Monthly Archives: September 2014

Adirondack Park is Amazing

[Written August 31, 2014. Published September 13 with excellent WiFi]

 

Today, riding on Blue Ridge Road from Newcomb to Blue Ridge, New York, might have been my favorite day of our ride so far. And that's really saying a lot because the Cascade mountains in Washington and Glacier National Park in Montana were both pretty breathtaking.

Ah, where to start. First, it is the Blue Ridge Road, not the Blue Ridge Parkway I am talking about. The Blue Ridge Road we traversed today is a small road that connects Newcomb, NY, (known as “the heart of the Adirondacks”) to New Haven, NY, aproximatly 50 miles west of Ticonderoga. The road is condition is perfect in some places, rocky in others, and it has a shoulder about 90% of the time. All along the road is Adirondack state forest (mixed with some private land) and it feels like riding through a rain forest. In fact, it feels a lot like more like hiking — looking at deer and other wildlife left and right — than pavement bicycle touring.

Today, Sunday August 31st — right smack in the middle of Labor Day Weekend — we were lucky enough to ride on the road in five hours of rain. Usually when I say “lucky” and “rain” in the same sentence I am being sarcastic, but today I really felt lucky to be riding in the rain. The rain, although relentless, was warm, misty and on-again off-again (as opposed to the cold and pouring variety of rain we saw in St. Ignace and through much of Montana) and it really added a level of rain forest effect to the whole experience.

All along the Blue Ridge Road there's a ton of elevation gain and loss — some of it really steep (like 3mph mountain climbing steep and 37mph descending steep) — but, seriously, all of it……. so worth it. I was even climbing with a smile on my face today the scenery is so amazing.

Today, flying down the otherside of one of our steeper climbs with the rain mist in my face and the wind in my ears, all I could see all around me was forest and winding road and I thought for a second that my heart would explode it was so beautiful. It was one of those moments where all you can do is yell because words could never express what you just experienced.

The leaves are changing right now and the holiday weekend mixed with the rain meant minimal traffic and maximum Chelsea in the woods alone time. What a blessing.

Today it really felt like we were in the right place at the right time.

Like we'll never be in this place like this ever again.

Like everything was in its right place

 

So grateful to be here!

 

Some Adirondack Park Pictures…

 

 

 

Sometimes Bike Touring Sucks.

Sometimes it’s hour 6.5 of your riding day, you’re climbing up a mountain going 3mph, it’s too hot to wear a jacket but too cold not to wear one, you smell like five-day old socks and at least one — if not both — of your knees hurt. Sometimes it rains for days and you live inside rain clothes that feel like glorified sauna suits. Sometimes your whole body is sore and you think about how far you’ve come and strongly consider all the reasons why it would be ok to just rent a car and drive home to your cat. Sometimes you just want to sleep in a freaking bed and not have to do planks and yoga poses to get dressed in your three-foot tall nylons shelter sheet of a house. Sometimes, believe it or not, you are tired of seeing wheat fields that expand as far as the eye can see east, west, behind and ahead. Sometimes you just want to go somewhere where everyone knows your name Cheers-style and you can’t because you live in the middle of nowhere 89% of the time and the other 11% no one knows who you are (not to mention 5 of those 11% they are not glad you came).

Sometimes you want to punch bike touring in the face (at least as many times as your bike seat is punching you in the crotch) then……

Just when you need it, at the top of that steep miserable hill, you see the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen and you remember why you’re doing this tour; why you love moving slowly; how “it’s about the journey not the destination” finally really, truly means something to you; why you’re grateful not miserable.

Sometimes it’s the sun peeking through the clouds

Or a field of cows even more beautiful than the last 289 fields of cows before

Or a mountain top so close and so beautiful it makes you feel like your heart might explode
Or a waterfall rainbow
Or the the most beautiful blue bird you’ve ever seen

And suddenly you wouldn’t trade all the bus rides, hot showers and memory foam beds in the world for the peddle-power moment you’re having right that second.

The Moral Of The Story….

Bike touring is incredible and expansive and it builds you up and stretches your mind and your body and breaks you down and rebuilds you into a new, stronger mettle-filled, mountain-climbing, problem-solving, silver-lining-seeking, vulture appreciating love beast that reads Thoreau and finally really gets it.

But it requires a lot; it requires you to leave behind your creature comforts, redefine your boundaries and adjust the way you live. It truly brings out the best and the worst in you and forces you to come face to face with both head on.

