Sunday, August 23, 2015

Across America Trekkers Dip Their Tires in the Atlantic Ocean

After 55 days on the road the Across America Trekkers and Trip Leaders rode up the ramp to the boardwalk at Coney Island and were cheered and greeted by parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, and AA alumni. Their amazing adventure through extremely hot weather, high mileage days, the rain & wind also included experiencing awesome natural beauty and extremely friendly, outgoing people.  The Trekkers ceremoniously walked their bikes across the busy Coney Island beach to dip their tires in the Atlantic Ocean.  The event was followed by champagne on Boardwalk and a nice lunch at the famous Grimaldi's  Restaurant.

Friday, August 21, 2015


8/20 We began our last big day of biking with cinnamon zucchini and potatoes and a whole lot of eggs. We played some morning tunes to get us going and hit the road by 8:30. The Dutchess Rail Trail took us a smooth thirteen miles to Hopewell Junction where we got on back roads for the last major climbs of our journey. In Mahopac we met John's mom and sister for a healthy lunch of mango chicken salad, watermelon, baguette, cheese, potato salad, Cheetos, and passion iced tea. We gave most of our remaining baggage to John's mom and took off down the rail trails for the last forty-seven miles to NYC. After a couple hours we suddenly arrived in the Bronx to experience sensory overload: traffic, music, tall buildings, and the hustle and bustle of city life. We found our way to the Hudson River bike trail and rode down the west side of Manhattan to 104th street where we cut across town to our hostel, Jazz on the Park. Katie got scooped up by her mom
upon arrival and we quickly said our goodbyes, realizing that we had made it to the end of the trip. We washed up in the hostel and headed out to treat ourselves at our last dinner together. We chose a fabulous diner on Broadway--half of us ate dessert for dinner while the other half gorged on real food! We walked back to the hostel totally stuffed and exhausted, ready to get a good night's sleep for our last day together.

Across America Trekkers Cross the Hudson River into Poughkeepsie

8/19 In the morning Branton's mother Lisa arrived with a new bike for Branton. We assembled his bike and Lisa kindly took our group pot set, tents, and stoves to lighten the load for our ride to Poughkeepsie. We biked twenty miles to Ellenville on the bumpy Route 52 and stopped for a snack break. We continued to New Paltz on the beautiful Berme Road, circling around the last of the Catskills. Tyler's rack snapped off along the way, but we zip tied it back on and changed our route to avoid bumpy bike paths. In New Paltz Tyler got a professional zip tie job done and the crew ate a big late lunch/early dinner at Lemongrass Thai. We rode on the rail trail from New Paltz to Poughkeepsie and took group photos on the Mid Hudson Walkway. We stayed at the Vassar Townhouses for the night, where John's friend Erin donated fresh veggies from the Vassar Farm and we ate cookie cake (a favorite of Branton's). The kids had a sentimental last night of tenting outside and we're excited about their last day of riding.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Final Day for NY - Montreal Trek

August 19:

Today we woke up and began packing our things to go. Cory went and grabbed some bagels for breakfast while the gang got their bikes packed. We left our bags at the front desk, checked out of Hotel Espresso, and biked to the Museum of Fine Arts. After checking out some art we headed to a nice lunch of Chinese food. It was quite tasty. We went to a grocery store for snacks for the bus, then back to the hotel to grab our gear. We got our bikes packed and headed to the area around the bus station. It was a team effort to pack the bikes into boxes and prepare them for the ride home to NYC. Cory waited at the station while the rest of the crew headed to Chinatown for the last exploration of Montreal. We then hung out in the station and waited to board our bus. As we waited we reminisced about the amazing times we had with each other and how much we would miss one another. However, we also expressed our excitement to be home and enjoy the comforts of not being on the road. All in all, it was an amazing trip. 8 strangers became great friends. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NY - Montreal Trekkers Enjoying Montreal

