I am carrying a digital camera and a handheld pc with a modem and an acoustic coupler. I intend to upload one or two pictures to this site once or twice a week, depending on the availability of phones in quiet places (the acoustic coupler is a little picky.) When and where I can get an RJ-11 type connection, I'll try to upload more interesting stuff.
In general, on this page are thumbnail versions. Both the thumbnail and the picture's "name" are links to the larger version of the picture. I have a 10MB limit on this server, so as new pictures are posted, the older ones are removed.
Me and the bike, all ready to go. The bike weighs about 120lbs, 40 on the front wheel and 80 on the back wheel. I weigh in at 180, 65 on the front and 115 on the back. That's a total of 105lbs on the front wheel and a whopping 195lbs on the back wheel. There are four 18oz water bottles and a 12oz fuel bottle (for the stove). On the back is the tent, Thermarest mattress, down sleeping bag, plus two little sacks with parka, extra shorts and shirts, and odds and ends.
Day 1. After spending two days on Amtrak and Greyhound, and another day rearranging things at the hostel in Bar Harbor, ME, I finally hit the road. Shortly before this picture was taken, my rear wheel was actually getting wet in the Atlantic Ocean, but the tide was moving out faster than I could keep up with it! That really is the Atlantic, there just happens to be an island blocking the view. (Ok, technically that makes it a straight, but the island isn't my fault and the water is salty and has tides. It's the ocean.)
I knew I should have started with new tires & tubes - had a blowout, destroyed both the rear tire and tube - but I have two spares of each!
Terrible thunderstorm that night, everything got wet - even my tent leaked under the deluge.
Day 2. Lost my front tube while still in the campground, now I'm down to 1 spare tire and no spare tubes. On to Bucksport/Verona for the night.
Day 3. The harbor at Verona, and some other Fort Knox. Great breakfast at the Sail Inn, he wasn't open yet but he said, "Come on in, I'll make you some eggs." Rain started, then lightened up, so I rigged for rain and started rolling. So then it poured on me. When the lightning started getting too close for comfort, I took shelter under an awning at a flea market and waited it out for an hour. On the way to Camden, my recently replaced front tire started to get flat. No spares! Pumped it up, 10 miles, pumped it up, 5 miles, pumped it up, to the bike store in Camden, they're closed! pumped it up, got a sandwich, pumped it up, to the campground, pumped it up, got barely to my campsite, and it's getting dark. This won't work. Took it into the bathroom and patched it up.
Day 4. Spent most of the day in Camden, on the way out there are Belted Galloways(?)! Mailed a whole mess of things home to lighten the load.
The harbor at Rockport. Picture perfect.
Say goodbye to the open sea, I'll not see such saltwater for a few months. From hereabouts I'll be riding mostly inland. Short day today, just north of Rockport. $20? Just to pitch a tent and take a shower? Unreal! Outrageous!
Day 5. Warren Day in Warren, ME. The whole town turned out, there must have been, gosh, twenty or thirty people! Parade and chicken later, but I rolled on. There's one campground ahead that's too close, and another that's probably too far, but I'll try, except...
...passing by the swimming hole in the mill pond at Damariscotta Mills, I met George and Susan, who invited me to camp in the back yard of their home a renovated old church. So I went swimming and rolled up to their house whereupon they invited me to dinner, and allowed me space and a phone connection to upload some stuff.
Day 6. The Cornerstone Baptist Church in which I spent the night. Not much to look at, but it was home for the night.
See, about 4pm a woman at a little store where I was having a snack said if I was stuck for a place to stay, to come on down to the church, someone would be there about 5, she was sure something could be worked out. Turned out the next campground was about 30 miles out, so I went to the church.
The choir arrived about 5, but one and all said only the pastor could make any
decisions. He arrived promptly at 6 to do the evening service, so I had to wait some more.
To make a long story short, they pretty much twisted my arm to join the service, and then
took up a special offering for me to put me in a motel!
After the service I protested, I said all I needed or wanted or would use is a little bit of safe shelter. I asked them to give the money to someone more needy than I. They let me stay in the church overnight, but said since the money was already blessed to me, they couldn't take it back.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. Silly ways. Even completely unpredictable ways. Oh, well, a little over $53, it'll pay for the last couple of outrageous camping fees.
