Week 3 Update

A day late but it’s here- our third week on the road. This was typed at a small cafe in Seaside, Oregon on an iPhone so I apologize in advance for any incorrect autocorrections and missed mistakes. Enjoy 🙂

DAY 15: Monday – June 20th, 2016

Buffalo, NY to Seattle, WA 

We woke up and met a guy named Nate, who took us to the airport. It’s funny because we had never met Nate. 

This awesome guy named Ryan had come up behind us on a bike trail a few days earlier and messaged us on Instagram saying how he was stoked to follow our journey. The day before our flight out of NY, we didn’t have a ride there. We told Ryan and he connected us with his friend Nate who commutes to Buffalo during the week. Nate agreed to pick us up and take us to the airport. We made great conversation on the way there. Nate was working on his second year of his PhD in social work at the University of Buffalo. 

We flew into Seattle and were greeted by Jordan’s lovely Aunt Alexandra.
DAY 16-18: Tuesday-Thursday – June 21-23, 2016

Enjoying Seattle, WA

We spent some time exploring the city including areas like Ballard, Bellevue, and Pike’s Market. It’s crazy how bike-friendly the city is and how easy it is to navigate your way around the town. 

One day was spent cycling on Bainbridge Island. We joined Jordan’s friend Haley for lunch at a local teriyaki joint. After, we visited a state park and sat at the beach taking in the beautiful views, including the view of Mount Reiner. It’s beauty stunned us. It appears as a “mountain of gods” of some sort, peaking high above the cloud line. We found a local brewery and enjoyed delicious nachos and local ales to end the day. On the ferry back, we had quite the laughable moment.

The cyclists exit first on the ferry so naturally we were up in the front with about 20 others. The ferry was approaching the dock. Jordan and I took this moment to try and “fit in as locals” by clipping in one foot. The ferry was a little too far left and I braced myself. Jordan, however, did not anticipate the bumps.

The ferry knocked into the left side, sending a wave of energy throughout the ferry. Jordan wasn’t ready and stumbled a little but grabbed onto me to regain balance. Not anticipating Jordan needing to grab onto me, he fell into me and pushed me to the ground before I could react. I crashed with my 40 pounds of panniers and fell on the ground. Jordan burst out laughing and all I could do was smile thinking, “welp, there goes any shot of us ‘blending in’ as Seattlites.” A few people around laughed and suggested I stay far from Jordan before he “bully” me anymore. It was quite a hysterical moment for the both of us. 

Jordan’s family treated us so well from giving us a room to sleep in to delicious home-cooked meals in the evenings to homemade granola in the morning. It was a wonderful few days in Seattle and we couldn’t have had a better place to stay. 

 
DAY 19: Friday – June 24th, 2016

Seattle, WA to Lakewood, WA – 54 miles

It was time to move on with our trip. After sometime, we made it to our Warmshowers host, Steven. He had basically a second house in his basement that we had all to ourselves. At dinner, we chatted with him and his wife about current issues in the world and the politics involving them. It was quite the conversation and definitely made Friday night a fun one. 
DAY 20: Saturday – June 25th, 2016

Lakewood, WA to Chehalis, WA – 69 miles

That morning, Steven kept his promise and had breakfast ready at 6:30am so that he could ride with us for part of the day. 

He joined us and took us on a slight detour so that we had flat, paved bike paths and a scenic ride through the city of Lakewood. Steven biked with us for 37 miles and wished everyone a wonderful day that we passed. For a man at the age of 75, it was most admirable. Let him serve as a role model to never let age be an excuse to health and fitness in the future. 

That day, we biked our most miles to date- 69. Luckily, we had a wonderful host that night too- Sophie, a friend of mine from college, parents house. Richard, her father, was the only one in town that weekend, but still gave us an unforgettable experience.

Her brought us to dinner at the local Mexican restaurant that everyone raves about- it was absolutely delicious (almost as good as Guadalajara in Tucson!). Over dinner, Jordan and Richard chatted endlessly about politics being that he serves in the Washington state legislature. Even though I didn’t previously have much interest in politics, their conversation gave me more insight in the functions of the system and the possibilities to make a difference within the state. 

After dinner, he gave us a tour of Chehalis and took us downtown where a car drag show was happening. After, he took us to the oldest bar in the town to taste craft ales. 

It’s the experiences like these ones that give us genuine insight into the Americana culture in other parts of our country. It’s these ones that we look forward to most.

