Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

the final few days

Here is a quick recap of the final few days, since we last wrote in Pennsylvania:

Our route went as follows:
Marienville-Galeton
Galeton-Towanda
Towanda-Honesdale
Honesdale-New Paltz, Ny
New Paltz-Farmington, Ct

The rest of our ride on route 6 through Pennsylvania was pretty hilly. We didn't realize it coming in, but the area we rode through is called the 'endless mountains'. That is certainly what they felt like! It was absolutely beautiful. We crossed the Allegany river several times as we dipped down into valleys, and because we had quite a bit of rain through Pennsylvania, the river was often shrouded in fog.

We had two other major days of rain: from Galeton-Towanda, and from Honesdale-New Paltz. Riding in the rain is not so terrible, as long as you keep moving. It gets pretty chilly when you stop to change a flat tire, and it is often pretty difficult to warm up. We were pretty grateful to have warm showers when we finished at the end of our cold rainy days!

Our second to last day, from honesdale to New Paltz, Ny was one of these rainy days. We rode the first part of the morning through some pretty hard rain, which made trying to make up time on the downhills pretty tough. We crossed in to New York State, and made it to Monticello, when Drew's tire blew out. This was our last good tire, leaving us stranded on the side of the road in the pouring rain. We had plenty of tubes to change a flat, but had run out of spare tires. Fortunately, we were within 1/2 mile of a gas station, and we walked our bikes there to seek shelter. It was Sunday, so the closest open bike shop was over 50 miles away (meaning that we couldn't send someone to bike there). It was already in the works for Drew's girlfriend, Alli, to join us for the evening, and she was kind enough to drop her plans for the day to head towards us earlier. She stopped by a bike shop to pick us up a spare tire, and headed towards New York. In the meantime, we fashioned a makeshift tire patch out of a dolalr bill, rubber cement, and duct tape, and managed to keep the tire inflated. We figured we would just head on our way and limp along as far as possible before the tire blew again as Alli drove towards us. The patch ended up holding until about 6 miles from New Paltz, at which time Alli was only about 10 minutes from us. We lost about 2.5 hours of the day trying to figure out what we were going to do, but in the end, we made it to New Paltz by 7pm, in time for a big dinner at a local Irish pub! We thought that this mishap was going to cost us an extra day on the road, and we were pretty thrilled when we realized that we were going to make it back on schedule.

Alli took all of our wet, heavy gear for the last day, so riding on just our bicycles with no panniers felt like nothing! We had a great day of weather for our last ride through the western part of Ct, and it was great to know that we were riding with a real destination in mind. It was pretty cool to be riding through Connecticut and actually recognize names of towns, and know a bit about them! It was even better as we approached Farmington to be able to recognize landmarks that we have seen before. We rode up to the Health Center parking lot around 4pm, and were greeted warmly by parents and friends.

This has been a true adventure for us. It was great to spend our summer outside, and to see the country in a way that few people have. Even when times got tough, we were always able to fall back on why we decided to do the ride in the first place: to raise money for a great cause. This has certainly been a challenging time for all of us, but we all agree that it was a great experience.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 3, 2009

home sweet home!

we've arrived safely in Farmington after an amazing adventure. More to come on our last few days soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

soaking wet!

So, we finally feel like we're back close to home! We crossed over into Pennsylvania yesterday, and we're now about 5 days from home sweet home. We've heard stories about how wet this summer has been, but we haven't experienced it until today...and it rained A LOT.

Here's a recap of the past few days
Columbus-Masillon, Ohio
Masillon-Mercer, Pa
Mercer-Marienville

We left Columbus after a great day off with Drew's friend Claire. Although most of western Ohio was relatively flat, we were surprised at how fast the both the hills and the number of trees picked up outside of Columbus. We rode through a beautiful (and very hilly!) stretch of forest between Mt. Vernon and Loudenville around lunchtime, and then the rest of the afternoon rode through rolling hills and farmland.

Yesterday, we left Masillon and again rode through some hills on our way toward Pennsylvania. We were disappointed once again to cross a state border without a sign welcoming us. Katherine even asked in a local diner in Sharon, Pa if she had missed the sign, but was told that the route we took did not have a sign at the border. We arrived in Mercer around 5pm. The Mercer motel was kind enough to donate a room, for which we were very grateful. This motel also happened to be located around the corner from the town pizza restaurant, complete with Tuesday night happy hour specials. The special? 50% off any large 2 topping pzza. We each ordered our own large pizza, and were treated to a very large dinner (and breakfast).

After eating our pizza this morning, we set off toward Marienville. Even though we rode away at 6:45 AM, we made it only about 5 miles before the drizzles started. It rained lightly off and on until about 10 AM, when it started to pour. The hard rain didn't let up all afternoon, and it's still going at 7:30! We were watching the news tonight, and there are areas of Eastern Pennsylvania and New York state that have gotten over 6 inches of rain today. What a soaker! We're just thankful to be staying in a room donated by the Microtel Inn and Suites in Marienville, out of the rain. We've all showered and warmed up, and we've dried our clothes for tomorrow. The forecast looks pretty good for tomorrow (high 70's and sunny), but we'll likely get some more rain on Friday. We were hoping that we would bring good weather with us as we moved east, but it looks like our luck might be wearing thin.

Hopefully we'll be able to get in another post or two before the end of the trip. We can't believe it's coming to an end already!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

a day off in Columbus

After a great visit with Drew's parents, we left Terre Haute for a pretty ride to Greenfield, Indiana. That morning, we rode through some pretty dense fog, which was somewhat nervewracking in terms of our visibility to cars, but was beautiful. We rode through an area of cornfields scattered with farmhouses that had an eerie shadow cast over them by the rising sun and the moisture in the air. We attempted to take pictures, but they didn't really capture the light very well. By 8:30 or so, the fog had blown off, and the rest of our day was beautiful and sunny. In the early afternoon, we rode right through downtown Indianapolis. It was cool to see another city, and notice the unique aspects of each of the cities we have ridden through.

The next morning, we set off toward Columbus, where we are currently visiting Drew's friend from college, Claire. Our initial goal was to split the 150 miles in to two 75 mile days, but we had a great wind at our tail, and we had ridden nearly 50 miles by 11am. So, we decided to push on and head, crossing the Ohio border, and finish in Springfield, Ohio instead. The final mileage for the day was nearly 115, which was a long day even though it was relatively flat with good winds.

It's a good thing that we pushed on towards Springfield, because we woke up yesterday morning with only 45 miles ahead of us to Columbus! Also, there were strong storms in the forecast for the afternoon. When we first woke up, there were some pretty crazy thunder storms rolling through, but they had passed by the time we finished breakfast. Aside from a strong crosswind, we didn't see many other signs of a storm, so we set on our way. We made good time to Columbus, and we rode into town around noon. We managed to avoid rain all morning until about 3/4 a mile away from Claire's house, when we were hit with some really hard rain. We were soaked in seconds! Even still, we were glad to be done so early in the day with a full day and a half ahead of us to relax.

Yesterday afternoon and today have been a great time to relax. We all went to see Food, Inc. with Claire and her roomate, and spent the evening relaxing. This morning, we cooked a feast of a breakfast and explored a bit of Columbus while looking for a bike shop. We went to an ice cream shop with really exotic flavors (like salty caramel, goat cheese and cherries, thai chili, cucumber honeydew ceyenne, berry and burgundy, sweet corn and rasberry). We tried them all...they sound bizarre, but were really yummy! This evening, we will head over to the 'ribs and jazz festival' that is taking place in Columbus.

We're working out our route for the rest of the trip. We're a bit south of last year's crew, but we will try to meet up with their route to avoid the Appalacians in Pennsylvania. Right now, our estimated date to arrive in Farmington is somewhere around August 4th or 5th! We're all getting antsy to see family and friends again!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We're back in the eastern time zone!

We've made it to Terre Haute, Indiana, and we are very much enjoying a visit from Drew's parents. They have treated us to a stay in a nice hotel, and we have just returned from a chinese buffet dinner. We are all pretty stuffed!

Since we left Leawood, our days have gone as follows:
Leawood, Kansas-Tipton, Missouri
Tipton-Hermann
Hermann-St. Louis
St. Louis-Altamont, Illinois
Altamont-Terre Haute, Indiana

It was sad to leave the Douglas family in Leawood, but we set off bright and early for a 110 mile day to Tipton. We crossed into Missouri only a mile from their house, and had a nice ride through the rolling hills. We again ran in to some technical issues, and throughout the day, managed to accumulate 9 flat tires. We reached Sedalia around 3:30, only to find the both of the bike shops in town were closed on a Saturday (even though their hours posted online and on their doors said that they were open). Regardless, we got lucky, because Walmart happened to have in stock the exact tubes that we needed for our bikes. We stocked up on tubes and some patch kits, and continued on our way to Tipton. In Tipton, we were having trouble finding a place to stay, because the town was incredibly small. Someone suggested that we ride down to the ambulance base and ask them if we might be able to camp on their lawn. As Katherine was standing outisde the door, a nice older couple saw her looking concerned and stopped to ask if she was OK. After she explained the problems we were having, the Koechner's were kind enough to invite us back to their house to spend the night (and take a warm shower!). An interesting note: while we were standing in the kitchen, we noticed a picture of the four main characters of the movie Anchorman taped to the refrigerator. When we asked about the picture, we learned that "Champ" (real name David Koechner), was their son! That night, Drew slept in the treehouse, and was very excited to be sleeping in a treehouse that Champ had played in as a child.

Our next day, after passing through the state capitol (Jefferson City), we hopped on the Katy Trail. This trail is an old converted railroad bed that has been turned into a bike path. It runs from Clinton-St. Charles, Missouri--most of the state! We were excited to be on the trail because it was pancake flat. Missouri is actually quite steep. Although the hills are short, the roads are not cut into the hills as they are out west, and can be pretty tiring. Even though it was flat, the unpaved terrain slowed us down a bit because there was more resistance against our tires. The scenery on the trail was beautiful. It was pretty cool to ride through areas that were actually dim because the vegetation fromthe trees cast so much shade. We rode though some small abandoned towns, through lots of cornfields, along the Missouri river for quite some time, and by a couple of tall cliffs. We also saw some pretty interesting birds (but we couldn't identify any of them). That night, we camped in the town park in Hermann, a small town on the Missouri river.

The next morning, we set off for St. Louis. Our goal in the morning was to make it to the arch, take lots of great pictures, and cross the border into Illinois for the night. We spent a good majority of the day enjoying the Katy Trail again, and then got off before St. Charles to head for the city. Boy, the roads through cities are confusing! Our plan was to take a route through the city that turned out to be a major 4 lane divided highway, and we quickly realized that this was not going to work. After asking for directions about 14 times, we finally headed in the direction of the arch. By the time we reached the city, it was nearly 6pm. Because it had gotten so late, we decided to stay in St. Louis, and then cross the Mississipi in the morning. We stayed in the 'Hampton Inn Under the Arch". Despite the name, the hotel was not in fact under the arch (but it was pretty close!)

The next morning, we hit the arch right away, and were amazed at how tall it actually was. It's the 'gateway to the west', but we thought of it as the gateway to the east. We then crossed over the Mississipi River, which was not as wide as we thought it would be, and headed into Illinois. Unfortunately, there was no sign on the bridge to let us know that we had crossed state lines! The rest of the day consisted of a pretty flat ride to Altamont. We were slowed a bit by a strong crosswind, but we were just thankful that it was not directly in our faces.

This morning, we woke up to a ripping headwind, and were disappointed that we were going to be riding with the wind blowing at us all day. We were excited that we would be seeing Drew's parent's though! Even with the wind, we managed to make great time this morning with Tony breaking wind for our pelaton. Our original plan was to make it to Brazil, a fairly small town in Indiana. After riding this morning though, we decided to cut some miles and make up for them tomorrow, when the wind was forecasted to be more mild. We decided to stay in Terre Haute instead. Around 12, Drew's parents drove by honking at us, and we stopped to say hello. They took all of our gear from us, which made the rest of the day much easier! I think we have all forgotten what it is really like to ride a bike without four heavy panniers strapped on. This afternoon, the wind slowed a bit, but it began to pour on us. As it turns out, it's not all that unpleasant to ride in the rain. It keeps you cool, and once you're wet, it doesn't really matter if you continue to get wet. It's possible that we were also just happy that the wind had slowed some. We again crossed a state line without seeing a sign (we're not sure if we missed it, or if it just wasn't there!). We also crossed time zones again--we're officially on eastern time again! For some reason, this feels like a really huge landmark for us. We're just over 2 weeks from home now, and we're all excited to see family and friends. We're glad to be spending the evening with the Cathers. We had a lot of fun at dinner, and now we will just relax until we head to bed. Unfortunately, they will be taking off in the morning to head home. It's been a short visit, but great to see them!

Tomorrow, we will attempt to make it through Indianapolis to find a place to stay. Apparently, there is a huge NASCAR race taking place, so it might be a bit hairy trying to find a place to stay near the city tomorrow night. We'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Colorful Colorado

Chilling at the border

Dr. Pepper

Dr. Pepper - the cause and solution to all of life's problems

Cruising

Eastern Kansas

We've finally made it to our next day off. We went from July 6th-July 17th without taking a day off, which was a bit much for us. We are currently in Leawood, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. We are staying with the Douglas Family, old friend's of Katherine's family. They have been so kind to us, and we have had a great time relaxing in Leawood.

Here is a recap of the last few days:
Scott City-La Crosse
Lacrosse-Lindsborg
Lindsborg-Osage City
Osage City-Leawood

We left Scott City bright and early, and had a relatively uneventful day to La Crosse, aside from some headwinds at the end of the day when our legs had begun to tire out. In Lacrosse, we stayed in a room donated by the Green Acres Inn. That night, some pretty big storms came through, so we were very thankful to be staying inside. With those storms came some pretty incredible heat and humidity.