Day 7. The day started nice but soon clouded over. They say the word best associated with the Northern Tier is water. I'm sure they mean the streams and lakes, of which Maine, at least, has many. On the other hand, it has rained every day so far....
I raced the rain to Keoka Beach near Waterford, but since I missed my turn the rain won. Then I had to walk my bike up to the lake. Go figure. But the guy was real nice, $5 for biklers, and since it was raining he let me have a bunkhouse, same price.
Lots of folks have summer leases at Keoka Beach. It's a very lovely lake and it would be nice to spend a week or a month or a summer here. But, gotta roll on. Oregon is a long ways away, and the summer is going fast.
Day 8. My entrance to New Hampshire. Bad thunderstorms today, stayed in a hostel in Conway. Everything's wet. I spent a month last year waterproofing the bags, it didn't work so well.
My departure from Maine. There wasn't a welcome sign at the ocean....
Day 9. A view of the White Mountains ahead of me in New Hampshire. It's hot again today.
The Kankamagus river in NH.
More of the Kankamagus River.
The local swimming hole on the river. And here is where I met...
...John, on a short wheelbase recumbant, carrying a coronet. Rode with John for a few miles, he's riding to the top of Kankamagus pass for the fun of it. Well, he's not riding a 100lb bicycle. Serenaded the hills with the theme from Chariots of Fire, among other things.
To the pass. I had no idea this climb was coming. Some folks at the hostel made some mention of it, but I had no idea. 2855 feet above sea level, starting from about 500'.
Almost at the top, but there's a better view from here of the surrounding White Mountains.
Just to prove I was here.
The summit of Kankamagus pass. I pedalled it all, with just a few rest stops.
Day 10. Rained again during the night, then got real hot again. One hill I climbed had been fairly recently surfaced with a crumb rubber composite. My tires kept sinking into the pavement. The White Mountains of NH are pretty amazing.
More of the White Mountains.
Day 11. Almost to Vermont, sat out a light shower under a tree. A little later, tried to do it again, turned into a torrential deluge. I got soaked. The house has nothing to do with my trip, it was just so impressive I had to take a picture....
A view of Vermont Green Mountains from NH.
A quiet road in NH.
My entrance to Vermont. In the rain. Sat out another deluge at a convenience store. Pork bbq sandwich for lunch. Yum.
Shortly into VT, I was walking hills again. At the top, looking back. Well, no wonder I had to walk! (The sign reads 13% grade.)
Day 12. Camped near Gaysville last night. Rained again during the night, but the morning was beautiful, if hot. Lots of tubing on the river.
Got to Rochester VT just after the parade but in time for roasted chicken in the park. Met some locals who had done part of the Northern Tier (the Ria's, forgotten first names....), compared maps. They assured me I would enjoy the parade and festivities at Warren, about 15 miles off the route. Gave me a contact there. So off I went to Warren in search of a Fourth.
Some nice falls on the way to Warren. The Ria's said it was a mostly flat ride. They neglected to mention the Granville Gulf. Had to walk some hills again. My mother likes falls, so I tend to take lots of falls pictures.
Day 13. Spent the night with a bunch of RV'ers at the school field, site of the festivities today. They were all part of the Boomers, a rather interesting musical group in the parade.
The parade was all locals and a lot of fun. The fair up at the school was all right, but extremely hot. Later in the evening there were fireworks further up the mountain. I could hear 'em, I could see the light on the mountains and the clouds, but I couldn't see them. Rats. I came for fireworks and couldn't quite see them.
Day 14. A view of New York across Lake Champlain. A very narrow, southern part. The lady at the store connected with the ferry wouldn't give me any water, would only offer to sell me some bottled water. The nerve.
Earlier today, I had another first. I wiped out on the bike. Coming down the mountain east of Middlebury. Consider 280lbs of bike, gear, and rider, 15% grade, a tight left curve, brakes coated with powdered aluminum, and an over-confident rider. Couldn't make the turn, went off the road, went off the shoulder, finally came to a stop on my side in the dirt. All that and my only damage was a sprained left thumb.
