Post Ride Thoughts

The ride is finished and after spending the remainder of Sunday & Monday morning in the city with Glenda & Garth we are back home. I don’t have many additional thoughts on the ride that I haven’t already said. So here are some random statistics from the ride along with some of the frequently asked questions and some subjective opinions of some of the different states I rode through.

  
Total miles ridden – 3137

Days 100 miles+ 11

Days 90 miles + 5

Days 80 miles+  7

Days 70 miles+  5

Days 60 miles+ 4

Average miles 88

Shortest day 17 (finish up day) 

Shortest regular day – 33 (Sedona – Flagstaff )

Longest day  – 124 ( day #16 Fort Garland Co. – La Junta Co.)
Days off – 2

Toughest day  ?? The 1st day , then day #16 (see longest day above)

Best day – day 21 Great Bend Ks – Abline Ks ( first day in the last 6 without a headwind or rain)

How many flat tires – 2  one in Illinois one in Ohio

Number of tires it took – 2 

Weight of bike as ridden with gear 70 lbs

Bike – Specialized AWOL 

How much weight did I loose – 16lbs

Favorite state – Tie – Illinois – Indiana 

Least favorite – Hands down – Kansas -if I was a quitter , I would have got a bus ticket home in Ks. – Az. was tough & I had some bad weather but I did find the beauty in it.

Toughest state – Pa. &. Nj. HILLS!

Hottest day – 2 days 100+

Coldest day – 38 degrees

Highest altitude – 11,900 Top of Wolf Creek Pass Co.

State with most litter along side & on road – tie Co. & Ks.

Most popular species of roadkill – woodchuck – possum – deer, in that order.

Least seen species of roadkill – squirrel 

Favorite moment – so many in their  own ways – riding into my home town probably the best.

Least favorite moment – end of first day – I was hurting!

How long did it take for my butt & legs to stop hurting – they never did stop- it took 1000 miles to just to get use to them always hurting!

Favorite drink – Gatorade Green Apple

Favorite food – Ben Peppers homemade jerky – banana – peanut butter 

Would I do it again? Definitely 

Would I do it different next time ? Definitely 

Co. & Ks. Need less fences along their roadways & more roadside rest areas or roadside shelters! And to all the states, pick up your trash & dead animals – That’s just wrong!
Thanks to everyone for all of the support. A special thanks to all the guys @ Watson Diesel. These guys are the ones that make it possible for me to do this kind of stuff. They are the best.

  
Remember to try & make it to Beech Creek on June 11 for the Bone Marrow registry day & a day for Justin – I will be riding into town in the morning of the 11th 

Day 38 June 5th Hackensack NJ – NYC

 

Tavern on the Green Central Park NYC

Like a lot of nights on this trip, I did not sleep exceptional well. Maybe it was the steady stream of arrivals flying past my hotel to land on runway 19 @ Teterboro airport just a mile away, or trying to adjust to a foreign mattress. But more likely was the anticipation of getting started on my final leg of this trip. 17 miles left, 7 to the GW bridge & 10 into the park. I passed on breakfast & started off making my way through the many street changes necessary to get to Fort Lee & the bridge. But as hard as it may be to believe, I had a few more tough climbs about 3 miles from the bridge that were equal to any of the climbs on theprevious day. I guess it was NJs little going away present. The road does not care if you are 1 mile or 1000 miles from the finish, it plays the same regardless.

The funny thing about riding into NYC is that you can not see the city from your road level view until almost 1/2 way across the bridge. It was when I made it onto the pedestrian walkway of the bridge that I met a sea of bikers & runners. It was so congested that I had to pull over @ several points on the bridge with my wide bag laden bike to allow others to pass by. I stopped on the bridge & snapped a few pictures and just took in the moment.

I picked no special route once I got to the city. I simply worked my way south & east until I hit the north border of Central Park. I had phoned Glenda once I reached the city to give Garth & her time to get to the park. I ended up taking a more “scenic “route than planned and ended up overshooting the street into the park. I corrected that mistake & worked my way into the park where Glenda & Garth were waiting (Garth was sleeping & Glenda was busy on her phone) – so instead of a large & loud reception it was kinda quiet & low key, the way I like it. 

So after a few pics we were off to the hotel to secure the bike, get cleaned up & get some food. And just like that it was over. 

I will admit that I did have a personal goal in my mind of completing the trip in under 40 days. So with today day 38 , 35 full days of riding & 2 hours today I did accomplish this self inflicted goal.

I am glad that it is over & I am sad that it is over. The only thing I guess you could relate it to is the night you graduated from high school. You worked so hard & long to get to the finish, & just like that it was finished. And you can never go back. Yep that’s the feeling today. But I may go back, who knows. If I do I will be smarter & better equipped. It’s like Earnest Gann wrote in “Fate is the hunter” – experience is the cruelest teacher. First comes the test & then the lesson”. Well I took the test. And from it learned some lessons about distance bicycling & about myself. 

I only hope Justin Klines trip ends as well!

PS – when I get home I will write one final post as kind of a final thoughts of the ride . But I am going to bed now & going home tomorrow & get back to a normal life. And maybe a short bike ride tomo  night?

On the GW Bridge

Day 37 June 4th Honesdale Pa. – Hackensack NJ.

  
I knew going into today, my last real day of the trip that it was going to be a tough day. But I promised myself that regardless I would enjoy the moment. I slept in planning on going short today with about 60 miles to put myself in position to finish with about an Equal distance on Sunday. So after my morning stop @ McDonalds I mapped out the very technical route that I would have to get through the remainder of Pa & through NJ. The route out Rt6 to the NJ border is made up of small but steep climbs on some good road & some not so good. I didn’t make great time but made it into NJ about 11:00. Right after crossing the Delaware River you are faced with some very long & steep climbs until you join onto Rt 23. But after I reached Rt23 the roads flattened out & I made up some good time. I stopped @ a convenece store in Pa close to the border & the owner was intrigued with my ride. I think he that he thought I was the only guy who ever did this? He wanted to do a short interview with me so using his phone we did the interview. Real nice guy. 

  
After I got going on Rt23 I decided to push on as far as I could & get closer to NYC so Sunday’s ride would be a short hop to Central Park. I ended up with 111 miles and made it to 7 miles from the city @ 6:30 . I am setting in my room right now looking @ NYC. It’s kinda strange being able to look at the finish line. 

Garth & Glenda made it into the city this afternoon & will meet me @ the finish tomo morning. 

On another note today brought what had to be one of the most surreal moments of the trip. As I was making my way off of Rt23 & making my way through the town of Butler NJ. I sat @ an intersection looking @ my map & a jeep pulled up along side with the window down. The guy looked @ me and asked if I wanted a ride? It was none other than the legendary Northeast Bradford High School X country/ track coach/ marathoner/ biker Coach Mike Murphy! It took me a while to process this. Turns out he was in town to do a bike ride event tomo! What are the odds of this encounter? It was priceless & made my day. We talked for a while & I took off for the remainder of the ride. 

 

Coach Murphy

Remembering the quote from once a runner ran through my mind as I sat in my room looking a the city where I will finish in about 17 miles tomo……… “The runner wants to know how much of his coin he has spent & how much longer he will be asked to pay” – I now know the answer to that question & I now know I have enough coin left in my pocket. And that is a good feeling as I set here tonight. 

Day 36 June 3d Canton Pa – Honesdale Pa.

 

Over looling the Susquehanna river valley

I am sure that there is a handbook that engineers use when they build a road that sets a limit on the % of grade that you are allowed when building the road? With that in mind I guess that in Pa they are exempt from these restrictions! At some point when the steepness of the grade gets to a certain point it is no longer a road, instead it is a certified hill climb! I know I climed atleast 10 of such hills that fell into the “hill climb” category! Instead of Pa turning I-80 into a toll road , I suggest they contact the SCCA & lease them these roads for organized hill climb events!

I left my home town running a little late & made my way into downtown Towanda where I was invited to breakfast @ the “Red Rose Diner” I was met by the owner Joseph Dupont . This guy is a real promoter of the iconic  Rt 6. Everyone that walks, runs or bikes out Rt6 makes the stop @ the diner. The diner is a perfectly preserved diner, located in the downtown. After buying my breakfast & taking about the Rt 6 story & about my trip they presented me with a donation toward Justin’s cause. Thanks Joseph. I then worked my way through the scattered rain showers down Rt 6 , stopping by my buddy Tracy Keeneys place for a short visit in Wyalusing where he promised me he would be riding with me on my next X America trip! He’s crazy enough & tough enough that he will do it. 
I then went pretty much non stop the rest of the day 114 miles into the town of Honesdale. My plan was to camp tonite but I was pretty beat up by the hill climbs & opted for a hotel instead.

I am now 34 miles from NJ & 98 miles from the GW bridge.

Glenda & Garth are leaving Canton tomo morning & plan to meet me short of Patterson NJ for the night & I will finish in NYC Sun morning. 

One more tough day ahead & it’s over. Looking forward to being home, but in a strange way am going to miss this adventure!
  

Day 35 June 2d — Day off in Canton!

  
Last night arriving in my home town was special. I expected to meet up with some guys from the Canton Lions Club to receive a donation check @ “The New Park Hotel”. What  I didn’t expect were so many people who took the time to come out & make it a real nice evening. Thanks to all the Canton people & my friends from Logue Hill who made the trip also. This is the kind of thing that could only happen in a small town.

Today I woke up early out of my own bed (not a sleeping bag) & made a cup of coffee & sat on the deck with my dog & watched the sun come up. My dog really missed me. I really missed this. I then spent the rest of the day trying to catch up with some domestic task, visiting with friends that stopped by & going over bicycle maintenance. It was during the bike maintenance that I ran across something that I was suspicious of ever since the trip began. My bike tires use a valve stem called a presta valve. Unlike the common shrader type valve we are all familer with. The presta valve is a European (French I believe) that requires a different style pump & gauge to check the pressure. Tire pressure is critical to a bicycles performance but checking & maintaining this pressure on a cross country trip is difficult with the presta style valve. So I decided to hook up my shop style tire pump/ gauge & check the pressure. To my suprise both tires were only inflated to 50lbs instead of the recommended 100lbs! So maybe it wasn’t the headwinds that slowed me down on this trip, it could have been the half flat tires? I can only laugh at this at this point & anticipate the expected increase in performance for the remaining 2 days of the trip! This may be such an increase in riding performance that I’ll turn around when I get to Central Park & ride back to California. No. That’s not going to happen.

I will pullout of Canton tomo morn early with a scheduled stop at the “Red Rose Diner ” in Towanda where owner Joseph Dupont invited me for breakfast & to give a donation. Then out scenic Rt 6 to where I am not sure. Probably to Hawley area to spend my last night on the road! 

Day 34 June 1st Port Allegany – Canton Pa.

 

early start

I had no trouble getting out of bed today. I have anticipated today’s ride probably since hatching the project some years ago. Today instead of riding into a strange town, wondering where I would sleep that night, I would ride into my hometown, & sleep in my own bed tonight. 

To make this happen I had to start early @ 5:30 am & ride for 10 1/2 hours. I rode through the early morning fog, in the cool 48 degree temp. I rode to Coudersport & with a quick coffee & a call to home (no cell service last night). I then worked my way through Galeton, Wellsboro &Mansfield. Rt 6 is a very special road with good pavement & great shoulders. I made a quick stop in Mansfield @ Oswalt Cycles where I purchased the bike I am riding. I chatted for a while about the trip & reported to them on the bikes performance. 

The heat of the day had really kicked in with temps just into the low 90s. 

I made my way to Canton ahead of schedule, dodging the ever increasing numbers of woodchucks that had not done well @ road crossing school. 

As arrived in Canton , I was greeted by a porch full of waiting friends. What a nice suprise that can only  happen in a small town. Thank you to everyone. I will be taking tomo off to address some home duties, head to NYC Fri morn to finish the trip this Sunday.   108 miles in today & I am beat & heading to bed. I will continue this days writing tomo as I have run out of gas & need to find my old bed. Thanks to everyone!

Day 33 May 31st Edinboro – Port Allegany Pa.

 

break time in the Allegany National Forest

When you think of Colorado you think mountains- but the truth is Colorados mountains have nothing over Pa mountains, they just play a little different. Colorado drags theirs out over a long distance , Pa mountains just smack you in the face! No screwing around. You just go straight up & then straight down & then repeat!

My day started off a lot different than the past 32 days, as I got to have breakfast this day with my wife. Nice. 

  I also had the luxury of shedding some un needed gear that I have been carrying home with her lighting my load helping me deal better with the Pa hills. She also got lunch for me & joined me in Warren Pa for a picnic lunch in a park. She also did some forward recon for a hotel for me for the night. This allowed me to concentrate on a very big day that would take me 116 miles all the way to Port Allegany.Thanks for the help honey, couldn’t do this without you.

This day started off with some very serious climbs right out of the gate & ended doing the legendary “5 mountain climbs” between Smethport & Port Allegany!  I got 61 miles in before noon & then finishing off the day @ 6:00. A very long but very productive day that leaves me with an even 100 miles tomo to get into Canton tomo nite. 

To top off this great day I stopped by a house about a mile west of Port Allegany that has fascinated me for years traveling Rt6. When I reached the summit of the final climb where the house sits a couple were out front working on the house. Gary & Sue DeVore purchased this amazing place that was left to a slow death & are in the process of saving it. The house is confused as being a Frank Lloyd Wright house ( myself included ) but it turns out that it was built by Walter Hall who ended up involved with Wright on the famous Falling Water house. This house was built in 1930 as an “organic architecture “house that is ALL stone. Amazing. But also amazing is the Gary & Sue have bicycled all over the world! To add to that he is a Yuengling beer lover & had a cold one for me, & a tour of his house! A perfect end to a great day by any standard.

Tomo night I am suppose to meet @ the “New Park Hotel” in Canton @ 6:00 to receive a donation check from my buddies @ the Canton Lions Club. So the pressure is on to not be late for this event as this is a very impatient group. Tomo will be a good day for sure. 

Sue & Gary!