June 28

29 06 2009

Day 22:
After waking up early, the crew enjoyed a light breakfast at our motel. Unfortunately this was the last thing we ate for a while. We loaded the bikes and headed out around 9 AM. We reached the first set of lights and came upon a man pedaling alone and heading in the same direction as us, even to the same campground. His name is Steve and he ended up joining us for the day. Steve, who is familiar with the Minneapolis, MN area, was able to shed some light on the safest and most efficient way to meet up with Mom later this week. He even offered to let us use his house/car while in the city. Thank you Steve, it was great meeting you! Immediately Wisconsin blessed us with 25+ mph headwinds from the West, and we were forced to ride right into the wind. As we rode by farm after farm, we could see the wheat blowing in the exact opposite direction we were headed. This made it very hard to keep a good pace and it felt as if we were going up hill the entire time. Pedaling very hard and making little distance can be quite discouraging. Aside from the wind the weather today was perfect, great temperatures and sunny skies all day….if only the wind was blowing the other direction! Our maps had told us that Potter, WI (25 miles from our motel) has somewhere to eat. If it did, we certainly couldn’t find it. By that point, we were all very hungry and more than ready for a break from the wind. With the help of a few locals we were able to change our route slightly and navigate Hilbert, where we found lunch at Kraggy’s Family Restaurant. A good meal, friendly staff, and delicious ice cream got us ready for the afternoon. Considering the 30 miles under our belt and the fact that we were pretty exhausted from the high winds, we decided that our destination would be the Apple Creek Campground in Freedom, WI. While still encountering high winds we managed to push our way through the last 22 miles and arrive at the campground around 3:30. We enjoyed a swim and reasonably priced showers (unlike Temple, MI). Right now it is approaching 7pm CST and we once again hungry. Time for dinner….

All in all not a bad day, considering we logged 52 miles straight into the wind (our first real struggle with the headwind) and finished reasonably early. It was nice to have some new company and such a gorgeous day for ridding. We can only hope for more of the same tomorrow …minus the wind of course!


June 27

27 06 2009

Day 21:

Although the idea of sleeping in appealed to almost all of us, the 93 mile ride the day before still did not stop us from getting up around 5:30 am and heading out soon after towards the S.S. Badger. As we arrived at the S.S Badger we met up with Mike, a man who was taking the same route as us but was stopping in Milwaukee. It was great to chat with him throughout the ride and we were very impressed by his lack of gear and stealth camping techniques! After we left our bikes down in the hull of the ship, we headed to the main deck where we looked forward to a much needed breakfast and four hour nap. Within minutes Jake was fast asleep, followed soon after by Dad. Jake was sound alseep on top of the maps Dad had been looking at. No one cares about Maggie and Zach. The rest of the group relaxed on the bow of the ship, laying in the sun for the majority of the ride across Lake Michigan. Jake joined them after waking up the first time but fell asleep once again. Four hours later we arrived in Wisconsin, even though Jake felt as if he had just fallen asleep. Watching Jake wake up to the ferry’s blasting horn was very entertaining for the others. Getting off the ferry we headed towards “The Bicycle and Fitness Co.” to get some much needed repairs on our bikes, the rear wheels once again. Mike accompanied us to the store but said goodbye shorty after. It was great to meet you…good luck! Jeremy did a great job truing the wheels and Jake gave us great advice on places to stay and roads to travel on, thanks! With our bikes all fixed we headed to Warren’s Diner for some lunch. We were in contact with the guys at Dover Cyclery and they got a hold of the Fuji dealer who is sending some new wheels to Minneapolis for us – Thanks for the great service! Once our stomachs were full we decided to take the rest of the day off by finding a nice Comfort Inn to relax and unwind in. Earlier today we had decided that it was time to take our first real rest day. But we still covered some distance on the ferry (if that counts) and once we arrived in town. Juging by the uncontrolable laughter at dinner everyone is in need of a good night’s sleep. We are hoping to get plenty of rest tonight and are looking forward to biking through Wisconsin tomorrow.

June 26

26 06 2009

Day 20:

93 miles! A very long day for sure, and certainly not what we had planned. For the first time we woke up to a sunny and completely dry morning in our tents, a great start to the day. We got an early start and found breakfast after a quick 5 miles. From there we headed down a hilly route for 20 miles until we arrived in Le Roy for drinks and snacks at the general store. While there we took a closer look at our route and realized that instead of the 66 miles we had expected, it would actually be more like 90 miles until we reached the ferry. Having planned to board the ferry for its second crossing at 8 PM and arrive in Wisconsin around midnight, we had to readjust. We doubted that we would make the evening ferry, but knew that we still needed to make it to Ludington so we could at least catch it in the morning. Another quick 20 miles got us to Luther for lunch at Loggers Landing. We were making good time and there was still a possibility of making the ferry. We cruised through the first 15 miles until a decision to rely on the GPS caused us some problems – that’s the last time we do that!. One dirt road led to another and we found ourselves in the middle of the woods on a very sandy trail. After a few wipeouts walking the bikes became necessary and we confirmed that our bikes are not made for off road terrain, they certainly are not mountain bikes! We pushed the heavy bikes through the sandy dunes until we finally arrived back on the main road. It seemed that we were most definitely not going to make it in time. Despite making great time through the next 15 miles we eventually ran into the wind. We decided to call and make reservations for the night in Ludington and then get the ferry in the morning. Good thing we did because a few wrong turns set us back once again. Everyone was getting tired and we were happy to finally arrive at the Shoreline Inn right on Lake Michigan after 93 miles (our longest day yet!). Maggie and Dad took advantage of the pool and spa as we awaited our pizza delivery. Tomorrow morning we will be up early to catch the 8 AM ferry to Wisconsin. Unless of course we sleep in and take the evening ferry later on…

June 25

25 06 2009

Day 19:

After a great breakfast we left the comforts of the Hampton Inn with clean clothes and ice-cold water bottles – thanks again Sue! It was shaping up to be another hot day, despite the early raindrops. Luckily the rain held off, the forecasted thundershowers were nonexistent, and the sun was shining all day. We stopped by Ray’s bike shop before leaving town to get Jake’s pesky rear wheel looked at once more. Another broken spoke seemed to be the problem. With that fixed, our tires pumped, and a new supply of tubes, we headed down the Pere Marquette Rail Trail. We cruised along the nicely paved, and flat, trail for about 18 miles until we stopped for cold Gatorade and snacks. After refueling we continued to follow the trail until it ended in Clare at mile 33. We found lunch in town at a Chinese restaurant and firmed up our plans for the remainder of the day. We struggled in the wind for a few miles on a busy road, but after stopping for ice cream and more cold drinks things got a bit easier. The afternoon brought back some hills we haven’t seen in a while. But even in the heat, the hills were a nice change in terrain. After working on the uphills, there is a rewarding breeze on the speedy downhill stretches. We followed the rolling hills around multiple lakes until we arrived in Lake George, bypassing one campground and sticking to our original plan. We called to make sure there were sites at the campground in Temple (that certainly wasn’t a problem, we are one of 2 groups here tonight!) and completed the remaining 9 miles. Once in town, we got directions to the only restaurant and headed that way. We arrived at Club 61, a run down bar where our interesting stay in Temple began. Stepping in the door, everyone in the pub stopped and stared at us until we sat down – I guess we were a little out of place! We quickly ordered burgers, but had plenty of time to take in our surroundings as we waited about 45 minutes for food. A rough crowd in the restaurant, fixated on beer, cigarettes, and Keno made for some very entertaining people watching. Leaving the restaurant we found the campground just down the road. The park was closed for the night so we started towards the tenting site area, but found a deserted campground and another mosquito invasion. So we headed back to the main campground, climbed under the gates, and set up on a slightly more inviting site. With the exception of a group of women a few sites over, we are the only ones in the whole campground. That explains why only the women’s bathroom is unlocked. We bought some shower tokens from them since the store was closed when we arrived. Each token costs 75 cents and is worth just TWO MINUTES of shower time. We ended up with 3 tokens, a total of 6 minutes for 4 people! Dad decided to take one for the team and forgo the shower tonight, though I am not sure if he is the only one sacrificing – Jake shares his tent! The three of us, in the women’s bathroom, rushed through our super short showers and headed back to camp. We started a fire to keep the bugs off and called home. Tomorrow we hope to make it to Ludington, ready to cross Lake Michigan. It seems that everyone else is fast asleep and I am almost there myself. Glad I brought the earplugs!

