Monday, August 18, 2014

Aug 16 2014 Durham NH to Gloucester ME

The morning was crisp and bright as I crawled out of my tent this morning.  I was so glad that it was going to be a nice day.  After the last week of bad weather I was really afraid that we were going to have a miserable 62 mile ride to finish this odyssey. 

Breakfast was a total treat as it was over in the University of New Hampshire cafeteria.  I had a huge pile of bacon, a made to order omelet and a fresh waffle.   I never ate like this when I was in university.  This was probably a good thing as I would have wound up weighing a 1000 pounds. 

Ed W, Ken C, Jos and I rolled out of town together and were off down some of the prettiest New England roads you can imagine.  There were lots of little short but steep climbs, twists and turns.  It was a total blast. It probably helped that everyone’s spirits were high; having said that nobody was taking any chances as nobody wanted to crash on the last day. 

At lunch we meet up with Earnie and then the 5 of Rockies II riders were off down the final 25 miles.   Just as we were leaving Ken found he had a flat at lunch so we had to fix it before we could leave but with so many experts it took forever to fix.  Jos came to the rescue with his instant stick on patch and we were off.

Greg W had the finish line all set with balloons and a chalk line indicating we were done.  After everyone had made it into camp there was a police escort down to the ocean for the ceremonial wheel dip in the ocean.  My friends John and Dereka showed up to help me celebrate.  Wow was it ever great. 


Friday, August 15, 2014

Aug 15 2014 Fryeburg ME to Durham NH

There was suppose to be 0% chance of rain this morning but as I was getting ready to crawl out of my tent it started to rain.  This caused me to rethink my clothing options and  I pulled out my rain pants and rain gloves.  Putting this much gear on assured me that the rain would be short lived.

I rolled into breakfast and connected with Ed and the two of us rolled out together.  It was a 86 mile day with 2900 feet climb so the order of the day was to get it done. The road was wet from the earlier rain and the sky was still dark from a heavy cloud layer.  There were a lot of steep but short climbs through the mostly back roads.  The dark sky and large trees on both sides of the road made it pretty dark through most of the morning.

Just before picnic we came to a short hill with a curve to left and I said to Ed this is where I caught Patrick D four years ago and scared him with my bark.  Sure enough we got to the top of the hill and there was picnic in the same spot with the closed up gas station.  Pretty funny I wouldremember that hill.  

At picnic we had 100 miles to go to get to Gloucester. WOW.

After picnic we rolled out with Ken C and the three of us cruised along making really good time.  There was only one hill after picnic and it wasn’t too steep or long and it was mostly down hill.  At the 70 mile mark there was a left turn at a Stop light. As we came to a stop I could see a pink building across the road.  So I said to Ed that looks like an ice cream parlour.  Sure enough it was. They must have had 100 flavours so the choose was a hard one but it was well worth it. 

With only 16 miles to go it was an easy cruise in to Durham. I was glad to be in as the clouds were starting to look ugly again.


Aug 14 2014 Littleton NH to Fryeburg MA

Last night after we had a great feed at a local restaurant “Talk of the Town”  we walked down a few doors to Chutters.  Chutters is famous for having the worlds longest candy bar.  There are hundreds of jars of candy to choose from.  Every other one is one of your favourites.  Liquorish of a hundred varieties, Peppermints beyond discripition, jellies ranging from the gummy variety to the harder drop type, and of course my personal favourite the fruit slice.  You take a paper bag put on a plastic glove and start down the line.  It is $10.99 a pound.  You take a couple of these and a couple of those and by thhe end you have $20 worth of candy.  I love the place and would consider moving to Littleton so that I could go there often.

