Monday, June 29, 2009

Reporting in from the middle of nowhere 10 feet from the highway

Location: 30 miles inside Illinois

Distance traveled today: 70 miles

Total Distance traveled: 1376

Today we didn’t start as early as we wanted. We ended up lounging around the house and then when we finally left we realized we were hungry. So we stopped at Panera Bread and ate some food. I got to talking with this guy named Matt who started to ask about the biking. I told him that one of the things about biking was that we always got a little bored. So he told us he would give us all these audio books that were on his external hard drive. One thing I figured I could do on this trip is learn Chinese since China is going to dominate in the future. Matt pulled through for me because he has learning Chinese on audiotape. He also gave us learning Spanish and Japanese. Thank you Matt!

We finally started to ride and were hit by tremendous winds. It was a lot worse than yesterday, but again we made it. We crossed into Illinois today and what was great was that the roads were completely empty. We would go almost 30 minutes without seeing a single car When we got into Illinois we finally changed time zones. We’re now on central time.. It started to get dark and we finally got to do some night riding with our lights. It was so intense riding with our lights. They looked like strobe lights bouncing around. I was blasting techno music (Tiesto’s In search of Sunrise 7) from my Ipod so it was a good mix with the lights. We got to our town around 11 pm and stopped by the police station and asked where we could camp out. He told us there was a spot about 2 miles out of town that was an old park that they had closed down. So off we went and we found it about 15 minutes later. We set up our tent and I’m writing to you lying here in it about 10 feet from the road.

How am I able to be on the internet right now? Well I have my blackberry and I have my laptop. Verizon offers this service called tethering where I connect the blackberry’s internet to the laptop and bam I can be online anywhere even right next to the highway in the middle of nowhere.

our tent next to the road

Tomorrow is a rest day!!

Wind from hell

Current Location: Lafayette, Indiana (where Purdue is)
Distance Traveled Yesterday: 89 Miles
Total distance to date: 1306 miles

I was wrong about the wind. I thought the day before yesterday the wind was not a big deal, but man yesterday it was gusting at 30 mph right into our faces. It's all farms out here and barely any trees to block any of the wind so it hits us with full force. It really impacted our time and instead of averaging around 15 mph we only averaged 12 mph. In spite of that we made it, and we're over 1/3 of the way!

We stopped at McDonald's with about 40 miles to go for lunch and in there this man named Kevin starts talking to us about our bikes. He's from about 20 miles from Lafayette, so we ask if he knows anyone in the area to let us camp out. He calls a few people with no luck and right before we leave he says hold on, "my friends son has a house very close to Purdue." So he gives him a call and it turns out the son (Anthony) won't be there for the night, but since Kevin thought we were nice people he uses his good name with Anthony and gets him to allow Wyatt and I to stay there by ourselves. We were overjoyed!!

Kevin met up with us at the house in Lafayette later and then treats us to this place called Steak n Shake, where I had the best burger in a long time. He then gave us the grand tour of Lafayette and Purdue and dropped us off. Kevin probably is one of the nicest guys i've ever met and don't worry we didn't sully your good name. Thank you Kevin! Whenever you feel like heading south with your sons you're welcome to stay.

We're about to leave this 3 bedroom house in a few minutes and pull out of Indiana and head into Illinois, which will be our 8th state out of 14.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Found an Ipod

Current Location: Hunting Indiana
Distance traveled yesterday: 87 miles
Distance after 16 days of riding: 1217 miles

Today we rode 87 miles to Huntington, Indiana and we made really good time in spite of all this extra weight that's on our bikes. The ground is so flat that we are averaging about 15 mph even though the wind is going against us most of the time. There was a huge traffic jam along the highway with cars backed up about 3 miles. This doesn’t bother us at all since we can just go around traffic. It turned out that a car had smashed into a house on the side of the road. As soon as we got there helicopters were landing to take people to the hospital.

Later on right before we crossed into Indiana, I suddenly saw an Ipod on the ground. I yelled, “Wyatt was that an Ipod?” We made a mad dash back to it and I picked it up. It was all scratched up, but it still worked. It’s a 120 GB one! I think what must have happened is that David (it says david IPod on it) was driving along the road in the middle of the night and suddenly saw an asteroid flying through the air. He swerved and slammed on the breaks. The ipod that was sitting on his dashboard flew out the window and landed on the road. David barely missed being hit by the asteroid by seconds and it took a while before his heart stopped pounding. An hour later he realized his Ipod was lost forever in darkness along highway 224.

David if you ever read this. We can figure out a way to get the ipod back to you.