August 18th
Today was a day of preparation and exploration. We said bye to Camilla, leaving Skylar as the only person with two X chromosomes on the trip. We set out to see more of the city in the daylight, with a side mission of finding a bike box to ship Julia's bike. We went into Montreal's public library, which was extremely close to the bus station we were going to the next day. The library had 6 stories! It was awesome, but most of the books were in French. After that we were all feeling rather hungry, so we stopped at a local burger stand for some poutine and a small lunch. Skylar then set out to find a bike box as Cory and the rest of the group headed to a comic book store near the hotel to grab some reads for the bus ride home! Having been out in the sun for a long time that day, we all headed back to the hotel to chill out a bit before going out to our last dinner of the trip. It was delicious. We came back to the hotel and hung out with each other before going to sleep and resting for our last day in Montreal. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Across America Trekkers Reach Liberty

8/18 We left a friend's beautiful stone home and made our way south on route 8 to Deposit, just on the border of Pennsylvania. With the worst hills of the day behind us and two well-timed flats to repair, we had a huge lunch at the New Moon Cafe : pancakes, French toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham. We continued on with Liberty as our goal. Down the road outside Hancock Branton got a flat from a long and sharp piece of glass. He and John unsuccessfully attempted to patch the tube, then replaced the tube and found a major brake problem. After a loose hub was discovered and the new tube got a pinch flat, leaving Branton tubeless, the duo called a taxi to take them the rest of the way. The trio of Lydia, Katie and Tyler sped through the fifty miles to Liberty with only one five minute stop to eat a Clif bar. When they arrived the motel rooms and Chinese delivery food were waiting for them. After quickly devouring the food the Trekkers went to sleep while Lydia and John made final plans for the journey.

NY-Montreal Trekkers Made it to Montreal!

August 17:

We woke up and tye-dyed as our last full group activity before Julia would be leaving us later that evening. It was a great activity. The shirts came out pretty great. Then we set out for our final destination: Montreal. Later we would find out that it was the hottest day of the whole summer in the area. We biked for what seemed to be forever on a road passing endless cornfields before finally entering a more populated area. We grabbed some Tim Hortons bagels for a snack, and then headed into the suburbs outside of Montreal. The bike paths were wonderful throughout the whole area and kept us off the somewhat busy streets. Due to a main bridge being under construction we were sent on a mini detour, rendering our map directions useless and forcing us to rely on the kindness of the residents of Montreal to find our way to the downtown area. We were all feeling slightly drained as we climbed the last hill that would arrive us at our hotel, but we made it! The hotel AC was incredible. We all showered and got ready to go explore the city. We went and got dinner at a nice restaurant and then walked around exploring shops and finding cool areas that had fountains and a great atmosphere. We then headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the comfort of some cozy beds and got ready for our next full day of exploring the city. 

Canada At Last for NY-Montreal Trekkers!

August 16: In the morning we ate our last breakfast in America then set out into the vast farm land that separates Plattsburgh from Canada. We ran into some bike trouble near the boarder, but every one worked together and our crossing into Canada was quick and easy. Our route was flat and we cruised the whole way arriving at our campsite at 2 in the afternoon. Once we were settled the kids planned a surprise birthday party for Cory and we bought a cake and card in secret. Afterwards we explored the suburbs of Canada and considered going swimming but ultimately decided we would rather hang out in the shade playing cards. Eggy and Julia cooked us a wonderful dinner of gnocchi. We wound up staying up past our usual bed time of 10 o'clock since it was Julia's last night.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

New York-Montreal Trekkers on the US-Canadian Border

We had a relatively easy day of biking and riding ferries across Lake Champlain to reach our campsite at Cumberland Bay in Plattsburgh. We almost decided to continue on and enter Canada, but due to lack of confirmed places to stay we decided to just hang out at the intended campsite. We biked to Walmart for groceries and then to Michaels for some tye dye so we could decorate our shirts in Canada! Then we headed back to the campsite, took showers and went swimming before finally settling down and cooking delicious hamburgers for dinner and preparing to finally cross the border tomorrow into Canada!