Our next day, we again left by 6 in hopes of beating the heat. By 9am, it had already turned out to be a scorcher, and the winds picked up pretty early. Even still, we made it to Lindborg by 3:30 or so. As it turns out, Lindsborg is the 'little sweden' of America, complete with an annual festival dedicated to its Swedish heritage. When we arrived, the Viking motel (in tune with the Scandanavian theme) donated two rooms to us! We were so thankful to each have a bed to ourselves. The owner of the motel couldn't have been nicer. Because the town is so small, he has donated a room to the past 3 years of riders as well, and was able to show us a binder full of interesting articles about people who had stayed in the hotel. In the binder was a press release about Ben Ristau and Jeremiah Tracey's trip (the first annual Coast to Coast for a cure)! He was really excited to be help out another crew. He even called down to the local family restaurant, spoke with the owner, and she then donated dinner to us. We've decided that people in Kansas, as a rule, are pretty nice.

We woke up again bright and early, ready to start a 115 mile day, only to find that there was a severe thunderstorm warning for the area. The wind was blowing like crazy! We decided to go back to bed, and woke up again around 7:15 to find that the storm had passed. We were on the road around 8, and were stopped again around 10:30 to wait for another round of storms to pass. In all, we estimate that we lost around 4 hours. We also learned on this day that eastern Kansas is not actually flat. The 'Flint Hills', as they're known, are actually fairly 'bouncy'. The scenery was beautiful, and we enjoyed the expances of farmland and farm animals. Tony has a pretty impressive cow impression, and spoke to the cows on several occasions. Sometimes, when he moo'd, he would scare the cows away, and sometimes they would run towards him. Apparently, he doesn't know what he's saying when he speaks cow. We rolled into Osage City around 8, completely exhausted. We were excited about the prospect of finding a place to stay, only to find out that Osage City was not actually much of a city, and did not have a motel. We walked into the local convenience store to ask for suggestions, and the clerk (Amber) was kind enough to have us camp in her lawn. Unfortunately, she did not get off of work until 10:30, long after we would have been asleep. We set up camp and had a very hot, sticky night inside of the tents.

We woke up around 6 the next morning to head to Leawood. Our ride was very pretty in the increasingly large rolling hills, and we had a ripping tailwind behind us. By 3, we were in the area surrounding Leawood and Kansas city. However, the roads here are very confusing, and are known to have multiple names (not all of which are listed). They also frequently end and then begin again 1/2 mile away. Needless to say, it took us until about 5 to find the Douglas' house. When we made it, we were very relieved! They have been so kind to us, and we are so thankful for their hospitality (and very very full bellies).

Tomorrow morning, we will cross the Missouri border (only about 2 miles from where we are now), and then make our way towards St. Louis on the Katy Trail, an old railroad bed turned bike bath. This will take us all the way though Missouri in 3 or 4 days.

We'll write soon (and there are pictures coming, promise!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Flatlands

So, we've made it to Kansas! We're all so excited to finally be riding on some flats.

Here's a recap of the past few days:
When we last left you, we were going to attempt a pretty long day to Fowler, Colorado. We left the KOA bright and early for a fairly long, gradual climb (about 3,000 feet), which we completed around 11 AM. For the rest of the afternoon, we coasted downhill to Pueblo, Co. As we coasted though, losing over 4,000 feet, the temperature began to rise exponentially. By the time we rolled into Pueblo around 3:30PM, the bank read 104 degrees on its thermometer. Our original plan was to stop quickly by a bike shop to pick up supplies and head on our way for the last 37 (flat as a pancake) miles to Fowler. However, we stopped in a gas station to cool down, and after some slushies, we decided that it would be much better to wake up super early and get the extra miles under our belt in the cooler weather. We spent the night in a motel, with our alarm set for 4:30AM so that we could get an early start. Little did we know what the next day would hold for us.

Our alarms went off and we packed up our panniers only to discover that Katherine had a tire that had gone flat overnight (she had had 2 flats on the same tire the day before, and we were beginning to get a bit suspicious about the integrity of the tire itself). We figured that we would try one more tube inside of that tire before completely giving up on the tire. So, about 30 minutes behind schedule, we started off for our 112 mile day. We were coasting along at about 16MPH for over an hour, and were really proud of our progress when Katherine's tire went completely flat again. So, we stopped to change it---but, as we soon found out, our handheld pump was completely broken (keep in mind that it had worked an hour earlier to blow up the first flat). So, at 7:3o on a Saturday morning, we were stranded about 20 miles outside of Pueblo in the middle of a field. Fortunately, a very nice woman drove by and saw that we looked concerned and offered to give Tony and Katherine a ride to Walmart to purchase another pump. The mission was successful, and after purchasing a pump, as well as some CO2 cartridges as a backup, they were able to get a ride back from someone in the parking lot who just happened to be heading for the middle of nowhere (quite like us). The rest of the day towards Eads was relatively uneventful. It was brutally hot in the late afternoon, and we managed to pick up quite a headwind for the last 20 miles. Even still, we rolled into town around 6PM. The Traveler's Lodge in Eads was kind enough to donate a room to us for the evening. We were especially grateful for this room because it appeared that a pretty huge storm was rolling through. A woman in the local gas station told us that there was a flash flood and tornado warning out for the county. Fortunately, not much came of the storm aside from pretty crazy winds and some lightning.

Today, we woke up at 5AM for a 105 mile day. We were out the door and riding by 6, when it was still pretty cool outside. The heat picked up quickly though, and by 9AM, we were already scorching. We stopped about every 10 miles for a quick 'breather', and about every 20 miles at gas stations for water fill ups. We made great time again, and rode into Scott City, Kansas at about 4PM (which was really 3PM for us, because we gained an hour when we came into Kansas). We were pretty pleased that we didn't run into any technical difficulties today, because it would have been quite unpleasant to bake on the side of the road while attempting to fix a bike. The scenery in Kansas is....lots of wide open space. Most of the wheat has already been harvested, so we can see for miles and miles around us in any direction as we ride. As we approached Scott City, we began to see some corn fields (the green was a welcome sight!). Apparently, we are entering 'feedlot country', where cows are raised for beef. I'm sure this will be an adventure for our noses tomorrow! The Best Western has donated a room to us for the night. It's currently about 7:30 here, and still 98 degrees outside, so we are very happy to be inside.

Tomorrow, we will wake up at 5 again, and we will be treated to a full breakfast at the Best Western. We hope to be on the road by 6:15 again, in order to beat the heat (it's supposed to be even hotter tomorrow--and we're forecasted to have headwinds). Our goal tomorrow is La Crosse, Kansas, about 95 miles or so from here. We'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Luxury Kamping

We're sitting here at a KOA (Kampground of America) in Cotopaxi, Colorado. The campground is right on the Arkansas river, and we even have internet access! The campsite is complete with a pool, mini golf course, horseshoe pit, showers and laundry.

The last few days have gone as follows:
Telluride-Cimarron
Cimarron-Sargents
Sargents-Cotopaxi

We left Telluride around 9AM for a beautiful ride down through the mountains. Last year's crew made it to Montrose, but thanks to a VERY hefty tailwind, we made it there by 3. We decided to push on a bit more in order to make the climb over Monarch Pass a bit easier (we were able to rig our route so that this huge climb was early in the morning). We also feared the winds might change on us and we wanted to get as many miles as possible under our belt with the conditions. In Montrose, we met up with Ed, a touring cyclist who has ridden across the country 5 times! This is his sixth. He was packed useful information, and it was nice to have another rider along with us for the afternoon. We all arrived in Cimarron around 7pm, thoroughly pooped after a 90+ mile day. Cimarron wasn't much of a town, but more of a gas station/general store/restaurant/campground similar to Cook's Station in the Sierra's. We were all famished and managed to each put back a cheeseburger and a large slice of homemade pie. Tony was so hungry that he drank and entire half gallon of whole milk while we waited for dinner. He says that he will do anything these days to make sure that he consumes enough calories! He calculated that this was a very cheap source of said calories: 1080 for $2.89. This has become a game between Tony and Drew. Each time we head into a gas station, they compete to see who can find the cheapest calories.

The next morning, we set off early, knowing that we had a climb in the morning, and wanted to get it out of the way before it warmed up too much. We made it to the top by 10, and were very excited to know that the rest of our 70 mile day was pretty much flat (with an uphill so slight that it was difficult to notice). Again, we had a great tailwind that propelled us towards Sargents, a town at the base of Monarch Pass. Again, this town was nothing more than the Tomichi Creek Trading Post, complete with all services mentioned above. We camped last night in Sargets at about 8,500 feet. We had no idea how cold it could get! We woke up this morning to find that it dropped below freezing last night. The grass was covered in frost, and all of our clothes that we had left to air out were frozen and crispy. As soon as the sun rose over the mountains, however, it warmed up significantly, and we were able to shed our hats and gloves.

We set out this morning to head over Monarch Pass, at an elevation of 11,312. We climbed over 3,000 feet in 10 miles to reach the top. Even still, it did not seem like the worst hill we had climbed. We're still not sure if this was due to the fact that it was the first thing we did this morning, or if it was actually less steep than some of our other climbs. We made it to the top by 10:45, and were pleasantly surprised to find a tourist stop at the top, where we all grabbed some needed snacks. We headed downhill for the rest of the day to Cotopaxi, where we arrived around 3PM. We could have pushed another 21 miles to the next town, but it involved at 1,500 foot climb. Our legs were pretty shot after this morning, so we decided that it would be best to rest up for some long days that we have coming up ahead of us. Today, Tony attempted to turn Drew on to his milk trick, and bought a gallon for the two of them to split. Drew is waiting on a stomach ache to decided if he likes the idea.

Tomorrow, we are going to shoot to make it about 30 miles past Pueblo to Fowler. This would be a 110 mile day, but aside from a climb and a downhill in the morning, it would be primarily flat. We'll see how the winds treat us before we make a decision. If we are able to do this, it would make our next day to Eads much easier (it would be 125 miles otherwise).

We'll keep you posted as we have internet access!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Telluride, Colorado

We're sitting here in the public library in Telluride, Colorado! This town is absolutely beautiful. We are surrounded on all sides by lush green mountains. One of them even has an enormous waterfall facing town!

After we last wrote, we went to Kulani's extended family's house for a barbeque. He made us some of the yummiest beef brisket we have ever had, as well as a very delicious salad! After eating our fill, we headed back to our motel for a great night's sleep. We headed off the next morning excited that we had a 1,000 foot climb, followed by relatively flat terrain for nearly 60 miles to Dolores, Colorado. Our elevation map fooled us, however, because while we did not change elevation we rode up and down and up and down some very rolling hills. Drew affectionately referred to them as 'bouncy'. Even still, it was a nice break from the steep Utah mountains! Also, we came through some very pretty and expansive farmland, which we imagine is similar to what we might see next week as we head towards Kansas.

In Dolores, we had burgers at the Hollywood bar, a true local experience. After a night of camping at the local RV park in this very small mountain town, we set off for an awesome day towards Telluride. The first 1o miles were completely flat (it really was!), and we rode along the fast flowing Dolores river. The river kept the temperature down, and it was so nice to finally be surrounded by trees and water again. We slowly started uphill, but the grade was so shallow that it was sometimes even hard to notice that we were going uphill, aside from the fact that our speeds were very low. We call them 'false flats'. Our energy remained high throughout the day, partially due to the terrain, and partially due to the beautiful views we saw as we rounded every turn. Our final push up Lizard's Head pass was supposed to be quite a bit steeper, but it turned out to be nothing compared to some of the hills we came over in Utah. It was great to get to the top and actually feel like we still had some more energy left in our legs! At this point, we are also feeling like we are in much better shape than when we left San Francisco 3 weeks ago. I think yesterday would have been unimaginable had we not spent the last 3 weeks climbing mountains on our bikes!

We arrived in Telluride around 4pm last night, and we are enjoying our day off! We stayed in a motel last night, and treated ourselves to some very delicious mexican food in town. Today, we transferred our gear to a town campsite where we will be staying tonight and then set off for our various adventures. We have a bunch of bike maintenance planned for the afternoon, including replacing some of our tires that have begun to wear through the tread after over 1,300 miles of riding (can you believe it?). Next weekend when we take our next day off, we will be just under 1/2 way done with our trip. Sometimes we feel like it is flying by, and other times we feel like our long days will just never end. Either way, I think we will all look back fondly at the challenges we are facing.

Friday, July 3, 2009

inching east!

The past few days in Utah have gone as follows:

Boulder-Hanksville (84 miles)
Hanksville-Hite (55 miles)
Hite-Blanding (80 miles)

Leaving Boulder, we immediately climbed quite a bit up the "hogback" to a beautiful summit. We had views for hundreds of miles around, including all of the colorful canyons in the area. As we descended, we came through a neat birch forest, and were greeted by some open range cows who just happened to be enjoying themselves in the middle of the road. After snapping some pictures, we continued on our very long descent towards Hanksville. We traveled through Capitol Reef National Monument (those were some pretty cool looking rocks!), as well as through the base of a canyon. Red stone walls hundreds of feet high surrounded both sides of the road as we snaked for 30 flat miles through the canyon. It was pretty cool to be down there!

After leaving the canyon, we hit some very dry desert. Also, the temperature shot up immensely as we left the canyon. We were dragging along, just wishing Hanksville would suddenly appear before our eyes when a silver Honda with CT plates came speeding towards us in the other direction. We noticed that there was someone hanging out of each window of the car screaming. We've had some pretty interesting reactions to riding in certain places, so we didn't immediately realize who these people were...they were friends from our med school class on a cross-country drive out to Seattle! We had discussed meeting up, but didn't think it would work out because we had lost cell phone service pretty early that day. A big thanks to Aaron Soufer, Matt Larson, Elizabeth Artrip and Jeff Thorne for going out of their way to visit us! What a pleasant surprise to be able to hang out on the side of the road in middle of the desert with some other people we know!

When we rolled into Hanksville, the temperature was 104. Enough to scorch us.

