We will be following the Northern Tier route. To follow our day by day progress click on the trip progress link to the right. On that page is also a link to our cell phone tracking data so you can see exactly where we are.
Friday, August 1, 2014
Sorry for the delay with this last post. It took awhile to decompress after we finished our trip and I needed some time before I finished off the blog. Anyways, the last few days have felt very strange. It is odd to not peddle all day and to sleep in the same place at night. Really, both Mom and I just can't believe that our journey has come to an end.
We woke up Monday morning to a steady downpour of rain. Since we only had to peddle 40ish miles and our friends couldn't make it to the beach until around 3, we had a nice lazy morning. The rain was still coming down in buckets when we left, but what can you do? When it wants to rain it will rain. So we peddled through puddles and gave up all hopes of remaining dry as the water worked its way underneath our rain gear. Once we got 10 miles from the beach we holed up in a coffee shop to dry off and wait so our welcoming party could get to the beach. Thankfully the rain lightened up and by the the time we left our refuge the sky was grey but the precipitation had ended.
As we biked along the familiar roads Crescent Beach, we were struck with a sense of disbelief. It just didn't seem like we had come that far. We were excited to see friends and family but didn't want our trip to be over. We talked about stopping and turning around more than once. And as we approached the shoreline the most amazing thing happened. The clouds broke and blue sky emerged. It was perfect. We rounded the corner to meet our family and friends in the parking lot and were overwhelmed with their enthusiasm and support. Flowers, posters, happy faces, and cheers greeted us. We felt so loved in that moment and could not have asked for a better celebration. The crowd followed us as we dragged our bikes through the sand and into the water. My father brought out two bottles of champagne and special Northern Tier jerseys that my grandmother had bought for us. Kathy from Mass Vest a Dog had beautiful posters with our trip highlights. Better than all the flowers and bubbly, however, was the ability to share the ending ceremony of our long journey with family and friends. We are truly grateful to all those who showed up to support us. For those of you following along that were unable to join us, we understand and appreciate your support as well.
That night we ate at my father's favorite sushi restaurant in Portland before heading back to Camp Winona where he has spent the summer without us. It was actually the first time that I have been back at camp for quite some time and it was nice to see old friends and relax on the shore for a day before heading back to NH. Currently, Mom and I are holding down the fort at NH while dad remains at camp. She starts work again next week and I need to drive back to Massachusetts and move into my new apartment. Things will pick back up again for us very soon but right now we are still in a weird lull. Already we are talking about our next trip. It will definitely not be as long as this summer, but we both get some vacation time and a week isn't unfeasible.
We will continue to keep our go fund me page up for a little while more to see if we can rally up any last donations. Please consider donating if you have not and share our journey and cause with your friends and family. Every little bit helps and we appreciate all donations!
Anyways, I hope that you have enjoyed following our adventure. So many people come up to us and tell us that they are so impressed and can't believe what we have done. Honestly, it doesn't seem like such a big deal to us. We took one day at a time and just peddled. The hardest part of the trip was making it happen and taking the commitment plunge. So if you are considering some crazy adventure, my mom and I have three words for you: "GO FOR IT!" Really, we have had an amazing summer together and are so happy that we believed in ourselves enough to pursue the dream and that our friends and family supported us through it. Thanks again for the encouragement and support.
Posted by Casey D at 12:42 PM
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Wow! That's pretty much all Mom and I have been saying lately. We just can't believe that this trip is already coming to a close. It seems a bit surreal and we are both a bit sad to think of our trip ever being over.
Yesterday we made it to our home state of NH. We approached Lincoln on 112 from North Haverhill which was a new road to both of us. Our day was filled with steep ascents and we were pretty much drained when we reached the final descent into North Woodstock. Well, the 2 miles of 12% downhill made it all worth it. I hit 44 mph and was pretty much keeping up with the vehicle traffic. A teenage boy even filmed me out of the passenger side of his car while shouting that I was a bad ass. Thanks kid; I know.
We ate dinner at the Woodstock Inn- the home of my favorite beer. It was a fantastic yet strange meal. We just couldn't get over being so close to home. We stayed the rainy night at my father's friend's place in Lincoln where we fell asleep right away, greatful for the comfortable beds and shelter.
Today we woke up bright and early to meet my dad for a quick hello. It wad great to see him after so long even if it was a short hi as he passed through on his way from Maine to NH for a 24 shift. Then we met even more familiar faces. Our friends Teese and Todd met us and Teese took my Mom's luggage to the top of the Kanc for her. Todd was kind enough to ride with and entertain us to the top of the pass where we met up with Teese. It was awesome to have some new company to take our minds off the climb and we are so thankful that they took the time to help us out. After we said goodbyes Mom and I made the descent into Conway and onward into Maine. We got caught in some very heavy rainfall but made it safe although drenched to Cornish where we are spending our last night luxuriously at an Inn due to thunderstorm warnings. Tomorrow believe it or not we are due to arrive at Cresent Beach mid afternoon. It will be quite a bittersweet moment.
Posted by Casey D at 5:55 PM
Friday, July 25, 2014
We are spending our second and final night in Vermont before we cross over to our home state of NH.
Yesterday we took the day "off." We rested and hung out with my Cousin Christina and her kids before leaving in the afternoon to bike the 20 miles to Middlebury. The ride was short but hilly. The views were gorgeous and the weather finally cooled down so we were happy despite the climbs. We reached Middlebury at a decent time and met up with my cousin Geoff's friend who graciously agreed to host us. We were able to enjoy a walk in historic Middlebury and grab a nice bite to eat before we slept in preparation for today.
Today we defeated Middlebury Gap. We were lucky enough to ride with Christina and her father in law. Even luckier (maybe), her husband, Peter, carried our panniers over the pass to Rochester where he retrieved his father and wife. We all ate lunch together before we said our goodbyes and Mom and I continued onward to South Royalton. Afterward, Mom and I couldn't stop talking about how great it was to have family join us on a leg of our journey, especially one that we had been facing with some apprehension. It made it so much easier and we are so thankful that they agreed to join us.
We are taking shorter days today and tomorrow because we realized that we were looking at Sunday as our grand finale day. My father has to work a 24 shift that day and would be unable to meet us and that simply would not do. Since we have plenty of time and are reluctant to see our trip come to an end we were more than happy to have an excuse to take our time. We are now most likely going to arrive on the more agreeable date of Monday.
Well, although tomorrow is not going to be a particularly long day, it does have hills and we are going to get a good start on the day to avoid the heat.
Posted by Casey D at 5:26 PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
We have arrived on Crown Point where we are staying with my cousin Christina and her children at her in law's camp. We have had a hot and humid go of it the last two days but it looks like it is going to break tomorrow.
Two days ago we pushed hard to make it to Old Forge and the promise of a hotel. We encountered the first of the Adirondacks but were rewarded with some pretty sweet downhills. Although the day was tough, it was definitely worth it once we made it luxury of the motel. We met a large group of supported cyclists and took their recommendation for dinner. The restaurant was a fantastic Italian place where we stuffed ourselves with pasta, wine, and desserts. We felt pretty satisfied as we strolled back to the our air conditioned room.
Yesterday we got a later start but still put in a slow 60 or so miles to Russell Lake State Park over some hot and hilly terrain. We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful campground with well spaced out sites right on the lake. It was a nice break from the crowded parks we have been staying at lately.
Today was another really hot day with plenty of elevation. We took our time with the mileage and drank lots of water. After we ducked into a restaurant to weather a thunderstorm we made it to Crown Point and family. It is truly amazing to see familiar faces and relax a little. Tommorrow we are going to spend the morning with family before pedaling the 20 or so miles to the base of Breadloaf Pass so we can be as close as possible to it on Thursday. Ok, I need to get off the phone and pay some attention to cousins once removed.
Posted by Casey D at 5:05 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2014
I am happy to write that we are now in NY! It is so hard to believe that we have about six hundred miles and about ten days left.
Anyways, we had a blast in Ontario but were roaming so I couldn't post any updates. As we saw there were many campgrounds along Lake Erie, we decided to splurge for a cheap motel in Marine City before we crossed over. We had a delicious dinner right on the St. Claire River before heading to bed early.
We then woke up early and grabbed some coffee before taking the five minute ferry across the river to Ontario. We breezed through customs and spent the day pedaling toward Lake Erie. We ended up going 96 miles all the way to Port Stanley. We ended up camping with a fellow tourer who had also stayed at the same motel as us in Marine City. Funny enough, we are on the same mileage routine and including tonight have ended up at the same campground for four nights in a row! He is super nice and we are greatful for new company.
The next day we had a blast pedaling along Lake Erie and through all the little port towns. We also ate the offerings of numerous farm stands along the way. We were lucky enough to stay in a very quite campground under a gazebo within spitting distance of Lake Erie.
