With only 500 miles left to ride I thought that I’d use this opportune moment to update you on our trip (just joking, I’ve been passed out again for the past few weeks every day after riding). It’s been a whirlwind of states, roads upon roads decorated with different colours of green, Amish homesteads, broken bicycles, milkshakes, sweating all grinding the pedals round in the bid to reach the Atlantic Ocean.
Some days I ride for that purpose only: to get the miles under my belt and a step further towards Boston, I find myself counting down the miles till the end of the day as I slog up hill after hill. But some days it’s not like that at all – I’m out to cycle to enjoy the feeling of self-propelling my ever strengthening body across a continent or just enjoy a cycle with these strangers who’ve become my friends, my cycling buddies. What we’re doing isn’t really a big deal at all (to me anyway). All we’re doing is pedalling. That’s it. Just every day until we get to stop. This tour has made every effort to make sure that we have optimum energy supplies with all the SAG stops with water, Gatorade and a selection of snacks to make sure we don’t go hungry or thirsty. Each night we sleep in a clean bed and get the use of a good shower. Meals vary from American crap (Perkins) to pretty good food. And you can never go wrong with ice-cream!
The states we’ve recently passed through have been mostly similar: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and now into New York State! I’ve noticed the price rising and the people getting less friendly and more aggressive drivers. Welcome to the East Coast! Having cycled for 40 odd days it kind of blurs into one. Highlights have been setting our hands on fire in a bar in Champaign, Illinois, having met some local students teaching us how to do the Statue of Liberty shot (basically involving lighting alcohol dipped fingers) – then there was seeing some friends close to Erie and spending a rest day with them eating delicious food and chilling out! (Thanks again guys!). Having our first glimpse of Amish living has been interesting – with the kids waving at us asking us questions – they called me ‘lady’ which was pretty funny: ” hey lady! What you doing?” Well.. It’s a long story. Another highlight was being able to visit Niagara Falls yesterday in Canada! We were so close to the border it seemed silly not to. It was spectacular but definitely not as much as the Grand Canyon which seems so long ago thinking about it now.
We’ve recently been joined by a few more riders who’ve started the trips in previous years but not been able to finish it due to accidents. Bob was hit by a motor bike in 2009 and was helicoptered to hospital around 900 miles from the end and has spent 4 years trying to convince his wife to let him finish the trip. And John, miles from Boston last year had a crash with another rider and shattered some bones before spending a good few weeks in an American hospital. It’s so good to have them join us and finally finish the trip. It just goes to show the commitment and sacrifices some people have made to complete this cross country ride.
I think maybe these riders were anxious to see what there was lying on the hard shoulders for the remainder of the trip, waiting to be ridden over. Since LA, we’ve cycled along a fair few hard shoulders – cycling over or past enough tools to complete a pretty good tool kit, today, it was a fishing rod and if you’re interested in taxidermy, you know where to come if deers, tortoises, possums, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, rabbits, coyotes are your thing. The road kill is crazy. But I’ve learnt my lesson from the cattle trucks in Kansas, not to breathe in (or breathe at all) when passing 2-3 day old road kill. Yuck. Glad to see that America keeps their roads spic-and-span!
Again, I’ve given you a speel of rubbish to read! Apologies. Mind has turned to mush. Must cycle. Cycle towards the ocean.