Tuesday, July 31, 2012

C&O Canal Trek its Finally Time to Kick Up Those Feet!

After 350+ miles the C&O trip has successfully come to its completion. Along the way they explored the great architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright as well as the natural beauty of the Youghiogheny River. Travelling all of the completely off-road Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Tow Path, our group of young adventures has reached its goal of Washington, DC. After a big day of exploring the historic city the group said it’s good-bye’s and departed to find their next adventure. Great Job!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Across America Trek Enjoyed a Day Off in Chicago

"We had a fun time exploring Chicago on Saturday, we split up into groups and walked around the city, checking out the Navy Pier, the Bean, a yo-yo competition, the ferris wheel, Spiderman and some delicious deep dish pizza. We left Kiana's aunt's house after a good night's rest and a tasty breakfast and headed towards Indiana. Jacob has been finding lots of great bike paths for us to go on lately, which makes the riding extra nice" - Julia, Trip Leader

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cape Cod Trek is Having Fun Along the Way

“Today we left the log cabin behind as we rode towards Hyannis, MA. Along the way we stopped for sandwiches, apples, bananas and ice cream. Since then we’ve been talking with country accents, it’s been very funny. Now we are shopping for dinner which will be burritos. Jake the leader is pushing us around the store in the cart for kids which was very fun” – Rachel, Teen Trekker.  

Maine Coast Trek Rides Strong

“Today is our 9th day, we are sadly just over halfway done with the trip. We left Duck Puddle campground this morning. This was our first day of a really hilly route, we biked only about thirty miles, but it was pretty challenging. It also was a pretty hot day and a little humid. We stopped for lunch at a small local supermarket where we had sandwiches with all kinds of different fixings and we had a watermelon for dessert. It was great! After lunch it was a nice downhill ride. At the bottom of one hill was a massive lake and we all decided to go swimming, which was really nice. We just pulled into the campground and are about to make dinner. Everyone is looking super excited to eat.” – Annika, Trip Leader 

C&O Canal Trek has made it to Washington, DC!

“We're in DC!!!! Having the time of our lives! We first went to the White House, then to the US Capitol and then to The Hotel George, where we stayed the night. In the morning, we went to an all-you-can-eat buffet. We are going to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum then to the Museum of Natural History, then we're going to walk around the mall. See you soon!” --Gustav, Teen Trekker 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Across America Trek Makes it to Chicago

"Today we are having our first rest day since Missoula.  We are on the train now on our way to downtown Chicago. The kids will finally get to explore the city.   Every night we go around and tell each other what we look forward to for later in the trip.  Every night for weeks it has been Chicago chicago Chicago! Yesterday we found a series of bike paths which went on for seventy miles, all the way to Wheaton; a town 25 miles from Chicago.  Kiana's aunt and grandma live there. They very generously opened their home to us, gave us a delicious dinner and breakfast, let us sleep on their comfy beds and air mattresses and gave us suggestions and directions of things to do around the city.  This morning we watched the swimming and cycling in the olympics at their house.  Last night we watched the London opening ceremonies. Tonight, the night of the 28th, we will stay there again and tomorrow we will go on towards South Bend, Buffalo, New York, and everywhere in between."--Jacob, Trip Leader

Maine Coast Trek Lives it up at the Duck Puddle

"We're at Duck Puddle Campground in  Nobleboro, ME where they held an awesome dance party blasting music till after 10:30 and had a huge barn fire. This was after a 40+ mile day that wasn't difficult for this great group of bikers.   We had a picnic lunch of homemade, gourmet wraps and triple stuffed Oreo cookies at a gazebo in Brunswick, ME. For dinner the food committee made a chicken stir fry with vegetables and a Peanut curry. Tomorrow we're heading to Camden, ME and soon to be in Acadia National Park." -- Annika, Trip Leader

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beach Day Again on the Cape Cod Trek

