Welcome to the final installment (part 4 of 4) of the video series covering our 4,000 mile bike tour in the summer of 2014. If you missed previous episodes, here are parts one, two and three. This video details our travels from upstate New York to the Atlantic Ocean in Portland, Maine.
Everyone has an opinion about the timing for prime fall color viewing. “This coming weekend, for sure.” “Oh, you just missed them by six minutes. Bummer.” It seems like the changing leaves are a German train sticking to a tight timetable, not a process unfolding slowly in the woods. All aboard the Peak Foliage Express!
From the beginning, our bike tour goal was to hit New England in time to 1) avoid cycling in snow (Abominable Snowmen hate cyclists) and 2) smash into the explosion of colors for which the area is so famous. Somehow, it all worked out.
A perfect day along a river in the Adirondacks.
This was our favorite part of the tour. Crisp, cool weather coupled with scenic views that left our jaws hanging like a teenager at a strip club. It really is as good as they say. (Fall colors, people – stick with me here.)
We lucked out in other ways too. Warm Showers hosts graced us with their hospitality and we added a half dozen new friends to our lives. A guy in a coffee shop invited us back for lunch at his “camp”, which turned into a boat and plane adventure. A new buddy in Burlington is Chelsea’s new soul sister. A couple in Montpelier and their incredible adventures bike touring all over the world (four years total!) inspired us to push our limits.
New England was the perfect conclusion to a trip we’ll remember forever. The journey brought us closer together as a couple, further seared a love of adventure into our souls and inspired us for another bike tour sooner than later. Even if the fall colors are only 36 hours (pffft, we saw them into late October) and the locals can’t understand what all the fuss is about, we can’t wait to get back. I can’t recommend this area of the U.S. highly enough.
Here’s the link to the final video from our tour or just click play below. Turns out that video editing is a lot of work (I’d never done it before) and I’m glad to wrap this up. A few more photos below the video too. Enjoy, and onward!
Ducks preen and watch a kayaker on Blue Mountain Lake.
I found this funny – a short bus hiding out in the Tug Hill Wilderness in the middle of nowhere New York.
A lovely evening in Burlington, VT.
https://www.traipsingabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/3-DSC03287.jpg6411024Dakotahttps://www.traipsingabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Traipsing-About-logo-white-background-450x156.pngDakota2014-11-11 05:55:062015-09-02 13:24:36Smashing Fall Colors in New England - Bike Touring Video, Part 4
This is Part 3 of 4 of the video series documenting our 101 day trip cycling across the the U.S. in the summer of 2014. If you missed Part 2, click here to check it out. This section covers from Indiana to the middle of upstate New York.
A gorgeous night on Fletcher Lake in Indiana. Jumped in for a swim and then we watched lightning on the horizon before camping out under a giant maple tree and listening to the rain on the tent.
Three thousand miles into the tour, we are like cyborgs on bikes. With day-to-day routines nailed (except for my elusive rain jacket, which hides in the bottom of a pannier during storms) and legs forged from steely dragon’s teeth, we zip east. Most days, we don’t even break a sweat (<–dirty lie, even cyborgs sweat in 90% humidity).
At this point, we’re both starting to think about Maine, a far-distant mirage in our minds for the first 2/3 of the trip. The realization that we might actually complete the tour without our bodies breaking down feels great. But first, we finish out Indiana, head up toward Cleveland and then skirt along the southern edge of Lake Erie all the way to Niagara Falls before heading east into upstate New York. The magnitude of the effort to get this far sank in as the fall colors of New York beckoned from afar and the days cooled off, a welcome change.
A little metal barn in the middle of nowhere on a back country road in Indiana. Sad news: C’s rainbow socks wore out by the end of the trip. 🙁
You’ll notice I’m goofier in this series. Believe me, all videos are off-the-cuff and I (obviously) don’t employ a joke writer. I think you’ll get a couple chuckles at our random antics as we roll from nowhere Indiana all the way into the NE. If nothing else, it’s a good picture of what the terrain looks like!
Here’s the movie link for email subscribers, or click play below on the embedded video if you visit the site directly. Enjoy.
P.S. There are a few more photos below the movie if you want to check those out first.
Between all the motorcycle rallies and car shows we biked through, we learned quite a bit about vehicles. Ok, not really.
The thing to do (apparently) in Grand Rapids, Ohio is to go fishing at sunset off a small dam in town.
Cold beans by the side of the road (on a hot day at least). Accessed with an old-school can opener, no less.
Always fun to find covered bridges! This one is in Roann, Indiana.
https://www.traipsingabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2-DSC02601.jpg7991200Dakotahttps://www.traipsingabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Traipsing-About-logo-white-background-450x156.pngDakota2014-11-06 06:22:112015-09-02 13:24:43Cyborgs on Bikes - Bike Touring Video (Part 3)
This is Part 2 of 4 of the video series documenting our 101 day trip cycling across the the U.S. in the summer of 2014. If you missed Part 1, click here to check it out. This section covers from Spearfish, South Dakota all the way to the Indiana border. Straight through the heart of the Midwest in summer like true masochists.
We didn’t plan to bike through the Midwest in August. It just worked out that way. Our timing, framed around hitting New England during peak fall colors, meant we had to spend some time in the sweltering summer. To echo Vonnegut, so it goes… Trade-offs are part of living.
After clearing Montana, we headed south through the Black Hills of South Dakota. Instead of highways, we spent a few days on the Mickelson Trail, which is a 110-mile gravel trail that cuts right through the heart of the area near Mt. Rushmore. Timing it perfectly (not), we managed to hit the area just as 500,000 motorcycles descended like loud, buzzing bees for the Sturgis Rally. I think I heard, “Put an engine on that thing!” almost as much as “I could never do what you’re doing.”
Foggy morning in Nebraska in the corn fields.
I asked a bartender in Cody, NE (pop 154) if they knew anyone who might take us in for the night since a big storm was rolling in. Isla helped us out and her cheery granddaughter made us laugh and laugh.
The Midwest gets a bad rap sometimes, and part of it is a bit undeserved. Take Nebraska, for instance. I think most people picture horribly flat, ugly terrain stretching for miles. Flat? On the highways, yes. Country roads were rolling and nice. Ugly? Not in the NW part of the state in the pretty, rolling Sand Hills region. We lucked out and fog was more prevalent than crushing sun for the first half of Nebraska. Clear, hot skies came as we neared Omaha, as did gnarly traffic. My advice is to avoid big cities whenever possible if you go touring because navigating them on bicycle is often difficult or just plain nerve-wracking.
Iowa’s surprise was constant rolling steep hills, not flat corn country. We toiled up them through temperatures soaring into the high 90’s in humidity so thick we could have backstroked in it. Locals were kind, generous and excited to talk to us. A new idea (to us) was Casey’s, a gas station chain also featuring pizza ovens. We ate no-cheese, veggie pizza ($12.74 with tax) and scored ice cubes for our water bottles frequently to survive. That convenience was unfortunately offset by the stink of factory farms and the doomed animals inside them that permeated the air in many stretches of the state. An up-close, visceral look at the underbelly of our food system.
Up close and personal with a soy bean field.
In eastern Iowa, road shoulders were 10 feet wide to accommodate the large Amish population and their buggies, which whisk along behind quickly trotting horses. We stopped at Stringtown Grocery, an Amish establishment featuring re-bagged bulk goods branded under the store’s name. And then we hit a big milestone – The Mississippi River! I stared at the flat brown flowing waters and thought of the Louisiana Purchase. To think that a huge chunk of land west of this grand body of water at one point wasn’t even part of the United States before France sold it to us. 2,300 miles on our bikes to get here and we were barely half way to Maine.
Scenery past the Mississippi was the cliche Midwest fare. Rather non-descript days pedaling through the corn and soy fields of Illinois blend together into podcasts and audiobooks that curbed the monotony a bit. Long days in the sun melded into one big mass of states starting with I as we left Iowa for Illinois and Indiana.
Corn fields and a rusty silo to hold the bounty.
Our ability to forget difficult trials is powerful. This portion of our tour is scarcely three months ago and yet feels so long ago. The events of August in the Midwest are already softer in my mind. Memories of days where we had to linger in a gas station to let our internal temperatures cool down are slipping away. The sun’s fangs are blunted and the sauna of the humidity diminishes. Even the sameness of the landscape – corn, soy, repeat – looks better in the pictures.
What remains etched in stone is a mental confidence that we persevered as a team, pushing through conditions we normally would choose to avoid at all costs. The crucible of the Midwest forged our relationship into a stronger bond. For that reason alone, this tough section of the tour was worth it.
Enough chit chat. How about that video?! Email subscribers: click here for Part 2 of 4. Visitors to the website, just click play below in the embedded video. Enjoy…and see you shortly in Part 3!
https://www.traipsingabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/5-DSC02452.jpg7991200Dakotahttps://www.traipsingabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Traipsing-About-logo-white-background-450x156.pngDakota2014-10-30 17:52:442015-09-02 13:24:58Punching Through the Midwest - Bike Touring Video (Part 2)
I rarely look back. Forward, onward, tally ho! Always new adventures on the horizon, people to visit, places to see, as they say. Perhaps you’ve picked up on that?
Maybe that’s the reason I so enjoyed digging into the videos from our bike tour between hikes in Acadia National Park while we “kicked back” in Maine. Photos are fun to flip through, but they don’t pick up the wind, the rumble of a motorcycle, a joke or stupid song (there were lots) or the patter of raindrops. And even though the experiences are fresh, taking the journey anew through the videos was a fabulous time. I loved combining them into one continuous film voyage to bring you along for the ride and hopefully inspire you to take your own tour. Or maybe convince you that touring is the dumbest thing ever and you’d rather get on a plane to Cabo instead. (I had those thoughts…see Day 23 in the video.)
It was interesting watching my tone change as the trip progressed. You can literally see me relax and get into a flow where I was less stressed or worried. Lots more joking as my goofy side took charge and my business side (which isn’t the real me anyway) slid into the background. It was still there taking care of logistics, but the rest of the time I was more carefree and open to whatever came our way. I think you’ll notice too.
When we were deciding if extended touring was for us, I would have loved to see a video like this with commentary from the rider rather than just music. From a couple hours of clips, I cut it way down to pass along the ups and downs of touring plus scenery from many parts of the country that most people never visit. I think you’ll dig it!
This is part 1 of 4 and covers 32 days from our start in Viola, Idaho to Spearfish, SD over 1,346 miles. (Here’s part 2.) Come along for the ride! It winds through the Rocky Mountains with some amazing scenery in Glacier and Waterton National Parks. Then we hit the plains and roll across Montana in a diagonal line to Spearfish, South Dakota.
Email subscribers, click here to view the video. Others, just click play below to watch the embedded version. A note that all videos were taken with an iPhone and were impromptu, unrehearsed and occasionally ridiculous. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
P.S. In case you haven’t seen it, check out the stats summary with all the numbers from our bike tour.
https://www.traipsingabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/1-DSC02096.jpg6761200Dakotahttps://www.traipsingabout.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Traipsing-About-logo-white-background-450x156.pngDakota2014-10-20 06:43:152015-09-02 13:25:06Cranking Through the Rockies - Bike Touring Video (Part 1 of 4)