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Friday, August 24, 2007
Barre to the Big Salty

Barre to Wilmington
As we were waiting outside the library where Seager did the last update, Venerable, a Buddhist Monk who lived in the area, came back with several grocery bags of food to push us through to the end. We then biked off towards our farmhouse yard, hoping not to get lost on the way because it was already getting dark. We did make it, but it turned out to be 5 miles away instead of 3. To you car drivers, that makes no difference, but to you bikers who have ever been really hungry and ended up biking 5 miles off your route to get to your place to sleep, it does... but just a little bit. We ate dinner in the dark, but enjoyed warm showers and a blowdryer (!) so that we could sleep in the Massachussetts cold with dry hair. I got the best sleep I can remember, not even sticking to my sleeping bag. Our hostess gave us some fruit and a bar of dark chocolate, and we were content. Seager figured out a route for the next morning so we wouldn't have to backtrack those five miles, and it actually added some distance but removed a 3 mile hill and the sad feeling of biking a road we had just come down the night before. Mass continued to be quite scenic and lovely until the last 30 miles of the day...when it became one unending suburb along a busy road that we just happened to be riding at rush hour. None-the-less, we made it to our proposed ending point in the suburban mess, Wilmington. We had never had to find a place to stay in such suburbia, and were worried that our last night on the road would be a very difficult one. We asked locals if they knew of parks, and they encouraged us that the police would be very helpful and probably let us stay anywhere, then come and check on us and bring us treats and pillows and maybe let us sleep inside. On the contrary, the police said we couldn't stay anywhere public in town and we'd have to ship out. After 30 miles in the suburbs, we didn't want to ride into the dark on that busy road, so we divided to conquer. MinWah and I went to ask at the local Methodist Church if we could sleep under their stairway (they didn't have a yard, only an enormous parking lot) and Seager went to call phone numbers on the side of the Masons Temple. As MinWah and I discussed out trip with Reverand Travis, Seager rode up to hear him say that he had only been there for a month, and he didn't know what the police or the congregation would have to say, and he thought we wouldn't be safe under the stairs... Seager then mentioned that he had gotten a yard offer. Rev. Travis sounded relieved, and said that if the yard didn't work out, we should come back and he would try to make some phone calls for us. We biked two miles down the road (on our route!) to Ed and Sally's house and were welcomed very warmly. We spent a good part of the evening socializing with our hosts and their neighbors, as well as cooking our last roadmeal on a real stovetop and eating it out of bowls with forks. It was extremely civilized. Ed told us that when he got off the phone with Seager and had already offered his yard, he told Sally and she replied, "you did what?" He started thinking about the fact that he had just gotten a call from a strange man, and had invited him to stay at his house with his two friends who could have been his gang of thugs...but they didn't regret it (or at least they didn't show us!) We were very fortunate to have such wonderful hosts before our last 20 mile stretch to the ocean.

Wilmington to Beverly/Boston
Sally made us breakfast in the morning, and we used their internet and phone to work out details of where we would box and send our bikes and how to get to the commuter rail, etc. After our surreal morning, we pedalled away from Wilmington and didn't stop until we were a mile from the water, the air filled with seagulls and salt-smell. We managed to get lost in that last one mile, but eventually made it to the beach where Seager joined MinWah and I in manhandling our bikes across the sand to the water (first time he's dipped a tire even after two cross-country trips!). We took our pictures, sat around on the beach for a little while feeling I-still-don't-know-what about our accomplishment, and what was coming next.
We rode back to the nearest bike shop, grabbed some boxes and strapped them onto Seager's bike like biplane wings. It was 2 miles ride through quite a bit of heavy traffic to FedEx, where Seager and I spread our last three months lives across the entire sidwalk, dismantling our trusty steeds and packing our stinky clothes and tents and such away until another day when we'll open them up at home and smell that ripe smell again. I'm sure it will make me cry. We walked 3 miles, with MinWah walking her bike, to the commuter rail station in Salem, singing and acting like we had been on the road too long the entire way. Walking is really slow. After the commuter rail and a short subway ride we arrived at WILG, the Coop house where MinWah lived while she was at MIT. Our evening celebration included enormous burgers at Bartleys, Icecream at Toscaninis, and Seager's Boston microbrew at the pub across the street from WILG. Sadly, Karen did not make it back to Boston to celebrate with us.
MinWah and I made breakfast this morning, and sent Seager off to the airport in good style. We then went to Haymarket to buy some fruit, with which we will make some celebratory pies (one of which will use Mommy Marchi's recipe for the best pie in Montana). With Seager gone it is starting to hit us that this might really be over. We spent three months together, almost every hour in each other's presence, and now, we may not see each other for year(s). How very strange.

So, to all of you who have been following along with us, left us messages, encouraged us, and helped us out along the way, thank you for doing what you do. This summer has been one unending adventure full of magnificent strangers, wonderful places, and difficult and very rewarding experiences. We didn't once have any run-ins with the people we were constantly warned about, and only had fixable bike problems and injuries. We've had astounding luck all around. I have laughed enough to extend my life several years, throughout which I'm sure I will think often of these last three months. It has been great. Thank you Seager and MinWah and Karen for being wonderful riding partners, and thank you world for being so freakin' awesome.

Oh, and one last thing:




Posted by Ariel {bio} @ 11:05 AM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Bike Paths to Washington, D.C.

This is how I got to be from where the group was in Newcastle (?), PA to Washington, D.C. It may be a long post and is a detour from the main action so to read about it, click the link.

Click Here to read more

Posted by Karen {bio} @ 04:11 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (1)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Barre, MA

HOLY COW BIG UPDATE TODAY! MinWah has taken care of the first chunk, and I have the second. We are writing this from a library in Barre, Ma, and have only 80ish miles of riding left to do. Wow, we're almost done. A picture update is also on the way (from me at least)

On a side note, Karen got done awhile ago, she should write about it. *hint hint*

Click Here to read more

Posted by Seager {bio} @ 03:03 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

over the river and through the woods

Since Wellsboro, we biked to the Susquehanna River Valley and followed the river up to New York State. Ahhh, my home state! Unfortunately, we continued to have bike issues before we left Pennsylvania. I got my first flat on the trip and Seager's back wheel was really acting up: it became a free wheel by the afternoon. So Seager hurried along the big highway to get to the bike shop before it closed. Ariel and I took side roads instead, and it was beautiful! Traffic wasn't bad, and the river valley was had foresty trees, calm waters, and small farms.

When we met up again at the bike shop in Waverly,NY, Seager had bought a new wheel, and the bike shop owner let us camp in their lawn. That night, we decided to go to Ithaca, NY instead of our original route. Ariel's friend Erica has been forever wanting to show Ariel how amazing Ithaca is.

The ride into Ithaca was quite nice--not very hilly and only 30ish miles. Ariel got another flat, and Seager and I waited for her at this awesome smoothie place. Finally, we headed up to the Cornell campus. The climb was STEEP STEEP STEEP with traffic and no shoulder :( Then we got a little lost finding Erica's co-op, but in the end, all was well because we got to shower!!

Ithaca was in fact pretty awesome. Erica got off work early. We got lunch at a pita place, then ate under a pretty waterfall/gorge. We wanted to go for a swim, so afterwards Erica took us to another gorge where we spent hours fiddle faddling around the waters. The waterfall was a great massage device. When we got back to the co-op, we hung out there for awhile, chatted with some folks at the co-op. Seager was craving burritos, so we went to the Commons for dinner. Turns out, there was a big festival going on to celebrate the re-opening of some bridge. There was a bluegrass concert going on, and jugglers on the side. Of course, Seager was so happy to see jugglers; he immediately made friends with them. Meanwhile, the rest of us bumped into Erica's friends and did some more chatting. Before the night was over, Erica took the three of us to desserts. Mmm, pie and banana splits.

The next morning, we were off again...heading back to the river valley that we left in Waverly. The first 30 miles weren't so bad. We lunched at a grocery store in Whitney Point. But then after lunch, it was nonstop BIG rolling hills. We'd work really hard to climb the steep hills, but the other side down was just as steep. The washboard of New York--we definitely did not choose the easy way through New York. We ended the day back in the Susquehanna River Valley at the town of Bainbridge.

After much effort trying to look like friendly bicyclists with no place to stay, we got permission to stay at the local park. It was a huge park:lots of open spaces and pavilions. Good thing we were semi-covered under the pavilion, because a storm came through around dinner time. The wind was so strong the rain blew halfway into the pavilion, so we all hid behind Seager's tarp under the benches. Other than that, it was quite a pleasant night, and we slept quite soundly.

Posted by MinWah {bio} @ 02:54 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (1)




August 2007


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