"This morning we went to a diner for brunch and had lots of pancakes and eggs.  Afterwards we went to the beach for most of the day. The waves were a bit rough but a lot of  fun.  One of the Trekker's parents has a house on MV so we were invited for dinner.  They were very generous with a barbecue and dessert as well as use of the house and a nice hammock.  Then we biked back to the campground in a light drizzle.  Now we are sitting in our cabins - a real miniature house!"  -  Eve, Trekker

C&O Canal Trek is Learning and Riding

“Hello, people from the outside world! We are missing our parents very much, and we hope to see them again very soon. We have been staying in an awesome hostel. We had pancakes for breakfast, and we explored Harper's Ferry and the history surrounding it. We learned about John Brown and his influence in the Civil War. We learned that the modern rifle was originated as a musket with grooves inside the barrel, spinning the bullet as it was fired, among tons of other stuff. We feel like we're in school again because we got so much stuff crammed into our heads! We asked lots of questions on the tour guides, and had historic ice cream! Overall, we are having a blast and are looking forward to D.C.” – Gustav, Teen Trekker 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Across America Trek Crosses the Mississippi River!

“We're in Wisconsin! After cruising through Minnesota and Iowa we crossed the Mississippi River yesterday afternoon and went out for dinner in Mount Hope to celebrate our 9th state. Woohoo! We got our 15 minutes of fame in Iowa; someone in the grocery store in St. Ansgar called the newspaper and as we were sitting eating our lunch a reporter came over to take pictures and ask us questions. We spent time exploring the cute little city of Decorah while some bikes were in the shop and we had lunch at their co-op. The scenery for the past few days has mostly been fields of genetically modified corn and soybeans with cows and pig farms here and there, but eastern Iowa had more trees and hills than we had expected. The people we've met have all been incredibly kind and generous and we're far enough east now that people are stunned when we say we started our ride from the Oregon Coast. Today we're riding to Madison and we're excited to swim in Kiana's family's pool and sleep on their floor. All is well here; we send our hellos and good wishes to everyone back home!” -Julia, Trip Leader

Follow the trip

Cape Cod Trek is Making it Look Easy

“We are now in a campground in Martha’s Vineyard. Today was a short easy ride. We were in the shade on a bike path, which helps out a lot. We have great motivation in the morning, and are riding a great pace. Our navigation skills are on the rise. The hardest thing about this group is getting them to stop laughing!” – Jacob, Trip Leader 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

C&O Canal Trek Visits Antietam & Harpers Ferry

Today is a very interesting day for the Trekkers. We are biking through the Antietam Civil War Battlefield and learning about the bloodiest single-day battle in American history.  Tonight we will arrive in Harpers Ferry for a 2 day stay. We are REALLY excited to stay in a hostel and have a break from camping.  Keep on trekking! -David, Teen Trekker

Maine Coast Trek Picks Up the Pace

“We are in Wells, ME. We had a great ride with a scenic bike path along the waterfront, which was absolutely gorgeous. Everyone was riding really fast, averaging about 15 miles per hour, pretty impressive. The group is doing really well following bike safety. We of course stopped for ice cream when we saw the opportunity. Now we are at the campsite, Great Day!” – Annika, Trip Leader   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The European Phantom Trek Flies Home from London

After a jam packed first day in London, the group took an easier second day to explore the city.  We checked out the  Natural History Museum and loved the dinosaur exhibit.  The human body and mineral exhibits were also interesting.  Afterwards we had a picnic lunch in the pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery.  The afternoon included visits to the Olympic Stadium and Camden Markets that were both full of people and lots of fun.  The group was sad to say goodbye today.  We had a really fun month and shared a lot of great times.  Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Goodbyes from the New England Shore Trek