June 24

24 06 2009

Day 18:

Another very, very hot day in Michigan today, definitely the hottest we have experienced so far. Leaving the cool motel room for breakfast we felt the heat right away. A few wrong turns at the beginning forced us to backtrack a few miles, but we had a pretty easy ride throughout the rest of the morning. Finally after 13 miles, we arrived at a small gas station for cold drinks (water doesn’t stay cold long in this heat) and a short break. From there we began the 25 miles through more farmland and very little shade until we reached Bay City. We stopped and asked a local biker for a place to eat lunch and he quickly pointed us towards the Stock Pot Diner just a few blocks away. Lunch was great, and the staff was wonderful. Thank you Michelle, Vince, Cindy, and Joy! They were genuinely interested in our trip and we enjoyed our extended lunch break in the cool restaurant to chat with them. While at lunch we made reservations to stay in Midland…first priority being a hotel with a pool. After a good meal, ice filled water bottles, and pictures with the friendly staff (see photos) we set our sites on a hotel in Midland. The afternoon heat was brutal and we stopped often for short breaks in the shade (under bridges, beneath trees, and behind buildings). With about 5 miles to go, we experienced our second flat tire. This time a thumb tack was lodged in Dad’s front wheel. Stuck on the side of the highway, unshielded from the heat, we replaced the tube in less than 10 minutes. Shortly thereafter, we arrived at the Hampton Inn in Midland. The staff was awesome! We quickly guzzled the ice water in the lobby and they offered to put some cold water pitchers in the room, an offer we could not refuse. Storage for the bikes, dinner coupons, and a dryer for our laundry were added bonuses. As soon as we unloaded the bikes, we headed for the pool. After a refreshing swim, and lounge outside, we showered and headed next-door for dinner at Damon’s. We are once again tired and ready for bed early. We will finish up laundry tonight and plan tomorrow’s route – we need to get to a bike store in the morning and stock up on spare tubes. Even after today’s struggle in the heat, we all agree that the heat is much more preferable to the wind and the rain.

June 23

23 06 2009

Day 17:

On days like today it is hard to believe we are lugging around the weight of warm clothes. Today was HOT! After a humid night sleeping in our tents we woke up to a dry, sunny morning! We left the Emmett KOA campground and found breakfast in the next town after 6 easy miles. Brief stops for cold drinks became routine today. We managed to get in 30 miles before lunch, but the heat was getting to us. Hitting 90 F we were happy to sit at a nice air conditioned Subway for lunch, even if it meant the same thing two days in a row. After lunch we stocked up on cold water/gatorade and headed to our final destination, Caro. Even with the heat, we made good time in the afternoon. With about 6 miles to go we were forced to take a detour down a pot hole ridden dirt road, which just about did us all in. Soon after, we arrived at our motel having completed 70 miles today. The air conditioning was already cranked for us when we walked in! We quickly showered and walked our sore bodies over to the Dairy Queen for burgers and ice cream! It was delicious. After that, Dad and Maggie walked next door to WalMart to replace Maggie’s Camera (victim to a swim in the washing machine the day before we left NH). Back in the room everyone is fading fast. It’s 9:30 and Dad has begun snoring away already (I could easily join him) but we woke him up when we called Mom 🙂 WE MISS YOU MOM! We also miss Tracker (our blind yellow lab) and hear that he has been showing signs of loneliness around the house.

Bed is crying my name so I’ll end tonight’s post.

More to come as another scorching day across the Michigan blacktop awaits us….

June 22

22 06 2009

Day 16:

After such a long day yesterday, an easy ride, early finish, and relaxing afternoon were in order. We slept in a little more than usual, ate a great breakfast nearby (ran into a fellow bike tourer yet again), and headed out, unsure of our destination. After 10 miles, we knew it was going to be a short day. Having started later than usual, we were riding in the heat of the day. No complaints about the sunshine however. After 20 miles we stopped for a Subway lunch in Memphis and took some time to plan the days ahead. The time to meet Mom is getting closer, and we need to begin making and sticking to a schedule for the next week our so. We can’t wait till you join us – we all miss you (and Tracker) very much!! It was there we decided that a chance for some down time was just what we needed. From there we set our sights on the Emmett KOA. Arriving around 4 o’clock, after just 40 miles, we looked forward to a relaxing afternoon. A swim in the lake, outrageous tan lines and all, was a great way to spend the afternoon. The campground staff was wonderful, thanks to Chris and the gang for their welcome! Hot dogs over the fire and cereal were a nice change of pace for dinner. The campground is nice and quiet tonight, and we are hoping for a restful sleep and a dry morning (don’t jinx it!). With a few long days ahead, we hope to cross Lake Michigan on Friday.

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.

Cape Cod

28 04 2009

For the first time ever the entire family was together to ride their new touring bikes.

On Friday April 24 the Woodward family of Dover, NH packed up the TO&FRO with five Fuji touring bikes and gear.

We finished the night by watching the hockey game (penguins and capitals) before falling asleep.

The following Saturday we racked up a 70 mile trip between the hours of 8am and 5pm.

Sunday was a more relaxing day as we toured the sand dunes and beaches of Province Town biking about 12 miles.