Sunday, June 30, 2019

New England Shore Trekkers Bike & Swim the Connecticut Coast

The day began with two long train rides then after lunch we biked for the first time! Once we found our campsite we ventured out to the beach where the water was cold but refreshing. Finally, ending with a bang, the days cooks made delicious quesadillas for dinner. It has been an all-around inspiring day creating prospects of hope for those of the future.

New York-Montreal Trekkers Have a Great Day Biking in the Hudson Valley

We got our first torrential downpour today! Toward the beginning of today’s ride a tiny band of rain bearing clouds really opened up on us for about 20 minutes. However, for the rest of the day the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The temperature hovered in the mid-70s and the sky was filled with breathtakingly massive white clouds that we watched roll by along with the equally breathtaking mountains on the other side of the Hudson. The first stop of the day was a farmers market in Rhinebeck followed by an air show in the afternoon with WWI era biplanes. From there we continued north through massive corn fields and stumbled upon an old farmhouse that had been transformed into a used book and music store. The house, garage, and multiple sheds were all filled with aisles and aisles of books, cds, vinyl, and postcards. About a dozen miles later we sat for an authentically family style dinner of some delicious inauthentic Chinese food. Finally we arrived at this evenings campsite which sits directly on the eastern bank of the Hudson. The fireflies are coming out and the waves are lapping on the shore. Sweet dreams.

Gent Offers Majestic Castles, Churches, and History to the Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers

Today the crew took a well deserved day just chilling in Gent. A good breaking of the fast in the morning was followed promptly by a walking tour of the charming city, where we took in the sights of the city's important landmarks and history richer than the finest chocolates, some of which we tasted afterwards. After digesting the city's history, it was time for a more filling meal of soup and sandwiches at a local café (please note the accented é, which denotes my astute grasp of European language). Our meal was followed by another tour, and we were taken back to the age of knights and chivalry within the castle of the counts. All that looking meant it was time for some good cooking and we decided on a specialty item of the region. As the saying goes, when in Belgium, eat waffles; a time tested adage we were more than happy to oblige. Licking our fingers (and massaging sore legs) we came back to the hostel for a quick siesta and hydration for the homies. Dinner was discussed and decided on yet another classic European cuisine: Lebanese food. Despite the exotic nature of the meal, good food is a universal language and our plates were cleaned with ease. Gelato was had (as per our preferred tradition) and we headed back to the hostel. But more merriment was left in store for us as we played salad bowl (a distant relation within the family tree of charades) deep into the night. Or at least until bedtime. We have an exciting train ride tomorrow and I must pack, so I will leave you with a parting word. And words must be brief. Wasted words is wasted breath. We must destroy, stamp out, and eliminate redundancy.


FIRST DAY: The Great Allegheny Passage Trek

The C&O Canal Trek is a 400+ mile off-road ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. along a rail-to-trail and an old canal towpath.  The group met today at the Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh and has an afternoon of sight-seeing and some bike repairs planned. The group played some name games to get to know one-another and then had a discussion on bike safety and rules of the road. They have very comfortable accommodations at Doubletree Hotel tonight and tomorrow night and then Tuesday they bike southeast on their 13 day outdoor adventure.

FIRST DAY - New England Shore Trek

The New England Shore Trekkers began a 16 day, 300+ mile ride from Guilford, CT to Boston, MA.  Over the next 2+ weeks the group will cycle through Mystic, CT, Block Island, Newport, RI, Providence, RI, onto Cape Cod, Provincetown, and Boston.  They met early this morning at Bryant Park in Manhattan and took a MetroNorth train to Guilford.  After several games to get to know one-another and a talk about bike safety the group will bike 8+ miles to Hammonassett State Park where they will camp for the night.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

NY-Montreal Trekkers Have an Awesome Day in Poughkeepsie

Today the group had a great biking and sight-seeing day.  We biked along the beautiful Dutchess County Rail Trail until we reached the Walkway Over the Hudson. It is an old railroad bridge made into a pedestrian bridge. We got a great view from the walkway over the Hudson River. Our last stop of the day was in Hyde Park to visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt house and library. Our campground was a few miles down the road where we set up tents, went for a swim, and cooked a delicious dinner.

Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers Follow the Canals to Ghent

Today we were up and out early and headed for Ghent. The route was another beautiful one and we made it to Bruges' rival city just in time for lunch. After lunch we walked around the city and did some window-shopping, and tried to take advantage of the air conditioned stores (90°F today!!) After checking into our hostel, we had a little time to cool off and rally before a yummy dinner of Turkish pizza, followed by ice cream for dessert. We really enjoyed the evening sightseeing, and are really excited for the tours and adventures we have planned for tomorrow.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Marco Polo at the Hawthorne Inn and Suites - NY-Montreal Trekkers

I loved swimming in the river in Cold Spring, NY, and all the hilly terrain was difficult - Allison

I liked getting fro yo and swimming in the pool. Having to go through all the stress the past two/ three days was hard - Alisa

Hey what’s going on guys,  welcome back to the blog. So basically today we were chilling and biked a cool 28 miles ye - Andre

Today was most relaxing and entertaining. I cannot wait until tomorrow! - Winston

Salutations 👋. Today was really fun for us Trekkers. My favorite part was the road at the end of our trek. The two hardest parts where the hills as well as keeping up with Jacob, speeding ahead of the entire group. Overall all, today was a blast - Jake

The first two days have been really fun. I’m going to be working extremely hard to keep up with Jacob. I enjoyed licking ice cream in our short and frequent breaks - Gabe

The beginning of our trek has been really fun. My favorite parts have been biking along the river and in between the mountains. I also have liked biking through small towns and swimming in the river. The hilly paths have been hard, but in the end we pulled through - Jonah

Bro, biking is mad fun.  I been cooking and stuff and that real fun, mmMmm yum.  Today I swam in a pool. Mmm yes very rewarding. Peace out - Jacob

Biking around New York State has been fun so far. I have been cooking dinner and been getting bitten by bugs. Arguing about what to get for dinner has also been fun- Charlie

The hills and valleys have been pretty tough today but we made it all the way to Fishkill, New York. Hopefully the rest of the trip will be uphill from here (not literally). A good way to end today was cooking quesadillas in the hotel mini kitchen. Overall a good trip so far - Wyatt

Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers Explore Bruges

Our day today was spent exploring the medieval city of Bruges.  After a hearty breakfast at the hostel, the group set out for the center of the city, the Markt. Here, the group climbed the 366 steps to the top of the Belfry of Bruges and  received a spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding area. Also at the Belfry, the group received a rude awakening at the top of the hour by the bell tower. After descending the stairs, the group joined others on a walking tour of the city. The tour taught all about the history and legends of the city. This included stories behind the city's swans and the names of landmarks. After the tour, the group made their way to a nearby shop for artisanal bagel sandwiches. After lunch, the group was on the hunt for Belgian chocolates and waffles. In the afternoon, the group toured the Gruuthuse Museum and the Church of our Lady Bruges. After a long day of city touring, the group split and some did laundry and others prepared dinner in the hostel kitchen. After a long day of discovering Bruges, the team is resting easy in preparation for their last day of true bicycle trekking.

Biking to Bruges

We made it to Bruges, Belgium this afternoon! The weather was beautiful, and we all especially enjoyed the relaxing bike ride today. We stopped along the way for coffee, lunch, and even a short ferry ride. We were also excited to celebrate trekker Andreis's birthday, so we capped off our day with ribs for dinner. Looking forward to exploring Bruges tomorrow, and eating lots of chocolate and waffles along the way!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

FIRST DAY: New York - Montreal Trek

Anxious bikers assembled this morning in Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan at 8 a.m. for the beginning of their 16 day, 400+ mile adventure up the Hudson Valley, through the Adirondacks, cornering Vermont, and into Quebec, Canada to Montreal.  The adventure started with a short train ride out of NYC with all their bikes and equipment to Dobbs Ferry.  There several more Trekkers joined the group and they played some ice-breaker games, talked about bike safety & rules of the road and then headed north along the Saw Mill River Bike Trail.  Today they have an easy 20 mile ride to Croton Point Park Campground on the Hudson River.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Amsterdam - Paris Trekkers bicycle peninsulas and islands as they head towards Belgium

Today's route was technically the longest day of biking but no way did it feel that way. The weather was great and spirits were high! We left camp as the morning chill was lifting and headed to our route. The route took us along the coast, over bridges, and under the towering windmills. As we biked, we came across many great views including a large group of kite surfers. As we hopped from peninsula to island back to peninsula, the group found plenty of spots to stop, take photos, and soak in their surroundings. Tonight marked our last night of camping which was celebrated with a round of stroopwafels for all.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers explore Rotterdam

Heat wave! We set out early today to try to beat the heat, and arrived in Rotterdam just in time for "second breakfast." After meandering around Rotterdam's giant arch-like "Markt," we headed over to the Maritime Museum, where we enjoyed the interactive adventure exhibits (and the air conditioning!) Then we headed home, had some delicious stir-fry compliments of today's cooking team, and ended the day with a nice swim in the lake!