We arrive in Huntington and the people were staying with Tim and Mary Bowman had set up a camper for us in their backyard. They made us a wonderful dinner and Wyatt and I lounged in their pool. All in all it was a great day.

the camper

Friday, June 26, 2009

brandons gone

Current Location: Ottawa, Ohio
Distance traveled: 1130 miles

So in the time since i've last written, quite a bit has happened. We left Westlake, Ohio and rode to Monroesville, Ohio where we passed a 1000 miles and about 5 miles before we arrived the nastiest thunderstorm hit. Luckily we were in a town and took shelter in a church before it got really bad. We waited the storm out and then made our approach to the beautiful Angie Wilhelm's casa where we had a delightful lasagna dinner and cheesecake all made by Angie. Whoever marries this girl will be a lucky man!! She can cook a scrumptious meal! We met Angie 3 years ago at the beach in North Carolina using the sunscreen technique and when I realized our bike ride took us right by her house I knew we had to reunite! So, she and her family gladly took us in. They made us feel right at home and you know what we felt like part of the family.

We left this morning and this was when Brandon left us for good. He drove back to north Carolina and now it's just Wyatt and I and all our stuff on our bikes. The true adventure begins. we have no lifeline anymore. WE MISS YOU!!! We made the ride with no problem. Except at one point this dog started chasing us. We survived! We were lucky today because this couple Gerry and Susan drove from Cincinnati and took us out to dinner and put us up in this really nice bed and breakfast. Hope you guys made the drive back safely. They were really generous to us and both them and Angie's family are welcome to come visit.

Gerri and Susan at the bed and breakfast

we have quite a long ride tomorrow and i dont know when i'll have a bed again so i'm going to take advantage and go to sleep.

Indiana tomorrow

Thursday, June 25, 2009

trial run

Up to this point Wyatt and I carry on our bikes a few essentials when we ride off. We usually take a few tubes and an extra tire and a pump. Since today is the last day we'll have Brandon driving along we decided to put all the stuff we planned on taking with us when he leaves and put it on our bikes. It's about 25 to 30 pounds worth of stuff compared to the 7 pounds we had before. If it's too much stuff at least we'll have one more day to decide which things are essential and which things are luxuries. Luckily we have a short day of 55 miles so that should help a tad.

fully loaded

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

stories of ohio

Westlake, Ohio - 92 miles ridden today
980 total miles ridden.
Passed through Pensylvania and now we're in Ohio

I'm writing as i'm laying down in a bed for only the third time in 2 weeks and let me tell you it feels really good. I have to thank John and chris for providing us lodging and cooking us a fabulous meal. We all played some Wii. They've made us feel right at home today/tonight. The riding has started to get a lot easier since the ground is so much flatter. I think it will stay flat until we hit the rocky mountains. We're really excited about breaking a thousand miles tomorrow. These next few stories are about the generousity of people that we met in ohio.

1. So we ride across the border and stop at a town called Conneaut, Ohio. We decided that we'll go ot the midnight showing of Transformers because we haven't really had any entertainment. We walk up to buy our tickets around 9:30 pm and we get to talking with the people that work there and one of the guys happens to be a biker. He goes on to offer us a place to camp in his yard for the night. We're very thankful. Just so you know I fell asleep during the movie. Riding lots of miles and staying up really late doesn't work out to well for me.

2. We're riding today and stop at Arbys because they had a sign out front that said get a free sandwich if you pay for a small drink. So we stop since we're ALWAYS hungry. We order and this couple asks Wyatt and I if we were in Pennsylvania the other day. We said yes and they said we saw you two riding your bikes the other day. They ended up giving us some money for food after we told them what we were riding for and wanted to take our picture to show their grandkids.

So that happens and then we talk to two other women in Arbys and they both also gave us money and said to buy food. We were very thankful to these people. If they read this. THANKS AGAIN!

3. We're about 35 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio and we stop at a gas station to find out if there is a way that we can bike around Cleveland without going through tons of traffic. This guy starts talking to me and says he used to bike with olympians back in the 7os and he starts telling me the route we should take to get past cleveland. so we follow his advice and we're about 5 miles into his route when a car pulls up right behind me and honks. At first I thought it was an angry driver, but it turned out to be the same guy. He had gone home printed out step by step directions on his computer, then drove and caught up to us and gave us these directions. We got through Cleveland just fine thanks to him!

I'm sure some people are wondering how we talk to all these strangers. Well these things usually happen when we have our bike outfits on. People ask about what we're doing and then things go from there.

Looking forward to sleeping in a nice bed tonight!

Monday, June 22, 2009

a post for andrew

Today is June 22nd and it has been three years since my brother Andrew passed away. It's hard to believe that three years has already gone by. It feels like yesterday I was talking to you and confiding in you. I still think about you everyday and I hate that you were robbed of a full life. I miss you Andrew. This journey is for you.


your brother

century bike ride

Distance traveled on last day: 101.52 miles
Distance traveled to date: 804 miles

Reporting in from Angola, New York. We’re about 20 miles south of Buffalo right now and we’ll be out of New York today! We went 101 miles yesterday, which is a personal best for both of us. If we do about 85 today we’ll be caught up from the day that we got 4 flat tires. It shouldn’t be a problem. We got new tires for our bikes that are meant for touring instead of racing. Those 100 miles was the most intense ride we’ve had and we did it in about 7 hours. When we got to Angola which is right on Lake Erie, we set up camp on a sand dune, which was about 30 feet above the lake and went to sleep. Wyatt and Brandon slept in the tent, but I set up my hammock since was the first night there wouldn’t be rain since we started our journey. I woke up this morning facing the lake as the sun was just coming up. It was beautiful.

The campsite

We want to thank the girls from Starbucks that let us stay in their apartment the night before in Canadaigua, New York.

We’re just eating breakfast right now and then heading off into Pennsylvania.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

the rain never ends

So we've biked 10 days and gone approximately 700 miles. Of those 10 days it has rained 8 of them and i'm talking about rain that lasts all day not the kind in North Carolina where it storms for 3o minutes and gets sunny again. Apparently it's supposed to finally get sunny tomorrow afternoon for good. I hope it does. We have deviated from our route slightly since 2 days ago we had 5 flat tires between the two of us and ended up not making it as far as we had to. To fix that over the next few days we'll have to add a few extra miles to each day, which isn't a problem. Yesterday we had our longest bike ride, where we went 84 miles. We also went over these hills known as the Pompey Hills which apparently are harder than the rocky mountains. Traveling over these hills was very difficult, but a lot of fun. You'd go uphill for a mile and a half then go downhill for a mile and a half. We reached speeds of over 43 mph, which was intense.

When we got into town last night I went into a dollar general and asked if there was anywhere we could camp for the night. I made sure to ask in front of the line with the most people. I then asked if there was any place that we could possibly camp in a yard. This woman named Kate stepped up and said we could camp out in her yard. What a nice woman!!! She told us about the fair that was going on and we ended up seeing some fireworks. Our main concern right now is to get out of this rain!!! At one point today we stopped at a Bass Pro Shop and went to the sleeping bag section and got inside them to get warm. We were very inconspicuous and people had no idea we were in there.

It was so warm!!!

Well panera bread is closing so we're heading out to our next campsite. We met some people at Starbucks and they're letting us camp out in their yard. I think the most surprising thing I've learned on this trip is how generous people are.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the glove capitol of the world

We were supposed to take a day off after we got to Vermont, but Ted the guy we were staying with in gloversville, NY said that if we biked on our day off to his place we could stay two nights. We loved this idea. We biked 83 miles and crossed from Vermont into New York. We're still looking for a new york sticker to put on our bike. We have a Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont sticker and we're trying to get every state we go through.

New York

We get to Gloversville, the town that used to make gloves for the United States and immediately are greeted with Ted's amazing hospitality. He cooked us a Thanksgiving dinner complete with a whole turkey, stuffing, and potatoes. It was so tasty and by far the best meal we've had on the trip. He even gave up his bedroom and let us sleep in there. What a nice guy.

The next day (yesterday) was our rest day Brandon and I went to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It was awesome, the first 15 years of my life were consumed by baseball and it was great to see all the old players and history of the game. That night Ted again made us dinner, his famous chicken wings and homemade french fries. For dessert he made Brownies with ice cream. This guy was a champion!
Hanging out with Babe Ruth at the Baseball Hall of Fame

We give Ted a five star rating due to: the amazing food, the great company, the great sleeping arrangements, and jaccuzi. I highly reccommend it.

We're about to pull out for Oneida, NY. we have a 84 mile bike ride ahead of us. It's raining outside, but thats how its been 5 of the 7 days we've ridden so we're getting used to it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

3 days 2 new states

So it's been hard to update this thing because it's fairly hard to get wifi in these smalls towns. A lot has happened in the 3 days since i've written. We're finally out of Maine and traveled through New Hampshire and into Vermont. Today we'll be heading into New York. One thing Wyatt and I are doing is putting stickers of each state on our bike to show where we've been.

New Hampshire was interesting while we were biking through it we thought that there must be more motorcycles here than anywhere in America, but when we get into the town we were stopping at for the night we learned that it was really New Hampshire's bike week, which is the oldest in America. We went and hung out with some bikers for a little while and took in the experience. Also, we found a really nice hotel and proceeded to do a little sneak dog technique in through the side door and ventured into their pool and hot tub. I'll tell you something that hot tub felt so amazing that we stayed in it for an hour.

Vermont has been very mountainous. Yesterday, 95 percent of our bike ride was uphill and then when we were about 5 miles away from Manchester, Vermont the road dropped thousands of feet for those last 5 miles. It was the biggest rush of our lives going down that mountain especially since it was 40 degrees and rainy at the top and as we descended the clouds opened up, the sun came out, and it got hot. It was an amazing experience.

