coop out back. The two ladies sent me warm wishes as I rode into the cold sunny day towards my next town. The sun brought some happiness, but the wind tested my patience throughout the day. Although the day was supposed to be a short 46 mile day, I thought I would add on an additional 8 miles for fun due to lack of attention to the map. Lesson learned: when asking strangers about my whereabouts confirm findings with at least two strangers. I arrived at my hosts, Sue and David's around 4:00 and took a long warm bath to warm up my bones. I found David and Sue through the Rotary club and they are amazing people and I am so lucky be a guest in their beautiful and warm home. After great conversation and a yummy curry coconut veggie dish, I made my way into my very own bedroom where I hope to get some good rest for my epic bike day tomorrow!

Day 1 - Bar Harbor to Belfast, Maine

Miles of the day: 74
Miles to date: 74
Written as if April 11th:
I awoke to the sight of snowflakes flying about outside seriously questioning my sanity. My bag safely arrived the night before at midnight and now I only needed my bike. Bar Harbor Bike shop was amazing and they gave the bike some good treatment. Finally after some serious delays my bike dipped its tires in the ocean and I began on journey at 10:30am as what I thought would be a 60 mile day. After 8 hours of rolling hills, amazing views of endless bodies and passages of water, closed up summer tourists towns filled with ice cream, antique and doll shops I arrived in Belfast after biking 74 miles. Although the day was cold day and my fingers and toes pretty much had no feeling all day, I was grateful for the absence of any significant wind or precipitation. After grabbing my dinner at a local co-op I finally arrived at my host's, Donna, house. We had a great night chatting and I must share the house was most unusual but brilliant in the same breathe. Her house had a permanent RV/trailer inside the home providing the kitchen, bedroom, toilet and other amenities. The only trouble throughout the day was pain in my knee that I hope soon finds its way out of my body! I fell peacefully asleep on her couch by the wood burning stove - it was a good first day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Epic Flight East

My dear friends Nicole, Andrea, Brandon and Zoe wished me off in Fort Collins on Thursday evening when I flew out of Denver. After 4 flights and 16 hours later, I arrived today in the Bangor, Maine airport. I was met by my ride, sweet Sal, who even had a sign "Yates" as we had never met before. Sal and I drove away from Bangor with no baggage as the airline lost my luggage. When we arrived in Bar Harbor the bike shop had not yet finished putting my bike together. Sal took me to my couchsurfing hosts house, Lynn and Colin with only my purse and sleeping bag in hand. The airline folks are supposed to bring my bags by this evening and Joe the bike mechanic said he should be arriving at the shop by 6am to have my bike ready to go in the morning. Let's hope tomorrow bring a smooth day free of rain and freezing weather for my first official bike day!