The next day (a relatively easy day to Hite) was made easier by some significant cloud cover that kept the temperatures down. Again, another pretty ride through some more canyons, including Glen National Monument. We arrived in Hite around 2pm to find that this 'recreation area' was nothing more than a small gas station and a ranger station. We quickly decided that it would be best to leave in the middle of the night for our 80 mile uphill ride to Blanding to keep us out of the heat. So, we sat inside of the gas station until they closed at 5, and treated ourselves to some microwave burritos and ice creamWe then attempted to lie in the shade of the ranger station to get some sleep before our big day. We're not really sure how it happened, but as the evening wore on, it became hotter and hotter and hotter and hotter. It was nearly impossible to stay asleep! Even still, we managed to arise around midnight for a 1am departure for Blanding.

The ride today was pretty tough. We had a long 50 mile uphill, which, although it was not particularly steep, did allow us to gain about 3,000 feet in elevation. We reached the summit around 10 AM and had some 'brunch' of peanut butter sandwiches. As we were eating, a group of 3 local cyclists rode by and took interest in our cause. They have invited us for a barbeque tonight, which we are all very excited about! We are currently in the Blanding public library, waiting out a squall that is passing by. Apparently they normally don't last long and we should see blue sky again soon!

We pass into Colorado tomorrow. Tony has declared that even though Utah is steep, it is his favorite state. Katherine agrees that the views are like nothing you could ever imagine back east. Ross and Drew have yet to weigh in on the matter. We'll get back to you after Colorado, which is likely to be a contender in the race for favorite state so far.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

and we thought the Sierra's were pretty!

Sitting here now in Boulder, Utah. We've had a great couple of days! Sorry, no ability to upload pictures this time, but Tony will be sure to email some of his best from the past few days from his blackberry.

We left Cedar City around 7AM and after making a quick left onto rt. 14, we were greeted by a sign that said something to the likes of "8% grades next 15 miles. No semi's allowed". That sign wasn't kidding. Over about 20 miles, we climbed over 4,500 feet up to Cedar Brinks national monument. The hill was long and steep, and we made it to the top around 2:30. The climb was worth it, though. We were greeted with some pretty incredible views of Cedar Brinks, which is sort of a mini version of Bryce Canyon. We were able to see forever in the distance!

That afternoon, we had a 30 mile downhill to Panguich, Utah where we grabbed some quick dinner before heading another 23 miles to Bryce Canyon for our day off. We were all exhausted and although Ruby's campground was hopping, we all slept soundly for over 10 hours. It felt great considering we have been getting up at 5 most mornings in an attempt to beat the heat of the afternoon.

Our day off in Bryce was wonderful. The boys decided that it would be a good idea to get some exercise on our day off, and took off on a short (but steep) hike...but they were greeted with some incredible views of the canyon. Katherine took advantage of the day off and decided that a guided tour of all the vista points was the way to go. Ross has visited Zion National Park before, which is just south of Bryce. Tony, Katherine and Ross have never seen anything like the canyon before. The different shades of reds and browns were just incredible. The hoodoos, or stone statues that are formed by erosion tower out of the base of the canyon and often take the liking of famous things in history. Katherine's favorite was the hoodoo shaped like Queen Elizabeth (she swears it really looks like her!) After our day of tourism, we came back to do some bike maintenance. Ross's rear tire had begun to wear through, so we had to do some tire swapping between bikes. We also repaired some tubes, as we've still been getting quite a few flat tires!

This morning, we left Bryce around 8 for a 77 mile ride to Boulder. The first part of the ride was relatively uneventful, but by 1pm, it was really hot (about 100 degrees). The air was dry, but it was still pretty hot! As the afternoon wore on, some clouds developed, which helped quite a bit with the heat. We had one pretty incredible climb today. We dipped way down into a twisty canyon, and were amazed to be surrounded by red cliffs on all sides and to have an actual river (complete with lush trees) flowing next to the road. The ascent out of the canyon, though, was pretty intense. When we reached the top, we looked back to see a sign that said "14% grade next 4 miles"....it really was as steep as it sounds. Once out of the canyon, we again had an incredible view. It is amazing for kids who grew up on the east coast to be able to see for hundreds of miles in all directions.

We rolled into Boulder around 6:30 PM (quite a long day). Boulder is a great little farming community that primarily exists during the summer (with a whopping population of about 200). We walked into the mini-mart in town, and Darren and Catherine recommended that we stop by Josh and Jill's house down the street because they might be willing to put us up for the night. When we stopped by their little farm house, Jill was outside gardening. She was more than happy to have us stay for the night. Next, we headed to the Burr Trail Grill for very yummy cheeseburgers. We we're pretty sure that we were eating a cow that earlier that day had roamed the fields across the street from the restaurant. We've all showered and are now sitting around a campfire with Josh and Jill. It turns out that Josh actually rode from Palm Springs on a bike to Boulder, and once he arrived, decided that he didn't want to leave. It's great to talk to someone who has done a long cycling trip in the past and knows what we're going through. We're so grateful to have a place to stay and to have made some friends!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

We made it through Nevada

Hello!

So, we've made it to Cedar City, Utah. We're staying with a nice family (the Dalton's) who we found on www.warmshowers.org, a website designed to help touring cyclists find a place to stay along their route.

Since we left Fallon, Nevada, we have had only intermittent cell phone service, and haven't had access to a computer to do a real update to the blog. So, I'll start from way back (I'll also include pictures starting with the Sierra's)

Here are a few shots of our day near Carson Pass in the Sierra's. It was absolutely stunning, and after spending almost a week in the desert, we've begun to miss the views!






So, after leaving Fallon, the last few days have gone as following:
1) Fallon-Austin
2) Austin-Eureka
3) Eureka-Ely
4) Ely-Baker
5) Baker-Milford, Utah
6) Milford-Cedar City

Leaving Fallon, we got up at 12 AM for a 1AM departure. One of our tires went flat during the night, so departure time was delayed until about 1:30. We were all decked out in reflective gear, and we all had flashing lights on our bikes. We hopped on highway 50, known as the loneliest highway in America. They weren't kidding. We stayed on this road throughout all of Nevada (until about 10 miles outside of Baker). This road takes you through the middle of absolute nowhere in Nevada. There are even signs to prove it:

Sorry the picture is sideways:

The 112 mile proved to be very difficult. We would like to make it known, that contrary to popular beleif (and by popular beleif we include ourselves) just because Nevada is a desert, it is NOT flat. In fact, there are over 350 mountain ranges in Nevada running from north to south. From east of the Sierra's until about halfway through Utah is known as the 'basin and range', meaning that there are a a ton of north-south running mountain ranges with enormous valleys between them.

By daybreak, we were already pretty tired (from lack of sleep and from the miles). By 8am, we had reached middlegate, a "town" which consisted of a gas station/diner, and a motel that was run out of a mobile home. We stopped for some much needed fuel and water, and set off of the rest of the ride. We were met with some pretty nasty headwinds in the afternoon, and this slowed us down considerably. It is pretty tough to ride on tired legs when the wind is strong enough to stop you from riding downhill. We finally made it to Austin at about 7:45 PM, and the local restaurant was nice enough to stay open past 8 to feed some very hungry bike riders. At the restaurant, we ran into Greg and Addison, who would become our friends for the next several days. They were on a tour across Nevada from their hometown of Reno to Great Basin National Park, outside of Baker. That night, we camped behind the Austin Baptist Church, which was also an RV park complete with showers and outlets for charging phones and cameras!

