Friday, November 1, 2019

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Another remarkable Teen Treks summer has come and gone!

Another amazing adventure filled summer has come to an end! Yet again this summer we bicycled together up and down hills, along scenic seaside bicycle paths, through pastoral valleys, along old rail lines re-purposed as tree lined bicycle paths, and on roads next to pastures of sun bathing cows - all the while reveling in the spontaneity of adventure travel.

This year we traveled to some truly iconic sites abroad!

And some sites that aren't quite as far from home.

We had some sur-prisingly scenic roadside snack breaks

So many rocking beach days!

And some pretty memorable campfires.

We learned to balance each other's personalities

And built something out of the new friendships we created.

We also learned about local history, visited art museums, ate ice cream to cool down on those unbearably hot and humid summer days, visited farms, explored national and state parks, wandered through country antique stores, visited iconic big city landmarks, and relaxed on beautiful beaches from the Dutch coast, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario and the California Coast. 

Not all kids can say they've accomplished so much in such a short amount of time, but our Trekkers sure can!Please share with your friends and extended family the awesomeness of bike travel and invite them to join a Teen Treks!  Our trip schedule for summer 2020 will be out soon and in the meantime be sure to rest up before next summer's adventure!

Friday, August 16, 2019

NY-Montreal Trekkers last day in Montreal

Today we woke up and ventured to the famous St-Viateur Bagel Shop (Montreal style bagels) for breakfast. We then dined in a nearby park next to ducks. We continued on to Marche Jean Talon where we tried a beet drink, husk cherries, sour cherries, churros, and apples, while Liam serenaded us on one of the public pianos. We then rode to St. Catherine St. to walk the pedestrian-only streets and explored the shops. With the outside temperature rising, we went indoors to the Montreal Science Center to learn fun facts about spiders, the human body, physics and other things- your body has 1.2 kg of bacteria in it (Adam); I watched a black widow eat it's husband (Liam); I learned about centrifical force (Noah); I learned about the disorienting effects of curved mirrors (Erik): I learned that spiders float on a strand of web and it's called a ballooning (David); I learned that the small intestine is 30ish feet long (Yael). We regrouped for a snack break and some ice cream (14 days of daily ice cream and we're still going strong!). We walked around the waterfront to get some bus snacks and then went to dinner. Later, we gathered our gear and headed to the bus station where we packed bikes and said farewell to Erik on his journey home. We're excited to explore New York tomorrow!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Mont Royal high for the NY-Montreal Trekkers

Today we woke up in our hostel and enjoyed a relaxing breakfast. We headed out on bike towards Mont Royal and cruised through Montreal on the awesome bike paths. We had empanadas at the bottom of the mountain and then biked to the top. We flew up the gravel route, excited to have bikes without any gear! We had a photoshoot near the cafe overlooking the city and then coasted down the mountain. We then ventured towards our lunch spot and ate delicious poutine (as rated by Liam: 10 out of 10 for taste, 7 out of 10 for wait, and 0 out of 10 for presentation because it was just on the plate) and burgers. We then visited St. Catherine St where we dined on root beer floats at A&W. We then wished farewell to Millie on her journey home, and the rest of the group took a siesta. Later, we had a picnic by the water and watched people zipline as the sun set.

We're missing you Millie! "Cuddi, that dinner really be hitting different without one of the turtles in our flock."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Montreal and poutine as NY-Montreal Trekkers reach their goal!

Today we woke up from our campsite and started our day with morning S'mores (and cereal and milk!). We left the campground and stopped at a nearby Tim Hortons (which was delicious) before continuing on our route. We biked through towns, over a bridge, and onto a bike path where we could see incredible views of Montreal. We followed the bike path along the river and finally arrived in Montreal (we made it!!). We explored the Old Port of Montreal and walked along the cobblestone streets in search of poutine. We finally found some at Poutine Fest and got to try the famous Canadian treat (as rated below by Millie). We walked along the river and ate more treats and eventually made our way back to the hostel. We're excited to continue exploring the city tomorrow!

Poutine as rated by Millie: 5 out of 10. Poutine is a little overrated. There was too much salt and the gravy was too strong, but the cheese curds were good! French fries were medium.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

NY-Montreal Trekkers cross into Canada

Today we woke up and dined on pancakes before continuing our ride north. We biked through small towns and along the water, and eventually crossed the border into Canada. We stopped at a local grocery store for lunch and ate sandwiches in a nearby park. After another short 10-mile ride, we arrived at our awesome campground for the night. We slid down a huge waterslide into the lake (rated as a 7 out of 10 by Erik, and there will be a video of the slide published soon) and then played basketball in the outdoor pool. Later, we cooked and ate dinner under a pavilion as some evening rain set in.We're excited to arrive in Montreal and begin exploring the city tomorrow!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Today we woke up in our hotel and ventured into Burlington to dine on extraordinary Vermont bagels. We then continued through town to a nearby beach for a relaxing beach day, as rated below by Noah. We swam and then ate lunch in Lake Champlain. Later, we journeyed on a causeway, which led to our first ferry of the day. We soon arrived at Grand Isle, VT where we could finally taste the famous Vermont maple creemee (soft serve ice cream). It was delicious! Everyone enjoyed the petting zoo outside of the shop too. After a second ferry, we arrived at our campground where we went swimming and ate dinner. We're excited to begin our adventure in Quebec tomorrow!