It is amid excessive sobs and frequent tissues that I write the last blog of the epically fantastic New England Shore trek. The group sucessfully survived the 5 hour bus ride from Boston to New York City with panniers packed, and bikes dismantled. Arriving in New York City was a homecoming for most of the group as most lived close to the area. We re-assembled our bikes on 34th Street in clear view of the Empire State Building with many people chosing to take a moment from the busy city hustle to stop and watch. After we packed up our bikes it was time to make the slow walk back to Bryant Park where our journey came full circle to its conclusion. Reminding the group at how proud Alicia and I were of all of them, and everything that they had accomplished, certainly lightend the mood. The group was happy to see the parents once again, and perhaps a little more happy to know that they were going to be able to shower and sleep in their own bed for the first time in 16 days- they certainly deserved it! With smiles, we all said our goodbyes and Alicia and I waved each person off to officially stamp the conclusion of one amazing trip, which was made possible by even more amazing trekkers. - Kyle, Trip Leader

"The Tip of the Tail"

Day two of Provincetown exploration. Before heading back into town we decided to check out the Dunes Bike Trail. We rode about 10 miles on the trail, riding past the local airport and between the many sand dunes. By complete accident we stumbled upon an empty amphitheater where I stopped the group so we could partake in an all-inclusive round of improve comedy, much like the show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?". After a number of outtakes, two Park Rangers noticed our shenanigans and offered us free ice cream coupons at Ben & Jerry's located in Provincetown BECAUSE we all had helmets for our bikes! (this experience immediatly coined the phrase 'safety can be tasty').  We continued our trail ride (now a little faster because we wanted ice cream in town) to visit a renevated Cape Cod Livesaving Station. These stations were originally placed all along the Cape where "lifesaving crews" would keep watch for ships in distress. The one we vistied was the last of the original 13 Lifesaving Stations on Cape Cod, which was pretty neat. Eventually we made our way into Provincetown where we ate lunch and had free time to explore all the town had to offer. Of course, the first order of business after lunch was cashing in our Free, 'safety can be tasty', couponds for sweet ice cream cones. Pun intended. - Kyle, Trip Leader

Monday, July 23, 2012

European Phantom Trek Does it All

“This morning, we European Phantomers had a quick breakfast at our beautiful hostel on the hill and then hit the town hard for the rest of the day.  We managed to fit in the British Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London, The Tower Bridge (decked out for the Olympics!), London Bridge, the Tate Modern, a delicious Mexican dinner, a music festival in Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Parliament.  Sound impossible?  Yeah, we aren't sure how we did it either.  All we know is that there's still plenty more to see.  Cameras batteries and trekkers alike need recharging though, so the Olympic stadium, the Natural History Museum, and all our other plans will have to wait until tomorrow.” – Sarah, Teen Trekker 

Maine Coast Trek Makes it to New Hampshire!

“It was a very hot day, so we took an easy pace. Our ride had us travelling through the town of Newburyport, MA, which is a super quaint town. Everyone got frozen yogurt, which we were all very excited about. We passed into New Hampshire today. We are staying at a great campground that has a great pool! Tomorrow we are heading into Maine.” --Annika, Trip Leader 

C&O Canal Trek Does More Than Pedal!

“The past days have been cloudy but temperate, with no rain. All of us are having fun as we biked through the 3118 foot long pitch black Paw Paw tunnel, to exploring the area around the 75 locks. Biking along the canal trail isn't just pedaling along thanks to some signs bearing historical Information about the canal and surrounding area. We're all enjoying biking and camping, and looking forward to D.C.” – Tyler, Trip Leader

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cape Cod Trek Sails Out of Boston!

On a beautiful summer day the group met in Boston, MA. They walked their bikes over to the ferry that would take them south to start biking. Before starting the ride they took some time to learn about each other and learn about bike safety. It was an easy and enjoyable first day that took them the 8 miles to the campsite. In possibly a Teen Treks record the group didn’t even make it the 8 miles without stopping for ice cream. (We knew we liked these guys!) A great start to a great adventure. 

Across America Trek is in Minnesota!

“Today is our first whole day in Minnesota.  We rolled into the state late last night along a nice country road.  The first fireflies we have seen on the trip ushered us in. We went 89 miles today.  It seemed effortless, as if we floated across the ground.  This surely has to do with the fact that today was the first day in two weeks under ninety degrees.  All through the heat wave people praised our courage.  One lady saw us riding down the road and immediately offered us ice water and freeze pops.  Let me tell you, when you have been riding in the heat a purple freeze pop tastes like divine ambrosia. Yesterday we saw the new batman movie in Sioux Falls South Dakota.  Everyone loved it.  Afterwards we hung out in a Barnes and noble to beat the heat.  Over the last few days we have been hanging out with another group of bike tourists.  We rode with them for a while.  There were 6 of them and 9 of us.  We were quite a sight to see riding fifteen strong down the back roads of South Dakota.  We met another guy named john who had been riding since New Years day 2011.  He was 8000 miles into a 12000 mile bike ride.  We had fun sharing food and stories.  Tonight we are camping in a city park in Sherburn Minnesota.  There are some big cities coming up.  We plan to stay in a hostel in Chicago and take a rest day to explore the city.” – Jacob, Trip Leader 

C&O Canal Trek Enjoys the Ride

 “The sky was cloudy as we peddled up the last 20 miles to the top of the eastern continental divide. It was pure coasting from there down to the Mason-Dixon Line. We got to ride through some tunnels which can get almost pitch black in the middle. The troops are looking forward to the Paw Paw tunnel, the longest one on the trail. The viaducts leading us over valleys have been scenic and good for giving us a lay of the land we are entering. We finished our ride today in Cumberland with a little too much Mexican food. With tummies bulging we left town, finally got onto the C&O canal trail and got to camp with only one flat tire along the way. Time to rest for more riding in Maryland tomorrow.”--Mary Beth, Trip Leader

Saturday, July 21, 2012

London is Last Stop for European Phantom Trek

"We have arrived in London!  We were warmly welcomed to the city by tons of double decker buses and classic London phone booths.  It's nice to finally be here but the trekkers and leaders are all sad that our time is coming to an end.  I guess that means we will have to take London by storm in the next few days.  We can't wait to see the Olympic stadiums and tons of museums.  King's College was incredible and we had a great time exploring Cambridge.  We were intrigued by how much like Hogwarts the colleges looked...Having a great time on this side of the pond still!

Follow the trip 

Fallingwater and Whitewater Rafting for C&O Canal Trek

"The C&O Canal Trekkers have had a busy few days! On Wednesday we arrived in Ohiopyle, PA and had a great time whitewater rafting. After that we spent some quality time in the local laundromat drying everything that we left outside in our bikes during a rain shower while we were rafting. Then on Thursday we peddled up a humongous hill to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater where we gazed at the amazing architecture and the expensive artwork. Today (Friday) we sent postcards that we found at a grocery store and we biked 30 miles to a campground in Rockwood, PA. Tomorrow we are looking forward to peddling to Cumberland, MD where we will leave the Great Allegheny Passage Trail and join the C&O Canal Path." -- Ben, Teen Trekker

Friday, July 20, 2012

Maine Coast Trek Starts in Boston!

On an overcast and cool day the teens arrived in Boston and Lynn, MA. Together at last they’ve set out on an amazing adventure. After a few name games and of course plenty of bike safety instruction, the group took those first few peddles north!

"We rode out of Lynn, and headed for the ocean. After smelling sea salt for the first of many lunch breaks on the water, we took in the witchcraft and cute New England atmosphere of Salem. Can't wait for our first dip in the ocean this evening!" -- Alec, Trip Leader

European Phantom Trek is Back in the UK!

“We've come full circle and arrived back in England where they drive on the wrong side of the road, but at least we speak our language. The ferry from Holland was really fun! The trekkers enjoyed riding on the huge ship, but it was hard to say goodbye to the Netherlands. Any country that lets chocolate sprinkles on toast qualify as a legitimate breakfast option is fine by us. Add stroopwafels, the kindest people on earth, and the finest bike paths known to man and you'll find a group of kids reluctant to say tot ziens to Holland. Here we are though in Cambridge. We can't wait to check out Kings College and see a Shakespeare production tonight!”  -- Sarah, Trip Leader 

Lake Ontario Trek Says Good Bye!

“The day technically started with the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie in the movie theater. After an exciting premier, we slept in real beds at the Buffalo Hyatt hotel, awakening into the final day of our journey, our friends, and our memories. We played cards, talked, walked around Buffalo, stopping for lunch at a local sandwich shop and visiting City Hall. It was almost any other day, except it ended. A great and full trip has concluded, but I'm sure we'll all take many parts of it with us.” – Koby, Teen Trekker

A photo of one of the many ice cream stops!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lake Ontario Trek Finishes the Ride

Only thirty mile north east from Buffalo, NY the group will ride into the city knowing they’ve accomplished their goal! They are riding with big smiles and tons of stories to tell, not to mention a million inside jokes, and yes, an original theme song.  They will go out in style as they stay in a very nice hotel in downtown Buffalo that has a rooftop pool. They’ve certainly earned it! 

Across America Trek Rides with Friends

“It is amazing how the community of cyclist are so friendly compared to other activities. I have come to recognize that majority of bikers support other bikers. While we are cruising down a street another biker will pass and honk to show support. Or like yesterday, a group of cyclist joined us for our 75 mile day.
We heard about a group of cyclists that were just 10 miles ahead of us. We were shocked when we caught up to them at a gas station in Reliance, South Dakota. They were awesome!! Originally their group started with Leah, Ajamaria, and Winston. They found Derick and Daniel who were riding together. They all decided to continue across the country together. Then they found us! We aren't sure how long we will stay together, but it was fun to ride in a giant pack of 14 people, we took up the entire road. It was cool to hear all their stories. Where they came from, how they met, how long they had been riding for, or how it was their first time actually riding a bike (like me). Talking to random people is my favorite part of the trip so far. It is awesome to hear about people's lives and to take the time to get to know them.” -- Kennedy, Teen Trekker

New England Shore Trek Beats the Heat!

"Because of the humidity, the group woke up this morning practically sweating. However, to our great pleasure our route took us onto a nicely shaded bike path for about 14 miles! After stopping for some Italian ice we made our way to our new camp where we had to quickly set up tents before inclement weather came in. Seemingly in the nick of time we managed to get all the tents up and the gear inside before the downpour. So now the question: what do we do now that it's raining? How about dinner in an old time diner and a movie (the amazing spider man)? Sounds good to me!” – Kyle Trek Leader 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Biking & Swimming on the C&O Canal Trek

"The Great Allegheny Trail is so much fun. Woke up, had breakfast and packed. Rode 30 or so miles to Riverside Campground. In the meantime, we swam several times in the river alongside the trail. We ate burritos for lunch by the trail, and we are looking forward to biking more tomorrow." --Gustav, Teen Trekker  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Across America Trek Reaches Mount Rushmore!

European Phantom Trek Enjoy's Holland

“Greetings from the Netherworld! Two days ago we visited a lighthouse in Haarlem. It originally was built in the 1600s, but burned down in 1938. It was reconstructed a few years ago but a handful of volunteers who wanted to preserve the Old knowledge on wind power. It was really cool to see the inner workings and learn about the way of life of the miller. Afterwards we rode to Zandvoort for a fun afternoon at the beach, swimming in the North Sea! Yesterday it was cold and rainy all day and spirits were pretty low when we arrived at our campsite at the thoughts of pitching our tents in the driving rain. So we decided to stay in a nice dry cabin! After a good night’s sleep, we're ready to head for the ferry that will take us back to England. So long, Holland!” – Bryan, Trip Leader

Follow the trip

Lake Ontario Trek Riding Strong

“Today we woke up near the canal trail and after getting all of our stuff together set out on it. The trail was very flat and wonderful except for an annoying headwind. We got to Brockport almost out of water and were able to fill up in their Welcome center and do laundry. We explored some and got a few HUGE slices of pizza as a snack. We are now off to lunch (Maybe more pizza). Just 20 more miles left today.We will be near Albion.” – Megan, Teen Trekker  

Ruben remembers 7/14:

“We then began to cruise through the beautiful Upstate New York countryside. Soon after we left, we began to encounter a few hills. This terrain was typical for Upstate New York, forested and hilly with farms interspersed between the trees. As we crested each hill we would see another larger hill on the other side. Each time the difficulty of riding would only increase. Luckily during one of our rests stops we encountered a few elderly women biking the same route. They recommended that we could stop to refill water and rest in Mexico Point Park. The park was nice, and, after we had refilled our water bottles, we took a short break to play cards and rest out of the sun. After that the intensity of the hills only increased. After hours of riding we stopped lunch. Our sandwiches only tasted more delicious after the long day of riding. We then shared a gallon of delicious ice cream. After, we rode out back into the countryside. By that point the consistent trend of increased in hill size had caused us to begin cresting veritable mountains. We rode through Sterling and noticed a large Renaissance Fair. As we continued, we rode up the final and most massive hill. We then continued on to our campground where we ate dinner and slept.”--Reuben, Teen Trekker

New England Shore Trek Rides the Coast

“Yesterday we started in Martha’s Vineyard and we just made it to the ferry! We then biked a few miles on a bike path. Later we stopped at Rainbow Fruit Market where we got a lot of different fruit, it was very good. After that we had my favorite part of the day when we stopped for ice cream. We got to stay at a hotel for the night. We started a game where we compare our leaders to animals, it was really funny!” -- Jack, Teen Trekker

Monday, July 16, 2012

C&O Canal Trek Rides With Pride

“The bike trip of the C&O Canal is a blast! We all are having so much fun and we are looking forward to Washington, DC! Today we got American flags and placed them on our bikes. Now people will watch us with the flags soaring behind us! We are getting to camp early so we can jump in the river and take some time to swim. Everyone is getting along great. Who knows how awesome the trip will be with these guys!” – Tyler, Trip Leader 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

European Phantom Trek Explores Amsterdam

“The lasagna in Amsterdam is awesome.  Yesterday, we went for a walking tour of the city.  Our guide was so animated that we began to wonder if she had visited a coffee shop right before the tour began.  We learned that the Dutch have a long history of social reform. We crossed canals, sampled fine cheeses, and saw a house just 1.8 meters wide (the man who lives inside is taller than that!) After the tour we wandered around for a while to soak up the city, exploring shops, books, chocolate, bridges and other neat stuff. This morning we mustered the courage to enter the Anne Frank house.  It was really intense and quite sobering to reflect on the atrocities committed during the war.  Afterwards we cheered ourselves up with a visit to the site of the first flea market (there's still one I operation today) and some warm coffee in a leaning rickety old building that was once a gatehouse for a canal.  After that, we visited the waterfront to see Renzo Piano's Nemo.  Then we went for a ride on a canal boat before winding down at the hostel over some delicious nachos.  Life is good.” – Bryan, Trip Leader   

Across America Trek Fights Some Headwinds!

“We are in Hill City, SD! We are right next to Mount Rushmore; we’re going to go see it tomorrow morning. Today we didn’t get very far, only about 45 miles because it was all up hill and into the wind. It was a tough day but we were all looking forward to seeing Mount Rushmore, so it was worth it.” -- Jacob, Trip Leader

The group is doing great as they pass into their fifth state of the adventure. Those muscles are certainly being tested but for this group of amazingly strong riders it shouldn’t be much of a problem. The views from the saddles on these daily rides are breathtaking! 

C&O Canal Starts Off in Pittsburgh!

"Today we met in Mellon Green Park to begin our trip. The rain held off as we went to the hotel to drop off our bags. We then went to a park to play some getting-to-know each other games and climb some trees. For lunch we picnicked along the Allegheny River before heading off to the Carnegie science museum. A great first day in Pittsburgh!" -- Tyler, Trip Leader