Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Hello from Mystic CT
We had a good first day, We spent the night at Hammonasset state park situated on the long island sound. After a rainy evening, the weather cleared up for another great day of riding, swam at the beach and spent the night at rocky neck state park, now in mystic, we took a tour of the historic seaport, ate lunch at the famous "mystic pizza" restaurant and have, so far been having a great day. more to come.
cheers - sophia & adam

C & O Trek News!

Rafting in Ohiopyle, PA
After a 20 mile bike ride we arrived in Ohiopyle, PA at 11:15am only to realize that our campsite was still a half mile hike up a grueling hill and we had to do the climb with our fully loaded bikes. It was a strenuous hike in the heat with bugs buzzing around and Jesse’s bike rack broke half way up the hill due to the weight on his panniers, but thankfully John ran ahead, unloaded his gear and returned to pack up Jesse’s bags and carry them up the rest of the hill. We loaded into the Ohiopyle state park campsite, set up tents and then set out for our white water rafting adventure. The trip back down the hill without all of our gear was wonderful and it took us a mere 7 minutes to get into town and find the White Water Adventure headquarters. From there on out it was “rough rafting.” We had a quick snack of PB and Js, donned our helmets and life vests and then followed our guide, Ben, down to the raft load-in zone. Before setting off, the guide warned us of the risks of rafting, stating “When you fall in, and notice I said “when”…” The next 5 hours were an awesome adventure down the Youghiogheny River, dodging rocks, paddling through smooth waters, doing 360s, and screaming and giggling as we bounced over rapids and off waterfalls. Amazingly Gabe was on the only trekker to fall off of the raft, but he handled it like a pro and everyone was jealous of his short swim. 2/3 of the way down the river we stopped at a river portage spot for lunch and a break from the chaos. It was a much needed reward after nearly 3 hours of rafting, but in no time we were back in the boats. Our adventure ended around 6pm and the white water rafting guides shuttled us, with all of our bikes, up to our campsite where we dined on veggie tacos and then roasted marshmallows over a fire.

Rainstorm on the C & O Canal
Today began wonderfully. We reached the C & O Canal yesterday, crossing the Mason Dixon line just before lunch and as we reached the top of a large hill we discovered a topography map. To everyone’s surprise we realized that we had be biking steadily uphill forth first 5 days of the trip and we were just reaching the beginning of a glorious downhill ride all the way to Washington D.C. The great news of the descent kept us excited all through the day and into the next, but soon our cheer was interrupted but a forecast of rain. A woman at the School House Kitchen in Oldtown, Maryland told us the there were storm warnings, but with 30 miles to go we decided to brave the incoming weather. As you can imagine, it rained, and it poured and we got soaked through, but everyone had prepared for the water, so with sleeping bags and panniers wrapped in trash bags, we splashed through the storm and arrived in the town of Little Orleans as the sun returned. Everyone was covered in mud, but loving it. While a few of the cleanest people biked to Bills Grocery on the other side of towpath, the rest of the gang hung up gear to dry on a clothes line made of bungee cords and then bathed in the Potomac River. Refreshed and clean, we sat down to eat a dinner of pasta with homemade tomato sauce and sausage.

Monday, July 26, 2010

NYM-J19 Updates from the Road!

Greetings from Renneselear! We've had an eventful couple days as we make our way north to Montreal. Despite the flat tires, the un-trued wheels, and stormy weather, this trip has proven a great deal of fun. We toured FDR's estate in Hyde Park, dipped our feet in the Hudson, and yesterday, with the state capital closed, visited the New York State Museum.

Our tour moves on from here, aiming for a homestay with another leader's mother. From there, we take the ferry up Lake George and into Vermont. There's much to be done this morning to get on the road, but all is well. We have a great group of kids, and are looking forward to today's ride.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NYM-J12 Update

Hey again from the new York Montreal trek!! After having so much fun in Albany we spent the night in historic Saratoga Springs. Although the races didn't start until this weekend we enjoyed some home cooked food and laundry at one of the leaders family's houses. The next day we had a fast ride through Glens Falls, where "The Last of the Mohicans" was inspired and written, where we ate lunch before continuing on to Lake George. We explored the lake, which someone told us was the cleanest in the U. S., the following morning on a breakfast cruise that took us and our bike the full length and dropped us off near Ticonderoga. After a refreshing swim we enjoyed two days of riding through the farm land on the shores of Lake Champlain getting to Burlington. There we explored Church street, enjoyed Ben and Jerry's, and rock climbing before taking a ferry back to Ny where we are embarking on our last rides to Montreal!
Keep it rubber side down and talk to you soon!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The European Trekkers

In the two days since leaving Amsterdam, we have had great days and what everyone voted (except Ben) to be the most beautiful biking of the trip. Leaving Amsterdam, we followed the perfectly marked bike lanes towards Haarlem, where we got a tour of a renovated wind mill. We then biked to the well known town of Noodwijk and spend a relaxing afternoon on the beach.

