Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The 2012 empowerment ride was a complete success! Everything went so incredibly smoothly, and we raised over $700 for a great cause! The scenery was amazing, I met friendly folks everywhere, and I got a serious workout :) My gear, and my amazing Surley Long Haul Trucker held strong and carried me 900 or so miles, from Albany, north along Lake George and Lake Champlain, up to Montreal, East to Quebec City, south to the US border near Jackman, ME, and out to the coast of Maine from Bangor all the way to Portland. After my rain-soaked night on the coast, I spent the next evening in dry, warm, wonderful weather just outside of Brunswick. I headed in to Portland, Maine for my final night. I biked around the city and got to see tons of cool art galleries and beautiful Old Port shops and restaurants. I stayed with a great couple from Warm Showers, the Bouchers, who made a huge lobster dinner and drove me around to see Portland and the lighthouse down at Cape Eliabeth. And they let me do laundry, much to the relief of those who would have had to smell me on the train home otherwise. I got on a 3pm train back to Boston on Sunday, with my bike in the caboose. I then took a Fung Wah from Boston to NYC and arrived in time to get a good night's sleep before heading in to work the next day! What a great trip! I can't wait for the 2013 ride!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Laundry room refuge

After posting last night's blog, I curled up under my tarp and listened as the potter pat of rain sprinkles began. Not long after, the rain had become a deluge! More than my tarp could bear. I had not set it up as well as I should have, and a pool was collecting and sagging closer and closer to my head. I got out and tried to fix it a few times, but the stakes weren't holding in the ground, and everything was starting to get pretty wet. I headed for thecampground laundry room. I made two trips with my bags and sleeping gear, and left the bike under the tarp to fend for itself. I hung things up all over to get rid of the dampness, and got cozy in a mildly comforable rocking chair. The time was about 4am- I had not slept hardly at all, and maybe squeezed in a couple hours of seated shut-eye. Thus am I packed up- things weren't too wet, and headed back up the Pemaquid peninsula to route 1. I continued east from Darmiscolla to Woolrich toward Brunswick, then down route 24 toward Orrs and Bailey Islands. They are linked in a chain along 24, and I could see a campsite marked on the map by Orrs. When I arrived, I found a sign that said no tents! Trailers only. I found the owner at his house, and he turned me away, telling me to go back 10 miles in the direction had Judy come to the next campsite. I was so sad. It was already 6:30pm and I was afraid I wouldn't make it before dark. And I was so so tired! I headed back ip the road, and cruised as fast as I could. I made it to the other campsite, got a site and set up, then heade to the main strip for some food. A search for fresh fruit and veggies, and a pint of frozen yogurt, led me to Walmart. I wandered around staring at huge boxes of cookies and sheets of excessively frosted cup cakes. I was really hungry. I got out without a sheet cake and rode back to the campsite where I ate by the beach, under the stars! Now a shower and bed- the garoua set up better tonight I think, but so far, no rain.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Belfast, Warm Showers and the coast!

Yesterday, I made it to the coast of Maine! After heading out of West Forks, south on 201 and then East on 2 to Newport, I kept going east yesterday through Bangor and then South on 1A and then 1 to Belfast, where I stayed last night. I found out about this thing called Warm Showers, a bike touring network of people who will host you if you're on a trip. So, I was so lucky to stay with an extremely kind and generous couple who fed me and let me crash at their place for the night, with a nice, warm shower! They have goats and chickens and work in organic farming and shipbuilding- so very cool. After heading out this AM, I spent most of the day cruising though cute coastal towns like Camden, Rockport and Rockland, then went down a peninsula from Waldoboro to Pemaquid Point. I am in awe of the beautiful coast and the costal roads and towns. What a great trip in every area! More coastal riding tomorrow and Saturday, and a train back to NYC Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back in the U.S!