Yesterday, we decided to get as close to the Canadian side of Niagria Falls so we could see them nice and early today. We were blessed with another beautiful day and the lake was beautiful! Overall, another great day.
Today we woke up early and made it the ten miles to Niagria Falls before all the busses arrived. We sat and head a coffee and took in the views. The morning was clear and we got an unobstructed view of the grand attraction. We then returned to the USA where we spent the day on a bike path along the aerie Canal. Although the gravel path made for slow going, the day remained beautiful and we really couldn't complain. We even got to see the locks in action at Lockport, so hey.
Tonight we are camping right on the canal off the bike path with a bunch of other bikers. Although Mom and I are getting along great, we appreciate new people to talk with. It is especially fun to hear other cyclist's stories and experiences on the road.
Well, it's been a long day and I am ready to go to bed so I'll leave it at that.
We are all settled in at the Selkirk Shore State Park where we are nestled right on the coast of Lake Ontario. Today was a long day of rolling steep hills which was a rude awakening after the flatness along the Erie Canal. We are in the second biggest fruit producing county in the country, however, so we are coming across many farm stands which keeps us happy. At one such stand we met a father/son team from Florida who are doing am Eastern section of the northern tier. It was great to talk to another parent/child duo and they even bought us some trail mix which was really sweet of them. Later today, we ventured a bit off route to have a picnic lunch at the Fair Haven Beach State park. It seemed like we were at the ocean, right down to the watchful seagulls who supervised our lunch.
Yesterday, met up with our friends the Hodges. They were on their way driving out west and were sweet enough to drive out of their way and say hi. It was very nice to see some familiar faces from home. Later, we encountered some afternoon drizzles and wore our raincoats for the first time in a while. Since the rain was picking up, we opted to stay with warm showers hosts Jim and Carol. Boy, did we make a good call. They were busy with am event at their marina, but still agreed to host us. We met them at said marina where we had dinner and met all their friends. Then they took us back to their beautiful old farmhouse, gave us some wine, and allowed us to do some desperately needed laundry. This morning they cooked us a delicious breakfast and sent us off showered and in clean close before they went to church. They had a busy weekend scheduled and we were very thankful and impressed that they took the time to take such great care of us.
Well, that's about all the updates I have. It seems that we only have about five hundred or so miles left. We encountered the first Dunkin Donuts of the trip which is a sure sign of being on home turf. The going from here might be a bit slower than we have been accustomed to due to the Adirondack and White Mountains but we have made excellent time so far and have plenty of time before my classes start up.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
We have had a rather hot and humid last two days but have. It let that stop us from having a great time. Despite more breaks for water refills we have been able to cover a decent amount of ground and are either going to reach Ontario tomorrow night or the next morning.
Yesterday we got to travel on an awesome paved rail trail for a bit. It is so nice to see all these repurposed routes that get tons of use. I wish there was so a convenient and safe path in Worchester or in my dream world one that connected right to Grafton and the Tufts campus. While on the path we met a very nice group of women who all get together to bike and run. They were very outgoing and kind; they all offered us a bed in their houses later gave generous donations to our fundraiser. However, we had already arranged to stay at warm showers hosts Jen and Bills's house who had already picked up new chains for our bikes. Jen and Bill were so nice, they put on our chains for us and fed us dinner all before they had to leave for a cycling competition they were competing in today. They left us with their four adorable black labs and various other dogs that were boarding (Jen is a trainer) and Jen's very sweet mother.
Today we had a bit of a shorter day due to the humidity and a very special rendezvous. We met up with a contingent from Michigain's Vest a Dog chapter. Along with them were Officer Stacer and his canine Canjo who work for the Saginaw PD. We were so honored that they all took time out of their days to drive to some rural road on our route and greet us. They were also very generous with donations. We can't express our gratitude enough and how great it made us feel to get to meet some fellow Vest a Dog people. Many thanks!
We later took some time to cool off and eat some cheese from the touristy yet fun Frankenmuth, home of the Frakenmuth Cheese Haus. We then decided to have a short day and only go about 25 miles further to the Otter River Campground which some cyclists coming the other direction had recommend. The campground is crowded but nice and has a great little beach on the lake which we used to cool off. Now we are resting up for what could be a long day tomorrow if we push to make it across the border. Once we are in Canada I might not be able to update depending on internet access since using cellular data out of country is undesirable. So don't fret- we will be fine I am sure and eating lots of crepes.
Posted by Casey D at 5:33 PM