The thing about this trip that is amazing to me is how nice people are when we tell them what we're biking for. Our last night in Maine Brandon asked a guy that owned a storage unit if we could just camp out there and when it started to rain he said we could just go inside one of his units so we werent outside. My first time sleeping in a storage unit!

storage unit campsite

In NH we were finishing up eating and we went into the bar next to the restaurant and asked some people where would be the best place to camp, when this guy (Joe) who was in his 70s said that we could sleep in his guest bedroom. we were overjoyed to have a place to stay and we took our first shower in a week.
joe and fallon
Right now i'm writing from Richard's house in Vermont. He's a person that I found on couchsurfing and he was very nice and showed us so much hospitality. We cooked in his kitchen and slept in his living room and it made our first couchsurfing adventure a good one.

We're off to our next couchsurfing stop in New York. Over and out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

150 miles in 2 cookies

I'm writing right now from a subway thats about to close. I just ate two foot long subs and since the three of us are using their wireless and they're about to close they gave us 10 free cookies! Talk about luxury.

The past two days have been pretty intense biking days. We've gone 150 miles and most of it had been in the rain. Today we saw the sun for the first time since we left North Carolina and it was glorious. Finally it was warm. It got up to 80 degress today and we were able to see the real Maine.

The best thing about yesterday when we got to Liberty, Maine was the place that Brandon found for us to sleep. It was in this park right on a huge lake and we just set up our hammocks and slept like babies next to the water after we ate 2 pounds of spaghetti. It was our own personal lakefront property.

Today Wyatt and I both got our bikes up to 39 mph which are personal bests for the trip. we actually were going faster than traffic since it was in 35 mph. The best part of the ride today was at mile 60 we went through this town that had our first shower in 4 days. We saw a fountain that was shooting water and we proceeded to play in the fountain. IT felt so gooood. We did scare some people who were probably not used to people bathing and playing in the fountain in their bike shorts.

Right now we're about to pull out and stay with this nice family that we met at the end of our bike ride. They saw us struggling up a huge a hill and so we asked them where Poland was and they said that we were in it. Then we asked if there was anywhere we could camp out and they said anywhere really. So we asked if we can camp out in their backyard and they said sure thing. Such great hospitality.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First day of riding

So we woke up at 6 am and it was overcast and 45 degrees. Very cold. Still we went to the lighthouse and started riding. Before we even started riding I popped a tube. Wyatt brought out some spoons and used them to get the tire of the rim and pulled the popped tube out. then we replaced that baby with no problem. Off we went and after a few miles we realized we had put way too many layers on and started taking stuff off on the side of the road. People stared as we were stripping right next to the road, but in Maine apparently they just wave when you take your clothes off. All was good until about mile 40 when the rain started coming down pretty hard. We put on our rain jackets and we were just fine. Although the road got fairly slippery. We biked 78 miles today in about 5 and a half hours.

right now we're in Franklin, Maine and are using some stores wireless. We're pretty exhausted and will be retiring into the tent pretty soon. Maine has these cool areas where you can just pull 20 feet of the road and set up a tent. It's supposed to be rainy and cold tomorrow, but since everyday we're going further south we figure it will get warm soon engough.

Fun fact: Franklin, Maine is the Christmas tree capitol of the world

at the lighthouse at 7am. as far east in america as possible. The journey begins

blueberries are a big deal in this state

very wet as we get into franklin, maine

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reporting in from Lubec, Maine

We all arrived at Lubec, Maine today around 6 pm after 24 hours of straight driving. We’re definitely happy to be out of the car and are ready to start riding tomorrow. As soon as we got here we went to the lighthouse which is the eastern most point in the United States. We felt pretty awesome knowing every single person in the country was to the west of us. We’re about to set up camp and cook some spaghetti. We’re near a beach access and since it says no camping on the beach, we figure we’re okay to camp out right before the sand. At least that’s our logic. Tomorrow is the big day. Over and out.

PS – Wyatt says that it’s extremely beautiful here and Brandon says this is a place that should be visited.

Brandon enjoying the lobster...maybe too muchgetting eaten by the lobster

wyatt needs something to lean on for moral support.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

the day before we begin

We leave for Maine tomorrow. We (Brandon, Wyatt, and I) are driving up there after I take my LSAT exam in Raleigh. It's about a 24 hour drive if we don't take any breaks and just rotate drivers. Brandon is driving along with us for 2 and half weeks and then will head back to North Carolina. After that Wyatt and I will ride the rest of the way to California by ourselves. We are so excited and can't wait to start the journey. I'm sure after a week of riding through the pain we'll be feeling slightly different, but right now SO EXCITED!

Our local newspaper (The Pilot) wrote about our bike trip today so check that out at this site: