I made it to Portland!

 

I was sad about the poor camera quality of my phone

My last few days riding! On my way out of Salem, I stopped in the bird sanctuary of Plum Island. I saw many awesome bird species and was able to hang out and rest and enjoying the day.

More birds on Plum Island

I spent the night in Portsmith, New Hampshire. I spent the time with Jeff and Chris with their daughter Katie and her Irish husband Emmett. I spent the evening talking, eating burritos and s’mores, and watching Emmett get destroyed in Cribbage.

 

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New Hampshire!

I spent today going up to biking up to Portland. It was only mildly rainy, and I was able to make good time up to Portland.

 

 

 

More mushy trails

I made it to Portland in excellent time (well technically South Portland, but close enough.) I made it! I have no clue what I am going to do now, as I was kinda putting off thinking about what I was going to do until I got here.

 

Once I road in I talked to people about the best ice cream in the area. I went to Willard Scoops, and they make their own ice cream from scratch. Their mint chocolate chip ice cream had real mint leaves in it!

 

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Celebratory Ice Cream!

I went out for Cider and Falafel with my portland hosts, Joe and Charley. After eating on the beach, we went and watched the sunset over the ocean.

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Sunset over the Ocean

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Day off exploring Salem!

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Colorful Colonial houses

Yesterday was a pretty crummy ride into Salem with a near constant drizzle of rain and weather in the mid to low 40s. The ride was pretty short and pretty flat. I ended up staying with some excellent hosts, Marin and Paul. I met Marin and Paul through Dana and Mary from Westborough and I met Dana and Mary through my hosts Alice and Alex in Albany. It is the longest chain of amazing hosts I have met.

 

 

House of the Seven Gables – the house and it’s occupants inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel of the same name

I spent the significantly nicer day of today being a tourist and wandering around town. Just walking around town was like a walk in history. most of the houses are old colonial houses, many of which have the date on which they were constructed and the name and occupation of the original owner. Besides the strictly amazing architecture, the neighborhoods are full of color. the houses are painted historically accurate shades of yellow, blue, green, purple, black, and brown, with equally colorful shutters and doors.

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Royal au Chocolat

Salem is home to many wonderful food and historical places. Food wise I went a beautiful French Patisserie called Caramel, 2 Ice cream stops (Chocolate Raspberry at Captain Dusty’s homemade ice cream, and Minty Blueberry at Melt), and a delicious brie and ham sandwich at A&J King’s bakery. History wise I visited the House of the Seven Gables, the Salem Cemetery, and the Salem Visitor Center where I saw a wonderful video about the Salem Witch Trials.

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Gravestone of Judge John Hathorne 

It was great finally seeing the ocean. I am 2 days from Portland, Maine!

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The Commonwealth

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MA/ NY Border

I have had an excellent few days in Massachusetts! The first day was a pretty short day of just over 40 miles to Pittsfield, MA. After the relatively flat days following the Canal trail, the Berkshire mountains was a little bit tiring, but I didn’t need to walk my bike up anything. The mountains and hills in the East had shorter climbs than the mountains in the West, but it seems like the road planners decided to go straight up the mountains and hills rather than around in snaking roads.

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Berkshire Mountains

My PIttsfield host was very friendly and made dinner for me and a fellow cyclist, Chen Lui (sp?). I actually passed Chen a few days ago when I was on my way to Rome. He is from South Korea, and before he starts his last year of University, he decided to travel to America and do a solo bike ride across the states. It is his first time in America, and his favorite part of his ride was the Grand Canton.

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Terrible photo of my Host, Jay, and fellow Cyclist Chen

From Pittsfield, I went to Amherst (pronounced without the H). Along the way I stopped at the Old Creamery for Lunch. The food was delicious and I ended up talking to two very nice ladies. They saw me roll up and were curious about my loaded down bike. After talking to them for a few minutes, they ended up buying my sweet italian sausage grinder and my blueberry ice cream. When I got into Amherst, I stayed with Bob and Carol Biagi. Even though I am only tangentially related to them, and I haven’t seen them since I was three, they opened their home and hospitality to me. They offered me some wonderful conversations about people who go on crazy solo adventures, a few glasses of hard cider and wine, and some beautiful homemade manicotti. They were super kind and I would love to see them more frequently.