My entrance to NY. Finally, it isn't raining, but it sure is hot.
The park in Ticonderoga NY. I almost camped back in the trees, but with prediction of bad weather and badly in need of a shower, I decided to find a campground 5 miles off the route. Barely beat the rain. I hadn't had time to hit a grocery store and there was nothing at the park. Oatmeal for dinner, some of my emergency food. I don't even like oatmeal. Rained during the night again.
Day 15. Everything's wet. Back to Ticonderoga for breakfast, then up into the Adirondacks. Beastly hot, ungodly two mile climb up into the mountains. I had to walk a full mile and a half, resting every 100 paces. 5 miles in, terrible thunderstorms, I stayed dry under some trees. Camped on a ridge at Blue Ridge Falls, beautiful sunset.
Day 16. The falls at Blue Ridge.
How do you take a picture of the Adirondacks? Beautiful up here, as beautiful as anywhere I've ever been.
Day 17. Rained again during the night in Newcomb. This is Long Lake, an area I think I'd very much like to come back to.
An interesting night - beautiful sunset on Racquette Lake. The girls at the next campsite had evidently left right in the middle of their supper, leaving food out all over. About 11pm something very big tromped past my tent, panting loudly. Shortly thereafter there is the sound of terrible rending and crashing and tearing next door. Finally a ranger shows up, shoots a rubber bullet at a 300lb black bear. 12pm, more crashing, ranger shows up, shoots a stinger dart at a 500lb bear. 1:15, more crashing, ranger shows up, shoots again. 2am, more crashing, no ranger. I finally got up, and, keeping my light on the bear, collapsed my tent. picked it up by the corners, with all it's contents, and carried it up to the ranger office. Ranger helped me move the rest of my stuff, shooting at yet another bear - "biggest one yet" (biggest? The 500lb wasn't?) and I finally got to bed again by about 3. I supposed that after a few years of dealing with these bears, you might get sort of cavalier about a 500lb bear tearing up a campsite 50' away. He said no, you don't.
Day 18. There were so many deer out and about it hardly seemed special, but I took the obligatory picture anyway. Rained all day.
Thomas at Thendara station, west of Old Forge NY.
Day 19. My maps showed a campground at McKeever, it's closed. Another at Woodgate, closed. It's starting to rain . Some locals suggested I try the Boy Scout Camp, so I did. Received a warm welcome, hot shower, a lean-to to sleep in. Wonderful. Then use of the phone to upload. Cold, very cold today.
Rained all day, and rather cold. It was more like ocean spray during a hard storm than rain. Finally stopped within a few miles of my campground, which was part of the Fiddler's Hall of Fame (mostly the state of New York.) They were having a dance tonight, but nobody remembered to advertise, so hardly anybody came. Rained hard most of the night.
Day 20. Gorgeous morning, dried stuff, tried to make some miles but ran out of steam in Minetto. Up comes John Belt, a professor of technology education at SUNY-Oswego (John, correct me if I'm wrong) who offered me the back yard of the old depot. Had a good time with John and Ed, had dinner with Jenny and ??? (I'm terrible with names...) A whole day without rain!
Day 21. Another gorgeous day. Rolling late, but a deliberately short day, just to Fair Haven and an afternoon on the beach. Split a site with Teresa, another bikler passing through with a trip and stories of her own. So we had a good time comparing maps and swapping stories and watching the sunset on Lake Ontario. It occurred to me later that I didn't get any pictures of the lake! Oh, well, you've seen one Great Lake....
Day 22. Another night with no rain, another gorgeous morning. Beautiful roads, no lines on the pavement, no traffic. Except for the stretch between Seneca Falls and Waterloo which was just awful. Here's the Erie Canal.
Camped on the shores of Seneca Lake with another great sunset.
Day 23. Very bad winds along Seneca Lake, and one bad, long climb.The only nice part was this little falls along the way. Oh, and the wine tasting at Wagner winery. I don't remember the rest of the day. I remember the Riesling semi-dry was very good....