 The evening ended well with soft beds and a roof over our heads.
DAY 21: Sunday – June 26th, 2016

Chehalis, WA to Raymond, WA – 49 miles

We slept in as a reward to ourselves for biking so far the day before. Richard had breakfast with us and then invited us to go out on his boat on the Puget Sound. We thought, “Why not? All we have is time.” 

It was a beautiful day to be on a 30-foot boat on clear, crisp water of the Puget Sound. We relaxed and enjoyed the water. Afterwards, we hopped on our bikes at 2pm and still managed to bike 49 miles before calling it a day around 7pm. However, our luck didn’t end there.

With nowhere to sleep, we ventured down a neighborhood nearby the end of our ride. The first house we saw had a Hilary 2016 sign and an SUV out front. “Hmm… Why not?” We thought. Jordan warmed up the usual spiel and asked if we could pitch our tents in her back lawn. 

“Of course you can. Go right ahead” replied the woman who answered the door. 

The kindness in strangers we encounter each day continues. We feel profound gratitude to all the people we have met thus far and look forward to those we have yet to meet.
Written by Joe Previte

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Doing what we want to do


When Joe and I first started planning our trip, we wanted to conquer a 7,700 mile trek across the U.S and then some. You could say we were a little nieve and ambitious.  But as with most things, that idea was soon replaced with a new one.  I was offered my dream job in D.C and Joe will soon be attending graduate school at California State University at Long Beach.  Because of this, we shortened our trip, so now instead of traveling all throughout Utah and Colorado after we made it to Seattle, we were now going to finish in Salt Lake City via Seattle.

Now, flash forward to 3 days ago.  As we were riding through rural New York on our way to Rochester, we were talking about whats to come.  We had just rode through the Green Mountains, the White Mountains and the Adirondacks, arguably some of the most beautiful places in the country.  And what did we have to look forward to now, corn and big bugs in the Midwest.

Now I’m not saying the Midwest isn’t beautiful, its just not the beautiful Joe and I were looking for.  So as we were riding, we were joking about the possibility of getting to Seattle quicker and bypassing the Midwest and Montana.  At first, it started as a joke, but as we talked more and more, we realized we could do this.  We stopped for dinner at this rad Mexican restaurant and looked up ways to get to Seattle.  This was Friday evening, and now as I am writing this blog post on Monday night, I’m sitting in my beautiful cousins house in Seattle.

We ended up packing up our bikes in Rochester and snagged a flight out of Buffalo this morning.  Its really crazy how things happen.  We had an idea and made a spontaneous decision.  You are probably wondering what are they going to do now?  Well, we both have a great desire to see the Pacific Northwest and the California coast so in a couple days we are going to set off for San Diego, taking our time and visiting towns such as Portland, Eugene and San Francisco along the way riding the whole time down the Pacific Coast Highway.

When making this decision, Joe and I asked each other, are we cheating ourselves?  We concluded that in no way that is the case.  We figured, this is our trip, one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.  An experience that most other people won’t have during their life time, so why not make the most out of the limited time we had on the road.  Yes, going through the Midwest, we might have met some amazing people, but it would not give us the experience that we both want, which is a beautiful sight around each corner.  This is our trip, we don’t have to live up to any expectations, the whole emphasis of this journey from the start was to see our own “backyard” in our own terms, and we are doing just that.  We are beyond excited to begin our trek south, meeting more amazing people along the way and raising money for Outdoor Outreach.

Sorry for the long explanation, but I figured I’d share our reasoning so others would know why we chose to do what we did.  Now, I’look share a little bit about this past week and the incredible experiences we have had.
Middlebury,VT to Paradox, NY

After leaving Zane and Elana’s house, we headed west to New York.  After splitting a large pizza at a gas station, we ended up at the Lake Champlain Ferry crossing that led us into Ticonderoga, New York.

Once we got to Ticonderoga, we were faced with one of the biggest hills we have had our whole trip, a steep 2 mile incline that took it out of us.  We were exhausted and it was getting to around the time we like to find where we are going to sleep that night so we stopped at one house and they said no, but pointed us to the boat dock where he said nobody would find us.  After intensely looking, we could not find the dock so we just continued.

We decided to take a little side street that led us to this massive house on a river.  We knocked and a friendly gentleman by the name of Chris came out and said it was totally cool if we camped in his backyard.  After setting up, he came over and offered us his kayaks to go checkout the local lake.  We obviously said yes.  After about 20 minutes of riding, it started pouring so we raced back home.  Chris felt so bad and invited us in for hot chocolate and even offered to dry our clothes.  After we got to talking, we found out that Chris is a Professor of Literature at Eastern Kentucky University.  Joe is interested in getting his Ph.D. so we had a lot to talk about.  After about two hours, we parted ways and went back to our tent.