Santana in Canandaigua for Across America Trekkers

8/15 We got a long night's sleep at the Attica motel and hit the road at 10 after eating the complimentary breakfast with delicious muffins. As the heat of the day picked up we biked thirty miles to Avon where we had burgers and shakes for lunch. After lunch Lydia encountered a flat on the way to Canandaigua, as well as a broken spoke and a very loose hub. After repairing the flat, replacing the spoke, and tightening the hub, we made it to Canandaigua, where we met an incredibly friendly police investigator. He offered us free tickets to a Santana concert, use of showers at the local college, and space to camp on the college lawn. So, we canceled our plans with a host in Geneva and settled down on the lawn for some good vibes, chicken tenders, and steak fajita wraps.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Oregon to Buffalo for the Across America Trekkers

8/13 We woke up on the farm and cooked eggs to put on bagels with melted cheddar and cream cheese, then trekked 40 miles to the Canadian border. 
We rode on bike paths the whole way and once we made it to Port Colborne John and Lydia recognized the route from Leadership Training. In Buffalo we were greeted by Teen Treks Director Cliff for lunch of cheeseburgers and potato salad. We made our way to Lydia's house and Bruce Fisher took the kids to Niagara Falls while John and Lydia planned out New York. We had an amazing Thanksgiving Dinner with the Fisher family and the Madell family, ate pumpkin pie for dessert, and finally watched a movie--Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

New York - Montreal Trekkers Hang Out in Burlington

On our first full day in Vermont we left our campground as early as we could in the hopes of getting to Burlington early in the day. The bike ride was beautiful and full of hills. We ran into another group of adults and children also riding to Burlington and biked behind them until we parted ways at lunch. We got Burlington at 2, dropped our gear off at the campground and took a quick dip in the lake. After swimming we took our bikes into the city where we found a bike shop and got some much need air in our tires and a few minor bike repairs. Then set out on foot to explore Church Street. We went out to dinner and attempted to eat a Vermonster at Ben and Jerry's. After the Vermonster we rolled back to our campsite, enjoyed each other's company for awhile before making

our way to bed.

Friday, August 14, 2015

New York - Montreal Trekkers Enter Vermont

We woke up extra early so that we could catch the 8 o'clock ferry that would take us across Lake George to Baldwin. We got our bikes packed up and decided we would enjoy the breakfast buffet that the ferry offered rather than cooking breakfast. This turned out to be a huge disappointment, but it was indeed food. The ride to the other end of Lake George ended up taking about 2 hours and 30 minutes, which allowed some of us to take a nap. We got off the ferry, on to our bikes and headed towards Vermont! The ride was very nice through rolling hills. We stopped at a gas station with 24 different flavors of soft serve ice cream and got some snacks before continuing on with our trek. We rode as fast as possible as there was a rain cloud closing in on us. However, Mother Nature proved to be the victor. The rain caught up to us and we got a nice shower as we rode. Surprisingly the sun was shining on us the whole time it rained, which was rather refreshing. We finally reached the bridge to Vermont and that marked our "almost there" point on our journey that day. We rode through the scenic farmland of Vermont and found a small county market, where we got supplies for dinner and breakfast, then we continued on to Button Bay Park. A few of us went swimming while others relaxed in the shade and began to prepare dinner for the night. We started a fire and enjoyed conversation and the sounds of nature as we prepared ourselves for bed and another day of biking that would bring us further into Vermont and closer to our ultimate destination, Montreal.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Across America Trekkers Breeze Across Canada

8/12 In Norfolk we had hot chocolate and big breakfasts at The Lunchbox while planning the day's route. We biked 42 miles to Port Dover, first along Road 45 and for most of the day Road 3. On 45 we saw a sign with an image of three triangles, which we soon discovered referred to the road elevation, but 3 was flat and beautiful. We had pizzas for lunch in Port Dover with Timbits for dessert while checking the conditions of a shortcut backroad along the water. We quickly biked the last 33 miles of the day, shopped for groceries, and were welcomed by Sandra and Kevin to stay on their farm. Kevin told us stories of cycling from Portugal to Vietnam and we shared notes on preventing flats (buy good tires) and learned about methods of surviving on a bike in foreign lands (dumpster dive recently expired food, accept hospitality, don't worry too much about what people think of their neighbors, duct tape can work wonders). We enjoyed cherry tomatoes from Sandra and cooked a meal of pasta with beef sauce and zucchini, made good use of their bathroom, and went to sleep.

