It’s been awhile since I last chimed in on the blog so I thought I would share a few thoughts before we head off tomorrow for the final day of our trip. As many of you know, I generally believe that the secret to happiness in life is to have very low expectations. Essentially, expect little and be grateful for what you have. I must say that my expectations of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York were not very high. I just expected those states to feel more industrialized and crowded. I am happy to report that I thought all of them rocked. The cycling along the shore of Lake Erie was really just spectacular and a place I would definitely go back. I really thought Niagra Falls would have been the highlight of this part of the trip but truly, the vineyards of Pennsylvania and and New York were just really beautiful and when combined with the Lake Erie shore, it made for great cycling. I must say that if you go to Niagra Falls, you should do the Cave of the Winds Tour. It was a long line but where else can you walk up and put your face in one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Sounds kind of silly but it was a ton of fun and something you simply can’t do in Danville!
As Chris and were riding today, we both agreed that the the state of New York had the best roads for cycling of any state on the trip. I don’t know about you, but that was a surprise to me. People often think of New York as being tough and hard based on what we see on TV and what we know about New York City. Based on my experience, I think New York is kind of like a marshmallow that has been burned on the outside in the fire. It is a little hard and tough on the outside but it’s really soft and sweet on the inside. We had spectacular roads, great scenery, amazing bike routes and trails and we met some terrific people. Hal, Linda and Brad Defrees, the curators of the Museum of Beer in Cazenovia (near Syracuse), our waitress at Joes Pizza in Schenectady and they guys at Uncle John’s diner in Cohoes to name a few. Also a state that posts bright yellow warning signs on the street to let you know that deaf or blind people are in the area is really showing it’s sensitive side. They even have a road in New York that leads to Santa’s house:
Also, the people of New York have a great sense of their european heritage. Apparently you can visit Europe without ever leaving the state because we saw signs or references to Paris, Amsterdam, Greece, Rome, Geneva, Russia, Poland, Sweden Waterloo, Rotterdam and Brutus. Yes I know Brutus is not in Europe but you just have to love the idea of being able to say you are from Brutus. Overall, the state of New York gets top cycling honors for our ride across America.
While we just got to experience a small slice of Vermont, it was as beautiful as you would expect it to be and North Adams was a great introduction to Massachusetts. Quaint town, beautiful scenery and our own private concert at the Holiday Inn by Greg Caproni and his 14 year old protege Jacob. Also, if you are every in N. Adams, be sure to visit the Natural Bridge State park just outside of town. It has some unique marble slot canyons and rock formations. Easy to get to, a quick visit will do and it is really beautiful. After spending a full day in Massachusetts, it too is beautiful but it is a bit lumpy and bumpy for a discerning bike rider. Hardly a flat road so far, more cars and a good many potholes! However, it is the state were we have seen by far the most cyclists. Clearly the residents of this lumpy state are a hearty cycling bunch!
Tomorrow Chris and I will reach Revere Beach in Boston and our epic journey will be complete. When I talked with my dad about the completion of his trip in 1994, he told me he had very mixed feelings about the finish. On one hand, there was a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that the goal was achieved and the ride was completed. On the other hand, he also thought he would like to just keep on pedaling and have the adventure continue. As I think about our final day, I find myself in much the same frame of mind. I’m still a bit blown away that we will have successfully ridden our bikes almost 4,000 miles and will be dipping our wheels in the Atlantic ocean tomorrow. While I do feel a bit tired and I am ready to see my son in New York and then get home and back to a more normal routine, I do find I am as excited as ever to discover new places and have new adventures on my bike. Particularly with friends, family and others who share the cycling and travel addiction. I also feel and incredible sense of gratitude for the ability to have this experience and to share it with so many friends and family. I simply couldn’t have done this without the support of my business partners and co-workers at Precept, our wonderful SAG/support crews (Danika, Maggie, Bob, Marilyn, Holly, Pete, Brenda, Amy, Sarah, Cindy and Katie), the inspiration and guidance of my Mom and Dad and the friendship,organizational and communications skills of the best friend anyone could ever ask for, Chris Dittmore. I do want to give special thanks to my wife Cindy for her unyielding support for this crazy adventure. Many of you know that Cindy’s father passed away during the trip. A few weeks later, we also lost Shasta, our 15 year old family dog and Cindy’s constant companion. While it has been a tough summer for her, she has been a rock for me and having she and Katie join us for the last part of the trip has made it even more special. Tomorrow, I plan to savor every moment of the ride and soak up the entire day. As luck, or should I say Moses Matt ,would have it, we expect to have beautiful weather so it should be an ideal and fitting finish to an extraordinary journey.
A few pictures I thought you might like:
New Yorkers like to dress up their doors – Clinton, NY
Indian Burial Ground in Cooperstown NY ( I loved this picture that Cindy took)
Wild Flowers of Vermont (Another Cindy Favorite)
A little Ultimate practice in Natural Bride St. Park – Go Kaite
The Church at Williams College. Cindy and Katie visited the campus while on the road. A shout out to Ken Brown, a Williams alumni and blog follower!
Just thought this was an awesome photo by Cindy
Liked this barn door Cindy
You gotta love a good cyclist tan!
Great friends getting near the end of great adventure! It’s been quite a ride!