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!

2 comments:

greg said...

Congratulations! I am glad to have met you, and I am glad you are home safe. Take a little time to breathe before you start studying again.

PapaRegis said...

Hi,
I too am glad to see you made it back! We chatted briefly early on your trip when you were pedaling towards Folsom, CA. Just yesterday on the same bike trail, I encountered three guys (one from CT)that also left from San Francisco, dined at In-n-Out, and were on their way to Placerville! Sounds familiar aye! They are pedaling to Athens GA for the Make a Wish foundation. All I can say is all of you are awesome! Again, glad you made it back to CT safely!

Regis Herlehy
Folsom, CA