June 21

21 06 2009

Day 15:

Our time in Ontario was short lived. Eighty miles (our longest trip) got us across the border and into Michigan. A good sleep at the B&B was just what we needed to get going again. After tuning the bikes and packing up, we headed for breakfast just down the road. With the sun shining once again we hit the road and headed for the border. With Dave’s advice in mind, we decided to take a more direct route (different from the northern tier route), one that would get us to Michigan a day earlier. The first 20 miles went by quickly, despite a few dirt roads and a some hills at the very beginning. After a short snack break we logged another 10 miles before our early lunch in West Lorne. From there we spent the afternoon cruising through farming territory, interrupted only by a few innocent wipeouts and minor road side repairs. The final 35 miles were spent riding along one flat, straight road. One of the very few cars to pass us drove alongside Dad for a few minutes to talk about out trip! At around 6:30 we reached the ferry terminal and awaited the boat’s arrival. We crossed the St. Clair River and cleared customs on the other side – nice to cover distance without pedaling! Hungry and thirsty, we ate at the closest restaurant, right next to the ferry terminal. With the help of a few locals we found vacancy at a motel just down the road. Very pleased with our day’s progress, and the weather forecast, we look forward to making quick work of Michigan.

Happy Father’s Day!


June 20

20 06 2009

Day 14:

Ending the day at a bed and breakfast is heaven, just what we needed having completed the first two weeks of the trip. That’s supposed to be the hardest part right? Having spent yet another night camping in the rain, we have all decided that we need to avoid that whenever possible; packing up wet gear in the rain is not fun. Add the mosquito invasion, and we were off to a rough start. As soon as we woke up we were treated to a nice surprise…the space between the tent and the rain fly was covered with tons, I mean tons, of mosquitos. It was absolutely disgusting. Perhaps the only thing that got us out of the tent was knowing that today was going to be a short distance day – planning to ride just 45 miles. Fixing Zach’s flat tire in the rain was less than ideal, but we managed to replace to tube and everything seems to be working well. We stopped for breakfast after leaving the campground, and the rain slowed down. However, as soon as we returned to our bikes it picked up again – just our luck! Shortly after we began riding we witnessed out first real crash. Zach, attempting a single handed maneuver, lost control and was sent sliding into the middle of the road. Luckily, there were no cars around and he got up with out any injuries – I think we may have even laughed at him. From there we continued just 7 miles until we were caught in a downpour. We sought shelter under an unused fruit stand before continuing on. We didn’t get very far, as a General store just around the corner was a good place to dry off and have a snack. Thanks to Mike for his friendly welcome – it was just what we needed! When we left store, the rain picked up once again. We continued along the lake shore, though you could barely see the water, as the storm continued to come in off the lake. Storm clouds continued to threaten, but the sun began to poke through as we arrived thoroughly soaked in Port Burwell for lunch. From there we continued through miles of tobacco farms and wind farms (a little ironic that the environmentally friendly initiative is paired with the tobacco industry). The wind turbines were really neat, and we came to realize why they are where they are. The head wind was the most extreme we have faced so far. We began practicing drafting techniques, which seemed to work well, though we have some work to do. Jake’s one legged pedaling technique gave us all a good laugh. After 23 more miles, we arrived in Port Stanley where we planned to stay the night. Despite logging just 45 miles, our late start and battle with the wind made it seem like much more. Checked in to the North Shore Inn (free from the rain and the mosquitos!), with our laundry in progress (thank you Flory!!), we are enjoying a late dinner once again. Thanks to Dave for the directions too! Hopefully things will dry out tonight, and we will be ready to complete a long day tomorrow – we hope to get within a morning’s ride of the the border.