This morning the rain stopped long enough for me to fold up my tent and get my gear loaded.  Then it started to come down.  So I rolled down to breakfast and had hoped that it would stop but no such luck.  Ed and I rolled out together but Ed was on a mission and sped down the road.  I didn’t fancy riding in a rooster tail of water so I was fine with that.  At the 20 mile mark I came to the historic Mount Washington hotel. It was built in 1902 and is a huge iconic place. It was there that the IMF and the Marshal Plan were agreed to after WWII.  We were told that we were welcome to walk down the lobby so I did. It is truly a grand place. 

The foul weather was al stacked up against Mount Washington which is over 6000 ft and the highest peak in the area.  After I got past it and down Crawford’s Notch the weather was beautiful. 

I caught up with Ed at picnic which was at the 40 mile mark.  After a sandwich and my fill of fresh fruit Ed and I rode off the remaining 22 miles down to Fryeburg.  We are staying in the fair grounds which are huge.  There are buildings for everything. 

Just two days remain.  Hard to believe.


Aug 13 2014 Stowe VT to Littleton NH

The forecast was for rain to day and boy did we get it. I started out with everything I own on however after only a mile I stripped down to just the jersey and rain coat and shorts and rain pants.  The ride was 77 miles with picnic at the 39 mile mark. The ride had a lot of climb in it at 4800 ft.  This meant that you always had a hill in front of you. 

Four years ago we had perfect pavement at the infrastructure program had paid for all the back roads to be paved.  Today these roads are falling apart.  Most of the roads are extremely rutted and the pavement is broken in to cobbles.  To illustrate how bad the roads are my mirror has vibrated apart. This is Mountain Equipment Coop mirror and is meant for mountain bikes.

At about the 25 mile mark I was crossing a bridge and got a puncture on my rear wheel.  I heard it pop. So I rolled across the bridge and changed the tube.  Nothing like fixing a flat in the pouring rain.  Then about 5 miles further on I hit some thing else and got a flat on my front tire. Only this time what ever I hit caused a T shaped tear in the tire.  The top of the t was probably 3/8” long.  So I put a boot in the tire which looks kind of suspect but it was the best I could do.  Just then the van comes along and I have my last new tire on that van. This means changing the tire again in the pouring rain however a much better solution.  That front tire had about 1500 miles on it when I got to the tour and now I put another 3900 on it.

I am thinking picnic should be coming up as it was at 39 miles and my trip odometer shows 80 miles.  Somehow it has decided to act up in the rain.  Swell, Just Swell!

Tonight the school we are staying in will only let us sleep in the halls. Greg went across the street and got the people to let us set up in their yard.  Looks like Earnie and I are the only two takers.  It is still pouring rain and I mean pouring rain.    


Aug 12 Burlington to Stowe VT

Today was the second short day in a row with only 49 miles to ride. Luggage loading was delayed by 15 minutes as the university cafeteria where breakfast was did not open until 7:00 am rather than the typical 6:30 AM. The extra 15 minutes of sleep was great and packing up the tent was easy as it was totally dry.

Ken and I lingered over coffee this morning before hitting the road.  There were a few miles of busy traffic before we were off in the country roads.  The country side of Vermont is heavily wooded with steep hills.  There were a lot of climbs of a mile or more in length and grades as steep as 10%.  The distances were short with first water at only 22 miles and picnic at 39 miles.  This put Ken and I down to picnic at 10:30 Am.

At picnic we heard the one of the riders crashed and was taken to hospital. She had attempted to do the coast to coast in 2102 but had crashed out back early in the tour. I believe it was the third week.  The rumour mill has it is a broken clavicle, but that is only rumour.  I sure hope she is ok as she is so close.

After picnic Ken and I stopped in at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory for the tour.  Although I had done the tour in 2010 we did it together and had a bunch of laughs.  There are a ton of Moo jokes along the factory tour.  The sample ice cream was strawberry cheese cake, which was ok but not my favourite.  I think the little bits of graham cracker which is suppose to be the cheese cake crust gives it an unexpected texture.

It was only a few miles in to camp and a couple more into town so we cruised into town and had a beer and some big soft pretzels for a snack.  The soft pretzels were nice and warm and came with some tangy mustard. They were excellent.