The next day's ride to Eureka was not nearly as tough in terms of miles and climbs, and we made it to town by 4:30, where the Sundown Lodge was kind enough to donate a room to us for the night. We again met up with Greg and Addison for dinner, but this time we went for Chinese food instead of Burgers. Even though the ride was not necessarily as difficult, it was certainly lonely.

Views like this were what we saw for days:

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After another ride to Ely through more desert with very similar views and no places to stop for water, we again met up with Greg and Addison for some drinks. It was great to get to know them a bit and look forward to spending our evenings with them. From Ely, we parted ways and they headed towards Great Basin National Park to meet up with their families. We hope the rest of their vacation was fun!

From Ely, we headed to Baker, where we experienced a pretty nasty wind storm in the morning. From the looks of it, it was actually a rain storm, because rain was pouring down around us....but we never got wet. Apparently this is a common phenomenon in Nevada because it is so dry. It will often rain when it storms, but it evaporates before it hits the ground. Needless to say, the wind turned a pretty easy day in terms of miles into a pretty difficult day because the it was blowing so hard in the morning. Tired, we rolled into Baker, where we came upon the Jack Silver motel. They said that they did not have any rooms available, but that they would be willing to let us sleep in the gift shop to keep us out of the rain. We were very grateful to have a roof over our heads on a windy, stormy night! We also ate at the lectrolux cafe, run by the same man who owns the Jack Silver, and we were treated to some very yummy burritos.

Yesterday, we crossed the Utah border (YAY!)....


and we rode a very long 83 miles to Milford, Utah. We were very excited to leave the driest state in the country, only to find that it was possible for it to get drier. At one point, all plant life disappeared, and we were completely surrounded by sand (as we had imagined that all of the desert would be). We were also greeted again with very nasty winds. Thunderstorms were forecasted, and although a storm never directly passed over us, we still had two major wind storms.

you can see some of the ominous clouds in the distance here:

Under normal conditions, the 83 miles with 2 climbs would have been pretty tough, but it was even tougher with the wind. We did not arrive in Milford until nearly 7pm, and we were pooped. The Oak Tree Inn saved the day though...they donated two rooms to us! This meant that we each had our own bed, which was a very nice treat. After eating at Penny's diner, we showered and all slept very well.

Today, instead of headwinds, we finally had tailwinds! We left Milford after visiting the grocery store at 9AM, and made it to Cedar City by 3, even though we did have one 1500 foot climb. It's amazing to see how a change in the winds can change our average speed. We're excited to be staying with the Daltons. They are cooking chicken for us for dinner, and we can't wait for a home cooked meal. In fact, we're eating in about 10 minutes.

We're hoping for the best in terms of wind for tomorrow, when we will climb to Bryce Canyon National Park for a much needed day off. We're excited to do a day hike in park, which is rumored to be pretty beautiful. We will be camping for the next few days, and probably won't have access to computers.

Stay tuned for our next update!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Loneliest Highway

Yesterday we finished a grueling 115 mile ride from Fallon to Austin Nevada. Today we finished our ride in Eureka Nevada after a 71 mile ride. More details to follow when we have internet access.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

desert winds

We left Carson City this morning at about 7:45 for our 63 mile trek to Fallon, Nevada. We made it in record time thanks to a hefty tailwind (easily 30mph). By 1:30 pm, we arrived at Jerry's, a great local diner. We then made our way to the Ponce household, a very generous family who is hosting us for the night. We are very grateful for a place to rest up before tomorrow, which will be our longest day yet. We plan to leave around 1am to start our 115 mile day to Austin, Nevada. We've already got our flashlights strapped on to our bikes and our reflective vests ready to go. Between Fallon and Austin, we will encounter only 1 town where we will fill up on water. Along this route, we will also climb over 2,500 feet. We are a bit nervous for such a tough day, but are confident that we will make it. Here's to hoping that the wind will be at our backs tomorrow! Last year's team made it easily by 4pm the next day, so we should be fine. We will likely be camping for the next few nights and probably won't have access to the internet for blog updates. If we have cell phone service, Tony will update briefly via his blackberry.

Also, we promise pictures will be coming soon! Katherine seems to have misplaced her USB cord for her camera, which was the source of pictures for the blog. When we next see an electronics store, we will pick one up.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We made it to Nevada!

We last left you in beautiful Davis, California with the Wilkes. We haven't had access to a computer since then--we've been in the beautiful Sierra's! We are currently sitting in the public library in Carson City, Nevada on our first (and much needed) day off. Unfortunately, we won't be able to upload any pictures today because this is a public computer, but we will as soon as we can!

A recap of the past few days:

Loaded up with supplies, including very yummy almond butter and banana sandwiches on bagels, we left Davis and set off for Placerville, California. The first 20 miles of the trek towards Sacramento was a flat, easy ride. Ross and Tony managed to get a bit ahead of Drew and Katherine, and while waiting for them, just happened to come upon a real live taco truck. They felt that even though it was 10 A.M., they could not resist said tacos. Word on the street was that they are the best tacos they have ever eaten.

After passing into Sacramento, we immediately hopped on to the American River Bike Trail, which took us for 30 miles through downtown Sacramento towards Folsom, Ca. The bike trail was great! It had water fountains and flush toilets strategically placed along the route, which was great when we needed a quick break. It was also nice to ride on paved bike trail away from traffic. We managed to stop along the river at a very nice park for lunch. Katherine read on a picnic table while the boys attempted to go swimming in the American River. However, the boys quickly returned and said that the water was way too cold to swim in.

After arriving in Folsom, we turned off the bike trail to head up to Placerville. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s appeared immediately after exiting the bike trail. We managed to get about halfway between Folsom and Placerville when we ran in to a nice cyclist who was out for a ride on his road bike. We asked him what he thought the rest of our ride would be like to Placerville, and he said something along the lines of ‘a few long shallow hills, followed by a bit of a push at the end’. This was great to hear, because at this point, we had already gone about 60 miles. We should have known, however, that because this man was a California native, that his definition of a hill was a bit different than ours. The long shallow hills were actually quite steep, and the ‘push at the end’ required us to walk our bikes up the hill because our legs were so tired.
We made it to Placerville at the end of an 80+ mile day, and we were absolutely pooped. After asking at a few motels, we had a room donated to us at the National 9 Motel. We were so grateful to be sleeping in a bed that night.

The next morning, we slept in a bit, because we knew we would be tired. We also had to stock up on some supplies, which required us to wait around until 9 for the local bike shop and grocery store to open. We stopped for breakfast at the Waffle House, and none of the riders were able to finish their meals. It was certainly a good thing that we had some shopping to do to allow ourselves to digest before riding!

Our goal was to make it to Cook's Station at the end of the day, at an elevation of about 5,000 ft. We knew that we would have some serious climbing, but we were excited that we only had a 30 mile day ahead of us. We started off in earnest, only to be amazed at how long and steep some of the hills could be. Downhills used to be something that we anticipated as a break, but on this day, they only meant that we would have to go back up again. This was by far the hardest day for all of the riders so far. It is possible that we were just exhausted from the day before, but for some reason, every climb was a battle. Even still, it was pretty cool to see the terrain change before our eyes as we started to ascend.

We finally made it to Cook's Station, completely exhausted. On our map, it was listed as a place with a small grocery store, a restaurant, a gas station, and a campsite. It turns out that Cook's Station was not actually a town, but one building. It was the grocery store (which sold about 7 items), a gas station, a restaurant and a campground, all in one! The best part about it, though, was that there was a shower in the basement. Well fed (from the restaurant) and showered, we camped in the backyard. Apparently, a bear visited the trash dumpster pretty close to us that night, but we were all so exhausted that we did not hear it. One of the permanent RV campers at Cook's Station told us about it the next morning. It's a good thing it didn't bother us!

The next day was another large climbing day for us. Our initial goal was to make it all the way to Carson City, but we soon realized that this was a very unrealistic goal (it would have been another 80 mile day, but this time with over 4,000 feet of vertical gain). We settled instead for Kirkwood, which in the Winter is a hopping ski resort about 6 miles from Carson Pass, at about 7,000 feet. In the summer though, it turns out that there is not much going on. Our map again indicated that there was a grocery store, a hotel, a gas station, and a campground. It failed to mention, however, that these places were only open in the Winter when the area was full of skiers. We were certainly hoping for a hotel, but we were very happy to learn that the campground was open, and that we would have a place to stay.

This being said, all we had left in terms of food was a box of pasta and powdered sauce, 1/4 a can of peanut butter, and a few granola bars. It's a good thing we thought ahead to carry an extra meal with us for a stiuation like this. We were a bit nervous about not having enough for breakfast and snacks for the climb through Carson Pass the next morning, but we figured that we would be okay until we could get to the next general store, about 9 miles from the top of the pass. Very fortunately, we met Kevin and Steve, who were RV camping in the campsite next to ours. They were in the area to take part in the great fishing in nearby Silver Lake. Before we went to bed, they offered to cook us eggs, bacon and hash browns in the morning to give us energy for our ride. We are convinced that Kevin makes some of the best hashbrowns we have ever had. We could not have been more greatful for breakfast on a day that we didn't have a good meal with us! Thanks guys!

After a short 6 mile climb to the top of Carson Pass (about 8,500 feet) we started downhill to see some pretty incredible views. It is somewhat difficult to describe snow capped mountains and alpine lakes in words, so we will just have to post pictures the next time that we have access to a computer that will allow us to do so. Apparently, we're a lucky crowd. Until the day before we arrived, it has rained nearly every day. We brought the good weather (and the good views) with us when we came to the Sierra's

After a fast 45 miles downhill, we passed over the Nevada Border and made it to Carson City. We are staying in the Mill Hotel, and have spent this morning stocking up on groceries and bike supplies for the desert we will encounter tomorrow. In the morning, we will take off for Fallon, Nv, about 60 miles east of where we are now.

More to come soon (hopefully with pictures!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hardest day yet

Day 4:
End: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=38.7336,-120.7745&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1
Miles: 82
Average speed: 11mph
Max speed: 48mph
Elevation change: +2000 feet with many more hills

Monday, June 15, 2009

And the people you meet.

Right now, it is 7:34pm at the Wilkes family home and we are living the life, but before we get to that we will do a recap of the goings on since Aunt Susies.




After leaving Aunt Susie's house with a full stomach of cookout food, chips, salsa, and guac, we made our way from Senoma to Napa. Wine country was absolutely beautiful, but Napa had other great surprises in store... Inn'n'out Burgers!!! After filling our stomachs and getting some more supplies we headed towards the campsite which was less than a mile up the road. Good thing, since the burgers did not make the greatest cycling food. They were delicious though. No regrets. The lady at the Skyline RV Park cut us a deal and gave us a key to use the showers, a right that is reserved normally for RV owners. After cleaning ourselves up and setting up camp we headed to bed to get up early for the hard day that was ahead of us.In the morning, none of us were looking forward to the hard climbs that were ahead of us, but we ate our breakfast and headed out. About 6 miles up the road, right before the hills were to start, we met two schoolteachers named John and Doug who were riding their recumbent bicycles. They asked us where we were headed, and when we told them Davis, they seemed flabbergasted that we would attempt to go the way we were planning and guided us out of town on another route that would bypass the mountains and remain relatively flat. This added a lot of miles to our day, but we were thankful for the help. At the edge of Napa, we said our fairwells to John and Doug and headed toward Davis.


On route, we ran into a young lady named Alena who was on her way to Oregon to meet up with some friends where she was going to have cross country bike ride. She was on her way to Davis tonight as well, and had absolutely no idea how to get there. We told her to tag along, and four became five. Right after we picked up Alena we had some major technical difficulties again. Ross' rear rack fell off. Once we had solved the rack problem, we broke the valve off of his tube while trying to put more air in the tire. Later on in the day, we realized that Ross' bike troubles had unbalanced his tires and his brakes were rubbing, so we had to work on that as well. Later on we met a gentleman named Wayne who was from England and was biking across the country as well to raise money for two different charities. Once he got to New York he was going to fly out to Spain, through France, and into his homeland. You can read more about his epic adventure at http://www.thecharityride.com/. Wayne was also rather lost, and he asked to tag along into Davis. He was on his way into Sacramento. After biking with us and Alena for a while he decided that he would be quicker on his own and sped off. In Davis we ran into him again asking for directions.
Once we got to the Wilkes residence we were welcomed with open arms by Dr. Mike Wilkes, his wife Maggie, and their daughter Abbie. They had a spread of delicious appetizers that we demolished. Salmon, cheese, crackers, chips, salsa, and guac. Needless to say, we laid waste to it. We then took a dip in their beautiful pool and had an amazing dinner of grilled chicken, pasta, salad, and Beer. It was great, and much needed after the long day. The Wilkes also let us use their laundry and internet. They have been incredibly generous and have given us a great place to relax at the end of the day. Right now we are going to go do some bicycle surgery and probably head to bed rather early. Peace.
Total Miles: 73, Average speed:13mph

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wine country

Day 1:
30 miles with lots of mechanical delays
Start: San Fran
End: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=38.0196,-122.7343&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 2:
51 miles, average speed 12mph, max speed 39 mph
End: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=38.2774,-122.2507&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Also, to find more pictures, not on the blog. Check out our Picasa account. http://picasaweb.google.com/coasttocoast09

Wine Country!

So...we're sitting here at Ross' Aunt Susie and Uncle Albert's house in Sonoma, Ca. Wine country is beautiful!