June 19

20 06 2009

Day 13:

We woke up anticipating another rainy day, but were pleasantly surprised when the sun came out just before noon and we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon. It seems like we finally got our schedule figured out today. After an early, and quick, breakfast at Tim Horton’s we got on the road and knocked out 20 miles along the north shore of Lake Erie before an early lunch in Selkirk. After lunch we continued along the shore for another 20 miles until we reached Port Dover, in time for a snack at Tim Horton’s (can you tell we are trying to cram in all the Tim’s we can before we return to the U.S?) In the final 20 miles we faced a few hills, nothing like the mountains, but still our first real hills in a few days. We arrived in Port Rowan where we had planned to spend the night. Again, we debated going further, but decided not to ruin our first day of starting AND ending on time. Also, there were no other places to stay for another 20 plus miles so we decided to call it a day at 65 miles and head towards dinner and the campground 5 miles down the road. Chicken dinners at “The Coop” and an easy ride to the Long Point Beach Provincial Park finished the ride. Just before setting up camp, we realized Zach had a flat tire, but are waiting to fix it in the morning. After warm showers and a walk on the beach, we headed for bed. If not for being tired, the mosquitos would surely have gotten us in the tents early – they are everywhere and enormous!

June 18

18 06 2009

Day 12:

Today we left the manicured lawns of Niagara Falls and headed towards the farm lands on the northern shore of Lake Erie. We woke up to another rainy day in Niagara Falls, but were happy to see the rain slow down and stop just after lunch. At breakfast we met a fellow biker from Vermont who is also headed west, albeit solo and at a little slower pace. After a final viewing of the misty falls, we continued on the Niagara River Recreation Trail, along the Niagara River, until we reached Fort Erie (18.5 miles). We decided to stop in at a Steve’s Place, a bike store along the route, to have Jake’s bike looked at yet again. Turns out his rear sprocket needed replacing, and a previous repair was not completed properly. Steve solved the problem quickly, and Rex pointed us in the right direction for our afternoon ride. Thanks guys! With our tires pumped up, we headed down the street for Chinese food, a great recommendation from Rex. With our rain gear back on we followed the Friendship Bike trail towards Port Colborne. The rain stopped early in the afternoon, and we made decent time on the trail. When we arrived, we crossed the Welland Canal, an access for ships to the Great Lakes. We hunted down the nearest Tim Horton’s for a snack and debated our final destination. Though some worried about what we would find in the next 20 miles and wanted to call it quits after 40 miles, Maggie was able to convince the group to continue on the the next town, 23 miles away. We were all happy to have done so; the ride was fairly easy though corn fields and farm land and the rain held off nicely. We arrived in Dunnville just before seven o’clock and were able to find a motel (dinner next door) for the night. Having completed 65 miles today, we are getting closer to consistently meeting our daily target. Weather permitting, we hope to exceed our longest trip tomorrow.

June 17

18 06 2009

Commercial vehicles only … Cars only …Buses only… 6 lanes of traffic and they couldn’t find room for the lowly bicycle? We crossed the Lewiston – Queenston Bridge early afternoon and cruised through customs to enter Canada. Then we were pulled aside at the tollbooth with 18-wheelers in front and behind … we had to pay the bridge toll of 50 cents per bike!

We had a great day cruising along the Erie Canal after, for the very first time, getting an early start to the day. It might have been the enticement of breakfast at the Albion New York Tim Hortons that got everyone moving a little more quickly or it just could be we have started to settle into more of a routine.

Continuing today along the very flat Erie Canal Trail we traveled through more small towns that all ended in “port” like Spencerport and Middleport. After enough of the dusty crushed gravel, (hard to maintain speeds greater than 15 mph ) we left the Canal Trail at its terminus in Lock ”port” and enjoyed a hearty lunch … with milkshakes all round of course.

Although overcast, the rain held off as we covered the final miles to Niagara Falls. We donned our wet weather gear as the rain started to fall just as we entered the “on ramp” to the bridge to Canada and Niagara Falls. The view over the bridge (very high up!), and way down into the gorge was spectacular. Even with tractor-trailers rushing by us it was worth the 50 cents per bike price of admission. Once on the Canadian side we began following the Niagara Trail system “up” the Niagara River towards the Falls. There are many scenic look offs along this beautiful paved trail. After dropping our gear off at the motel (Too soggy to camp tonight) we went to view the falls and then to dinner at a restaurant referred to us by locals. A big shout out to Denise and Stephanie at “Basell’s” – Great to meet you tonight! Back to the motel to clean up and remove the road grime. Looking forward to exploring the North Shore of Lake Erie over the next few days and hoping we can ride out of this rain tomorrow.

June 16

16 06 2009

Today the group woke up early after a late night of pizza and soda. We ate a delicious breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant where we arrived extremely underdressed. Not only were all the business executives wearing shirts and ties but so were the waiters. After breakfast we packed up and headed to Towpath bike for repairs and maintenance. While Dad was having his spare tire put on (his back tire had a lot of miles and was extremely worn down) Zach, Maggie, and Jake made sure the tire pressure was up to par on all our bikes, and that all the rack screws were tightened properly. Jake purchased a new set of gloves and is now flossing a nice pair of Pearl Izumi’s. Thanks to Scott and his staff at Towpath for the great service. He has a great location right on the canal path. Scott has some New Hampshire connections as he went to Proctor Academy and was intrigued by Maggie’s St. Paul’s experience. We started to rack up the miles following the Erie Canal (a neat slice of history ) when trouble came knocking at our door… Jake’s chain broke. Dad immediately breaks out the repair kit and quickly went to work to get us back on the road. Although the chain repair was successful, Jake was unable to shift into certain gears making keeping up very difficult for him. After exhausting all options, looking for bike stores close to our location using our blackberry, iphone, and GPS, some locals helped us set our destination on another bike shop in Spencerport, NY some 10 miles away. Once we arrived the guys at Sugar’s bike shop (Thanks Dan and Damien! ) went to work on Jake’s bike. It was here we discovered Jake’s chain had other problems and needed to be replaced. We also discovered at this time was that Jake was sporting a bent rim and broken spokes. To quote the guy at the shop “Did you get hit by a Truck?” We took this time to eat lunch, at a restaurant conveniently located right next door. After a couple of tweaks we had things working properly and we set off down the canal again. The canal made for an easy ride but became rather boring at times – haha. I’ll take boring for a while if it means avoiding hills and mountains.

Unfortunately the problems with the bike set us back big time and we were unable to reach our target mileage despite having flat terrain the entire ride. We had dinner after about 40 miles and change and decided it was in our best interest to spend the night in Albion. We found a motel to crash at for the night and aim to be on the road early in pursuit of Niagara Falls, Ontario.. Eh? Cheers.

June 15

16 06 2009

Day 10:

After early morning thundershowers, the skies cleared in time for us to wake up and pack things up. The quads were screaming as we left the campground and stopped after just a mile for breakfast number two. Some of the group agreed to have hit the wall and the outlook for the day did not look good. Breakfast at the Hardware Cafe got us going enough to make the steep climb out of Fair Haven. The hills continued along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario through peach orchards and vineyards until we stopped for lunch at the Sodus Point Golf Club. Having only logged about 30 miles we stopped just a mile after lunch, this time for ice cream. Dad bought, and devoured, half a strawberry pie, large ice cream cone, and almost a half gallon of milk. We could have all agreed to stay longer and sit in the sun, but it was four o’clock and we had only gone 30 miles. After our extended stop, we continued with an easier ride through farmland and orchards until we met up with the canal trail. We followed the trail for a while until we ran into Shawn and Jake, father and son. After a few more miles we met up with them again, and they offered to escort us to a nice hotel a few miles away. Thank you! We arrived at the hotel just before 9 o’clock! A long day for sure during which we logged 70 plus miles – we have sunburns to prove it (sorry mom, we will start wearing more sunscreen!) After a late pizza dinner, we returned to the luxurious room for a much needed rest. Tomorrows ride will take us along the canal trail for most of the day.

June 14

15 06 2009

Day 9:

Today we happily traded the logging trucks and forests for tractors and farmland. After sleeping in a little bit, we had breakfast at the restaurant next to the motel (the same place as dinner the night before). Again, we were not on the road until around ten o’clock – we are a slow moving group. Thankfully, the morning ride was mostly downhill and the sun was shining. After fifteen miles we took a short break and were happy to finally have cell phone service. We were all excited to talk to Mom and can’t wait till she joins us! The change in terrain/scenery was greatly appreciated and we cruised through increasingly developed towns. Unlike the previous few days, we had multiple options for lunch. We decided to stop at a local chicken shack (it smelled great) where we enjoyed a full chicken and salt potatoes. The rather easy ride continued for most of the day; we stopped briefly for ice cream and again at a market to grab fruit for tonight. Though we were happy to be out of the boonies we quickly realized how much we had enjoyed the traffic free roads. With 15 miles to go we stopped for dinner, though we weren’t terribly hungry for a change. We headed towards the campground excited for a clear night of camping. Of course we couldn’t get off with too easy a day as we ended with some very steep climbs. We arrived at the Fair Haven State Park where we climbed an extra hill for a campsite overlooking lake Ontario. The sunset was the perfect end to a beautiful day. Despite our 62 miles, we are not as tired as usual and even enjoyed some Frisbee after setting up for the night. It seems that everyone is getting used to the routine and finding the biking less difficult. After spending all day in the hot sun our shorts/gloves tan lines are becoming more and more obvious. But, we’re not complaining, the weather today was perfect and we would love to enjoy similar days more often. We are excited to ride the bike route along the canal as we head towards Ontario in the next few days. Dad will most likely have us up early and on the road before eight, so it is time to get some rest; if we stick to the plan, we have some long days ahead.

June 13

15 06 2009

Day 8:

After an exciting hockey game (go pens!) and a restful night, we woke up refreshed and ready to go. Despite waking up early we weren’t on the road until 9 – we really need to tighten up our morning routine. We made great time on the first ten miles around the gorgeous lake scenery, and stopped for breakfast number two in Old Forge (The boys are always hungry). The sun was shining and we enjoyed a great ride along the Moose River until we reached Boonville where we stopped for lunch at the Boonville Hotel after a recommendation from a local. With thirty-five miles logged, we still had a ways to go in the afternoon. Zach was exhausted and we were unsure if he would last the day – but of course, he just stopped talking and managed to keep up. Despite a few tough hills right after lunch we continued on a nice run, making great time, as we headed towards Osceola. We made quick work of the winding road of rolling hills as we stopped briefly ever 5 miles. We arrived in Osceola and were greeted by some motorcycle riders we had met at lunch. They laughed as they warmed us about the hill ahead. We finished the steep climb just as the rain began. With ten miles to go, we cruised through the rain into Redfield, NY where we had planned to stay the night. Desperate to avoid another night of camping in the rain, we passed the campground and stopped at a small motel instead. After our longest day so far, at 71 miles, we all got a taste of what our average mileage will be eventually. Exhausted as usual, we are headed to bed early.

June 12

13 06 2009

Day 7:

We woke up early to yet another wet morning. After packing up the wet tents and eating a quick breakfast by the fire we hit the road before 7:30 (Dad can get us up early when we camp because we have no idea what time it is). We were all sore, tired, and unsure how we would manage 50 miles. Fortunately, the rain let up, and we were relieved to see far fewer hills as we began to leave the Adirondacks. By lunchtime, we had reached Long Lake (the only place for food in 20 miles) and took a break for food at the Cyber Creek cafe. The sun was shining and we looked forward to a more relaxing ride to our destination. After a nice ride, mostly downhill for a change, we arrived at the Marina motel in Inlet NY around 3:30. We took advantage of the warm afternoon to let our tents dry in the parking-lot. The motel owners Jamie and Henry were fantastic. They offered to drive us to a Laundromat/dinner. We could not pass up the opportunity for clean clothes and a solid meal (especially after last night’s dinner). We did our laundry and enjoyed a great meal. Thank you Jamie/Henry!! Ironically, the owners of a bike shop in Rochester, NY are also staying at the motel and offered us a pump for our tires – thank you! Everything seemed to work out perfectly tonight. We are looking forward to a longer, but easier ride tomorrow as we head towards Rochester, NY. Everyone keeps telling us that it is downhill from here, so we are hoping to finally increase our mileage. A week into our trip, we are excited to have warm beds, and a chance to watch game seven tonight!

Something we forgot to mention…

During the trek today I (Zach) was in front of a excavator coming down the side of the road. All of a sudden I hear what sounded like trees falling.. it only took me about a second to realize that the excavator had run into the POWERLINES causing them to crash down right behind me. I was frustrated for two reasons..

1) I was worried the power to the nearest town would be out causing us to miss out on eating. Eating is important.
2) The powerlines ALMOST HIT ME.