Camp to night is in a camp ground out side of town so there is no indoor floor flopping.  Add to this the fact that the weather forecast is for rain tonight and tomorrow. So it looks like 80%  of the riders have bailed out and have ridden into town and found motel rooms.  I am sure they paid a pretty penny to be in the cutesy B&B’s and historic inns which make up the town of Stowe.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Aug 11 2014 Lake Placid NY to Burlington VT

This morning I wound up sleeping in by 15 minutes as I had forgotten to turn my alarm on and it wasn’t until other campers started letting fly with the zippers that I woke up.  So I packed up quickly and then on down to breakfast at the historic Northwoods Hotel.  When I came out of breakfast I found that I had a flat tire. Looks like I had run over a piece of glass in the last few feet before getting off my bike.  This was the first flat in over a month. 

It was only a 43 mile day today and in fact this whole week is really short at just 350 miles.  The route was very down hill as we were going form 1758 ft to just 76 ft of elevation. So we just flew along the quiet back roads.  It was very pretty as we followed the Ausable river. 

At mile 18 the route took us across a wooden bridge which was built in 1758 in the town of Jay.  I was with several other riders so we stopped and took turns taking pictures.   It was a gorgeous day and so it was lots of fun just to stop and take pictures.

On down the road at mile 36 was picnic it was at the Ausable River Chasm which is a huge where there is a tremendous set of water falls.  I was think of taking the big tour which cost $16 but Ed wanted to get on the 10:50 Am ferry across Lake Champlain.  So it was gram a quick sandwich in a baggie and race down the last three miles to the ferry.  We got there with just a few minutes to spare.  The ferry ride took us across the lake to Burlington. 

In Burlington we rolled into the downtown walking mall and sat in an out door café and had a couple of beers.  Well actually I had a local cider which was very cold and crisp.   Afterwards Ken C and I rode up the Burlington bike path before heading to Camp.

Camp is at the Bishop Booth Conference centre.  It is a beautiful campus. Most of the riders have elected to stay indoors in the dorm but I have set my tent in the beautifully wooded setting of the center. 

What a great day.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Aug 10 2014 Rest Day in Lake Placid

The music and wild parting carried on at the bar across the street until well after 2:00 AM this morning.  I am told there were a lot of police who finally broke it up around 3:00  AM. This resulted in me sleeping in quite late.  I don’t think I was out of my tent until well after 8;00 Am. 

I had several things to accomplish today so I had to get moving.  First things first and that was an omelette and coffee at a nearby café.   Wally and I decided at breakfast to walk around Mirror Lake which is located right in the middle of the town of Lake Placid.  The actual Lake Placid is just north of town.   It was a beautiful walk as it afforded views of the homes and lodges around Lake Placid. The Adirondack architecture is so unique.

After my walk it was time to do some shopping as today was Agnes’ birthday and it would not be right to come home empty handed or with an airport T-shirt.  Lake Placid has no shortage of shops selling back woods trinkets and Adirondack stick. After a few shops I found just the thing. 

So I am headed back to camp to finish my collage.  It is nearly finished and just a couple more hours of cutting and gluing will put this project to bed.  I spent 6 weeks taking rider pictures and wound up with 1400 pictures of which 700 were of riders.  The 700 were culled to 400 pictures which I then printed.  I knew I had more than I needed but I didn’t want to run out and I wanted some choose as I made the collage. So after hours of cutting and gluing I have my 26” by 54” master piece done.  There are roughly 280 images on the big picture.   It has been a huge hit with the riders. 

One last bike cleaning effort and then off  to supper. 

The final week is going to be great weather wise.  Tomorrow looks like 83 F and sunny with zero rain.  It is also only 43 miles and down hill.


