So I made some planning errors. I used google maps to figure out how far this trip was. Maps said it was 4100 miles. But when I measure how far I actually ride, it is about 25% more than what maps says. This is because I sometimes take smaller roads which add more miles. Plus the mountains slowed me down a bit. The upshot is I cannot complete my original route. I will have to skip eastern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine (one of the states I have not been to) and Québec. Oh well, I have learned that you must be flexible on a bike tour. Here is my revised route from Buffalo, my current location:
But let me rewind. I sped through Maryland in about three hours but there was a nice flat piece of road that was very pleasant.
After Maryland I crossed into Pennsylvania. My Uncle Jim warned me that it would be hilly and he was right. It was brutal. Here is a summary of my biking experience in Pennsylvania:
I am always glad to see these towers. They are placed at the highest point around so I know I am near a summit.
OK but is a sign really necessary?
There are a lot of deer in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately some end up like this.
Really? Are bats a serious problem here?
In Ridgway, PA I stayed in a wonderful B&B called the Towers Inn, It was built in the 1800s and has some incredible woodworking and architecture, as well as original furniture. Plus a free wine bar.
I’m not sure how many people know that oil was not first discovered in Texas, but in Pennsylvania. On August 28, 1859 an oil well was drilled near Titusville, Pennsylvania. There are still plenty of nodding donkeys around there but none I saw were operating, perhaps because the price of oil is so low that it is not economical to operate them.
One day I passed by a winery (in Pennsylvania?) and decided to stop in for a look. I ended up buying a nice Cabernet, some sausage, cheese and mustard. That night I had a gourmet meal—well in camping terms.
Here I am enjoying my gourmet meal. But I don’t look too happy. I was afraid it might rain, which it did that night. The weather has been cloudy and rainy for the past 10 days or so.
A nice camping site in NY. Deer kept snorting nearby and woke me up all night.
I have noticed many communities are transforming old railways into hiking and biking trails. Rail trails they are called. I found this one in western NY. It was complete with old rail bridges. This one was not paved so it was a little slow.
As I crossed into New York it became clear that in winter there was a need for firewood. I’m sure my brother Steve can relate.
I finally made it to Buffalo, NY where I visited the zoo. While there I noticed some buffalo intimidating other buffalo, who in turn harassed yet others. After observing this behavior for awhile I came to the following conclusion:
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
Besides that I only spent two nights in Buffalo. I had to replace my bike saddle (thanks to my sister Katrina for sending out my spare saddle at a moments notice, and only days before their big trip to Myanmar). I will visit Niagara Falls then pass through Toronto before heading north into the Ontario wilderness. Below is my actual route up to now.
So far the trip has been successful. My odometer reads 2327 miles with only one flat tire, a busted hub, cracked saddle rail, broken pump, and my rear light fell off. My ribs are healed and my knees are fine. I got much stronger over the past month. I can grind up hills now that would have been unthinkable six weeks ago. So not too bad. No falls, no close calls with vehicles and still only one middle finger candidate. And no more mountains. Blissful flatness for the next six weeks. Ah yes.
Beginning tomorrow: O Canada!