Here is a recap of the past 2 days:
Our flight left Boston at 6AM yesterday. The 6.5 hour flight was long, but Ross and Katherine managed to sleep 9/10 of the way to SF (Drew and Tony didn't sleep a wink). After a short ride on the Bart and a cab ride, we arrived at City Cycles, where we had shipped our bikes the week earlier. There were still a few adjustments to be made on the bikes, and we had to transfer all of our luggage into our panniers to carry on the bikes. At this point, we were also famished. We were told to visit "Marina Subs" on Steiner street across from the bike shop while last minute adjustments were made to our bikes. Little did we know that this famous sub shop was staffed by one man making sandwiches, and one man watching him make sandwiches. Getting lunch therefore took much longer than we had anticipated. That being said, we can say that the enormous turkey and avacado subs were worth the wait. They were especially worth the wait at 6pm, when we were still on the road and hadn't eaten since lunch.

Here we are, about to depart from City Cycles:


At the bike shop, Alissa Maglaty, a SF local (and hero) met us to lead us out of the city. She led us over the beautiful golden gate bridge and through the suburbs primarily on bike paths and back roads, for which we were very grateful. Unfortunately, we didn't get on the road until almost 2:30 after all was said and done at the bike shop, so didn't have much time to enjoy the scenery. Our original plan was to stay with Ross's aunt and uncle in Sonoma, but we soon realized that this was not going to be possible because we had gotten such a late start. After climbing White's hill, which felt suspiciously like a mountain, we decided that it would be better for us to veer off course and find a place to camp than attempt to make it to Sonoma. It was a wise choice. We ended up staying at the Samuel P. Taylor state park, a redwood forest outside of Lagunitas, Ca. We wouldn't have been able to make it without Alissa's superb navigation skills...so thank you Alissa!

Before we headed to our campsite, we went into the Lagunitas General store to buy groceries, and ran into Robert and Linda, two of the nicest people we could have imagined meeting on a bike trip such as ours. They immediately took interest in our cause, and offered to carry our groceries to our campsite for us. They also said they would return with firewood for us to make a campfire, and some eggs from their chickens. We met them at our campsite about 30 minutes later, and Robert built us a barn burner of a campfire for the evening, and left us some yummy eggs that we enjoyed this morning for breakfast. Thank you Robert and Linda!!

Here is robert, making us a fire!

We got on the road at about 8:30 this morning because we all had some minor adjustments to make to our bikes after our first day of riding. Ross' pannier's have decided that they don't much like to stay on the back of his bike, so we had to make quite a few stops early on to strap them back on. I think we finally managed a system with zip ties that should hold for some time (as long as the roads don't get too bumpy!) Aside from these minor mishaps this morning, we have had a fairly uneventful day. There were a few large climbs, but we were always rewarded with some great downhills. Tony clocked in at a max speed of 39MPH. We're going to try valiantly to beat Russ's record of 50mph from last year.

We got our first flat tire today...Tony fixed it in record time.

We all decided that the highlight of the ride was the cherry stand we came across about 10 miles outside of sonoma. Katherine had never eaten a white cherry, and was amazed how sweet they tasted even though they looked so unripe. They also provided a great 'kick' for the last bit of the ride. The four of us then proceeded to have a discussion about why fructose is such a great source of energy (because it doesn't require transporters to get into cells). We may be on a cross country bike ride, but we are all medical students at heart.

This is what drew us towards the delicious cherries:


So, here we sit now in beautiful 80 degree sun around the pool eating burgers with Albert and Susie. Thanks for lunch! We are slowly regaining energy, and will ride about 10-15 miles tonight to Napa, where we will camp. Tomorrow, we will head towards Davis and will encounter Cardiac Hill. We'll let you know how that goes.


ps: Drew is our navigation expert. He loves his maps!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Big tree or little dudes

In the Samuel P Taylor state park in Lagunitas, CA. Redwoods everywhere.
Ross Bickford
UCHC, MS1

Growing pains

After a long night and day we have reached our first camp. More to come tomorrow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thank You

Benidorm Bikes of Canton, CT has helped us out substantially in the past couple weeks. We have gotten much of our gear through Benidorm but more importantly, Benidorm has been a wealth of knowlegde. We have learned the details of the gear we need as well as some interesting stories about other touring cyclists.  

If your at all interested in bicycle touring, or any other type of cycling. Check out Benidorm!


Getting in Gear

Our bikes have arrived and been assembled. All of us have been busy studying for finals and putting in as many miles as possible. It seems impossible to log enough miles to be prepared for our journey, but studying seems to be a top priority. 

Our fundraising efforts are paying off. We have raised near $30,000 and the total is growing daily. Thank you to all those who have donated!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moving along

It's official. The flights are finalized and the first attempts at making a route are being made. We will be arriving in San Fransisco on June 13th at 9:30AM.



Friday, May 1, 2009

Ben and Jerry's Update!

Ben and Jerry's "Free Cone Day" was a huge success raising over $1100 bringing our cumulative total thus far near $10,000! Pictures to follow!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Free Cone Day

On Teusday, 4/21/09 from 12-8PM, all of your favorite Coast to Coast riders will be serving free ice cream at Ben and Jerry's of West Hartford. Donations appreciated!

The Zen Bar

On May 1st, The Zen Bar will be hosting Coast to Coast 2009. There will be a suggested $5 cover, 100% of which will go toward Lea's Foundation. There will be $2 drafts and Karaoke. The event will begin directly following "The Gong Show" (approximately 8:00)  at UCHC

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Upcoming events

All of our current efforts are focused around fund raising and spreading the word about our cause. Some of our upcoming events are below.

3/10/09 - REI Presentation
The 2008 and 2009 riders will give a presentation about cycle touring and what is involved in planning a Coast to Coast bike ride. Click here for more information!

3/26/09 - Murphy and Scarletti's
Live band and appetizers are provided. There is a $10 cover charge that will go to benefit Lea's Foundation.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Team


Katherine Farmer is a native of Madison, Connecticut, where she graduated from Daniel Hand High School in 2003. She holds a B.S. from Bates College in Maine, with a major in biology with a minor in French. While at Bates, she was a member of the lacrosse team and spent much of her free time outside hiking, running and skiing, but never took up cycling. She is excited to support such a great cause while spending her summer outdoors on a bike!

Andrew Cathers was born in Orange, California, and grew up in Coventry, Rhode Island. He attended Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, RI, and graduated in 2004. In 2008, he graduated from Providence College with a B.S. in Biology and a Liberal Arts Honors Degree. He grew up playing football and baseball and now he enjoys bass guitar, mountain biking, and combat sports. He is excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help others while seeing the breadth of the United States.

Anthony Faustini grew up in Orange, Connecticut and attended Amity High School. He earned his Bachelor of Science and Doctorate in Pharmacy at the University of Connecticut. Anthony is trained as an EMT and has a passion for the outdoors. He is looking forward to meeting new people and seeing the country while supporting a wonderful cause.

Ross Bickford grew up in Granby, Connecticut and attended the University of Connecticut as an undergraduate where he majored in Molecular and Cell Biology and minored in Physiology and Neurobiology. Ross' first major adventure in service involved teaching community health workers and helping raise funds for an orphanage while staying in Kisumu, Kenya. Ross is thrilled that he will have the opportunity to once again raise money for a charitable cause while meeting new people and seeing the country.