We did it! Today we arrived home in Washington DC after completing our 2300 mile loop around New England and the North East of the US. What a great tour, SO many good times, thanks for all the memories bro! I’ll post some more photos and stories soon but for now here’s our finish line photo:
Cycling through southern Maine was beautiful but busy. The crossing of New Hampshire however was a nightmare – heavy traffic, terrible road conditions and difficult navigation, making this day, day 19 of our tour, the hardest and most frustrating. For me this was definitely the low point of the trip. I wrote in my diary “At least it wasn’t raining” which just about sums up the day. Still we managed 103 miles heading south and the campsite in the woods where we finished that night was one of the best. Keep pedaling, as the mantra goes, and things will get better.
Connecticut was the next State on our route. And boy was it hilly. Endless waves of steep, punchy climbs that we grimaced our way up and flew down with wide grins. Excellent scenery to match and little traffic made for some excellent cycling. This theme continued into New York State and New Jersey State, although both have been less hilly than CT.
Amongst all of this we challenged ourselves to have a big day on the bikes, to see how far we could go, so on day 21 of our tour we rode 132 miles. A tremendous day leaving us pretty exhausted that night at camp. We still chat about the encounter we had out west with the ultralight bike tourer who managed 160 miles so we’re still a little short, but this helped inspire us along.
These past three days have been amongst the best of the tour and indeed, amongst the best days cycling period.
Today we almost hit the 2,000 mile barrier on this tour (about 3 miles short) so that feels good. We may have a beer this evening to celebrate. It also means we have “only” around 300 miles to go back to DC and should be home by Sunday!
This update is coming from Burlington, VT, on day 13 of our Eastern Tour. We’re actually taking a rest day today as the bikes required some repairs – thanks to Ski Rack who sorted us out and replaced the bearings and springs in Pete’s rear cassette. We’re now set to go again and can’t wait to start riding again tomorrow.
Since my last update we’ve cycled right across upstate New York, averaging a little over 100 miles a day to keep on track to reach Maine.
Niagara Falls, seen on the morning of day 8, was as impressive a natural wonder as anything I’ve ever seen. Yes, sure it’s touristy, but we were there really early to beat the crowds. We stood in awe, gobsmacked that people have survived going over the falls in barrels, or even one extraordinary story of a drunk chap who thought it was a good idea to go over in only the clothes on his back. Nutcase!
From there we picked up the Erie Canal for 60 miles or so, heading due east to pass south of Rochester, before turning up to Lake Ontario. We were in rural, redneck America – most homes had a “Repeal the SAFE ACT – respect the 2nd amendment” in the front yard. It was interesting country to travel through.
The Adirondacks gave us the best riding of the tour so far – fantastic quiet roads, big mountains, bigger forests and stunning mountain lakes. This was exactly what we came for, and we have many incredible memories from this section.
Our route now takes us east over the Green Mountains and on towards southern Maine. We’re aiming for Rockport or Portland as our final destination on the east coast, before we turn south for the last leg back to DC.
Update from the road on day 7, sitting in a NY diner. Last night we finished the Underground Railroad Pittsburgh spur and camped on the shore of Lake Erie, two days of 75 miles and 114 miles. There was so much packed into two days: heavy industrial landscapes as we left Pittsburgh, many crossings of the Ohio river, some testing little climbs, Amish country, miles and miles of open countryside, Pete’s back brake failing, replacing it under an awning as a huge thunderstorm rolled by, getting completely soaked, hitting our first century distance as we raced the sunset to the PA/NY state line, and lastly watching the sunset from camp on the shore of Lake Erie. A really great two days.