That was crazy.. but to top it off this guy gets out of the excavator and proceeds to pick up and MOVE the power line with his bare hands like he had experienced this before. That bit of excitement jolted my adrenaline (laugh it up) and we made it to the fully charged town.

June 11

12 06 2009

June 11

Day 6: We’re posting this a day late because Newcomb has nothing. Seriously.. no grocery store, no general store, no gas station, no cell service, and absolutely no where to eat. Needless to say I am not a big fan of Newcomb, NY. – Zach


Today was brutal. Thinking that the worst of the mountains were behind us for a while, we left Ticonderoga this morning on route 74. Immediately we were proved wrong. We began to climb a steep road bustling with logging trucks. This hill was far worse than those we faced in Vermont the past two days. We were all happy that we did not continue this far last night looking for a place to camp. Finally we arrived at the Paradox General Store for lunch (our only chance for food all day). After a great lunch, we continued on. Zach appeared to be in another world today. He didn’t talk; he just continued to ride. It seemed like he was past the point of fatigue and his willpower had taken over. Needless to say, he led the way a lot today. In fact, at one point he cruised so far ahead that he missed our next turn. We stopped and sent an oncoming utility truck to send him back. They offered him a ride back to us, and he did not pass it up. After waiting a little while, the truck pulled up along side us and the driver yelled, “I think we have something that belongs to you.” Zach jumped out of the back with a smile on his face. At this point we were faced with a dilemma. We could disregard the looming thunderclouds and continue the 20 miles to our destination or camp where we were (the middle of nowhere with no place to eat) after just a short day of riding. We decided to get the next climb out of the way and head to Newcomb. We had no idea what was in store for us. The next 10 miles were all uphill and further and further into the boonies. At the top of a particularly tough climb we stopped to rest at a Buffalo Farm, where we stocked up on snacks. Just when it looked like we were beginning to decent, we turned the corner and began to climb once more. This pattern lasted the whole 20 miles and took every last bit of energy…and then some. Finally we arrived at the Lake Harris Campground (also the middle of nowhere), but were without a place for dinner. We decided to set up camp and finally test out our freeze-dried backpacking food. The mashed cheddar potatoes, sweet and sour chicken, and teriyaki chicken were good for a few laughs. We were physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day. To say the least, we rode through many deserted towns today, with very few places to stop. The rain held off until after dinner and we headed to our tents. We are hoping to find a hotel tomorrow so we can enjoy game seven.

June 10

11 06 2009

It is amazing low many different styles there are in attacking a mountain. There are at least three that we saw today as we crossed the Appalachians via the Brandon pass. Jake’s style is to attack it head on by getting a up a huge head of steam and then pedal as hard as he can until he comes to a complete stop . . . a fine style if you make it to the top but it can be problematic on the longer climbs. Zach’s style is much more methodical using the granny gears from the beginning and staying in the saddle for the majority of the climb. This makes for a longer climb but as they say slow and steady often wins the race. Dad and Maggie share a similar style using as full a range of gears as possible and a combination of seated and standing climbs. I am sure we will all continue to refine our styles as the trip continues.

We had perfect weather today and with the boys short hair they are all now sporting stripes on the top of their heads from sunburns through the vents in their helmets. We enjoyed the best of Vermont as we traveled from Rochester Vermont following route 73 through the Green Mountain National Forest and along the shore of Lake Champlain. This was a change from our original plan based on a recommendation from Dan at the bike store in Quechee. Thanks again Dan!

After crossing the Brandon Pass we enjoyed the decent (may have broken the 35 mph speed limit) into town where we stopped for lunch. The sun came out after lunch and we headed for NY. The afternoon was full or gorgeous farm lands and rolling hills, in addition to some pretty steep climbs as well. With 6 miles to go until the ferry we saw a sign indicating that the last trip was at 5:45 and we picked up the pace to ensure we made that crossing. We got there with plenty of time to spare and met someone else loaded up and headed to California. After we crossed lake Champlain we continued into Ticonderoga were we found a motel for the night. We had hoped to camp because of the nice weather, but found nowhere to do so…but, we won’t complain about another night in a motel.

Dad says he needs to redo the food budget as we are all consuming ENORMOUS quantities at every opportunity. Both Zach and Jake are starting to order two entrees as one doesn’t quite do it. Our waitress tonight just watched in disbelief.

