For more detailed maps, scroll down through the blog. Click on any one to enlarge it; use the backspace button to return to the blog. That goes for the photos, too.
Day 8: Monday, 9th July. Destination: Super 8 Motel, Ticonderoga, New York
First thing in the morning our last mountain stage of this first map, over the impressively steep-looking Bread Loaf in the Green Mountains. The pass was at 2,000ft and it wasn’t effortless, though hardly as monstrous as our map’s near-vertical elevation profile would have us believe. Besides, I’m well stocked up with Clif energy bars and energy gel (Gü or sometimes Hammer), which – true to the label’s claim - gives an effective 45 minute energy boost. You have to get the timing right, though, as they take 15 minutes to kick in. This time, I took one 15 minutes before the top so missed the boost and had abundant energy for freewheeling downhill. D’oh!
The descent through lush, green forests took us through a scenic little hamlet called Ripton, where an old-fashioned general store offered worms, campwood and chewing tobacco. We stuck to Tootsie Rolls, Snickers and M&Ms, eating them on the porch. Continuing down the valley to Middlebury, a busy little market town, we avoided a shower by lunching at a general store which offered excellent cheese sandwiches. All very pleasant, so far, but as we headed towards Lake Champlain the temperature started to rise and it grew muggy. Tiring cycling weather. The last 20 miles were sluggish and hard work, despite tantalising views of the lake as we approached it and a nice ferry ride across to New York State. Ticonderoga was a welcome site. The Super 8 Motel, though, was right though town and up and out the other side, and by the time we reached it the temperature was soaring. We just collapsed on our large motel beds and watched TV in air-conditioned comfort till summoning the energy to go out again and eat.
I've updated my blog. There are 3 reasons why: 1) so it reads from start to finish rather than the other way round; 2) so I can include some episodes that never made it to the original; and 3) to add some photos. A consequence of this is that the blog archive below reads as if all blogs were produced in June 2010. It's just the way Blogger works. The original dates are incorporated in the individual blog titles.
If you want to use the tags at the bottom of each blog, remember to click 'Older Post' when you want to go to the next, newer, one.
The detailed maps also work as chapter headings: they correspond to each of the 12 cycle maps I needed to get from coast to coast.
This Summer, I'm cycling across North America from Bar Harbor, Maine to Florence, Oregon. 4,300 miles, give or take a few. The first three weeks of my trip I'll be accompanied by my friends Edward & Ewa, and the rest will be solo. None of us are fitness freaks, but we do like the outdoors and looking at nice views. We've been in training since last November, and hopefully will be in reasonable shape come our start date, July 2nd.
I'm doing it simply for the adventure, but if you're interested, I'm also going to be raising money for the charity Architects For Aid. They do great work, and you can find out more about them by clicking the link at the top of this page. There's a link to my sponsorship page below.
I'll be updating this weblog regularly, so come back soon, John.
My Favourites List
TV Commercial: "Obsessing over celebrity is wrong..." Yup, the prize for best TV ad - and this will come as no surprise to Edward & Ewa - goes to Wendy's Baconator. Watch it here, if you dare (click on the black & white image of a guy screaming...)
Breakfast: Again, no surprises for E&E - a tie between oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar & maple syrup, and two eggs (scrambled) with hashbrowns and white toast.
State: Tough call, but the M's have it, in a tie between Minnesota and Montana.
The Internal Jukebox
I decided not to take my MP3 Player with me. Too heavy, and I wanted to listen to crickets and birds. But nature abhors a vaccuum so during this trip, from time to time, I've found myself singing or humming an assortment of tunes. In a roughly chronological order, here's the ones I remember:
Heard It On The X - ZZ Top
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Acony Bell - Gillian Welch
11:11 - Rufus Wainwright
I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles
The Carpet Crawl - Genesis
Don't Bring Me Down - ELO
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go - Bob Dylan
That Kind Of Love - Alison Krauss
Fun For Me - Moloko
Work It - Missy Elliott
Mississippi Delta - Bobby Gentry
Where The Lazy River Goes By - Teddy Wilson
I'm Gonna Love You Too - Blondie
Tie A Yellow Ribbon - Tony & Dawn
Big Sky - Kate Bush
Walking On The Moon - The Police
Old MacDonald Had A Creek / The Hokey Cokey (Medley)
Everyday America - Sugarland
Walk This Way - Aerosmith
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
The End - The Beatles
I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself - White Stripes
and , of course,
(I've Got A) Sore Butt (& My Butt Is Sore)