Paradox to Long Lake

Chris and his wife Susan invited us in for a quick breakfast and then we took off for Long Lake.  After going 38 miles we finally came across a super small, hole in the wall bar where we snagged some burgers and beer.  So refreshing on a hot day.  After riding another 14 miles we finally hit Long Lake.  We stopped at a convince store and each ate  a pint of ice cream, this has since become a tradition.

Later that evening we found ourselves at a campsite right on the lake.  Absolutely epic spot!  We did laundry for the first time using our soap and faucet.  The people next to us got a good laugh out of it.

Long Lake to McKeever

After grabbing breakfast at the town diner we headed west, still riding through the beautiful Adirondacks.  All day were riding through cool mountain towns and eventually we stopped in Old Forge to where we grabbed a bite to eat.

Later that evening when it was about time to find a place to sleep, we asked a couple homes if we could sleep on their lawn and they all said no.  Up until then, everyone had said yes, maybe Joe smelled bad or my facial hair was to long and they thought I was 35 years old.

We ended up sleeping on the side of a highway.  Cars stopped to look at us but it didn’t really bother us to much.  That night Joe had a blister so I had to perform a surgical procedure using a needle to relieve the pain.  It was quite epic if I can say so myself.

McKeever to Pulaski

After not having the best night sleep on the side of the highway, we boogied on out and rode 20 miles along a river to Boonville and ate at my favorite diner yet called Silks.

We continued to a small town called Redfield where we grabbed a beer at this hole in the wall bar.  We chatted with some firefighters and the bartender for about an hour about riding and motorcycles.

That evening my Uncle Lee and Aunt Kim met up with us.  They were driving from San Francisco out to Maine with their Airstream.  We made camp at a state park right on Lake Ontario.  They treated us to an actual dinner which was much needed.  We talked all night about traveling and our crazy adventures thus far.
Pulaski to Sodus

In the morning we grabbed breakfast at the smallest diner I had ever been to but it was unbelievable.  I had the best blueberry pancakes there.  After, we parted ways with my Uncle and Aunt and we headed towards Sodus.

This was the first time we got lost.  We decided to take our own route and not the one on our map, but this turned out disastrous.  Instead of saving time, we lost time and rode on super busy streets.  We learned a great lesson that day.

After finding our way back on track, we starting talking about what we wanted with this trip.  We had just left the Adirondacks and realized for the next couple thousand miles, it would be nothing but corn fields and flat roads.  We jokingly threw out ideas and after a while we started thinking this could actually happen.

We sat down for a great Mexican food dinner and researched ways to get to Seattle.  First we wanted a train and then we thought a car might be a cool idea.

We got to our warmshowers host that evening and took a shower using their hose on the side.  People looked at us like we were freaks, but you got to do what you got to do.


Sodus to Rochester

The next morning we decided that we were going to fly so the next thing we knew we had two, one way tickets to Seattle for Monday.  It was Saturday. On the way to Rochester, we met Ryan, a great guy who also tours on the Erie Canal.  Our friend in in Phoenix, Erick, put us in contact with two othercyclists,  Alex and Cole.  They had been biking for 5 months on the same route we were going to do, except they started from the West Coast.  They were carrying their dog with them as well which was so rad to see.

After a long days ride, we arrived at my cousins house in Rodchester.  I totally forgot I had cousins who lived in Rochester until my mom told me a day before, but it could not of worked out any better. They opened their stunning house up to us and showed us all around the city.

My cousins are the same age as Joe and I, so we went out that evening in Downtown Rochester. It was great being in that environment because we hadn’t done that since we started out journey. We ended the night with a garbage plate, a dish that is a Rochester staple.  It was basically a combination of pasta salad, home fries and cheese burgers topped with meat sauce.  It is up there with one of the best late night foods I’ve ever had.

We stayed at their house playing soccer in the backyard and relaxing until Monday morning when we left to the airport.  Ryan, the guy who we met on the Erie Canal had a friend who drove us to the airport.  His name is Nate.  He’s a Ph.D student studying social work.  Sure cool guy.

Once we got into Seattle, my cousins picked us up from the airport and brought us back to their house.  We had an amazing salmon dinner and spoke about what we should do it Seattle for the next couple days. Neither Joe nor I’s parents knew we were going to Seattle, so we called my mom and she didn’t believe me for 10 minutes.  We all got a good laugh out of it.  We could not be more stoked to start our new journey.


Sorry for any spelling mistakes or typos in advance.

 

Written by Jordan Mishlove.