Tomorrow we start to explore New York.

June 9

10 06 2009

Day 4:

The day started off slow and wet, very wet. As always, Dad was up early and he made some temporary repairs to Zach’s front wheel as it had seized up on a late dinner run the night before – Nice job getting us rolling again Dad! We packed up in the pouring the rain and we thought the day would be a wash (no pun intended). We did get out of the rain and fueled up with breakfast at a small diner in Quechee and headed to Woodstock to have Dad’s repair checked out by a pro. The guys at “The Start House” bike store in Woodstock were great! Gavin made sure Zach’s wheel was good to go and Dan convinced us to keep going to Rochester. His directions, advice, and encouragement were awesome. Stop in and visit them if you are Woodstock. From there, we started an 11 mile climb but were soon rewarded by a nice downhill to the General Store for snacks and a continued decent to Bethel where we stopped for lunch. The miles seemed to fly by as we were all in good spirits and laughing the whole way. After lunch, we lost the rain and enjoyed an easier ride to Rochester. With the help of a Stockbridge car dealer ( another tip from Dan ) we checked into the Huntington Inn Bed and Breakfast to dry out and rest for tomorrow. Our Innkeeper Anna provided warm beds and hot showers which are much appreciated. Given our late start, we are pleasantly surprised with our day’s progress – somewhere around 42 miles. Once again, we are exhausted at the end of the day and will watch the hockey game until we fall asleep. As we head for New York we have a tough climb ahead of us tomorrow and will take advantage of tonight’s rest.

June 8

8 06 2009

Day 3:

After enjoying a quiet night, we all fell asleep early and woke up early too. The four of us packed things up, had a quick breakfast, and were on the road shortly before eight o’clock. Had we known what was ahead we probably would have eaten much more. There was no time to warm up as we were immediately met with dirt roads and very steep hills – not to mention a few dogs chasing us. We all knew it was time to eat/rest when we were braking behind dad’s tires. Around noon we finally found somewhere to eat (Grafton Town Store) and we stopped for lunch after logging 30 miles. After a much needed rest we headed back onto route 4. All of our spirits were brightened at the sight of a moose and a few downhill stretches. Those didn’t last long and we were again faced with continuous climbing. Determined to reach the Vermont border we continued to climb the hills and finally called it quits in Quechee Vermont where we found the Quechee Pine Valley Campground and set up for the night around 5:30. Despite the long day, we logged just 54 miles – 54 miles of hills! After a nice swim and warm showers, we are all off to a well deserved dinner.

June 7

7 06 2009

Day 2
The five of us left the driveway and headed west before 9am. After a fairly slow start, Ironman Brian set the pace and things started looking up (figuratively and literally). Who knew NH had so many hills? We arrived at the 1000 Acres Campground in Franklin, NH just after 2:30 and set up for the night. After a well deserved pizza dinner, we are ready for bed, despite the clock reading 5:30. Hal came to pick up Mom (she will meet us again in three weeks). Thanks again Hal. Surely we will be in bed early tonight, and head for VT tomorrow.
49.22 miles.

June 6

7 06 2009

Day 1: After dipping our tires in the Atlantic (thanks to Hal and Gretchen for taking pictures), we rode the short distance from Newcastle Beach to Dover for our last night at home, stopping by Dover Cyclery to say goodbye to Wayne and Mike and to thank them for all their help. After that it was a nice steak dinner, last minute packing, Pens vs. Wings, and off to bed.
Distance 19 miles.


Track Our Trip

3 06 2009

Follow our trip and our exact location. Click on the map on the top right of the page to see where we are. Check out the hybrid map for a satellite image of our location.


Almost Ready

3 06 2009

We leave in less than 3 days. We will be biking from the beach (yet to be determined) home on saturday and then early sunday morning the real trip will begin when we ride out of the driveway and head towards Franklin NH. It still seems like we have a million things to do but we are very excited to begin after all this planning and waiting.

Two Weeks

25 05 2009

Less than two weeks until the family heads west. Our Plans have changed slightly; we are going to leave on June 7th and will be starting from our own driveway and heading east to west.

Suggestions for the blog? We hope to have it updated daily when the trip starts.