Monday, June 24, 2019

When in Gouda, one must eat Gouda! Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers explore the Netherlands by bicycle

Today's day of biking started out with an early visit to The Hague.  While there, we saw the Escher House and the Hofkapel (photo). From there we ventured inland toward Gouda. Along the way, we biked on miles of bike paths and made plenty of stops in the shade. One stop including a path side farm stand with fresh peaches. Even though it was a hot day, the group stayed in high spirits by stopping, hydrating, and making jokes. Once in Gouda the group stopped for lunch made up of a variety of meats and cheeses. When in Gouda, one must eat Gouda. After lunch, the group went shopping and visited the Church of St. John. Famous for it's 72 stained glass windows, the audio tour explained the significance of each one. The end of the day brought on a relaxed ride through the country side with cows and canals. The group cooked another great meal and are settling in for bed. Another day of warm weather biking tomorrow accompanied by plenty of water!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Biking across dunes, enjoying coastal views and group bonding for Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers

My father always told me that boredom is a starvation of the mind. If that's the case then today has been a 3 course meal followed by an after dinner snack for the brain. We started off in Overveen, leaving our campsite early in the morning. Traveling across the dunes with the squad was, as the kids say, "lit." After a couple more miles of biking, a quick pit stop allowed some of the group to fuel up on some stroopwafel ice cream sandwiches, a food that surpasses anything that the Queen of England could have acquired 100 years ago, and perhaps even today. The boys got burned out around mid-day, so we stopped the cruise to catch some snooze in a park after lunch. After the boys "got the dub" we continued to Wassenaar where we saw the outside of a church and the inside of a Dunkin Donuts. Some Neapolitan ice cream was brought by Elliott, and was subsequently disposed of with ruthless efficiency. After that, a straight shot to the campsite was ridden, and we arrived in time to set up our tents and cook up some burgers. The smell of hand pressed burgers sizzling on a camp grill allowed us some respite from our aching legs, courtesy of the Bataan Bike March of 30 miles in one day. After some therapeutic group reflection, the narrative ends with me, typing this entry on my counselor's phone. The future holds many uncertainties, but remember folks, pirates sailed for thousands of miles searching for treasure, when the real treasure was the friendships they made along the way. -Tally

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Amsterdam-Paris trekkers complete first day of biking!

Today marked our first day of real bike packing. Our trekkers woke up, had breakfast, loaded up their bikes, and hit the road. The group headed west out of Amsterdam, towards the Red Sea. About halfway, a stop was made in Haarlem for lunch. While in town, the group visited the Windmill de Adriaan and the St. Bavo Church. While touring the inside of the church, the group was serenaded by the choir. After the church tour, the group made their way out to the market for stroopwafels and ice cream. After the midday break, the group continued on their route toward the coast. Upon arrival at the campsite, tents were pitched and dinner preparations began. In the evening, the group checked out the nearby beach and watched the sunset over the North Sea. Now, the group settles into their sleeping bags to rest in preparation for another day of trekking tomorrow.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Last day in Amsterdam for Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers.

Our last day in Amsterdam was jam-packed with all things Dutch! We started the day at the Rijksmuseum, where we saw famous paintings from Amsterdam's own Rembrandt. After lunch in the park, we spent some time shopping in the open-air market, and trying out some Dutch herring. We capped off the day with a visit to the famous Anne Frank Museum, and are now prepping for our first long day biking tomorrow.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers Hit the Street by Foot & Pedal

Our second day in Amsterdam had even more biking adventures than the first! The morning started with breakfast in bed and was followed by a bicycle safety check (not in bed). We reviewed the "drop system" in the nearby Vondelpark before setting out into the city.  We headed north into the city to join a group walking tour of Amsterdam. On the tour we learned all about the city's history and were able to check out some popular spots. The tour also included a free gouda and stroopwafel tasting!  After the tour, the group had lunch along the canal before biking back to the hostel. Then, the group walked over to check out the Van Gogh Museum. Looking forward to some more fun filled days with a group of awesome trekkers!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

First Day - Amsterdam-Paris Trek

First day in Amsterdam! Have you ever been on a highway for bikes? We have! The bike ride from the airport was beautiful and the weather was perfect. Made it to the hostel and practiced biking safely in a large group around the nearby park. Everyone seems to be getting along really well and is excited for the walking tour we have scheduled for tomorrow, as well as a trip to the Rijksmuseum. Stay tuned for more Amsterdam adventures tomorrow!