Aug 9 2014 Star Lake to Lake Placid

I didn’t remember the school at Star Lake until I got down to the lunch room.  Then it came back.  This was the place of the worst breakfast of the trip, and I was not disappointed. Breakfast was totally horrid. The eggs were this kind of florescent safety yellow gelatinous stuff in a pan. One toaster with hard week old bread.  However I guess I shouldn’t complain as the cater did drive 30 miles to serve us breakfast at 6:30 ( well really 6:40 by time it was started).

I rolled out with Ed W this morning as Ken was busy chowing down the eggs.  The route was gently rolling although there was more up than down as we were headed up in to the Adirondacks, where Lake Placid is.  At the 15 mile mark Ed and I rolled in to a little road side café which he had scoped out while he was routing.  Ed had the big egg and bacon bagel as he couldn’t get any of the breakfast down.

There was a big wide shoulder so we rode along side discussing everything of vital importance.  This mostly included stuff to do with bikes and cycle trips.  This made the miles fly by and before we knew it we were at picnic which was at the 40 mile mark. Picnic was really special as they were making root beer floats.  After picnic we had only 31 miles to go so we set off in no big hurray. 

When we got to the town of Saranac I want to get a Coke so Ed said turn left at the lights which I did and he kept on going.   By the time I got turned around he was gone.  So I found my Coke and set off.  Then my bike computer quit registering.  I had bought this bike computer especially for this trip. I wanted one with temperature incline measurement and total climb.  To get these features you have to buy an expensive bike computer.  I have found that the reliability of bike computers is inversely proportional to the price.  So cheap ones which have basic speed and distance functions never break and expensive ones never can be relied upon.  Good thing there were arrows on the road to follow.

We are camped just above the Olympic speed oval.  It is an out door oval so there is no ice on it now. Right next to is the Olympic stadium.  We are right in the heart of Lake Placid.  WOW!

Tomorrow is a rest day Yahoo!


Aug 8 2014 Watertown to Star Lake NY

The good supper equals good breakfast rule held up this morning.  Last night we had an awesome supper of barbequed hamburgers and all the fixings and this morning an awesome breakfast of French toast with blueberry compote with ham and sausage.  So I filled up to the point of this might be a bit too much for the bike ride.

Ken C and I rolled out together this morning.  It was quite busy on the road but most of the traffic was headed into town. After a couple of turns we were out in the country and cruising down some very nice deserted country roads.  The route today was only 62 miles so we were not in any hurry. We rolled past a lot of small acreages and farms. I really don’t understand how come there are all these beautifully paved back roads with no traffic.

Picnic was at 36 miles so it came up pretty fast.  We hung around as there was only 25 miles to ride and even though there were some big hills to climb it was still no more than a 2 hour ride.  Star Lake where we were going is a not a big place. In fact the high light of the town is the little IGA store.

When Ken and I got in we headed down to the IGA and grabbed some choclate milk and some apple fritters. They were great.

Tomorrow we ride into Lake Placid which is the last day of the week. Right now we have less than 450 miles to ride and only 7 more ride days.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Aug 7 2014 Oswego to Watertown NY

We had supper last night and breakfast this morning in the Oswego University cafeteria.  It was very nice. It was great eating off real plates using real cutlery and drinking coffee out of real mugs.  An added bonus was that the cafeteria didn’t open until 7:00 so we got to sleep in an extra half hour.

The ride today was straight up NY state highway 3 for 72 miles.  It wasn’t too busy and it had a nice shoulder all the way.  The pavement was absolutely the best we have ridden on this tour.  There were only a couple of small detours where we ducked off the main highway to tour along Lake Ontario.  Of course nothing comes for free so the penalty was that there was a 10-15 mph head wind almost the entire day. 

Following the highway the road was slightly rolling however there wasn’t too much to see as it was well inland from the lake. The only time we saw the lake was on one of the short detours.  Picnic was on one of the detours and was located on the beach in Wescott State Park. This detour took us down along the lake where there were some beautiful homes overlooking the lake. 