Well, it seems the Northernmost US and Canadian portions of this trip were not bloggable- no Internet service, and no Internet cafes that I could see in those small towns. I checked in with a quick post from the hostel in Montreal. It was my first time there, and I made sure to have some poutine and walk around the city before passing out from biking exhaustion. I headed east out of Montreal last Wednesday AM along the route verte- Canada has an amazing system of bike- friendly roads and paths around the whole of Quebec. I followed the river east to trois rivers and spent Wed. night at a campground. Thursday, I kept going east, north of the river on 138 to Quebec city, and stayed at a campground just before the city proper. The nice girl running the office at the campground fed me cereal and grapefruit for dinner b/c the campground snack shop had closed by the time I checked in, and I was so hungry and sad to be without food! The next morning, Friday, I biked through Quebec city, and had an amazing chocolate croissant for breakfast from a little boulangerie. I headed South from Quebec city along CA 173 toward the Canadian border of Maine. Friday night I stopped just before St. Georges to camp, and ate corn dogs- again, my only food option at the campground. But so rewarding after a long, long biking day. All the time in Canada, I was able to use the 7 years of French class that I've never put to use- my first time traveling in a French- speaking area! Very fun, though I am rusty. Saturday I went from st. Grieves south to the border, where CA 173 becomes US 201. I waited in line with the cars, on my bike, to cross. They let me through, even though I have become quite smelly. Then, after 3 hours of uphill climbs to the border, I spent another couple of hours climbing in to the mountains of Maine- such a hard day! And the sun was so incredibly hot and intense. I got to jackman, then lake Parlin, and then.... Miles and miles of amazing downhill Rodin to west forks. I got there around 7:30 pm, and took a huge sigh of relief b/c I had a couple of days to relax and hang out there with friends- rafting, hiking. This morning, tuesday, I said goodbye to west forks and to stationary ways, got back on my bike and headed south on 201 to skowhegan, where I cut east onto 2 toward Bangor. I am staying tonight at a lake campground in newport, and will be at the ocean coast tomorrow where the road heads down from Bangor to Belfast. Then, three days of riding alongbthe coast to Portland, where I'll hop on the train back to NYC on Sunday. Crazy! It will be so fun to see the ocean, and the coastal Maine towns. More about that tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Everything is going great! I made it to Montreal yesterday evening, and am at hostel downtown. I had poutine for dinner :) I have Internet access here, so I have the chance to write. So far, my reception has been pretty spotty. I've also had such long days of biking that I've passed out every night without being able to lift a hand to post to the blog. The same will be try most of the trip, so along with trying to conserve phone battery, there may not be tons of updates. It's also been hard to get photos posted up without a computer. I made it from Albany to lake the first night, to Keene Valley NY the second, and to the top of Lake Champlain the 3rd. Here in Montreal the 4th. I may reroute across to Maine farther south, closer to the border- it's been hard tontine campsites, and with such a long route, I have to make certain distances each day, but won't necessarily have a place to stay. So, quebec city may be out of the loop- for practical reasons. Sad but true. It's been so beautiful, and there have been more miles if sunshine than rain- a good balance. More to come when it's possible!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

On my way outta Chinatown!

I am on the bus, on my way to Albany! The bike is in an underneath compartment. We left from Chinatown, are making a stop mid-town, and then upstate. Yesterday, I did a final wrap up of things in New York, and as final packing and narrowing down of clothes and gear. My friend Sarah, staying at my place for the weekend from Cape Cod, helped me go through everything to double check that I have everything. I ate some eggs this morning, posed in front of my building garbage cans for a snapshot, hugged Sarah goodbye and waived as I rode off down Bedford avenue. I took the Manhattan bridge over the east river to Chinatown, and stopped for a morning photo of my bike and the river skyline. I rode to the bus station at 133 e Broadway, checked in at the counter and hung out on the sidewalk until we left at 7:55 am.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trial Run

This weekend I did a trial run with fully loaded pannier bags, putting in 135 miles in 2 days. I rode from Brooklyn to Warwick, NY to visit a friend and test out my gear setup.
View bike ride 7/8/12 in a larger map I will be getting rid of a few things- whatever is unnecessary- in order to keep the weight load as light as possible- you really feel it on the big uphill climbs! The route this weekend went through Harriman Park and Sterling Forest-- both contain small mountains, which mean lots and lots of steep riding- both up and down-- very slow, and very fast! My friend had a delicious home-made pizza waiting for me when I pulled in just as after dark, and a couple of incredible pies for dessert. Here are couple of photos taken after our huge pancake and bacon breakfast the next AM, of me and my loaded bike as I get ready to head back out on the road!