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Having keyboard trouble. wonderful, wonderful day today. 80 miles into Norristown today. Planning an easy day tomorrow. Hopefully more later.

Allen Freeman

We left Port Jervis this morning and within minutes had crossed the state line into New Jersey and had started down the east (left) bank of the Delaware River. After a half dozen miles on a country road we turned off onto Old Mine Road which followed closely along the river bank through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area with the Kittatiny Mountains to our left. This was absolutely glorious riding. The road descended gradually through the forest; there was almost no traffic allowing us to ride along side-by-side; the weather was cool and heavily overcast; and we saw a bit of wildlife to complement the scenery. We saw deer a couple of times, and the usual assortment of rabbits and squirrels and chipmunks. Other than the spinning of our gears and our labored breathing on the few steep pitches, the major ‘noise’ was bird song.

We arrived at the town of Delaware Water Gap about 44 miles into the ride at noon time after crossing the Delaware River on the sidewalk of I-84, and stopped for lunch. The Appalachian Trail uses the same sidewalk to cross the river so there was a group of AT hikers eating at the same diner. It felt really good to have 44 miles under our wheels by lunchtime.

After lunch we continued down the Delaware River valley, but now on the Pennsylvania side of the river until we got to Belvidere, where we crossed over yet again and returned to the New Jersey side.

We thought briefly about stopping here but decided we still felt pretty good and we would continue on. After stopping for Gatorade and junk food at a convenience store we continued on and reached Phillipsburgh around 4:30. Phillipsburgh is a bit of a pit as towns go, so we crossed over the river yet again, into Easton, Pennsylvania, where we are comfortably ensconced in a room at the Quality Inn.

It rained a bit mid-day, just enough to prompt me to put the rain covers on my panniers. Shortly after we arrived here it started raining again so we went across the street to get a pizza and ate it in the room.

It feels like this was the day we have been anticipating since we left home last Saturday. Cool weather, comfortable, quiet, picturesque roads, and the miles clicking off without sapping us. We made a total of 78 miles today, putting us 400 miles from home. I think we have about 275 miles to go.

Tomorrow we will continue down the Delaware until we reach Lambertville, New Jersey, just across the river from New Hope, Pennsylvania. From Lambertville we’ll head west towards Norristown, just outside of Philadelphia.

Allen Freeman


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It was a gorgeous morning when we left New Paltz. We quickly turned off the main road out of town and found ourselves riding through quiet, prosperous looking countryside. We rode up the valley of the Shawangunk Kill, paralleling the ridge of the Shawangunk Mountains.

It should have been a physically easy day, but what started in the early morning as a gentle breeze in our faces increased steadily throughout the day until we were fighting against a 15 – 20 mph head wind.

Lunchtime found us in Middletown, NY with about 30 miles under our wheels. After lunch we climbed up and over the ridge of the Shawangunks and down into the valley of the Neversink River. With such a cool name I had high hopes for this part of the route, but it turned out to be a bit less rural, much less prosperous, and just not as pretty to look at or as comfortable to ride as the previous part of today’s journey.

The headwinds continued and they were stiff enough that even though we were mostly heading gently downhill, we had to work for every foot of forward progress.

We reached Port Jervis, located where New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all come together, at around 3:00 PM. Our original plan was to stop here to buy groceries for dinner, then continue on and hope to find a spot in a campground further on. But just about this time the sky was turning darker and the wind was picking up, and it certainly felt like some summer thunderstorms were on the way, so we checked into the Erie Hotel & Restaurant, which is a renovated railroad hotel next to the old train station in Port Jervis. Sure enough, an hour or so later the skies opened up, and then again, and yet again. Three storms so far tonight and it looks like more to come. Well, let it rain tonight. I just hope the headwinds are gone tomorrow and we can float down through the Delaware Water Gap effortlessly!

We made 59 miles today, putting us 322 miles from home.

So, with all this whining about hills and headwinds and frustrations about miles covered, do you find yourself wondering why we do this? Does it sound like we aren’t having fun? I promise you that we are. I’ve always had a hard time articulating exactly what is so satisfying about traveling this way. Partly it is that so many people are open and friendly to you when they see you arrive on a bicycle. Partly it’s the satisfaction of tackling a physical challenge successfully. Partly it is feeling the weather and the terrain in your body. There is no question that we were traveling up one valley and down another today. You may not be able to see the difference in the road, but we experienced it with our whole bodies and I can feel it yet in every fiber of my leg muscles. And those headwinds have left their mark in the tightness of the muscles in my neck. And these are not bad things. It is very pleasant to be physically tired at the end of the day, yet mentally and emotionally refreshed. A hot shower and lying down on a fresh, soft bed is heavenly. That’s all the pampering we need.

Okay, I’m probably rambling here and you all are starting to think I’m crazy, so I’ll stop.

As soon as we leave here tomorrow we will cross into New Jersey and head into the Delaware Water Gap. We will alternate back and forth between the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania sides of the river.

Allen Freeman

Across The Hudson

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We left Millerton after a nice breakfast at the B&B. The trouble with luxurious lodgings is that we don’t want to leave. We didn’t get out of town until after 9:00. Of course, the day started with yet another kick-ass climb, but it was beautiful rural farm country in Dutchess County, New York. The weather was cooler than it has been, actually feeling a bit chilly on long downhills. We did get a taste of what we hope is to come when we had a 9 mile run along the valley into Stanfordville that was nearly flat. We made the best time of any nine contiguous miles on the whole trip covering the distance in about 40 minutes.

After that we had some more hills to climb as we made our way west to Rhinebeck. Rhinebeck is a beautiful old town on the east bank of the Hudson. We stopped here for lunch, then headed south along Rt 9 making our way past the old Vanderbilt Mansion until we arrived at the FDR home in Hyde Park. We got off the bikes and spent a couple of hours here including taking the guided tour of the home.

It was about 4:00 when we left the Roosevelt home, then we made our way south along Rt 9 again until we got to Poughkeepsie. The maps we have from Adventure Cycling Association include a small detail map which purported to show all the roads we needed to navigate in order to access the sidewalk to cross the Hudson River on the Mid-Hudson Bridge, but the map was a bit small for my old eyes so we missed one turn and had to backtrack. Nevertheless we managed the feat without undue issues and found ourselves high above the Hudson River with panoramic views north and south. It’s a view you can’t enjoy from a car as cars can’t stop halfway across the bridge and get out and look around.

Once we crossed the Hudson we continued west to New Paltz, where we are now staying in the New Paltz Hostel. We covered 61 miles today, which is pretty good since we spent a couple of hours playing tourist instead of cycling this afternoon. Hopefully the terrain will become a little less vertical now and we will start getting some decent mileage days in so we can stop thinking about miles and schedules so much and just enjoy the riding more.

The weather was just about perfect today and we can only hope for more of the same. Oh, and we are now 263 miles from home.

NOTE: This entry is from yesterday, July 1. I simply couldn’t post it until today as I didn’t have cell phone coverage in Millerton.

Today was a beautiful day. Our short day yesterday and a good rest at the Dutch Iris Inn in Granby rejuvenated us and I felt like I had my cycling legs back this morning. It’s a good thing too as we did several wicked climbs as we made our way from Granby west to the Barkhamstead Reservoir — which was picture perfect this morning — and on through Pleasant Valley then up to Winsted and even more up and up to Norfolk — where we had a magnificent lunch — then a bit of respite as we cruised through East Canaan and Canaan and finally climbed the wall between Canaan and Salisbury. We stopped in Salisbury at the spring water fountain next to the town hall to discuss what we should do and decided that we were so close to New York that we had to press on to Millerton. When we got to Millerton we pulled over to the side of the road to discuss whether we should seek lodging or ride a few miles north of town to the Rudd Pond camping area. The place we chose to pull over was right in front of the Simmon’s Way Village Inn so Jodi decided we should find out how much they wanted for a room. When we inquired of the innkeeper how much her rooms were she said $189. We told her that was too rich for us and she asked what we were comfortable with. Jodi said $100, and the deal was done. The way I figure it Jodi just saved $89 and can now afford to treat me to something. I fear she doesn’t see it the same way.

It rained a bit earlier and we figured we made the right choice not camping, but it’s mostly clear now and a beautiful evening as we sit on our second floor balcony looking down over the long lawn of the inn and watching life move back and forth along Main Street.

We made 49 miles today. Not great mileage-wise but we climbed a LOT so we feel good about our progress. Tomorrow we head for Poughkeepsie and across the Hudson River.

Oh, I’ve got no cell signal here so you’ll be reading this tomorrow or whenever I get a signal. Sorry about that.

Allen Freeman


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Last night was a hot and sticky one. I remember waking up and hearing another thunder storm coming our way. It made us grateful to be snug and dry in our cabin.

It was a restless night and when I woke up and saw it was finally light out I figured it was 6:00 or so, but on looking at my watch I saw that it was already 7:30. We got up and boiled water for oatmeal and tea, then packed up our gear and got ready to go. With waking so late we didn’t get on the road until 9:15. It was a mostly clear day but still hot and muggy. After yesterday’s killer hills the terrain today was much more reasonable as we headed through Crystal Lake and down into Ellington, where we stopped for second breakfast around 10:45. From here to the Connecticut River is pretty much flat, but after yesterday even the slightest up grade felt like climbing a mountain to me.

The route kept us on very quiet roads as we approached Bridge Street and crossed the Connecticut River in Windsor Locks. We had a couple miles of moderately heavy traffic as we skirted Bradley International Airport, then we were back on reasonably quiet roads as we headed up to Granby. We stopped for lunch and after assessing our fatigue and the terrain west of here, we decided to call it a day and get a good rest. We covered only 42 miles today, putting us 155 miles from home. That’s a little disappointing but somewhat common for the third day of a trip, in my experience. We are staying at the Dutch Iris Inn which is right near the center of Granby and is a luxurious place to relax. I am typing this sitting outside on the porch listening to a small fountain trying to combat the noise of traffic going by on Rt. 202.

So tomorrow it’s back to climbing hills as we hope to make good progress towards Salisbury in preparation for crossing into New York State.

Allen Freeman

Mineral Springs

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An eventful day today. Well, maybe not really eventful, but definitely a full and tiring day. We left Westborough following the Adventure Cycling route and whoever designed the route just loves to climb. The rhythm of the day was climb, climb, climb, climb, descend, climb, climb, climb, climb, descend; repeat ad infinitum. Still, the route took us along pretty country roads and we enjoyed it completely. It was just the heat — 90 degrees and wickedly humid — and the hard work that made it trying. And we know that we’ll ride ourselves into better shape as the tour goes on.

We stopped at a diner in Oxford, MA for a great second breakfast, and it’s a good thing we did because we didn’t pass another place to eat for hours and hours.

After about 50 miles I was bonking pretty badly and Jodi slowed down to try to baby me along and help when she could. There were some wickedly steep and long hills and I walked a bunch of them. Finally, about 6 miles east of Stafford Springs, CT we came upon a bait and tackle shop at the top of one of the hills and pulled in to see if they had any cold drinks, which they did. The shop was run by a wonderful family who keep a book for passing cyclists to sign, which we did. In addition to cold drinks and snacks, they had ice and water to fill our water bottles. Heaven. Without them I am not sure if I would have made it the last 6 miles into Stafford Springs.

We stopped in Stafford Springs to buy food for dinner, then headed north out of town climbing 3.5 miles to Mineral Springs Campground, where we are now. Just as we were leaving town a thunder storm rolled in. At first we thought we might escape with just a few drops from the edge of the storm, but before we made it to the campground it was raining mightily and we were thoroughly soaked.

We asked the campground hostess for a tent site and she filled out the paperwork and told us where our site was, then told us she wouldn’t charge us anything since it was raining. How nice!

We cycled down to our site and then the heavens opened up even wider and we were in a deluge. We took the panniers off the bikes, piled them up, and covered them with a small tarp I always carry. Then we scurried over to our neighbors RV and asked if we could sit under her awning while we waited for the rain to ease up. We chatted for 5 or 10 minutes then the campground host drove up and came over and handed me a key and told us to go down to Cabin #2 and use that for the night. Wow! That was so nice. Campground cabins often go for $40 – $60 per night in this neck of the woods, and she had just given us one for free! Our total cost for this evening’s lodging is two quarters for the showers.

It’s 7:40 now. We’ve showered, cooked and eaten dinner, had a cup of tea and a pleasant walk around the campground (it’s stopped raining), and now I am going to settle down and read my book until I fall asleep, which should be about 5 minutes.

Oh, just in case you’re curious, we covered 53.5 miles yesterday, and 59.5 miles today, putting us 113 miles from home. We climbed about 2400 feet yesterday and about 3800 feet today. Maybe that’s why we’re tired.

Goodnight all!

Allen Freeman


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We left Quincy this morning and headed west through the familiar territory of the Blue Hills. Believe it or not we haven’t been on our bikes since Memorial Day weekend. That’s not the smartest way to prepare for a bike tour, but there it is.

As I said we started out through the Blue Hills, then we headed through Dedham, Westwood, Dover, Sherborn, and Holliston. There is some really pretty country through there and we had a wonderful time riding almost all quiet, rural roads. We must have seen at least 100 cyclists out in groups from 1 to several dozen. It struck me as a bit odd to see so many cyclists on a Saturday as Sunday is more the day for large group rides.

We stopped in Holliston at the Holliston Grill for our second breakfast of the day, then we continued on through the center of Hopkinton then headed southwest past Lake Maspenock. As we approached the start of a long, steep climb up away from the lake Jodi shifted into her granny gear and managed to drop the chain off the front chainring and it jammed between the chainring and the frame. It took us a couple of minutes to free the chain and get it back on the chainring and thinking we had solved the problem we started back up the hill. Jodi soon discovered that all was not well as the chain was skipping and refused to shift. At the top of the hill we pulled over in the parking lot of a local nursery and investigated. We discovered that one of the plates on Jodi’s chain had been bent. Jodi did what she could to straighten it and I checked the GPS for the closest bike shop. We found there was a shop in Westborough so decided to head there and get Jodi’s chain replaced. Believe it or
not the ACA route we are hooking up with actually goes through Westborough, though we were planning to meet up with it further south. We got to Westborough and the bike shop is located on Rt 9, which is basically a highway but with stoplights and stores along it. Not very comfortable cycling but we only had to ride it probably less than a mile to get to Frank’s Bicycle Barn, where Jodi had a new chain installed and we had them break off about 8 links of the old chain so we could carry them as spares. I have always carried spare chain links but when Jodi had her problems I realized the links I carry are from my old bike which uses a 7-speed chain and would not work with the 9-speed chains Jodi and I both have now. Duh!

By the time we got to the bike shop we had over 50 miles under our wheels for the day and considering our not so intense preparation for this tour were getting tired. The campground we were originally heading for today are probably 25 miles from Westborough so we decided to see what was available for lodging here. We are now comfortably ensconced in a very nice room in the Westborough Inn, and just got back from dinner at a local Italian restaurant. The weather is heavily overcast and super humid so I am not missing sleeping in our tent a bit tonight.

Hopefully the weather will hold and we won’t get rained on too much tomorrow. We are headed for the northeast corner of Connecticut tomorrow morning, then we’ll head west across the top of Connecticut. My guess is that we’ll end our day tomorrow somewhere near Windsor Locks where we will cross the Connecticut River.

It’s amazing how quickly we fell back into the rhythm of bicycle touring today. Within a couple hours of our start I could feel the old familiar rhythm in my pedaling and how I look at the world and the day’s task of getting from here to there and not getting irretrievably lost.

Good night from Westborough, MA!
Allen Freeman

We’re Off!

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7:45 AM under cloudy skies with fog, and we're off!

Allen Freeman

Packed & ready To Go

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I packed my panniers and strapped the tent to the top of the rear rack this evening. Jodi hasn’t really started packing yet but she has tomorrow off and can spend the day getting her bike squared away. I’m working tomorrow so don’t have that luxury. Packing today also gives me tomorrow to remember anything I might have forgotten, something that seems to happen more and more these days.

Anyway, here’s a picture of my bike packed and ready to roll. It’s not a very good photo as I photographed it indoors against the dark walls of our livingroom, but it’s dark and wet outside so this will have to do.

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Weather Forecast

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I don’t know why I do this, but I almost reflexively check weather forecasts while getting ready for a bike tour. And while we are touring if we find ourselves in a motel room it is just about mandatory to spend a bit of time with The Weather Channel. It’s really rather silly because we are going to ride no matter what, and once you’re out there it is rather obvious whether it is raining or not, and thus whether to put the rain covers on the panniers or not. So why waste all this energy wondering about the weather? I don’t know; maybe just because I’m human and I am looking for an oracle to tell me the future.

Anyway, it looks like we stand a pretty good chance of getting caught out in a thunderstorm or two sometime in the first few days of our tour. And it looks like we’ll enjoy sunny weather, and hot, coming up to the big Independence Day weekend. I wonder where we’ll be on the Fabulous Fourth!

Sat Jun 28
Scattered T-Storms
40 %

Sun Jun 29
60 %

Mon Jun 30
Scattered T-Storms
40 %

Tue Jul 01
Scattered T-Storms
40 %

Wed Jul 02
20 %

Thu Jul 03
Partly Cloudy
10 %

Fri Jul 04
10 %

Sat Jul 05
Scattered T-Storms
60 %


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Jodi and I are getting ready for this summer’s bicycle tour. It’s not an epic trip like Tanzania two years ago, or our long-anticipated but not yet realized trip to Eastern Europe. We’re keeping it simple and keeping it local this year. On Saturday morning we will roll out of our condo parking lot and head towards Washington, DC. Actually, we’ll head to Bethesda, MD, just north of DC. Jodi’s sister and her family live in Bethesda and their house is our target.

We’ll be following a portion of Adventure Cycling’s Atlantic Coast route. I followed another portion of this route back in 1999 when I started from DC heading south with the intention of riding to my parents’ house in South Carolina. ( That trip was aborted when I ran into Hurricane Floyd. Hopefully this year’s trip won’t be quite as eventful!

Our route will take us southwest from Boston towards north-eastern Connecticut, then across northern Connecticut (lots of hills!) and into New York State. We’ll cross the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie then head south swinging west around New York City and heading for the Delaware Water Gap. From here we’ll swing a bit west through Valley Forge and into Pennsylvania before heading south again. We’ll either go through Baltimore or swing out to the west to go around it, then head in towards the DC beltway until we finally arrive in Bethesda.
It looks like the whole trip should only be about 700 miles, a comfortable, easy, two week ride.

We have started to make piles of gear on the living room floor, and come Friday evening we’ll have to stuff it all into our panniers. We haven’t used what I refer to as “the big tent” in four years, so I set that up the other day to make sure we had all the stakes and poles and that everything was in good shape. Since I have spent the last year or so converting my backpacking gear over to ultra-light stuff, it seems like a monster. I’m glad we’ll be carrying it on our bikes and not on our backs! It is a luxurious abode, nonetheless.

We should have decent cell phone coverage in the area we are touring this year, so I will be bringing my Palm Treo and a foldable bluetooth keyboard which makes writing emails much easier. I’ll be using this to update this blog. If you’d like to follow along on this year’s tour there is a link to the right that will allow you to subscribe and be notified by email whenever the blog is updated.

Start Up

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Two years ago when Jodi and I went to Tanzania for vacation I created
a blog using Blogger to simplify keeping folks up to date on our
whereabouts. It worked well and I decided I would like to do the same
thing this year. Instead of using a hosted blogging service I have
installed WordPress on my own web server with the intention of using
that. Unfortunately I’ve had trouble getting it set up to be able to
post to the blog via email, and to allow readers to subscribe to
updates. I’m sure I could get this all straightened out eventually,
but we are leaving in only 5 days and there are lots of other things
that need my attention right now, so I am falling back on Blogger once

I’ll be using my Palm to send email while on this trip. I have a Bluetooth wireless keyboard to use with it which makes typing a whole lot easier than trying to use the tiny thumb keyboard with my big clumsy hands. I could use GMail to send emails and thus be able to take advantage of email distribution lists to send posts to multiple people, but using Gmail means I have to actually have a signal and be online in order to create emails, and I can’t be sure that I’ll always have service at the time and place that I am writing the emails. So instead I will be using Versamail, the email client that comes installed on my Palm. Versamail doesn’t support email distribution lists, but I can write the emails while offline and then send them at a later time whenever I have a signal on my cell phone. By sending an email to a special email address, whatever I send will appear here as a new post. You can be assured of knowing when I add a new post my using the link at the left to subscribe.

Allen F. Freeman