At three miles out I spotted an ice cream shop so Ken and I rolled in. I had the medium soft serve cone which had a pile of ice cream 10 “ high.  

Tomorrow is a short day at only 62 miles down to Star Lake.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Aug 6 2014 Seneca Falls to Oswego NY

Last nights supper was terrible. Tasteless pulled pork which had not been drained on an extremely cheap bun, Mashed potatoes which had some sort of hard lumps in them ( I suspect that the lumps were under cooked potatoes which had been added to some sort of instant mashed potatoes) and un-drained broccoli which had been boiled to mush.   Of course I forgot the rusty lettuce salad.  The rule is that if supper is poor breakfast will be worse and it was.  The coffee was so weak it looked like tea. No toaster, no ham , no bacon, no sausages.  Some sort of egg quiche and oat meal.    However the surly service was probably the topper.

The ride was suppose to be 79 miles however there was a turn onto West Gully Road at 30.9 miles  which was kind of a bear left onto a what looked like a lane.  As it was only a “bear” instead of turn there was only 1 arrow. I came over the top of the hill hard and charged down the back side of the hill and missed the single arrow (I guess a lot of others did as well).  I got down about 3.5 miles and realized I was off course so I turned around. Only 3.5 miles and three very steep hills to climb, not so bad but then it started to rain.  Ken C realized I had missed the turn and phoned Greg who dispatched Ed “Wrong Way Bob” to find me.  Ed found me about 0.5 miles from the turn.   Ok that little episode only cost me about 45 minutes.  Then just be for picnic there was a second bear left at this “Y” intersection. The main road continued to the right and the arrow pointed more to the right than left so I went right.  About 3 miles down the road I am on a highway headed west so wrong again.  

Ken C is patiently waiting a picnic when I did get in so I quickly grabbed a sandwich put it in a baggie and we rolled.  When we get to second water there is only one water cooler.  Strange as there is usually two.  When we get into camp we find out than someone cut Greg’s padlock and stole one cooler.

Cher from Texas also had a tough day.  Hers started out with a big dog barking right behind her which scared her half to death.  She threatened me with marshmallow cream in my shoes.   Then just after second water her rear shifter broke and so they waited for the sag wagon to come but gave up after a couple of hours and rode in with no rear shifter. 

The weather has turned sunny so I am hopping for a couple of nice days.  I was good to get in and get stuff dried out. 


Aug 5 2014 Geneseo to Seneca Falls NY

Last night Greg was out doing routing as Ed W was back in Colorado. As a result Matt stood in to do the rider meeting.  The weather report he gave us sounded pretty ominous.  The forecast was 80% chance of rain in Geneseo and 50% percent in Seneca Falls.  As the day’s ride was 95 miles and 4820 ft of climb, you are pretty much guaranteed to get rained on.  In fact Matt made it sound like constant thunder and lightening all day.  So I laid out my heavy duty rain gear. 

When I crawled out there were some clouds but it was pretty much blue sky.  It didn’t look too much like rain to me.  So the rain gear was bundled up on the bike as you just never know and it is easy to put on if you have it.  At digital sign indicated 64F as I rode out of town. 

Ken C and I had rolled out together but were only loosely in contact with eath other during the first 20 miles.  Ken stopped to help fix another rider’s tire and by the time I got up he had it well in hand.  As he did not need any supervision or a safety officer present I rode on and Ken met me at picnic. 

The ride was running perpendicular to the finger lakes so there was lots of hills between each lake. As we were on back roads the hills were really steep and I saw 13% on my bike computer several times.  It was very pretty riding down the little used winding back roads.  The lakes were lined with beautiful summer homes which actually looked more like summer mansions. The hills had small farms which looked like the farmers were probably pretty poor.  

Ater lunch Ken and I got together and rode along together as it was starting to look more and more like rain.  The last 15 miles was a race to get in before the down pour.  We were taking turns pulling as hard as we could.  We got to the school and started putting up tents among the first drops of the down pour.