Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dudley, MA to Boston, MA (58 miles)

We made it!!!!! Ta daaaa!!! We donned our rain gear and set out for our last day of riding. Our first stop was at Carl's Diner in Oxford, MA. We impressed our waiter with the obscene quantity of food we consumed as most can barely clear 1/2 their plate and we licked ours. Little did he know, we have been training for that breakfast for 3 1/2 months.

The roads into Beantown were beautiful yet got busier as we got closer. Riding in the rain isn't the greatest but we were on a high of excitement (and chocolate chip pancakes). Soaking wet, we dipped our front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean at Carson beach in South Boston.

It feels so good to be done though I'm sure we will get pretty antsy in a day or 2. For now we are going to do some relaxing and eating to replenish our bodies.

Final stats:

Total riding days: 78
Total miles: 5346
Average miles each day: 68.5
Total PB&J sandwiches: 49715492601

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lee, MA to Hadley, MA (54 miles) and Hadley, MA to Dudley, MA (51 miles)

Yesterday Gerry rode out from Dudley to ride with us for the final few days of our trip. We met him just outside of Amherst and went to a few of Lindsey's favorite restaurants to celebrate the reuniting of team Frollard. At 'the loose goose' we had some awesome sandwiches, and then headed to 'the pub' where Lindsey used to work. A cold beer and a grapefruit vodka cocktail called the 'seabreeze' went down really well after the day of riding.

We then headed over to Kristen, Brian and baby Laney's house for the most amazing dinner. Brian is a butcher and great cook, and had prepared for us an amazing meal with prime rib, shrimp, pasta salad, and lamb. Delicious!!

We left Kristen'a house around 8 to start our short day to get to Dudley. We had hoped to drop by Moe's school to say hi to her students, but unfortunately Lindsey got a flat tire about ten miles from school, so we didn't make it. Hopefully the last flat of the trip, I think we've each had around 8 since we set out.

On to Boston to finish tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rensselear, NY to Lee, MA (48 miles)

Last night we stayed with a really interesting warmshowers host named Alen. He has travelled many countries by bicycle and shared his stories and pictures with us over a delicious dinner. He fueled us up with pancakes this morning and we set out ready to climb up to our final state border!

We finally made it to Massachusetts!!!!! It was a tough day of riding, the Berkshires are very hilly and it was pretty hot but we were rewarded with friends!!! I was jumping for joy as we rode down Randi and Brendan's driveway. Even Laura drove up from Connecticut to visit for the night. Randi cooked us a Mexican feast while Owen entertained us and Silas drooled on us. :) Joe and I went out for a very yummy ice cream and now we are tucked into bed.

It feels so good to be back in familiar territory (even though that means riding along side the worst drivers in the country)!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sprakers, NY to Rensselear, NY (58 miles)

The weather was perfect for our ride; it was about 60 degrees when we took off in the morning and stayed cool and sunny all day. We were spoiled by having peach and chocolate pancakes that Roland made before we left - yum!

Today was a relaxed day of riding - it was flat and easy, and we only ended up doing 58 miles. We crossed the Hudson river, which separates Albany from Renaselear, just before the end of our ride. Lindsey had been looking forward to our Hudson crossing as a sign to us having made it east, and back to the river she used to live a few blocks from in New York.

On to Massachusetts tomorrow!

Rome, NY to Sprakers, NY (66 miles)

Yesterday morning we woke up to a huge feast for breakfast that rivaled the amazing homemade spaghetti and meatball the night before. Larry even ran out and bought us a dozen doughnuts from this great little Rome bakery that has been there forever. It was so thoughtful of him since he read our blog and knew that Joe loves donuts!

Well rested and overfed, we left Larry and Patty's following the bicycle directions they have printed out to get their guests back on the bike route. We rode along route 5 which follows the Erie canal and winds through more small towns and farmland. Near the en of the day we met up with our next warmshower hosts Roland and Janet at the local rhubarb festival. We treated ourselves to a piece of the pie that won 3rd was so good!! We then went a bit further down the road to a church built in 1770 where the organ builders daughter was playing the organ in a special concert. It was such an amazing experience.

We then rode the last 15 miles back to Janet and Roland's house accompanied by Janet. Their home was really a little slice of heaven, tucked away in the woods with a natural stone waterfall running behind the house.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Port Byron, NY to Rome, NY (80 miles)

We started the day right today by treating ourselves to breakfast out at the Port Byron diner.  It's great being in diner country again - huge portions of really tasty (and greasy!) food really cheap.  I've been excited for Carl's Diner near Lindsey's folks place since near the start of the trip; they take big portions to the next level - a few quotes from yelp: "Omlettes so big they give you internal bleeding" and "the birthplace of cholesterol".  Can hardly wait for it to start our last day of riding in a week!

The ride today was really flat with a gentle 5mph tail wind, however Lindsey and I both struggled as we were both pretty tired from the start.  It felt like we were riding through suburubs all day.  Hopefully tomorrow will be nicer.

We hit a milestone near the end of our ride today; 5000 miles since we left Berkeley!  Lindsey and I gave each other a high five to celebrate, and in the process of it nearly managed to crash into each other... no harm done though.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lockport, NY to Rochester, NY (66 miles) to Port Byron, NY (64 miles)

Over the past two days we have traveled half on the Erie Canal towpath and half on scenic roads through small New York villages and farmland. The weather has been blissful and the wind has been at our backs.

Last night we stayed with a wonderful couple, Dale and Sue, in Rochester. They spoiled us rotten with snacks and a feast for dinner finished off with homemade cookies. This morning we woke to a homemade breakfast of quiche, blueberry muffins and more. We were even lucky enough to have all the leftover treats packed up for us! I'm embarrassed to say that nothing made it all the way to camp tonight, it was too tasty and therefore devoured over the course of the day.

Tonight we are camping for the last time of our trip I think. We have warmshowers hosts and friends to stay with for the remainder of nights. How exciting!!! See ya later mosquitos!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Evangola State Park to Lockport, NY (88 miles)

We got a nice early start to our day. Joe went for his run then we cycled into Buffalo, NY. The southern part of the city had a great bike path that wound through an old industrial neighborhood. All of sudden it smelled like breakfast and we turned a corner to see the General Mills factory where the sweet aroma of toasted Cheerios cereal was filling the air.

On the north side of the city we ate at a great diner, Sophie's. The owner was awed and envious of our trip and sent us on our way with a loaf of her homemade bread and a stick of butter. It was such a luxury to have with dinner!!!

Bellies full, we took a bit of a detour from our route to check out Niagara Falls. It was such an amazing sight to see. I still can't wrap my mind around the sheer volume of water pouring over the falls. It was also mind boggling to think that just a month or two ago we were riding our bikes along the Mexican border and now here we are riding our bikes along the Canadian border.

Turns out we aren't the only newlyweds that quit their jobs and packed their panniers. We met another couple at the falls who has completed their cross country bicycle tour and is now heading back to the west coast with the goal of riding through all 50 states raising money for several bicycle related charities. They sure are making us look like a couple slackers!!

We ended our day by starting the final leg of our journey. We are now headed east across New York State towards our final destination!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Erie, PA to Evangola State Park, NY (75 miles)

"Start spreading the news. I want to be a part of it, New York, New York" - Lindsey and I were really excited to get into New York state today! We've got less than two weeks of our adventure left and are looking forward to dipping our wheels into the Atlantic in Boston.

Today was a beautiful day of riding. Shortly after leaving Erie, we were riding through many miles of vineyards with views of Lake Erie and the Appalachians foothills mixed in. We were also treated to the occasional view of sheer cliffs along the lake's shore.

We're heading up to Niagra Falls tomorrow, and will then head east to follow the Eire Canal across New York state.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Painesville, OH to Erie, PA (76 miles)

This morning we rode along Lake Erie which is quite impressive. If you didn't know better you would think it was the ocean on a calm day. We were a bit jealous of everyone BBQ-ing for Memorial Day so we compensated by stopping for frequent snacks (the best donuts we have had so far then a McDonalds sunday...mmmmm).

About 2/3 through the day we entered Pennsylvania. Now only one state stands between us and Massachusetts!!!

Tonight we are staying with another generous warmshowers host in Erie, PA. They had a huge delicious dinner awaiting us when we arrived which is always mucho appreciated! We are sleeping in the kids playhouse in the backyard. It matches the main house, right down to the mailbox! Super cute, just like the guy on the steps in the picture ;)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hudson, OH to Painesville, OH (47 miles)

It's a three day weekend right now for memorial day, so all the campgrounds are booked out. We didn't plan for it at all but luckily managed to get in touch with Roger, a warm showers host that lives a short day's ride from Hudson, that could help us out on short notice.

Roger lives right on Lake Erie, and when we got here we went out for a paddle in his canoe. He gave us a tour of a state park right on the lake; we strolled along the sand shores of the lake, and explored a trail through the sane dunes. A great way to end an easy day of riding!

Findley State Park to Hudson, OH (53 miles)

We made it!!! Just kidding, we went through Boston, OH...

Friday we rode a nice easy day into quaint little Hudson. We stayed with a really lovely warmshowers couple named Heather and John. Heathers father was also in town. We joined them for dinner and enjoyed their company.

We took our day off yesterday and spent most of our time at the library planning out the remainder of our trip. We has some great burgers for lunch and washed them down with spiked milkshakes. Joe had apple pie with bourbon and I had fig with BACON infused vodka. It was pretty weird but had to be tried. We went out to dinner with Heather and John for Mexican. Mmm, what a splurge of a day!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunbury, OH to Findley State Park, OH (82 miles)

We had a great day riding today. Our spirits were high, and we started the day well by both having a chocolate milk and a coffee six miles in.

We later stopped at a great diner on our route, and had another coffee and a delicious piece of caramel nut apple pie. It was definitely the best since the piece we had in Big Sur near the start of the trip. Yum!

In the early afternoon we rode into an intense storm; the rain was coming down really hard and thunder and lightening was all around us. However with our waterproof jackets on it just added to the atmosphere, and we rode on. The storm blew over a few minutes later.

Part of our day was spent in Armish country. We rode past several horse and carts, one of which we were excited to be fast enough to overtake.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

South Charleston, OH to Sunbury, OH (83 miles)

Last night we woke up to the sound of a train screaming through town about 15 yards from our tent. Being half asleep I thought it was coming through the tent when I saw its lights. It was quite an unpleasant way to wake up but after our nerves settled we got right back to sleep.

Got back on the rail trail for the first 20 miles of the day (all the way to London!) then rode through some expansive farm land. We got caught in some heavy rain but managed to get our waterproof jackets on just before the skies opened up.

Tonight we are camping under a pavilion at Autumn Lakes Campground. The rain is really coming down and the thunder and lighting show has just begun. Hope the weather clears up by morning!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cincinnati, OH to South Charleston, OH (78 miles)

We heard a tornado warning siren for the first time last night, which slightly freaked us out. However Anne reassured us that it is a routine occurrence which had always just resulted in a storm passing through.

When we woke this next morning (with no sign of the tornado) we were treated to a delicious breakfast of eggs, bagels, fruit and yogurt. Yum!

We spent the day riding on beautiful rail trails; the Little Miami Creek Trail and Ohio to Erie trail. The first trail was surrounded by thick green foliage; it felt like we were riding through our own personal road in the middle of a forrest. I'm not sure if the best part of the rail trails is the lack of hills or the lack of traffic. Either way it's nice relaxed cycling!

We're camped in a small town tonight behind an old caboose just off the rail trail.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Carrollton, KY to Cincinnati, OH (69 miles)

We woke up to rain this morning an very nearly zipped up our sleeping bags an rolled back over. It's a good thing we didn't though since it turned out to be one of the most beautiful days we've had so far! By the time we finished our scrambled eggs the blue skies were poking through and the sun wasn't far behind.

We made our way into Cincinnati via the Purple People Bridge, a pedestrian and cyclist only bridge. Such a treat! A great way to enter into yet another state, Ohio. It is becoming very clear that we are no longer in the "south". There is a Dunkin Donuts on every corner and sandwiches are referred to as "grinders".

Tonight we are staying with another warmshowers host. We had an amazing dinner of pork roast, veggies, couscous, salad and last but not least Cincinnati's famous Graeter's ice cream and homemade cookies.

After dinner Joe and I both did a little work on our bikes. We both got a punctured tire today and Joe had to replace a cable.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Louisville, KY to Carrollton, KY (75 miles)

When riding out of Louisville today it was amazing how quickly the city seemed to disappeared and we were in an industrial area, and then shortly after a mix of farms and housing estates. The terrain was rolling hills for the first fifty miles of the day, some with very steep sections towards their peaks.

One town we passed by was really pretty; Madison in Indiana. It's right on the Ohio river, has a small town feel (population is about 10k though), and had many gorgeous buildings that were built in the mid 1800's. It was definitely one of the nicest towns we've been through on the trip - but we forgot to take pictures!

Corydon, IN to Louisville, KY (29 miles)

We took a nice short day in Louisville on Friday. The ride was beautiful and we were rewarded with a hotel room upon arrival compliment of our moms for Joes birthday!! Each one got us a night so we took our day off and explored Louisville.

As you would expect, we ate lots of food, drank a few local beers and watched lots of tv! We even sat in our fancy hotel room bed and ate a pint of Ben and Jerrys ice cream one night and birthday cake the next. I know, we are just wild!!

Overall an extremely fun and restful weekend!! Now that Joe is one year older and wiser it is time to continue our journey. We have broken 4000 miles are getting closer!! Looks like we have about 3 weeks left to get to MA!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hawesville, KY to Corydon, IN (68 miles)

Yesterday was a nice easy day of riding; not very hilly and we had a gentle 5mph tail wind. I think we needed it as we're both pretty tired after about a week of riding without a day off. We're heading into Louisville today, and will take tomorrow off there to explore the city on my birthday.

We rode past lots of awesome smelling plant yesterday (no idea what they were) and snapped this photo of a turtle that was waiting to cross the road when we took a break half way through our ride. We also crossed into the eastern time zone, so we're now in the same time zone as our end destination. Getting closer!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Central City, KY to Hawesville, KY (71 miles)

Today was a fairly easy day of cycling. The hills have eased up and the terrain was mostly gentle and rolling then flat as a pancake. It seems our timing has been quite good as far as avoiding natural disasters is concerned on this trip north. You can tell by the mud and plant debris that until just a few days ago, every road and field next to it was flooded. According to locals, some roads were 10 feet under water just a week ago. There appear to be thousands of acres of crops ruined.

We passed several coal factories ( at least I think they were something like that?) All I know is that tons of truck filled with coal were flying by us all morning and smoke stacks were billowing into the sky all across the horizon.

Tonight we are camping at Vastwood Park with a lovely spot next to the lake. Tomorrow looks like it will be very hilly again so we better get our beauty rest!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clarksville, TN to Center City, KY (67 miles)

We had a slow start to the day after staying up late doing some bike maintenance; my rear tire and brake pads had worn out and had to be replaced. Around 9.30 we finally headed out and stopped by a local greasy spoon called Moss's Cafe. The eggs and toast really hit the spot, but didn't quite quench our cycling appetites so we picked up a few pastries at a bakery next door (the first one we've seen in a long time) before hitting the road.

We were about ten miles down the road when we passed by 'southern maid donuts' and had to go in to try their finest. The woman working there was so excited about us riding our bikes across country that she gave us two dozen donuts for free. We're about half way through them - what a day of gluttony!

We passed into Kentucky around the twenty mile mark and shortly after the country side became really pretty. We were in Armish country (but unfortunately didn't see any) and rode through fields of wheat with old barns scattered about.

After many miles of rolling hills we ended the day on a 6 mile rail trail to get us to our campsite. Riding without having to worry about cars at all was a great way to end the day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nashville, TN to Clarksville, TN (57 miles)

We got a nice slow start to our day with mocha lattes, bagels and cereal then hit the wet pavement once again. It seems as if a little rain cloud is traveling jut above us despite the forecast calling for a 20% chance of rain. No real complaints here though, I much prefer this cool rainy weather to the stinkin hot humidity we had last week. Plus it makes the rain gear we've been lugging across the country seem useful!

Fun fact: Tenessee is not flat. Though we had a short day mileage-wise, we hit some tough terrain. Each hill seemed to get longer and steeper than the last and they didn't ease up until the last 5 miles of the day.

Our good fortune seems to continue as another warmshowers host has taken us in despite our very short notice. Tonight we have our own studio apartment in this lovely family's carriage house behind their home. It seems to good to be true to be sleeping in a bed for a second night in a row. Our host Lawson is extremely interesting and quite the history buff. His family several generations back were slave owners! He and his family collaborate with decedents of the slaves in hopes of mending bridges and opening up the dialog between the two groups that for so many years has remained off limits. Really fascinating stuff. He also helped us fine tune our route to meet back up with our original maps and gave us lots of tips on where we should eat along the way!!

Collinwood, TN to Nashville, TN (93 miles)

Yesterday was a really great day of cycling. The Natchez Trace was such a pleasure to ride on; the cars are few between and very courteous, the surface is perfect the scenery is great. About 30 miles out of Nashville we encountered a couple groups of road cyclist that tagged along to chat with us for 5 miles or so each. It really helped the miles fly by! 20 miles from the end of the day, our warmshowers host, Bill, met up with us to show us the way home.

Though there were lots of big hills and cold rainy weather, we made it to Bill and Sam's beautiful home on the outskirts of Nashville. We were greeted with warm brownies and cold beer. Heaven!! After sitting down to a feast, Bill and Sam helped us plan our route for the next few days and we got into a bed with the softest sheets and real pillows. It amazes me how one night inside a cozy house revives you from a week of camping in damp gear.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fulton, MS to Collinwood, TN (85 miles)

Gerry finished his ride across the country yesterday morning when he dipped his tire in the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. He's ridden a huge number of miles the past few days, I think he did over a century a day for four days!

Lindsey and I headed out of Fulton early this morning, and about twenty hilly miles in made it to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Several people we'd talked to earlier in our trip had recommended this road, which follows the same trade route American Indians have used for centuries. The parkway is a 444 mile long road that's closed to commercial traffic, and has park land on each side of it. Traffic is light, the surface is great, it's beautiful, and best of all there are no houses on it - so no dogs to terrorize us!

We enjoyed riding on it so much that we've decided to change our route and take it to it's end in Nashville, where we'll work our way back to our planned route. This way we'll also stay further away from the rivers around here which have been flooding

The trace (as locals call it) took us into Collinwood Tennessee, where we're camped behind the visitors center. On to a warm showers in Nashville tomorrow night. Yay!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

West Point, MS to Fulton, MS (66 miles)

Today's picture is of Smithville, MS, one of the worst hit towns in the south by a massive tornado a few weeks ago. We rode for 3 miles through what looked like a war zone. It was such an extremely full on experience I couldn't hold back tears and we had to stop 1/2 way through. I have never seen such devastation first hand. Those poor people lost absolutely everything, including about 30 members of their community.

On a lighter note, the rest of the day was beautiful cycling and we made it to a very nice campground in Fulton, MS on the Tombigbee Waterway once again. Tomorrow is a much needed day off!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cochrane, AL to West Point, MS (70 miles)

Today we thought it would be a good idea to have an all you can eat buffet 50 miles into our ride. Our lively camp host last night had recommended Barnhills Country Buffet in Columbus, MS. We did some serious damage as we were starving upon arrival. Several plates of fried and butter drenched southern goodness followed by at least one of every dessert item, we were painfully full. The grand total: $6.50 each (drink included). Wow.

Luckily we only had 20 miles to drag ourselves and our 30 extra pounds to the end of the day. Joe treated us to a motel room so we can escape the heat and bugs for a night. Originally we planned on taking tomorrow off but it appears some bad weather is moving through on Friday which makes it a better candidate for staying inside and off the road.

Providence, AL to Cochrane, AL (80 miles)

We had a bit of a rough start to the day; we tried to shave a few miles off by taking a shortcut but the surface of the road we took ended up turning into dirt and then sand. Having the rear wheel of our loaded bikes fish tail around the road for about 3 miles wasn't such an awesome way to start off... lesson learned (again!) on picking our own route with google maps.

When we hit the main road our spirits picked up as we rode through beautiful countryside. We passed many small farms with horses, cows and goats. We have been keeping a close eye our for more alligators but haven't spotted any yet.

We arrived at our campsite feeling a bit worn out today after riding in the 90 degree heat. The campsite host (Brenda) really made us feel special - bringing us iced tea and offering firewood for the night. She also gave us a tip for an all you can eat southern buffet in town for tomorrow - can't wait!

Gerry is in Tallahassee, FL after riding about 70 miles today.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Coffeeville, AL to Providence, AL (67 miles)

Today's route was mainly through the rural back roads of Alabama. The hills were frequent and steep for the first 40 miles or so and became rolling in the afternoon. The gas station/cafe we stopped at for a lunch break invited us in to the amazing air-conditioning to eat our sandwiches even though we didn't buy their food. Southerners sure are friendly!

Several miles down the road we came across a home that must have been struck by a recent tornado. It was an amazing sight, the lot was empty besides some snapped trees and the splintered remains of the house and it's contents were scattered on the opposite side of the road!!

Besides the sweltering heat and humidity, the other thing that sticks out about the South is the unbelievably loud noise that comes from the cicadas and frogs. It is almost deafening as we ride through certain sections of road!!

Gerry went 100 miles again today (wow!), and is in Cottondale, FL. We told him he has to stop making us look bad with his high milage days!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cypress Creek Landing, MS to Coffeeville, AL (103 miles)

Yay, we did another century!! This one was a bit tougher than the last as we are back into hilly terrain. The roads wound us through the lush green forests of Desoto National Park. Around mile 75 we entered Alambama, our 7th state! All was fine and dandy until about mile 90....the road we were on suddenly changed to an unpaved dirt road. Who would have guessed that "Blue Dirt Rd." wouldn't be paved? Not only was it not blue, it was more like deep sand followed by mud, followed by gravel, followed by red sand, follwed by yellow rocky dirt... you get the point. It was a trecherous 10 miles that left us wondering if we would make it to our campsite before dark.

We did in fact make it to a lovely campsite on the Tombigbee River outside of Coffeeville just before the sun began to go down. The mosquitos continue to terrorize us which makes me never want to leave the tent once we get to camp. Perhaps I need more DEET...

Gerry update: tonight he is camping at Blackwater State Park in Florida after about a 100 mile day! He rode the whole day in his bathing suit which was more conducive to jumping in the ocean every 10 miles or so.

Pass Christian, LA to Cypress Creek Campground, LA (68 miles)

Today started with 10 beautiful miles riding along the gulf coast beach; white sand, pancake flat water and the town just waking up as we were riding along.

When we arrived at Gulfport we had a sad moment; Gerry parted ways with us to continue east to Florida, while we're now going to head north up towards Boston. It's been great all riding together since San Diego - hopefully we'll do a few more days of cycling together when we get up to Massachusetts. We'll post an update of where Gerry is each night here.

Lindsey and I headed north and eventually entered De Soto National Forest, which is known for it's pine trees and snakes (we saw none of the latter fortunately). We're camped in the forest by a river, which we had a very refreshing swim in before calling it a day.

We heard from Gerry and he made it 89 miles east from our starting point.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Orleans, LA to Pass Christian, MS (70 miles)

In New Orleans we stayed with another warmshowers host. He lost his house in Hurricane Katrina and decided to buy a new one 2 blocks away. He still has the empty lot his house was on so he let us set up camp there for a few days and shower an things in his new place. He showed us around the city a bit an took us to some hidden gems, including an artist co-op with a massive tree house that spanned several trees in their back yard. It was really fun to climb around and explore it.

New Orleans is such a vibrant and cool city. The food is amazing ( we know because we ate it all...beignets, muffalettas, jambalaya, poboys, crawfish, etc.) In addition the music is simply everywhere and fantastic. We saw bands jam in tiny clubs on Frenchmas st, live music in city parks and of course many talented musicians at Jazzfest.

Yesterday we rode north through bayous out of the city. It I amazing to see neighborhoods that have been completely abandoned after Katrina. The damage was just so widespread and catastrophic. We even saw a bulldozer taking down a house next to the lot we stayed in.

The highlight of our day was entering yet another state!! Mississippi!! We also hit the Gulf Coast at the end of the day which is part of the Atlantic ocean. So exciting!! We camped on the beach and ate at a cute Jimmy Buffett style restaurant thanks to the sponsorship of Maureen Morrissey thanks to the prompting o her wonderful class ;)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Donaldsonville, LA to New Orleans, LA ( 73 miles)

Tonight we have a guest blogger, the one and only Gerry Frank:

Route 18.......from the Sunshine bridge to the French Quarter of N.O. once again, brought to you by the hard work of Team Frollard and our carb sponsors the Feinberg-Eddys at Coop's restaurant for dinner tonight.
Route 18 wandered along the West side of the river, alongside the levies, with plenty of sugar cane farms, old plantation mansions and historical markers to all the great men who fought for the Confederacy and the great things the South stood for. We then crossed the mighty Mississippi with a breath taking ride over the Veterans Memorial Bridge and finished our ride into N.O. on a bike trail along the shores of Lake Pocasomething. A hot shower, dinner thanks to our sponsor, dessert at the Cafe du Monde, some music on French St. and then we will set up our tents in an empty lot in West NO..

PS: Even though there will not be any miles conquered tomorrow, sponsorships for tomorrow night's dinner (or any other night) are still available by contacting this blog site.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Patterson, LA to Donaldsonville, LA (53 miles)

Today we wound through the bayous of southern Louisiana. We saw lots of wildlife including an alligator!! He was about 4 feet long and jumped in the water as soon as he heard our shrieks of excitement. We saw our first river steam boat, the Mississippi Queen. She was in the process of being renovated and fascinated us with her sheer size! Overall we enjoyed a short but beautiful day!

To top things off, we bring this blog post to you under the sponsorship of the Feinberg-Eddy family who has put us up in a lovely hotel for the night! It is such a treat to sleep on real sheets with real pillows and use real towels. Ahhhhh the simple pleasures in life.

After our mosquito free sleep we will be rested and ready to ride into New Orleans tomorrow. Can't wait! This marks about the halfway point for Joe and I. We have ridden about 3000 miles and have approximately 2500 left
to get up to Boston!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lafayette, LA to Patterson, LA (73 miles)

We felt really fresh on the bikes today after our day off yesterday. The day started with the best breakfast of our trip yet at Mel's diner in Lafayette. The pancakes were some of the best we've ever had, and the biscuits (which for the aussies reading this, are pretty much plain scones made with extra butter) were absolutely awesome. We pigged out and left feeling ready to tackle the 15mph headwind which was blowing.

Other than the food, the highlight of the day was the old mansions that we passed (some were 1850 era). They were extravagant and beautiful, and had the most fantastic trees in their yards. We promise to take some photos of them tomorrow.

We got eaten alive by Mosquitos at our camp site tonight, i don't think i've ever seen so many before. Even with deet on, they were biting us through our clothes. Yikes!

Mamou, LA to Lafayette, LA (50 miles)

We headed to Lafayette as we were told it had an awesome international (and free) music festival, and it was only fifty miles from where we were.

We took a day off at the festival yesterday and had a great time. There were six stages with a great variety of music: rock, Cajun, rap, etc. When we weren't listening to music we were stuffing our faces with food from the stalls. We also happened to bump into Lindsey's family friend Carolyn Mugar there.

The perfect day off? We think so :-)

Friday, April 29, 2011

DeRidder, LA to Mamou, LA (61 miles)

We were all very excited about goign to Mamou, as it's claim to fame was being the Cajun music capital of the world.  When we arrived in town we tried to book into a hotel (a nice change!), but found out the rooms were much more expensive than we'd planned.  Lindsey ended up asking someone in town if there was anywhere closeby that we could camp, and was lucky enough to have picked someone in the town council to talk to.  They offered up the town square (after first clearing it with the Mayor and police), so we ended up camping in the heart of town.

They even arranged us to have a shower in the local police station, which was a little weird, but very much appreciated after a long day of riding.  We had some delicious cat fish po-boy's for dinner next door, then had an early night.

We heard from the locals that there's a great music festival on right now about 50 miles away in Lafayette, so we're going to head there today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Silsbee, TX to Deridder, LA (81 miles)

We have finally made it out of Texas! We're all really happy to have it behind us; even though it did get quite pretty over the past few days. It took about 50 miles of riding today before we hit the border. 

Just after crossing the border I checked on my phone and found out that I was selected in the New York City marathon lottery!  I think the chances of being selected were about one in six, so I wasn't expecting it at all. The marathon is on November
6th, and as I don't think we're going to finish our ride until mid to late June, I'm going to have to start doing a little bit of running after our rides on some days.  I'm really excited for it!

We're staying in a campground tonight where they have baby ducks, kittens, and puppies. Lindsey is in heaven!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pumpkin, TX to Silsbee, TX (86.5 miles)

Another great day of riding. We started off with a great big breakfast of eggs, potatoes, biscuits, gravy, bacon, grits etc. Such perfect fuel for cycling. The terrain has become flat as a pancake (well maybe a lumpy pancake). Everything is lush and green which is a welcome change after weeks in the Texas deserts. The only problem is the increase in dogs chasing us. I'm starting to lose my voice from screaming at them to scare them off. Any suggestions from fellow cyclists/runners? I hear the problem gets worse the deeper into the south you get...

Tonight we are camping at an RV park under a pavilion as there are more storm warnings. We had to order pizza delivery for dinner as the grocery store in town lost power today and was closed.

If all goes well tomorrow, this will be our last night in Texas!!!

Navasota, TX to Pumpkin, TX (62 miles)

After a day of cycling through a beautiful state forest, we settled into a little RV park in Pumpkin (cutest town name ever!!). After a soak in the hot tub and some dinner we got into bed and dozed off.

A few hours later we were woken up to a severe thunder and lightning storm. A transformer a mile away was hit with lighting and power was out in the morning. Overall, we stayed dry and were just shaken a bit!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

La Grange, TX to Navasota, TX (68 miles)

Happy Easter everyone! We celebrated by starting the day with donuts (holy food...), which we really needed as we were struggling to get our legs pumping this morning.

The day ended in Navasota, which is exciting for two reasons:
- Chuck Norris lives here (or close by anyway)
- we've finishes another one of the cycling maps that we're using for the trip. A group called the Adventure Cycling Association makes them.

On towards New Orleans tomorrow, we need to get there by the 6th of May to make it to Jazz Fest. before the closing weekend.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Austin, TX to Le Grange, TX (80 miles)

We were really excited to be back on the road again today after two days off in Austin - after spending most of the past few months on the road we feel a little antsy staying in one place for long.

Today was a tough day of riding. Moe had been taking our luggage in her car for the past week (thanks Moe!), but she left to head back home today so we were on our own. We had a headwind for most of the day, which really picked up for the last 20 miles.

The highlight of the day's riding was going through Bastrop state park (picture below). We pretty much had the road to ourselves, which meandered through dense pine forrest and a few lakes. What a great change from being in the desert just a few days ago.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blanco, TX to Austin, TX (57.5 miles)

Another morning of rolling hills through beautiful farm country. As we approached Austin, traffic got pretty heavy which made things a bit stressful. Luckily, we happened upon parking lot with several of the city's ever- so-popular mobile food vendors. We shared a massive, delicious, hot out of the fryer doughnut and got back on the bikes to weave through the hectic city streets to our hotel.

Wed night we headed into downtown Austin for some famous burgers at a dove bar called Casino el Camino.

Thurs we spent running errands and having a walk around the university campus area. We had a pretty good cappuccino at cafe Medici followed by some homestyle Lebanese food. Mmmmmm. Later that night we drove back into hill country to a restaurant called Salt Lick which is said to have the best BBQ around. For a belated celebration of my dads birthday, we gorged ourselves on piles of tasty smoked meats and finished it off with some cobbler.

Today we mostly relaxed by the pool and ran a few errands. This included grocery shopping at the flagship Whole Foods market. Its size was amazing yet a bit overwhelming. I think we spent about 30 minutes perusing the bulk section alone. I can't wait to try the blueberry infused cane sugar we bought to put in our oatmeal this week!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ingram, TX to Blanco, TX (69 miles)

Today felt really easy after the hills yesterday. It was fairly flat with pretty countryside, and we saw our first longhorn bull. Their horns were huge - about 6 feet (we took a photo but it was on our camera, not our phone, so we'll have to post it later).

There was a river at our campsite tonight, and we all went in for a dip after the ride. It felt amazing after riding all day in the 98 degree heat (37C).

Chris is still riding us, which has been great. He's always really positive and knows much more about bikes than we do. He broke a spoke today so we learned how to replace one in case we run into the same problem.

On to Austin tomorrow!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Camp wood, TX to Ingram, TX (89 miles)

Today's ride was fantastic - definitely
one of the best yet! We're finally out of the desert, and are well and truly into Texas hill country.

We had quite a few climbs in the first half of the day, the biggest was about 1200 feet. We were riding through wooded countryside and saw lots of deers, sheep, goats and a few dead armadillos.

Moe met us for lunch and had prepared a spread of awesome guacamole and pasta salad for us to dive into. It was a huge treat seeing we've mostly been having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.

In the afternoon we rode alongside the Guadalupe River, and passed many really ritzy houses. It was beautiful riding; the trees met over the middle of the road, the river flowed by next to us and Moe even saw a few horses swimming in it.

We're now two days of riding out from Austin; which we're all really excited to reach. Still chasing the best BBQ in Texas, but think we can find it in Austin.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Let the spoiling begin!!!

Sat: Comstock,TX to Brackettville,TX (68 miles)
Sat morning we woke up before the sun came up to get a head start knowing that once the wind picked up around 9 it was going to be pushing against us. Sure enough, my tire went flat less than a mile down the road. We lost a good chunk of time fixing it and ended up battling a killer head wind alllll morning. By the time we reached Del Rio 30 miles away we were all exhausted and getting cranky. We saw an Applebees at the start of town and practically ran in the door so we could sit at table out of the wind for an hour. With full bellies we decided to tackle the second half of our day (though pulling into the nearest campground was debated).

The rest of our ride turned out to be significantly less grueling. The terrain began to change for the first time in weeks. We saw trees! Not only was it a pleasant to have a change of scenery but it also helped to block the wind. We camped out in Fort Springs, a beautiful of fort now privately owned and converted into a living community. We were surrounded by deer and beautiful birds and even more more desert!!

Sun: Bracketville, TX to Camp Wood, TX (48 miles)

Today was a beautiful ride through the beginning of Texas hill country. Trees continue to line the road and it seems we are finally past the flat dry desert.

The highlight of our day was meeting up with mom! She flew in to Austin this morning and has rented a car for the week of her April school vacation. We all had a great meal out and are excited to ride our bikes with no luggage tomorrow. I'm sure she will be spoiling us not only by taking our gear but having lunch ready for us too.

We have another beautiful campsite tonight right on a river. We met another cyclist, Chris, who is heading in our direction and might ride with us for a few days.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Langtry, TX to Comstock, TX (29 miles)

After yesterday's super long ride, we took a nice short day today. We checked out the Judge Roy Bean museum this morning which was pretty interesting. He used to run west Texas and is rumored to have given people the choice between a heavy fine or hanging no matter how small their crime was.

We kicked off our day with an ice cream and hit the rode at nearly 11. The great thing about sitting in the saddle for 120 miles yesterday is that my butt hurt so bad today, I barely noticed my knee!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Marathon, TX to Langtry, TX (120 miles)

What a massive day! We rode our first century today, and are all very tired! Our spirits were high at the 100 mile mark; we all counted down the final mile and let out a big cheer when we made it. The next 20 miles really took it out of us.

We were initially only going to ride 55 miles to Sanderson, but we got there before 1pm and saw a fire had just started up on a ridge above town. We quickly decided to head on and try to make it all the way to Langtry.

With the wind at our backs, we continued on through the Texas desert. Rolling hills, with surprisingly lots of green bushes off to each side of the road. It's ranch country out here (rumor has it George W. comes out here to hunt), and we rode past many that had small camouflaged building for hunters to wait in for unfortunate deer to wonder by.

We're camping tonight behind the activity center in Langtry - a secluded spot that's nice and quiet (but has confederate flags flying nearby).

Lindsey's leg held up well, but is very stiff now. We will be taking it pretty easy tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life in the C.F.Z.

For our last evening in Marathon, TX, a local invited us on a trip to Big Bend National Park for a sunset hike. It was absolutely beautiful...bright pink and purple skies over jagged peaks and canyons.

On our way back to the hostel, we encountered the following interesting turn of events. We pulled into a border patrol station. 3 officers surrounded the vehicle and asked us to roll down all of the windows. In turn they asked all of us if we were US citizens. Three yes, one permanent resident. When asked to see his green card, Joe said sure he just had to grab it out of his jacket which was in the trunk and started to step out to get it. He was told to remain in the vehicle until he was instructed otherwise. Shortly after, we were told to shut off the vehicle and all step out of the car. Joe was allowed to get his green card which was heavily scrutinized and we were all told to sit on a bench where we were guarded by one officer and not allowed to put our hands out of sight. The other two officers and a dog then did a rigorous search of the car claiming the dog "alarmed" that there were drugs or people hidden in the car. When asked what signaled the "alarm" the officer said the dogs respiration increased. Ummmm, ok, if you say so. To no surprise, the search did not turn up any drugs or Mexicans and we were allowed to leave.

Flabbergasted and feeling quite violated, we got home and looked up what gave the US Customs and Border Patrol the right to search us with no inkling of probable cause. As it turns out, if you are within 100miles of the US border, you are within a "Constitution free zone"! This means that 2/3 of the US population can be subject to search and siezure at any time for absolutely no reason at all.

Wow, what a place...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Heading back to Texas

Lindsey's leg had been improving quickly (perhaps due to us pigging out and hitting the hot tub at David and Renee's place) and she can now walk short distances. As we're confident she won't need to go back to the hospital, we're taking a flight back to Texas tonight and will be relaxing in Marathon until Lindsey's leg is ready to ride. We're all really anxious to get started again, but will be making sure to not rush things.

Thanks for all the get well soon wishes from everyone!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good news

So we spent the larger part of our day at the hospital. I was lucky to be in the care of many amazing doctors, nurses and technicians at Highland hospital in Oakland. Everyone was extremely knowledgeable and friendly, making a crummy situation as pleasant as it could be. They poked and prodded my leg all day and ran lots of tests. They confirmed that I have a deep infection but it appears to be contained and isn't in the bone or anything scary like that. It is still just a waiting game to see if the antibiotics do their job. If they do I will be back on the bike by the end of the week. Time will tell!

Meanwhile, we are back at Hotel Frank where we spent the first night of our journey. I cant imagine a better place to rest up and recoup. Uncle David and Auntie Renee make sure to keep me comfortable and spoiled. I think the jacuzzi really does cure everything!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Marathon, TX to Oakland, Ca (-1,500 miles)

So we have had a bit of a set back. Last night I got a puncture from an exposed rod holding my fenders on when a strong wind blew my bike into my leg as I was getting off at the end of the day. We cleaned it up and thought it would be fine but sore when I woke up today. We were very wrong. When I stepped out of bed a huge lump popped up under my knee and I was in the worst pain I have ever felt. We were lucky to find someone to drive me to the nearest hospital (35 miles away in Alpine, TX). Unfortunately, the ER doctor told me that I have a bad infection and in the event that antibiotics I am on aren't effective, they dont have the resources to treat me. So we decided to fly back to California where my health insurance will cover any further treatment and we are close to many capable hospitals.

For the time being Joe and I are staying with my Uncle David and Aunt Renee until we know if my knee is getting better or worse. Chances are I will be on the mend by morning but we wanted to play it safe. My dad is staying with the bikes and gear in Marathon and helping out around the hostel to earn his keep. Hopefully we will be back there in a day or 2 to continue our ride. Either way we'll keep you posted!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

McDonald Observatory, TX to Marathon, TX (75 miles)

Today was a great day of riding. After leaving the observatory we had one of the best descents of our trip so far - fast and twisty with rolling hills on one side and beautiful mountains on the other. Lindsey's bike computer read a max speed of 41.3 mph (66 km per hour).

We stopped for lunch in Alpine, where we had a huge feed of very tasty mexican food. Then with fully bellies we rode the last 30 miles into Marathon - with several huge freight trains flying past us along the way (we tried to race them but the trains won).

We're staying at an artists commune tonight ( and plan on taking a rest day here tomorrow too.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kent, TX to McDonald Observatory, TX (37 miles)

A short but hard day today. We gained about 2000 feet of elevation, riding into a headwind with a max temperature of 97f (36c). We lost Greg somewhere along the way, he was struggling with the hills and flagged down a passing car for a lift.

John, our warmshowers host tonight is a really interesting guy. He works at the Observatory as an Engineer, and gave us a special tour of both telescopes. Apparently the observatory here is one of the best dark sky observatories in the US - which is why he had to drive us around with the headlights turned off. It was great hearing from a geek who's so passionate about his work.

We also had am encounter with some havellinas (a type of wild pig) today. While riding along we saw three of them running off in the opposite direction by the side of the road.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sierra Blanca, TX to Kent, TX (73 miles)

The scenery was fairly plain today, we rode along the interstate and service roads to our destination in Kent. We crossed another timezone during our ride, so we're now in central time.

Greg road with us all day, and I think he's probably going to stick with us for a bit longer. He's a building contractor and rode across the middle of America when he was younger.

Lindsey and I both had a puncture - we think the culprit is bits of metal from blown out tires on interstate. Puncture tally is now, Joe: 3, Lindsey: 3, Gerry: 4.

After setting up camp off the side of a quiet side road we had a visit from 3 guys in cowboy hats. All drunk and very friendly, apparently on their way out to see some naked women dance (at a truck stop in the middle of no-where). They did a burnout on their way out, screaming yee-haw... Ah Texas!