Across America Trekkers Are Biking in Canada

8/10 We woke up to the not-so-pleasant surprise that Detroit's bumpy streets had broken a spoke of Lydia's. We gobbled down the complimentary hotel breakfast and Lydia headed out 8 miles to a bike shop while the rest of the group finished getting ready. After John discovered a flat and fixed it the group hit the road and quickly caught up with Lydia, whose bike had been repaired. The whole group made their way through the suburbs of Detroit, pointing out potholes along the way. At 26 miles we stopped at a gas station for a huge snack of Clif bars and bagels as storm clouds rolled in. We made it another 27 miles to Algonac in steady rain with only a quick stop when John wiped out. We had an amazing late lunch at a restaurant next to the ferry: one-pound burgers and generous omelettes. After a quick ferry ride we picked up a map of Ontario in Wallaceburg and ate a hearty dessert in
Dresden. A friendly backpacker invited us to stay at his house where we played with his border collie, Zoe, and learned about the history of the town (Uncle Tom's Cabin is in Dresden!). By 11 we settled down for a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Across America Trekkers Are Headed for Canada

8/9 After biking 5 miles across the town of Jackson we ate a delicious breakfast of granola, vanilla yogurt, and blueberries. When we got to the Meijer grocery store the ATM promptly swallowed Lydia's debit card, but by the time everyone was sunscreened and ready to go the ATM spat the card back up. We rode a solid 40 miles to Ann Arbor where we had a tasty lunch bought from food trucks and finished the remaining donuts from Kalamazoo. We left Ann Arbor on the pleasant Plymouth Road/Ann Arbor Trail, which took us all the way to the outskirts of Detroit. The roads into Detroit required intense group cohesion and calling out hazards, but we made it to the Extended Stay America hotel where we cooked a delicious meal of beef, onions, peas and rice on the complimentary kitchenettes. Finally we settled down for a good night's rest before the next day's ride into Canada.

New York - Montreal Trekkers Bike the Adirondacks

We woke up to a rainy morning in Albany. Thanks to a few bike issues we managed to delay leaving until the rain had stopped. By afternoon it had turned into a beautiful day so we stopped for Stewart's ice cream. It rained again around lunch time, so we had lunch under the shelter of a nice woman's garage. After the down pour passed we finished out our 50 mile day and made friends with another group of bikers also on their way to Moreau State Park.

Across America Trekkers Reach Jackson Michigan

8/8 Our day began with a hot meal cooked by Eric our host. We ate a couple of last night's donuts and headed out to Alfred E. Bikes to have Tyler's rack removed and replaced. We pushed onward to lunch, riding on a mixture of well-maintained bike paths, less maintained county roads, and deer fly infested dirt paths. For lunch we had a fresh salad with cherry tomatoes--we were kindly allowed to eat in the store as a drizzle began. After lunch we continued to Jackson on rather bumpy back roads, fixing flats along the way. Outside Jackson we met a friendly cyclist who offered us accommodations for the night, but since he lived a few miles in the wrong direction we politely declined. We feasted at Steak and Shake on burgers and candy-filled shakes before setting up camp for the night at
Baker College.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rest Day in Albany for the New York-Montreal Trekkers

Our second day in Albany began with sleeping in and a continental brunch in the hotel. Shortly after we went to the Capitol building to take a tour of the premises. We learned that it took 32 years to build and 25million dollars and that it has a lot of extravagant carvings all over the interior of the building. After the tour we went to catch the view at the top of the tallest building in Albany. The view was wonderful! Afterwards we took a bus to a nearby mall to see the Fantastic Four movie and grab dinner at Ichiban Chinese restaurant. Once adequately full we headed back to the hotel for some rest before a huge day of biking tomorrow! 

New York-Montreal Trekkers Reach Albany

We woke up at our campsite at the icebox and enjoyed a large breakfast of oatmeal and granola to get fueled for the day. We then set off on our 20 mile bike ride, which was on the Route 9J which was composed of wonderful rolling hills the whole way. We stopped at roadside farm stand along the way and enjoyed plums, peaches, tomatoes and zucchini bread. After that we finished our ride to the city, checked into the Holiday Inn Express Hotel, took some much needed showers, and headed out to explore the city. Since it was Sunday, it was very empty. We grabbed a larger meal at a local deli and then got Ben and Jerrys ice cream before heading back to the hotel and relaxing for the rest of the night. We finished the night by playing some cards in one of the hotel rooms, and then went to bed to get ready for yet another adventure filled day in the city of Albany.