Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Day 8 Sunday (another one!) I MADE IT... 549 miles total!
After a few hours of this, I was ready to call it quits… but luckily progress intervened. There used to be a railroad (built in the 19th century) that brought passengers and goods from Boston to the end of Cape Cod. It was abandoned in the 1950’s and 22 miles of the railbed were paved over and turned into a bike/walking trail a few years ago. What a change! No more watching for traffic…. No more trying to stay in the 6” wide shoulder….. no more ups and downs (railroad beds must be fairly level and not have too much of a grade). The railtrail took me from Dennis to Wellfleet, then I switched to the Mid-Cape highway, which wasn’t too bad, for a highway… nice and wide, with lots of room for a smallish biker. I even gave some sanitary wipes from my first-aid kit to a mom who’s daughter had fallen off her bike and scraped her knee.
I took the shuttle bus into Provincetown (one of the most fun places in the US) for dinner. A full report on P-town tomorrow. I’m glad to be alive!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
The day was sunny and hot (with light winds) and I managed to end up here in Wareham (pronounced Ware-Ham (like the animal that provides us with a lot of bacon)… and put on 84 miles on my bike (a new record for me.)
A few people have asked how I select my route. I have a computer program (DeLorme Topo USA) that lets you select starting and end points of your route, and if you want to go the fastest or shortest way. I select shortest and force it modify its route. I eliminate Interstates, and try to eliminate huge cities. Then once you have a route, you can view the vertical profile (ups and downs) then try to re-route around mountains usually adding a few miles for the gentler climb.
For example, the shortest route between North Russell (my home) and Provincetown is through the Adirondacks. I didn’t want to tackle those hills on my first day… and wanted to see the Mohawk Valley, so I forced the route in that direction …. But added 50 miles to the trip. Today’s 66 miles should be pretty flat… first over the bridge over the Cape Cod Canal, then onward!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Day 6 Friday…
Today, to keep up with calorie intake, I had more stinking “power bars” then that great hot dog, then a second lunch in Worcester (my destination) … at a place where they give kids their meals free, but only if the Red Sox win the night before… sweet!
Eventually I finally arrived at Dave and Patty Doherty’s in lovely Worcester. It was great to see ol’ Dave again (after 40 years!) He hadn’t changed a bit. He’s now a Broadcast Consultant and has helped NCPR on a few recent projects. We had lobster dinners (with real lobster!) and watched some restaurant guests sing Barry Mannilow-like songs on the big karaoke stage… but I’m getting hungry again…maybe I’ll got out for dinner #2 in a few minutes.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Day 5 (Thursday?... I’m starting to lose track)
Why, only 52 miles? Well, for a few reasons: 1) due to the changing habits of travelers, motels typically spring up only at major intersections and major population areas. Gone are the days when the family hopped in their 32,48 or 57 Chevy and motored out in the woods to camp and commune with nature. Imagine what the Mohawk trail must have been like in the early '20s. I’ll bet the average family in their model “T” didn’t go very much further a day that I do now on my bike! Now its just head to the Interstate and get somewhere as fast as possible. Where I was riding today, there are still remnants of that culture…. cabin colonies, old Bates-like Motels, rambling Inns… all closed. So my choices were to stay in Amherst (which is where I am now, riding 52 miles) or I could stay in West Brookfield (80 miles) but no-where in between! 2) Friday I’m heading to Worcester to stay with an old College Pal and that is 100 miles from where I was this morning… so a 50/50 split seemed appropriate and 3) I don’t think I could have done more than 52 miles today!
Anyway, it was all downhill for a while… I had to use my brakes so much, that there is now a thickish black powder all over the bike from my disintegrating brake pads! This was all on the Mohawk Trail which had a few things left from the old days…. A few nice parks and a few giftshops, like this one.
I felt so good this afternoon, that I decided to do my laundry…. I don’t have a lot of clothing, two t-shirts, two pairs of “biking” shorts, a pair of “un-mentionables,” three pairs of socks, and a pair of “regular” shorts. So I washed all that stuff, which left me with only my bathing suit and a wind-breaker. For some reason they looked oddly at me in the Laundromat.