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Week 1: churches to home brewing to river views

Each Monday, we hope to post a summary of that week’s adventures. For organizational purposes, each day has a few paragraphs to give you a sense of what we experienced. We apologize in advance for any errors/typos/formatting issues- this was typed on an iPhone in a small cafe in Middlebury, Vermont. 

Please enjoy 🙂 

DAY 1: Monday – June 6th, 2016

Camden, ME to Bath, ME – 42 miles

Wow, Maine was hilly. While coasting downhill, one of my panniers fell off. Luckily, no damage. We stayed with our first warm showers host- Mike, Amy and Juniper. 

We chatted with us almost the entire night about their travels. They were extremely kind and shared their delicious meal with us. The coolest part was looking at a map with their two year, Juniper, who showed us all the states where she knew people. Lucky for us, they had a guest bed for us to sleep in on our first night. We couldn’t have asked for a better first night.

DAY 2: Tuesday – June 7th, 2016

Bath, ME to Poland, ME – 50 miles
“Joe, wait! What time is it?” Jordan shouted to me as we passed a tall, white church in Durham, ME. I looked at my bike computer: it read 11:20. The sign sitting outside the church read LUNCH 11:30. We parked our bikes and headed inside.

There, we were met by the kindest elderly folk who welcomed us in and asked for a small donation to cover the cost of the food. While there, we chatted about our trip and received significant donations. One man even told us to stop at his friends in Bridgton who brews his own beer. 

That night, we found a parking lot behind a church to pitch our tents. As soon as Jordan finished attaching the rain fly, the rain poured down and all we could do was laugh at how timely we had set up our tents. 
DAY 3: Wednesday – June 8th, 2016

Poland, ME to Fryeburg, ME – ~40 miles
We stopped at the house of the friend we met the day before to taste home brewed beer. Steve, the friend, opened the door. “I was expected you two yesterday! What happened?” He chuckled. “Come on in, I heard you two were interested in trying my home brews.” 

He taught us all about the art of home brewing, what he liked to call “Old Pondy’s.” We tried a raspberry ale and a porter- both delicious. Then, he sent us off with a bottle of wheat beer that was the same recipe of the beer he entered into a town contest and win first place. The day didn’t end there.

That evening, we weren’t sure where we’d be resting our heads that night. After being turned down by the Fryeburg Fire Department, we thought we’d try our luck with a complete stranger. Down the street, we watched a woman gardening in the back. I approached her with our situation and asked if we could camp in her backyard. As a worker for th tourist center, she said yes with hesitation. 

While there, her tenant who lived upstairs came out to say hello. Her name was Nickie and she was a water activist and a director for Wilderness First Responder training programs in the US who lived lightly with her son who was 12 named Luke. She told about her hikes thru the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail and her work with refugees in Burma and Thailand. Then, she invited us in for beers, to meet her son and on a hike. She brought us in her car to a place called Jockey Cap, which was on a small mountain that overlooked all the nearby mountains in Maine. It was gorgeous. 
DAY 4: Thursday – June 9th, 2016

Fryeburg, ME to Lincon, NH- 47.5 miles 
We conquered our toughest hill- Kancamagus  Pass- 22 miles of uphill to reach 2,855 feet in elevation.


Oh, and while stopping at a creek, my phone fell out of my jacket pocket and into the creek, two feet under water. Jordan had to hold me by my feet to reach it. My Lifeproof case failed me and didn’t stop the water from entering. However, lucky I have amazing friends like Jessica Edwards who is shipping me her brothers old phone to use (thank you so much!). 

That night, we didn’t know where we were going to sleep. We stopped at a pizza shop but they were out of slices, lucky for us (although we didn’t know it at the time). So we headed to Woodstock Brewery, where we told the bartender our situation and she told us about a guy who hosts Appalachain Trail thru hikers at his house. We headed to his house and crossed our fingers.

At the house, we made eye contact with a man through the window seconds before ringing the door bell. He pulled a cord and the window opened. 

“Can I help you?” 

“We’re looking for Chet. That’s me. Who are you?” 

“I’m Joe and this is Jordan and we’re riding our bikes across the country and we heard you host AT thru hikers. We were hoping to stay at your place or pitch our tents.” 

“Where did you start and where are you going?”

“We started in Camden, Maine and we’re heading to Seattle.”

He paused for a few seconds. Then he said with a smile, “Well, that’s enough information for me. You boys have a place tonight. Welcome to Chet’s Hostel.”

I could write a whole blog post on this night but I’ll summarize for you. Chet was injured in a backpacking incident and now sits in a wheel chair. He told us it’s a miracle he’s even alive but through spiritual healing techniques like reiki, he awoke from a coma. Now, he hosts hikers and cyclists for a work/trade stay, meaning you do something as simple as sweeping the porch or donating any unused gear to stay for free. Chet told us some amazing stories. We felt so thankful to have met him and stay with him. He is one of the most inspiring individuals we’ve met this far.
DAY 5: Friday, June 10th, 2016

Lincon, NH to Lime, NH – 42 miles 
We rode over another hill and then stopped in Orford to eat some of the not-so-delicious mac and cheese and mozzarella. After attempting to contact a few other warmshowers hosts, we didn’t have too much luck. We decided to keep riding and just camp when we were tired of riding. 

A few miles from the convenience store, we stopped to double check the map. A cyclist, an older gentleman around the age of a grandpa,  came up behind me while Jordan was looking at the map and said, “Where you going?” 

“Thetford, I think.”

“Where are you coming from?”

“Camden, Maine.”

Jordan stopped looking at the map to join the conversation. He looked at me with the face “Should I ask?” and then went for it. 

“This may sound strange… but do you have a patch of grass at your house?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Well, we don’t have a place to stay tonight. Could we camp on your grass?”

“Sure, follow me.”

Of course, his house happened to be along the road our map told us to take. After a mile, we turned right down a lightly gravel-ed driveway that seemed to extend for at least 50 yards where we pulled up to a gorgeous mansion, right next to the Conneticut River. He had more than a small patch of grass. 

Then he offered to take us to the grocery store to buy sandwiches for dinner. We returned to the house, showered and sat on a bench overlooking the river. He would have had us over for dinner but he had guests coming and didn’t prepare enough food.

He later came down and invited us to join his guests for food and drinks on the back patio. It turns out his three Dartmouth roommates were over for dinner along with his daughter, son-in-law and their two year old. We made great conversation and him and his wife made us feel so welcome with their friends and family. They also let us sleep in their small guest house. It felt like a true New England experience. 
DAY 6: Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Lime, NH to Rochester, VT – 57 miles 

Dave, the man we stayed with, walked us out that morning and sent us to Isabell’s, a local diner. There, we met two University of Arizona alum who graduated in 2008 and now the wife is pursuing a PhD in computer engineering at Dartmouth. 

On our way, a woman told us that a bike shop in Rochester might let us camp out there. 

We arrived ten minutes before they closed shop and found clip less pedals to switch to becaus we figured they might help us go faster. The bike shop guys were so kind and helpful. While there, the owner offered to let us camp in his backyard behind the shop. It worked out too because this awesome guy named Vince was doing a demo the next day for Kona bikes. He inspected our bikes, taught us a lot and even gave us chain lube and a rag. 
DAY 7: Sunday, June 12th, 2016

Rochester, VT to Middlebury, VT- 32 miles 

In the morning, Vince gave us a few more cycling tips and said bye. We passed over Brandon Gap, about 2,000 feet in elevation, and even saw other cyclists pass by us on the way up.

On the way down, we hit 43 mph- our fastest yet! At the bottom, we stopped at the convenience store and ran into about 10 cyclists, the same ones who passed us and chatted with us earlier. One, who I had talked to briefly, walked up and handled me a $10 bill. “Hey, lunch is on me guys.” 

It was really kind of him and he really didn’t need to but he wouldn’t take no for a answer. Later, a woman from the group said he was the town postman and had once climbed Mount Everest. 

In Middlebury, we struggled a bit. We didn’t know where we would stay and we were banking on Jordan’s friend of a friend to respond to our Facebook. After riding on Middlebury College campus with no luck of running into students who might let us crash in their dorm, we went back to a cafe we had eaten at earlier. We asked someone on Couchsurfing  and later received a yes, we could stay with her.

On our way to her house, Jordan’s connection came through. “Oh no… Now what?” I asked Jordan. 

We went to the Couchsurfer’s house and explained the situation. She understood and was very kind. We rode to Elana’s, Jordan’s friend’s house, and ended up staying there with her and her roommate Zane. 

They gave us a tour of Middlebury, introduced us to several friends and were very hospitable. All the conversations that night pertained to education, journalism, politics and the incredible amount of opportunities youth have today in society. 
Wow, we could end our trip today and be satisfied with our experience. Thank you to everyone out there cheering us on and supporting us! We couldn’t imagine doing anything else right now.

If you’d like to donate to Outdoor Outreach, please follow this link and help us reach our goal of $20,000:

https://www.classy.org/checkout/donation?eid=72748

Written by Joe Previte
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