Waterfront Park, VT, as rated by Noah:
Style: 7
Variety: 4
Taste: Sandy
Quality: 9
Location: 10
Accessibility: 3
Weather: 8
Quantity: 7
Final rating: 7

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Vermonster overwhelms the NY-Montreal Trekkers

Today we left our campground and biked through the Vermont landscape in search of a Vermontster (a bucked of Ben & Jerry's ice cream with 20 scoops of ice cream and unlimited toppings). We ate lunch outside of a library and continued our route through the rolling hills and beautiful farmland into Burlington. After unpacking our gear at a hotel, we took the bus into town to walk around Church St. and mentally prepare for the greatest ice cream challenge we will face this trip. We entered Ben & Jerry's and began our quest to conquer the Vermontster. Mission complete in 12 just minutes! Below is a review, as rated by Adam. Afterwards, we walked around Burlington, ate dinner, then returned to the hotel to relax before continuing our adventure North tomorrow!

The Vermontster:
Taste- solid 8 
Quantity- 8.5 (I thought there would be more)
Toppings- 9 (gummy bears were a bad choice, they slowed us down and we couldn't get through the bucket as fast as we'd have liked)
Service- 9
Location- 10 
Smell- 10
Quality- 9
Flavors- 9
Apoapsis of the day would definitely be the Vermontster. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

NY-Montreal Trekkers enjoys beautiful Lake Champlain

Today we woke in Half Moon Pond State Park and found a free-range chicken roaming the campground. We started our uphill trek and soon met some glorious downhills too. Erik reached a top speed of 59.5 kph (36.8mph) on one of the many grades. David found us some blueberries and cheese curds from a nearby farm stand. The cheese curds didn't "squeak" so according to David they were not the highest quality, but they were still really good. We then continued on and stopped for lunch behind a public school, enjoying the views and playing on the playground. Once we arrived at the campsite, we went swimming in Lake Champlain. We came back to our site to make a dinner of burritos and ate a dessert of mint fudge cookies. We had a photoshoot with a double rainbow that was above the campground, then went back to the lake to hang out and watch the sunset.

Friday, August 9, 2019

NY-Montreal Trekkers have long bike day into Vermont

Today we woke up early to get started on our long 48 mile ride. We left camp right as the clouds were clearing and we hopped onto a bike trail. The trail took us through forests and fields as we passed through New York and Vermont farmland. We took a lunch break siesta where we ate sandwiches and relaxed in the grass. We continued on towards our campsite and biked through some brief rain into town. Some of the group went grocery shopping while others made a quick visit to a bike shop. Later, we arrived at our first Vermont campsite where we feasted on stir fry. We're excited to continue our ride through Vermont tomorrow!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Graduation day for Maine Coast Trekkers

Maine Coast Trekkers with bikes packed in black bike bags for bus trip to Boston
Graduation day is finally here. We rode our final 30 miles into Bangor and have officially completed the trekking portion of our adventure. The rest of the day was made up of a relaxing round of laundry, hotel lobby computer minesweeper sessions, and a thorough scrubbing of the dirt and bike grease from our highly conditioned, finely tuned, and smelly bodies. For dinner we explored a bit of downtown Bangor and found an Irish pub where we could eat soda bread and play team trivia against the locals. We came in a respectable 4th place and are now making our final preparations for the bus ride back to Boston in the morning. It looks like the short ride to the station will also be our first ride of the trip in the rain. We would have been disappointed if we’d missed out on that opportunity so it’s nice to see that the weather is finally coming around.

See ya soon

Hilliest day for NY-Montreal Trekkers

Today we left the hotel early because we had forecasted rain. We left the city and immediately encountered a lot of uphills, which we would keep on encountering today with very few downhill portions. We had lunch next to a horse field. After a particularly nasty set of uphill sections, we had a "coasting contest" (aka we bike safely down a very large hill to see who could go the farthest before they had to pedal). Noah won, although I managed to break my own speed record at 56.4kph (34.84mph). Adam managed to do the same as well. We biked through Cambridge to the campground. We hung around, played a few card games, had S'mores, and then went to bed.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Maine Coast Trekkers riding with an extra pump in their pedal!

The road from Acadia back to Balsam Cove Campground was good to us. With more downhill than climbing, we soared southbound, just one day closer to the trip’s end.

Spirits were high and the group seem to be riding with an extra pump in their pedal. An afternoon stop at a homemade ice cream joint beckoned us forward. Flavors like wild Maine blueberry, coffee heath bar and cookie butter dripped over fresh waffle cones as we took shade from the blaring ball of sunshine.

The miles went by fast. When an Ellsworth thrift shop caught our eye, we rested our bikes and took advantage of ample linger time, collecting funky gear like anime stickers, bucket hats, catchy t-shirts and rare cd’s, you know, non- essential junk that only the creative eye can treasure.

In the spirit of summer and dwindling days together, we partook in our second round of ice cream for the day. Dockside, at our home for the night, one spoon was full of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, the other swarmed through a pint of Chocolate Fudge.

Belly’s almost full, it was time to prepare a supper made with local Maine red potatoes and home grown zucchini’s from the same farmers market stand that Trekker Katie purchased bamboo toilet paper. Hot dogs rounded off the meal and nourished five continuously hungry bikers.

Tomorrow is our last day on the road. The crew longs for warm showers, clean clothes, a comfy bed and a delicious meal out. It’s amazing all the small things that stir such appreciation after an arduous outdoor adventure. We’ll tell you how satisfying it all is once we get there!

NY-Montreal Trekkers' marathon day in Albany

Today we woke up well-rested from our hotel sleep, and enjoyed a glorious breakfast buffet. We had a day to explore all Albany has to offer! We toured the NY State Capitol, feasted on local donuts and then traveled vertically to the observation deck of Corning Tower to see the city from above. We ventured to the New York State Museum where we learned about the history of the state, rode a carousel, ate lunch, and then returned to the hotel to go swimming. Later, we wrote postcards (keep an eye on the mail in the next few days!) and got Thai food to eat while we watched opening night of Disney's Newsies. Everyone enjoyed the musical, and we're excited to bike again tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Up with the sun the Maine Coast Trekkers explore Acadia N.P.

As the trip goes on, each day brings us new sets of challenges, experiences, and opportunities to explore both ourselves and the world as we move through it. We have made new friends, seen new places, and eaten more frozen dairy than we ever thought we could have. These days have been special. So to show our gratitude and appreciation for these special people, places, views, and moments, we decided to wake up early this morning and give a warm thank you to the warm one that has made this all possible for us.

Since the fiery life giving orb in the sky has been waiting to greet us each and every morning with adventure and opportunity, we wanted to return the favor by hosting our own little celestial salutation of sorts. We wanted to be there for the Sun in the same way that it’s been there for us, waiting with open arms and a warm and loving, “good morning” to help it start its own North American adventure of the day. In order to do so, we had to start our pagan party at about 4 am. Even these most eastern lands still lie in darkness at that time. We activated our tiny star imitation devices and made our way to the top of the nearest mountain, where any good ceremony, pagan or otherwise, should be taking place. We summited Gorham Mountain about 10 minutes before the sun crested it’s beautiful orange face over the eastern islands that sit on the horizon and patiently waited for our good friend to show up to the party. Until the moment that the Sun actually rises, the sky just looks like a glowing bowl of orange sherbet while the rest of the land beneath it continues to sit in a sort of blue darkness. When it shows up though, everything starts to glow. It’s like we’re all sitting in that giant bowl of sherbet together.

It was a pretty neat way to start our last full day in Acadia. It also just feels good to know that you climbed a mountain before the sun came up. What else will we be able to accomplish in future early mornings once we all go our separate ways? Basically what I’m saying is that the best case version of our pagan ritual has inspired us all to be the best that we can be. We had quite the productive morning.

As our own celebration of all that we did and can now accomplish in the future, we decided to have a nice group nap in the early afternoon. What better way to show our continued gratitude for the Sun’s all giving rays than to sleep the day away. Following the nap though, we decided to hit the (literal) old dusty trails that run all through the Park. The wide crushed gravel carriage roads used to be used by New England’s landed elite as they explored the islands where they were summering. They’ve since been upgraded to being used by dirty children on bicycles. The Tri-Lake Loop was about a 20 mile ride and it was filled with views of mountainsides and bright blue lakes.

Now the day is done and the Sun has left us once more. We’ve eaten beans and dogs and are warming up cinnamon rolls by the fire. Early to rise and early to bed as we prepare for another day on the road with our good friend the Sun.