Today’s songs were a repeat of yesterday’s “Dancin’ in the Moonlight” and a new one for this afternoon: “What a Shame” by the Stones. Weird!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Day 4, Wednesday
Speaking of geeky bike stuff, someone wanted to know what kind of a bike I have… it’s a Fuji “Touring” model… completely stock except for “slick” tires instead of the knobby ones supplied, I bought it new just for this ride.
So as any irresponsible teenager would do, I decided to do something I knew I shouldn’t do… namely to attempt another 7 mile climb up to the highest planned point on my trip at 2,179 feet. (see elevation profile) This was TOUGH! I had to put the bike in the lowest of my 27 gears, and crept up the mountain at 5.0 mph! (I just barely passed a lady walking to her mailbox!) It took me almost 2 hours including lots of stops (for more Carb Bombs, etc) We’ll see if I can even walk tomorrow.
Unfortunately, there are no restaurants at the summit, but the Italian restaurant in N. Adams will deliver orders greater than $25… you can just imagine the rest.
Right next to the motel is the famous “Elk on the Trail” statue, put here in 1923 by the Elks Club as a memento to Elks Club members who died in the “Great” War. It looks like people still remember.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Day 3, Tuesday
Apparently, you have to eat and drink almost all of the time while long-distance biking… I’ve had sort of “out of body” experience…. Things become simply “you” and “your body” and the “you” part is very concerned about the “body” portion, treating it like a machine…. Am I feeding it enough? Is it getting thirsty? Should I throttle back a little so it doesn’t overheat?
I was on a pretty deserted road today (Route 5S) south of the Mohawk River, when I hit a bump and my emergency bottle flew out of my carrier and landed in a creek, some 25 feet below the road. I went into the ravine (on foot) and finally retrieved the bottle only to find that the inside of the cap had exploded and my precious water was contaminated, luckily there was a Stewart’s just around the bend…
Anyway, I went 71 miles today (cross-winds today) and ended up in Clifton Park (North of Albany)… let me tell you… the traffic here is horrible… but I did find a motel with an outdoor pool! That was heaven! The body thoroughly enjoyed it… as well as the dinner at the local Chili’s, where they had a buy one beer, get one free special. Life just couldn’t be any better.
I promise better pictures tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Day 2 Monday
I had a chat with a couple of them over dinner… one of them (Mike) says he had 22 flats so far on their trip… and they did 100 miles plus through the desert when it was 103 degrees! And that the oldest of their group is 73!!
He also said that several people dropped out, due to injuries and accidents (two with cars!) Mike apparently has done this sort of long-distance touring all over the world… and when I asked him if he ever biked across Austrailia, he said "no," but there is a how-to book about it… the first sentence is: "you can bike across Austrailia, but 50% of the people who attempt it have perished."
My only problem is my route--I really don’t know where I'm going tomorrow, or the next day… somehow I have to traverse the Berkshires, but where? I’ll let you know.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Day 1, Sunday (Father’s Day)
Day Zero, Saturday, June 20, 2009
Its time to begin Radio Bob’s Big Biking adventure. OK here I go… no I won’t!
I’ve always wanted to ride a bicycle to Cape Cod from my home in St. Lawrence County. Why? Maybe I’ll find out in the next two weeks… or simply do the smart thing and quit!
This ride will offer startling vistas, quiet moments for reflection, a healthful challenge, beauty and bliss by the ton. Or this ride will offer nothing but long, hot, grueling days of dangerous health-destroying pain! I suppose I’d like to find out.
The plan was to start today… riding about 50 miles per day… arriving in Provincetown, Mass (the outermost tip of the Cape) in 10-14 days.
I’ve purchased a Fuji “touring” bike and lots of gear. A touring bike is a little different than your average road bike… it has a longer wheelbase so that you don’t kick the saddlebags (panniers) which ride over the back wheel. It also has somewhat larger tires to carry the heavier loads of a touring trip, and lots of gears (27) for those steep hills. Its supposed to be strong NOT necessarily light… this bike is made of good ol’ steel, not Carbon fiber or Chrome-Molybdenum alloy, but heavy steel, just like your 1950 Columbia one-speed!
Anyway, today is the starting day… but it isn’t because of the promise of Thunderstorms in Lewis County (Lowville is my first stop) as well as the probability of headwinds (nothing worse than headwinds!)
Oh well… think I’ll have a beer!