After swimming and sleeping on the beach, with no precise campsite in mind, we headed south along the dunes (and this is where the amazing biking occured). If you think you know what dunes are as I did, you should note that the dunes in Holland are perfect for biking. (Side note: Holland is very flat and much of it is reclaimed land from the sea. Amsterdam and many other places are below sea level, and in order to keep the sea out, they have created these rolling dunes with small green shrubs) They completed the dunes with a winding bike path, and we followed this for around an hour when we pulled into a cute campsite -- we were a spectacle as apparently our style of tent has never before been seen in the Netherlands.

Today we had another chance to ride in the dunes as we approached Den Haag. We went to the Maurilshuis (a museum) and saw Vermeers Girl with a Pearl Earring. We then biked to Delft where our campsite awaited, complete with a pool. The pool meant that we delayed dinner and played extra rounds of Marco Polo.

We have an easy day tomorrow and in the evening will hop another ferry back to England (and hills).

Monday, July 19, 2010

NYM-J12 Update

Well, we are departing the Albany area today, again heading north. We had a great stay here, enjoyed some Albany site seeing, attended a local BBQ rib competition, and ended our final evening with a baseball game and fireworks! Since the last time we sent out an update we have gone through some small colonial towns and villages throughout NY's Hudson Valley including a stay in Hudson, a city that boasts the oldest active volunteer fire service in NY. The group is riding great, they are physically, emotionally, and mentally strong, with each member contributing a vital component to our effort. Both leaders are enjoying the time they get to spend with these wonderful young men and women, as they venture through this memorable experience. The memories, laughs, and good times are already ingrained in most all of us, and we have so much more ahead!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Across America, The 4th of July and beyond!

In Kemiah, ID, explosions in the sky marked the celebration of our nation's independence The next Morning, as we wound our way up toward the Lolo pass (5,200 ft above sea level) we met a friendly cycling couple in their fifties who have been doing this sort of thing for decades and plenty of encouraging things to say. We camped at the foot of the Lolo hill, near a hot spring, for which our legs were infinitely grateful. At the top of the climb we rejoiced, for we were crossing a time zone as we crossed into Montana. Not to mention the sweet feeling of coasting downhill for ten miles as speeds up to 40 mph. The reality of the time zone switch didn't kick in until the following morning, when we had to wake up an our earlier than usual. No matter. A visit to Adventure cycling, the touring cycling world's Mecca, more than made up for it. They fed us ice cream and the founder, Greg Siple gave us a tour and recalled the story of his famous ride from Alaska to Argentina in the 70s. It was during Q and A that we learned that Malcolm's dad rode with the famous foursome for a leg of that trip!

A word from the NYM-J12 trek!

Jonah - "I don't need to shower today, " between our first big hills we had a few downpours today, so if that doesn't make us tough I don't know what will. After riding through the city successfully Now we're relaxing in a beautiful camp ground munching on cookies after eating homemade pizzas, looking forward to a hopefully sunny fun day tomorrow. Today we biked over 30 miles and are planning on visiting Roosevelt's mansion.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

News from Europe!

Paris was awesome. We saw it from above at the Eiffel Tower and the heights of Montmartre. We saw it at ground level by cycle and foot. We also ate our way around the city with 2 French dinners, French wine, and crepes. We learned the ins and outs of Paris history and architecture on a 3+ hour walking tour given by a fine young Swedish college student.

Today we're on train to Brugge, Belgium. The group will love the 15th
century old city and then we'll bike to another beautiful city - Ghent.

Monday, July 12, 2010

NYM-JN28 Updates!

July 8th
Its been a grueling couple of days.It has been in the 90s, humid and constant sunshine, but everyone is happy and excited for the biking ahead. We spent a whole day exploring Burlington, VT and swimming in Lake Champlain and now we are in Plattsburgh, NY. The day started off with a gorgeous ferry ride from the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington, across to Port Kent. The hour long ferry ride was refreshing and breezy. Of course as soon as we got off the boat, the heat returned and lasted throughout the day. We rode 10 miles on route 9 until we decided to stop for lunch and get out of the sun. Luckily we found a Stewarts and we all got ice cream sundaes and root beer floats to cool off. Just 12 more miles and we arrived in Plattsburgh where we spend the rest of the day lounging on a beach, reading, napping and swimming. Our campsite at Cumberland State park was probably the best campsite yet. We got a huge tent space right near the water front and close to the showers. For dinner we all went to a NY pizza place and splurged on cheese and veggie pizzas and salads. Tomorrow we are crossing the boarder into Canada.

Bienvenue a Montreal!

