Friday, June 29, 2007

The Day the Rain was Supposed to Come vs. The Day it Came

Yesterday morning as we rolled out of Marietta, OH we were prepared for a day of thunderstorms, everyone had grabbed a rain jacket and tucked it into their camel back as we were told there was an 80% chance of rain. About half of us made it all the way to McArthur before the rain, and the others just got a little wet in the very end.

In McArthur we enjoyed dinner courtesy of the local Presbyterian church. Dinner was a new dish for all of us, a hot dog sliced lengthwise then topped with mashed potatoes, cheese, and ketchup. Some of us thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, okay maybe that was only me, the vegetarian option was lacking so the group split up to hit up a few of the local pizza joints. After coming out of the pizza place the rain had begun in earnest. It rained pretty much all night, the boys slept in the Calvary church while the girls Church of the Nazarene. David Mollitor assured me that it would be low 80s and clear today. Due to his assurances I even put on sunscreen this morning, something I had neglected to do yesterday, although without drastic repercussions. Well it turns out that the rain came to stay, we left the Church of the Nazarene in full rain gear and it stayed on all day. The clouds truly opened up before lunch drenching us, but at the same time it was great to ride on low traffic roads and the rain was a pleasant change from the 90+ degree heat we've been experiencing the past few days. This afternoon the weather broke once we got to Hillsboro, where we are staying at the United Methodist Church, which even provided showers in the church, a welcome change from having to go to a secondary site to shower. People are now milling about cleaning and lubing bikes, doing laundry, enjoying the afternoon sunshine and all around relaxing.

I know that everyone loves photos, so I've included a couple taken over the past few days.

David posing while on the move across the Ohio state line, on a long hot day into Marietta.

Courtney Wong with a pneumatic staple gun on our build day in Marietta.

The above two were taken this morning, right before leaving and then when we stopped on the road for a bit. The scenery was beautiful although a little wet.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have my picture taken in Boston, OH this afternoon and the ride in.

A big shout out to all the families out there who have kids on this trip, today was also mail drop and the amount of support we continue to receive in the form of mail and local support is awesome.


Monday, June 25, 2007

A Compilation of State Lines

Our trip will be visiting 15 different states, which means 14 different state lines, since I don’t really count Rhode Island as having a state line since we started there. Each day that we cross a state line is a little bit of a celebration, another major step towards the Pacific. Today we crossed from Pennsylvania into West Virginia, and even on the small back road that we came in on the line was marked and we paused to take a few photos before riding the final five miles into Cameron, WV. Tomorrow we get to cross into Ohio, so another state line awaits for photos galore. Here are a few from our trip so far.

On a side note, I had a great find today, a Pennsylvania license plate as I was riding along US 40, a great memento from a long trip.

PS. Mom I realize it is halfway to Christmas today, I hope you celebrated, sorry I can't call, apparently Cameron, WV has no cell signal anywhere.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hills Upon Hills

Today we rode from Berlin to Farmington, PA. It was a day of steady long rolling hills, but mostly on the back roads of rural Pennsylvania. Before lunch we climbed, and climbed and climbed some more into the Laurel Ridge State Park. After lunch we rolled down a huge hill, dropping down at 50+ mph, until we hit PA 381. Thanks to Joseph, an architecture student at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a map at lunch we were able to alter our route a little to see Falling Water, which was a wonderful experience.

After the stop to look at some amazing architecture we climbed again and rode through Ohiopyle, a great town that revolves around the river that runs through it and the kayakers that flock there along with families wading in the river. It was a great small town. Finally we climbed up again to our home for the night Benner’s Campground. Tonight is our first night camping, we set up the tents without incident, and the dinner crew put together a simple but great meal of rice and bean burritos.

Internet or Lack there of….

It has been awhile since I have written or we have been able to update the Bike and Build site. It turns out that the life of a traveling cyclist is very busy, and that fact combined with the lack of wi-fi in many small towns has made posting difficult. We are already through our first solid week of riding and first build day. The first week was a long one with over 450 miles of riding. Even for me this was a little over the top. The longest week I’ve done previously was 330 miles back in January of 2006. With all the riding there have been a few mishaps. I hit the deck a few days ago and came away with a few scrapes and a really nice bruise:

Cooper hasn’t faired so well and had his second trip to the hospital today after a crash that gave him a concussion. The crash shook the group up, but Coop is in good spirits and is recovering well. All of this riding has led to quite a few pictures here are a few:

Ride groups have also formed, although people are pretty mobile between groups depending on the day. I’ve been riding a lot with the David’s, Joseph, Eric, Mariah and Katie, but have also spent time scattered with a few other riders.

The food and hospitality of our hosts has been amazing, with everything from great home cooked pasta dinners after long ride days to the opening of their homes for 32 of us to shower each evening if a YMCA is not available.

Only a few more days and we’ll cross another two states, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, off of our list of 15. The ‘mountains’ of Pennsylvania have dished out their fair share of pain, but also a lot of great memories, trials, and photo ops.

For now life on the road stays packed with riding, packing, unpacking, repacking and sleep. I will keep posting as we find internet access.

Friday, June 15, 2007

82 miles down,

Since I last wrote we have done a build day, which was more of a landscaping/fencing day, but we were putting the finishing touches on a house in West Providence. We drove over in the morning and spent about 4 hours landscaping, planting, moving huge slabs of granite for a bench, and putting up two fences.

As you can see we moved a lot of dirt, and dug a few holes.

Finally Thursday brought what we had all been waiting for, riding. We left the church around 8:30, took a few pictures, then rode down to the Brown boat house. The ceremonial dip of our rear wheels into the Atlantic was followed by a motivational speech by a P2SF alum, and then we finally rolled out around 9:30. The day was a little over cast but fortunately the rain held off and we got to Plainfield, CT safely, with only a few minor incidents early in the ride.

Above is all of us outside of the church on Thursday morning. Below is Eric and I getting ready to roll from the Brown docks.

Thursday also brought our first state line, the RI/CT border, we briefly paused to chalk the road and snap a few photos before continuing our ride to Plainfield.

Thursday night the trailer was finally finished, and looks amazing. I think there are a few pictures of the other side in the previous post.
Friday was a great day, 47 miles from Plainfield to Middletown. We stopped for lunch 25 miles in and a local man graciously allowed us to use his front yard to chill and enjoy the sunshine and near 70 degrees that day 2 brought us.

We rolled into Middletown, around 2 after crossing a beautiful bridge, see Mariah above, and have all showered and dropped our stuff off at the accommodations for the night, St. Pauls Lutheran Church. I just finished up a few scoops of ice cream at Praelene's. Now its off to the bike shop for a few supplies, before a bike clinic for the kids and dinner tonight.

A shout out also goes to all the rider's and leader's parents who have been reading. Everyone is doing great and having fun.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Bike and Build has officially started. I rolled into Providence on my bike on Sunday morning after a quick 3 hour ride from Boston. I was a day early coming in, but everyone had already left Boston so it was pretty lonely to be there alone, especially with only one set of clothing as everything else had already been shipped home or sent to Providence with Rebecca. Day one was a lot of unloading of the trailer, organizing, washing dishes for 35, and hanging out with Eric Shields. Eric and I rode Monday morning down the bike path and had an interesting incident with a rabbit which decided to run straight into Eric's front wheel after narrowly missing mine. Fortunately Eric stayed calm and all parties came out more or less unharmed. Monday everyone else rolled in, more or less by 2:30. We then played a few ice breakers to get things started on the brown quad and meet our fellow riders. Monday was mostly uneventful with an afternoon full of rules and typical meeting and chit chat. Tuesday was packed full of bike safety in the morning and maintenance in the afternoon. We finally got in the 'shakedown' ride in the afternoon and beat the rain in, and managed to squeeze in showers before a great BBQ at a church member's home, followed by our first affordable housing curriculum meeting, which sparked some great discussion. This morning we built at a habitat site in East Providence, doing landscaping, and putting up two different fences. The group accomplished a lot. Its amazing what can be done when 30+ people work together. Finally this afternoon we brushed up on our emergency medicine, which I hope we wont have to use, and were turned loose for the first time since being here. Below are a few photos from orientation and our first day or riding. Tomorrow will be our first real ride, complete with a visit to the 'Atlantic' to dip our rear wheels. San Fran here we come!
Alex, Mary and Becca working on the fabulous trailer.
The flat changing clinic.

Drew and the crew on the shakedown ride.

Till next time....