A view of the lake from the hills.Only made it to Watkins Glen. At this rate I'll still be in North Dakota when the snow starts falling. Tried to make the climb to the state park outside the city, turns out its on the bluff over the city. Walked a ways, then thought about it: I have no food, there's a terrible climb first thing tomorrow, there's no towns for 10 miles. I'll have to come into town anyway for breakfast and groceries. Turned around, camped in town, big spaghetti dinner at Bianco's Daughters.
Day 24. What an awful day. The climb out of Watkins Glen was long, smooth, straight - and up. and up. and up. Terribly hot, I had to walk a good part of it. Sailed down to the Wanetta Lake / Lamoka Lake chasm, then up and up and up. Sailed down to the Keuka Lake chasm, then up and up and up. I must've spent well over an hour, possibly two, just pushing the bike.
A view of Keuka Lake, I think. I finally went off route and took the level route to Kanona. 24oz of Mountain Dew later, I can face the heat again.
Matthias and Andrea Reisen run Healing Spirits Experience herb farm and private hostel. Nice folks, offered me space in the barn. I opted to tent down by the creek and got soaked from the dew. Shared their dinner, a swim at the neighbors, ice cream, and did an upload.
Day 25. Gorgeous morning, but turned hot, really hot. The hill from Dansville to Nunda was widely known and feared and not overrated. I walked most of it. The hills are not so much getting worse, but I'm getting worn down. Must be my 45 year old blood. Went to Letchworth State Park which, while I agree it's beautiful, especially the falls, the 20% and up road grades make it no place for a loaded bicycle. Campground was full, no exceptions, had to leave and find another campground somewhere out in the hills. Got horribly lost, got found again. Made dinner in the dark.
Day 26. Got some bad saddle irritation, can't ride today. Stayed over. Got no food, surviving on microwave cheese pizza, instant mac & cheese, and Mountain Dew. Just as well I stayed, endured a bad thunderstorm which was much better from inside a tent than on the road.
Day 27. Something was sniffing around the tent last night - after the bears, I just get a cold chill when that happens. (I'm told it was just racoons.) I tried to scare whatever it was away, it ran a little ways, stopped, and growled at me. This did not help my sleep....
I heartily recommend the Four Winds cg near Portageville. They did everything they could to see I was fed and saturated with Mountain Dew. Good stuff, that.
At the Triple-R cg near Franklinville, met these three guys, bikling from Buffalo to the Adirondacks.Two of them were veterans; one was a neophyte, and quite clearly suffering from "first day blues". You just have to ignore how you feel after the first day.
Day 28. Rained during the early morning, then stayed gloomy all day. Sat out one short shower which turned into an hour-long nap. Oh, well, I guess I needed the sleep. Sat out repeating waves of rain at the Horseshoe Inn on the Allegany Reservoir, had a buffalo burger while I was waiting. Not bad, though, while it might have been red meat when it went into the kitchen, it was pretty black when I got it....
But it was getting late, so I picked my window in the rain and made a run for the next campground, just four miles away. I didn't make it, but not too badly soaked. Camped under another shelter near the Reservoir, in the marina.
Day 29. 1000 miles! This is a major milestone. At this point, my last new leather saddle was finally comfortable. I think this one's gonna take a little longer.... As shown, climbing out of the reservoir, just a few miles short of the Pennsylvania line.
Me at 1000 miles. Getting to look a little gaunt. Who you calling scruffy looking?
Welcome to Pennsylvania. Well, there was a welcome to NY going the other way, all PA does is put up a county line sign. Note the change in pavement. I had pretty good to very good shoulders throughout NY, but practically none in PA.
The Allegany Reservoir from a few hundred feet up. If the picture is slightly blurry it's because I was still gasping for air. All in all a good day. Stopped in Sugar Grove for a Dew. All they had was fountain, all sizes same price. So I got a 32oz, I figured, what the heck. I could try to carry what I couldn't drink. Drank it all. Left town, wasn't even sloshing. I guess I was more dehydrated than I thought....
They have odd holidays up here. If you know anyone from PA, this won't surprise you. I think the tradition has this big guy in a red suit and a sleigh shooting off fireworks....
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