Saturday, December 3, 2011

Final Countdown

Bike lights on, we crossed the bridge last night into the grand ol' state of New Hampshire. Can't bike in December? I prefer New Hampshire's motto- live free or die! So here we are, living freely and trying not to freeze our butts off in the last days before we reach Portland, Maine.

We've had a series of wonderful days and evenings in New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire and for the first time entered a state (Vermont) and left it without spending a night. We started back up again in Ithaca, New York on Tuesday and had a somewhat grueling day. Rain, roller coaster hills, and re-adjusting to the touring life made day number 68 seem a little tougher than we remembered. That, and we went to a vigorous yoga class the night before that reminded us we only use one set of our muscles while biking. Every other one was quite sore. Tuesday was, however, a balmy 65-ish degrees and we loved wearing our shorts and short-sleeved shirts one more time. And lucky for us, the weather gods have decided to smile down on us. We've had three straight days of brilliant sunshine and reasonable temperatures to make the already fantastic scenery even better. Crossing New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire west to east is a hilly, or perhaps more accurately, mountainous trek. It has been stunning and a great challenge, though, and we've long since forgotten the monotony of the plains. I love New England!

Wednesday night had us with Karl and Dale in Cobleskill, New York where we powered up with some fantastic fettuccine alfredo and rested before booking it 87 miles to Williamstown, MA. Despite an early start and making great time, we stlll arrived on the Igoes' doorstep after dark. Not surprising considering we need to turn on our bike lights at around 3:45 these days. One of the reasons, I suppose, that people don't typically tour this time of year. We had a huge and wonderful welcome, and enjoyed some delicious food and great company. It was easy to forget that we were tired and happened to be biking across the country in Jonathan and Kathleen's warm home and presence.

We were sad to leave Williamstown, and it didn't take us long to think that maybe we shouldn't have. Apparently an 87 mile day in this part of the country can leave you a little weary. I thought my tire was flat and checked it about two dozen times before making it even six miles. It was fine. Emily tried everything, but even tylenol, pumpkin bread (which was fantastic, Kathleen!), and emergen-C cocktails still didn't do the trick. It was a beautiful ride and a great day and we both agreed that the terrain was on the milder side compared to what we had gotten used to. Tired is tired, though, and so it was that we ended up in Brattleboro as the sun was setting instead of Keene NH.  A phone call later, and after some skilled luring, Erik and his son Tyler whisked us up and shuttled us to their house in Keene where we met Debbie. Commence the royal treatment. Lasagna, the biggest pieces of apple pie I've ever seen, and lots of storytelling made for a great night. We had an awesome time with this inspiring family, who just last year completed their own cross country tour together when Tyler was just 11!

Our second and last night in New Hampshire has us in Bow staying with the family of Emily's friend Isabel and my friend Armand (Isabel's brother). Sophie and Cameron cooked us up a great home-cooked meal and we just planned out our last 100 miles to Portland, Maine. That's right- 100 miles and we will be at our original destination! I'm still struggling to believe it. I don't think I will until we're dipping those front tires into the Atlantic along the Eastern Promenade. Its hard to conceive a world in which Emily and I don't wake up every morning together to my watch alarm clock and start another day, each one of which feels like a lifetime. So instead we'll hum our favorite Christmas carols and talk about that elusive day, the one where we finish our journey exactly how we dreamed, as if its in the distant future.

Thanks so much to this new crew of amazing people who have invited us into their lives and showed us a wonderful time!

We're planning on being in Portland Monday afternoon- come meet us!
Also, check back soon for photos!

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