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The Old Creamery

Today I rode to Westborough, just outside of Worcester (pronounced like a toddler saying “Rooster”). It was a very hilly day and I managed to get my highest about of climb on my trip to date (the Previous record was climbing 3 mountains in one day!). I ended up staying with Dana and Mary, the Parents of my hosts from Albany which is really cool. They make me feel right at home, and I managed to get a bit of motherly worry from Mary as the weather looks like it will be awful tomorrow.

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Monument to Scientists

Albany, New York!

My Roman host, Larry took my picture in front of his house

The morning I left Rome, my host Larry made me a packed lunch for the road and sent me off with well wishes and a well fed stomach 🙂 I loved the decor of their house, as the theme was my favorite color of blue, birds and bikes.

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Utica

I spent the day completely on the Canalway trails, which varied in quality from Paved, to a narrow small dirt track depending on the area I was biking through. Larry, my host from Rome told me that I could camp at pretty much any of the Locks along the trail, and informed me that Rome was the location of the inital digging of the Erie Canal.

Bluffs along the Canalway trail

It was pretty fun seeing the scenery along the trail away from cars. Anything from Bluffs to farmland surrounded my route. Even though the rough trail slows me down about 2-3 mph, it is way flatter than the roads. If I didn’t take the trail, the two day trip from Rome to Albany would have 3000 more feet of climb, so I think that the slow down is worth it.

 

Piglets!

I set up camp at Lock 15 in Fort Plain to spend the night, which apparently offered Potable Water. I couldn’t find the water in the next morning, after depleting my three water bottles in the night, so I went to a tasty diner to get breakfast and a water bottle refill. I was surprised when I got there about how cheap the food was. I ordered some pretty filling Strawberry waffles, and it cost me less than $4! I continued along the trail to Albany, but I had a few more technical issues today with the trail, mainly a tree blocking the trail. I ran into a few more people today bikepacking, which was super cool.

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Trail blocked :/

Tonight I am spending the night in Albany with my hosts, Alice and Alex. They are working on fixing up the building that they live in/rent out/own, so Alex’s Dad is also staying with them. I had a lovely evening with them eating Pho and Ben and Jerry’s while discussing their relative adventures. Alex’s Dad (trail name – Pilot) is an avid Hiker who is over 1700 miles into hiking the Appalachian Trail in chunks. After reading the Wild and hearing stories about hiking, I must say that hiking the Appalachian Trail is on my bucket list.

When in Rome

Erie Canal

I can’t believe I am getting close to being done! New York has a pretty awesome trail along the Erie Trail. As long as I am not expecting poor weather, I have been riding on the trail, because although it isn’t paved (it’s crushed stone for most of it) the views are amazing!

A shy Shiba named Henry

In Rochester, I stayed with a wonderful couple with a wonderfully shy Shiba. David told me all about his time teaching international baccalaureate students in Crete, and took me on a walk with Henry the Shiba around the City.

More Erie Canal

Yesterday I had a few technical issues, as the cable on my front derailleur stretched which prevented me from changing gears. When I went to the Local Bike Shop in Auburn, the guy told me that was impossible because my bike was so old. After I explained my bike has just had a really tough 2 months, and it was actually pretty new, we started chatting about my trip. I felt a little bad when I left, because he refused to charge me, but I guess I can’t be mad for not having to pay for my bike being adjusted and being able to hide from the rain for a bit.

Oscar and Noodles

That night I stayed with a lovely family. I could tell I stopped at the right house, when I saw a ton of different bikes on their porch. The evening was filled with great conversation, dachshund cuddles, and some awesome Netflix time. Their house had a really cool layout, and they had a basement that had to be accessed though cellar doors which I found to be pretty cool.

Distant Hills

This morning was a little rough as the first 20 miles was on a bunch of short and steep hills up and down. After I reached Syracuse I was able to grab the Canal trail again for about an hour before I moved onto roads to try and beat the looming thunderstorms. While on the road I managed to stop for some delicious raspberry ice cream in some town that had an Italian sounding name. Given that I definitely road through Verona, and I am staying in Rome, I think I am in a very Italian area of the US!

Aqueduct for intersecting rivers

Made it to New York

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It got up to the 80s today

I had a great few days in Canada! I had Tim Horton’s in both Michigan and Canada, and I must say the Canadian version was so much better! I realized that I like the Metric system, Due to the Kilometer being a smaller unit of measure I regularly are going over 100 km a day!