So, when that time on your tour comes when you hate your tent and the ACA and elevation and you just want to go home, I encourage you to push just a little farther, get your eyes off the pavement and remember that you get back what you put in ten-fold so something spectacular is just around the bend.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Funny Things About My Niagra Falls Hotel Room

1) Someone tried to have a Blue Valentine evening here and ended up punching a hole through the bathroom door. (If you don’t get the reference, watch the movie. Or don’t. It’s pretty intense.)
IMG_8146.JPG
2) This trumpet with ribbon romantic “art”
IMG_8140.JPG

3) There is a heart-shaped jacuzzi in the middle of the room. After hand washing this beast myself, I soaked my sore body in this baby and watched Jurassic Park. It was awesome. And funny.

IMG_8145.JPG

4) The rest of the room was clearly designed by one of the Designing Women in 1985. Oh yeah black marble with mirrors.

IMG_8142.JPG

All. Of. This.
Totally not worth the price, but, really, nothing in Niagra Falls Canada is.

IMG_8144.JPG

Oh, Canada…. 7 Days and 300 Miles Trekking Across Southern Ontario

{Written August 22nd right outside Niagra Falls, ON. Published September 2nd in Ticonderoga, New York, with hotel WiFi.}

Oh, Canada….

Dustin and I have been riding slowly across southern Ontario for a few days now and here's what I think about Ontario in short form:

  • Canada is huge! Dustin and I are traveling along the southern most tip of Ontario basically following. Lake Erie from Port Lambton to the Lewiston-Queenston bridge outside Niagra Falls. I would love to come back another time and explore the northern icy portion of the province sometime.
  • The people are very nice. Exhibit A: We met a man on the ferry from Port Huron to Sabria and he invited us to his house for lunch and ended up letting us throw our mats down to sleep in his garage. Exhibit B: We stayed at the Fin and Feather trailer park in Booth's Harbour and a nice man gave us a couple litre bottles of much needed (and much appreciated!) soda. Exhibit C: We stayed at a trailer park on annual pig roast night (score, finally!) and we needed to bring a side to attend so one of the people who lived in said trailer park gave us two sides to contribute, just cause. Exhibit D: As we were leaving the world's third most expensive campsite ever a lady stopped us on the road asked if she could take our picture, told us she was proud of us and gave us $20 — just cause.

  • The produce is beautiful and abundant. We've been travelling mostly through fields of corn and other produce and, as a result, we've seen a lot of road-side stands selling beautiful heirloom tomatoes and other fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of the stands operate on the honor system; take a tomato (or a bag full) and leave your money in the provided vessel. I love that.
  • Lake Erie is beautiful (but sometimes it smells like a turned over outhouse). We've been riding along Lake Erie nearly the entire time we've been in Canada (~300 miles — or 492 kilometers as the Canucks say) and it's been really lovely. Lots of canadian geese (which Dustin pointed out, are just normal geese here), lots of beautiful panoramic views — and also….. lots of poo smell. (Why does Lake Erie smell like poo, Canada? Is it the algae? The goose poo? The steel plant? Inquiring minds need to know!)
  • There are a lot of wind turbines. For real; they're everywhere! And those suckers are HUGE when you really get close to them.

  • People are torn as to whether or not they like/support/hate the wind turbines. Nearly every yard has a sign supporting or opposing the wind turbines. I tend to agree with the “wind turbines = green energy” perspective, but apparently there is some controversy about whether the turbines will give the people who live below them cancer which causes some pushback. Sounds like propaganda to me… (Do you know anything about this?)
  • Everything costs way more in Canada than in the states. For no particularly good reason. Seriously, what the heck, Canada? Why does it cost $34 to stay the night in your “conservation area” that, based on the permanent-housing trailers and litter, more closely resembles a trailer park? $2.50 for a soda?? What the heck, Canada. $46 to pitch a tent 20 miles outside Niagra?? Psh. Outrageous.
  • Along with “eh,” the people also say “yous” here. e.g: “Are yous going to camp here?” “Do yous need anything?” This is not a complaint, just an observation. I like it.
  • There are some nice bike trails in Canada including the Waterfront Trail, which we rode along much of Lake Erie, and the Friendship Trail which we road for a while toward the Niagra Parkway Trail.

Tomorrow we're headed into Niagra Falls and quite frankly….. I'm scared. Or, more appropriately, my pocket book is scared. I see $6 sodas in my future and hotel rooms that had better include dinner and a movie built into the price…. The plan is to get in, see the Maid of the Mist, take 47 pictures of the falls, sleep in a real bed, and get the heck out of dodge. Wish us luck. I'll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Some Ontario Pictures For Your Viewing Pleasure:

 

 

%d bloggers like this: