We prepped ourselves for the last day of riding with the careful application of some patriotic tattoos. Go America! Then we rode 33 painfully long miles through New Jersey. Stop lights every few blocks and lots of traffic.
We rode over the GW bridge and finally arrived in New York City… sort of. We still had to get to Brooklyn for the night and the few hours it took to ride down through Manhattan and across Brooklyn were some of the most stressful for me. Avoiding pedestrians and taxis with our wide load bikes was difficult and a little scary at moments.
Now we’re finished. Complete. Done!
We rode about 3800 miles in 85 days. We camped most nights, were hosted by lots of amazing human beings and paid for one motel and a couple cabins.
I’m not sure how to describe the experience now. I’m thrilled I did it. The trip was full of emotional highs and lows. I will ride a bicycle again someday, but for now I’m retired from anything over 5 miles.
Thanks for all the support and thanks for reading!
Two hours ago I upped my grand total of ‘donations’ to 35 bucks! I don’t know what it is, but I have had 3 random people give me money over the last month. I tell them I’m not homeless, I’m just on a long bike trip but they won’t let me refuse. Zoe and Pall: $0.
I know I haven’t showered in a week and the shirt is looking a tad ratty, but I think I look ok…?
Our usual end of day process is to roll into town, find food and then search for camping. Last night we arrived in Hawley, PA and went to the local bar for a beer. We were wiped out. The Pocono mountains aren’t high, but wow they’re steep. The second we stepped inside the bar we were swarmed by fascinated locals. A man heard that we rode from Portland and bought us a round of beers immediately. A table of two elderly couples talked our ears off for half an hour and then offered to let us stay in their spare bedroom. One couple was driving and needed to take the other couple home and then they would be right back to pick us up. Right back. 2 hours later, we’re sitting in an almost empty bar with no place to stay for the night and no sign of our new ‘friends’.
We were stood up by an elderly couple in a bar in Pennsylvania.
Yesterday we learned that local cyclists call Ithaca ‘The Pit’. It’s a beautiful city on the south tip of Cayuga Lake nestled in small valley surrounded by steep hills, East, West and South hill. We rode up two of the three.
From Watkins Glen, we rode down West hill and I asked the first person I met in town how to get to the Cornell campus. He gave me the most direct route, looked at me and my bike and said ‘it’s a pretty big hill, but you look like you could handle it’. That guy enjoys practical jokes. The street he sent us up was a little less than a mile and according to my bike computer reached a 19% grade. Around 15% I got off and pushed. This was East hill.
After visiting the gorgeous campus we rode back down into the city center and then out the south end of town. We climbed 700 ft in altitude in less than 5 miles. This was South hill.
Last night I slept more soundly than I have in quite a while.
Last night was spent chatting with a Mennonite family who invited us to stay in the cabin behind their house. Fascinating! We have been amish ‘hunting’ for a while and we finally succeeded. They invited us in and we made hamburgers over a fire while discussing our differences. It was so neat to stay with them and talk about religion and culture. We were both so interested in each other.
This morning they prepared us an amazing breakfast and we set off on our relaxing 30 mile wine tasting bike tour along Seneca Lake. So many wineries, so little time. We leisurely pedaled down the lakes edge stopping every half mile to two miles to try out the wine. Today was perfect.
We’re camping in Watkins Glen tonight and riding through Ithaca, NY tomorrow. So close! We’re enjoying our last few days on the road.
After waiting out lots of rain, meeting wonderful fire fighters who fed us breakfast and drove us to see some local points of interest (including Attica State Prison) and a completely failed tire replacement (I had two flats within 20 mins and had to hitch a ride into the next town to get a new tire), we arrived at our rest day destination in the Finger Lakes. We had an entire day off in a beautiful garage apartment over looking Honeoye Lake. Thanks to a great friend, Mike and his family! We had plans to relax on the beach and kayak. We woke up late yesterday, made breakfast, turned on the giant flat screen tv and never moved from the couches. It was marvelous. A day of total laziness watching absurd reality tv and speculating about how each show would end! A satisfying break from our daily cycling reality.
Tourist trap activities were so overwhelming when I arrived at the Falls I just opted out of all of it. Instead, I took a nap in the grass close enough to the falls to feel the mist. Zoe ate a free buffet of Mac & cheese and soft serve ice cream. Pall tackled all of Niagara’s activities while Zoe and I lived vicariously through his experiences.
We crossed back into America, bicycles in the car lanes and consumed too much food at a mediocre Indian buffet. Hello New York state!