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Good Weather

When I pulled into my campsite (a soccer field complex under construction.) A adorable family asked me to help them look for a Geocache, which we didn’t end up finding.

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Canadian Niagara Falls was having a Spring festival!

I pulled into Niagara Falls and they were having a super cute Spring Festival. I was really bummed out that I didn’t have any Canadian Cash to buy some of the v\cute stuff and street food. I was planning on Camping in Niagara Falls, but I was feeling like I didn’t bike Far enough so now I am in Lockport!

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This is my “I can’t find the Entrance to the Bridge to the US Face

 

Canada!

Mist

I spent yesterday in weather that was so Misty and Foggy, that I couldn’t wear my glasses due to the water droplets. It was a fun ride into Port Huron, and Michigan has a much better management of gravel roads. The paved roads don’t turn into gravel at the county line.

Border Crossing

I found out this morning that MDOT would give me a ride across the bridge for free, when previously I thought I needed to go down to Marine City. This saved me so much time that I got to London, ON one day ahead of schedule. The only bad thing about Canada so far is I forgot that I wouldn’t have cell service, so I had to stop outside a couple Tim Horton’s and Starbucks to get in contact with my London Warmshower Host to see if I can stay an extra day!

Ontario!

So far my time in Canada has been pretty great!

Almost done with Michigan!

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Lunch on the Trail

Michigan has been gorgeous so far! Over half of the miles I have ridden across Michigan has been on Paved Rail to Trail Bike trails, isolated from the roads. The farm fields are still surrounded trees.

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Forestry

I have been have many lovely picnic lunches/snacks along the Road. I even ran into another Bikepacker in the evening on Tuesday at a campground. He was also from Sheboygan and biking on his new recumbent bike to Washington DC. I have been a little hesitant about camping on the side of the road like I did in the West as Michigan has stricter Trespassing Laws, and I don’t want to get into trouble. It is rather unfortunate as Michigan camping is kinda ridiculous. I look forward to Canada which goes back to the more lax trespassing laws :).

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Pretty Purple Flowers

I’m currently camped in Sutter’s Recreational Campground, where they gave me a biker discount! (Yay!) After I set up camp, a somewhat quiet guy came up and invited me to Dinner with him and his wife. They were both motorcyclists, veterans, and wonderful people to have dinner with. They told me about all the romantic trips they took on their anniversaries, made me a spider made out of beads, and made sure I got a s’more before I left. They were super worried about me camping in the rain, even though I was under the pavilion. They told me probably a little too much about their various medical and personal issues, but it was lovely to talk to a few friendly faces.

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Camping on a Pavilion to avoid the rain

Michigan!

I had a great final few days in Wisconsin. John and I had some great head winds. On Friday we were going to go to Lake Mills, but the only place to stay in town had reviews suggesting bed bugs, so we biked about 10 miles to Johnston Creek.

The next day we were happy that we had 10 miles less to bike because the headwinds and rain were pretty bad. We were happy to get to the Leigh’ s house! They were awesomely hospital with their food, drinks, conversation and poodles. 

The oldest gravestone was from 1822

We saw a really cool old cemetery along the way. There were many cool old gravestones.

Goodbye Wisconsin

On Sunday I had a short and sweet 13 mile ride to the ferry, where I had a quick lunch with my Mom and John, before leaving John behind to continue my mission eastward. It was nice having tailwind, even if I only biked 13 miles. I got to Muskegon right around 4, and biked a few more miles.

Michigan Trails

I was happy to get to Rockford to hang out with my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins house. I hung out and was able to start catching up on watching Doctor Who. I loved catching up with my family, and I look forward to continuing east!

2000 Miles Down!

Today started out a bit cold, but it was a great ride! We rode about 62 miles today averaging about 14.5 mph. 20170518_115128

Due to the tornadoes in Wisconsin last night, we saw a bunch of wind damage, telephone pole repair, and a demolished metal shed.

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Today I also hit mile 2000 of my ride and it happened perfectly when I met up with Highway 12 for a few miles. Now both my 1000 and 2000 mile marks have happened on Highway 12.

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We rolled into Portage and had a lovely evening with our host, Andre. We swapped stories about our trips, and went out to dinner. Andre is an amazing host and let us stay with him, despite being mid renovation, and just having hosted a friend for a few days before we got here.

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