Its July 10th and we just arrived in Montreal Canada. After mastering the skillful art of following Canadian bike paths we found our way onto the Pont de Victoria where we waited in a queue with 40 other cyclists until the bridge, which had been temporarily closed so that boats could pass, reopened. We rode along a well traveled bike, pausing to take a picture with the city behind us. Once in Montreal we wove through the streets into Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal) where we perused the boardwalk and enjoyed the beautiful weather. After a relaxing afternoon and a 15 miles bike ride we made our way to the HI Hostel on Rue de Mackay in the center of town, passing by Notre Dame de Basilica and numerous parks. After a home cooked dinner of chicken vegetable stir fry and blueberry pie, the trekkers found a ukulele, guitar and djembe. They brought the instruments back to their room to sing and tell stories before bed. Tomorrow we will be wandering the lovely city, visiting Rue de Saint Catherine and hopefully some art museums.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

News from across the pond, EP-JN30 Checking in!

Seeing Windsor Castle, eating of cherry trees, thatched cottages, fish and chips, remote country lanes, Stonehenge, and traveling 166 miles is only the start. Now we are on our way to our second country on the European Phantom Trek. I can not believe that these days have flown by so fast. Starting in Heathrow and continuing through many different towns to find our destinations we have bonded and shared some great memories. Now we are waiting at the ferry station to experience our first night on board the ship taking us to the coast of France. Each day we get stronger with our biking and see more and more beautiful places. It truly is becoming an experience that won't be forgotten.
Cynthia Ottuso
5 July 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

NE-JN26 Updates!

Hey all, so the big news of the week is that Jon got some pants yo. He
bought them at Victoria's Secret for $20. They sexyyyy. Zach also
bought a belt. We went kayaking, saw the Breakers Mansion, and went on
an awesome cliff walk. We took tons of cool pics. On the way to Block
Island we jumped on the front of the boat when it was on top of the
waves so we got some sick air. It was so key. Om om om omomomomom.
That was an eating noise. We also made a human pyramid on the beach on
Block Island. Also, Jon the turtle came out of his shell. He makes a
turtle noise that sounds like this. "Neiouyl." Jake and Zach slid out
of their tent at 5 AM because it was on a hill and lacking a zipping
door. The hotel in Providence is frickin SICK!! We are staying at the
Renaissance and we went to this Japanese Hibachi restaurant that was
all you can eat. We are going to watch Hot Tub Time Machine right now
so we will TTYL lol jk but seriously we really have to go. So byeeeee

News from the Across America Trek!

Hello, avid readers! After our little stint at the beer garden, we continued on our trip into more windmill-filled nothingness until we reached a small town called McNary, Washington. We had a long, restful siesta for a couple of hours, including a very interesting exchange with some Mormon missionaries who did NOT want to talk about Monty Python and would rather talk about the Book of Mormon instead. :-)

The next day, after staying at a campground for the night, the group journeyed onward towards the first real town we had seen in days, with a population over 1,000: Walla Walla, Washington!! Everyone was ecstatic to step inside of a supermarket again, and large quantities of nutella were purchased there. As we enjoyed our siesta, a couple members of our pack explored Whitman College while the rest of the group slumbered in the shady, grassy park we were resting in.

The last day in Washington started with us leaving a bit later than planned from the Lewis & Clark campground we stayed at for the night. However, once we got on the road, the scenery went by quickly. The wind was at our backs for a large portion of the time as we biked by enormous fields of the greenest grain and under a cloudless and pristinely blue sky. It was a beautiful ride that we enjoyed until we reached lunch in Pomeroy, Washington. We had our regular afternoon siesta there, and around 6:00, we mounted our bikes again as we journeyed towards our final destination for the night: Lewiston, Idaho! We reached it just after sundown, and although everyone was tired and ravenous for dinner, we all posed for pictures in front of the "Welcome to Idaho!" sign!

We were lazy butts, stayed in a hotel for the night, and ate 8 pizzas and about 40 chicken wings for dinner.

The End

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A lovely letter from the NE-JN26 crew!


As I was trekking up the copious hill, I had an epiphany that I should
compose a blog. The past few glorious days have been eye opening and I
never knew what various specimens of woodland rodents lay on the side
of the road. Crunchy leaves rustle as i race down the slope, its
exhilarating, my body is in shock. I have gained insight into eras
past by the rustic living situations we are placed in, such as not
bathing our perspiring bodies for days. We have also been through
periods where we were not able to cleanse our limited garments. But
overall, the beach is totes awesome and Im livin it up out here yall,
holla atcha gurlfriend.I like cheese. Anywayz we havin a sick time and
dude seriously neva knew life could be so dangerous, we are livin on
the edge. I leave this note with chicka chicka yeah. Its been a great
experiance. can't wait for the 40 miles tomorrow..plus the extra 10
for when we get lost. bye now:)

your offsprings (The kids from the NE-JN26 Trek)