NY-Montreal Trekkers reach Albany

We started our day by waking up, in what was basically a sauna (aka our tents in direct sunlight). Then we made breakfast and ate on a porch. After that we biked to Stewart's for some ice cream. Stewart's receives a 6 out of 10 for style because it wasn't styled like an ice cream shop, it was more like a Cumberland Farms. Taste was an 8 out of 10. Variety of ice cream was an 8. Accommodations/seating was a 5 (not very many seats). Location is an 8 (because it was not at the bottom of massive hill). Overall, the shop received a pretty good review, warm recommendation to all, especially if you need gas. On a massive hill sometime after, Erik hit a group record speed of 50.3 kph (31 mph), surpassing Adam's record of 28.7 mph. We ended up eating lunch outside of a library (or liberry). After that we were halfway to Albany when Liam dropped his milk carton and everyone immediately stopped to pick it up. We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express and went to the pool, and then we decided to allocate more time to the showers so Liam had to shower after dinner. Then we went out to the laundromat. Then we after that we got pizza. Overall, the apoapsis for today is that we will be sleeping in an air conditioned room, and today's periapsis was getting scolded in the library. Overall a pretty good day, was mostly met with a warm reception.
-->Teen Thrifter Adam

Cape Cod Trekkers' hilly last cycling day

We started out with a very hilly street out of Myles Standish State Forest. We then continued onto Market Street, which took  us to Plymouth Rock and museum which we explored for about 1 hour before leaving to do some miles by the bay before arriving at Dunkin’ Donuts for a pre lunch snack-while still about 10 miles from lunch. After biking 12 miles we arrived at the restaurant “Station 8” for a delicious lunch, and then to Star market for ice cream and dinner supplies. After biking another 15 miles, we arrived at Wompatuck Campground and biked into our campsite, K9. After completing 36.8 miles of extreme up hills and what felt like no downhills or flats, we were exhausted and chilled while eating dinner and s’mores, and then ended the day off with a cool, nice night.
-Trekker Cully

P.S. from Trip Leader Cara: we’ve seen SO much improvement in this group, mentally and physically. Everyone is super strong and busting out hills like it’s nothing (with only minor complaints now). In the beginning, everyone was so opposed to getting ice cream from a grocery store vs. an ice cream shop, now it has become such a normal and part of our routine that we buy mostly everything from groceries stores (although we have eaten out a few times). Also, we’ve really become a cohesive group with a bunch of inside jokes and run-on games going (“contact” has become our favorite distraction). Tonight, while roasting s’mores by the fire, we were all loudly giggling, making silly jokes, and teasing each other. Feeling really bittersweet about leaving tomorrow!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Maine Coast Trekkers summit mountain in Acadia N.P.

It was a nice, relaxing morning at the Blackwoods Campgrounds. We had several bowls of honey comb cereal, delicious hot coffee, a little relax-and-read time underneath the towering pine trees. The crisp morning air, fresh from the ocean breeze, added a nice touch to a calm morning.

When the sun was high and our feet were eager, we hit the magical Acadia trails and summited Gorham Mountain. Clouds all around us, birds swooping by, we pulled out our books and snacks for the most scenic picnics of all of time. The beautiful Mount Desert Island peninsulas stretched into the water, creating beachy coves. The Sand Beach was within our site from the top of Gorham Mountain, so we ventured onward ‘til our toes hit the sand.
Trekker Max’s immediate reaction to the beach arrival was to build the world’s largest hole. He dug and dug until his feet hit seaweed and water below. A young boy passing by was intrigued by the Grand Canyon of Sand Beach, so the boys decided to let us bury them neck-down. Many giggles were shared as the two wiggled and wiggled their way out of the sand.

Tonight, we hit the hammocks and tents early, for an Acadian sunrise beckons our presence.

NY-Montreal Trekkers brake for fruit and vegetables

Today after waking up early, we made our way to a diner and ate breakfast. I had too many (cinnamon raisin) pancakes. And then we continued on to a small orchard and picked blueberries and got peaches. Then we went to a different farm and got more fruits and vegetables; we ate lunch there. We went to a book store and got funny postcards from Viet Nam (yes, the space is on purpose). Then we got more fruits and vegetables, and  rode undisturbed for a while until an ice cream place. Then we turned on to some really hilly, windy road to our next camping spot (the backyard of a friend of David).

Cape Cod Trekkers heading north towards Boston

After having a breakfast of granola bars and fruit, we left the Shawme Cromwell State P ark and went to cross the Sagamore bridge. We then went north on a very hilly road to for around 12 miles, with a stop at Shaw’s to fill water. Then we got lunch at The Market in Plymouth. After resting in a park next to the market for 3 hours we went back to buy hot dogs and veggie burgers for dinner.  We got to the campground entrance around 3:30, but still had to bike 6 miles to get to the actual campsites.  We then set up tents, some people went swimming, and then we cooked dinner.
-Trekker Cormac