So first impressions remain New York is noisy, busy and at times smelly – but it’s an amazing city – so much to see and do. Not enough time to do it all but we packed in The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, The Brooklyn Bridge, The Empire State Building, The World Trade Centre Memorial and The Memorial to The Firemen, the Charging Bull, Central Park, Grand Central Station, Little Italy and China Town and the Snoopy Fashion Show. Dad is away home with sore feet and I’m about to go and collect Bertie and set off on the rest of my trip. Loving my bike trip and already got thoughts for my next one.
I type this from China Town, New York City, where I arrived yesterday and it all feels a wee bit surreal – have I really cycled all the way from the west Coast of America to very nearly the East Coast? It doesn’t seem that long since I was battling with the wind on the Oregon Coast wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew and even less time ago since I was roughly 1/2 way across the country, thinking that was great but how the heck can I do the same distance again? But here we both are, 3 ferries, one train ride and a heck of a lot of pedalling later and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
The train wasn’t part of the agenda – yesterday was going well – quite roads initially, then busier roads but with a good shoulder to ride on, followed by 15 miles on the Delaware and Raritan Canal Tow Path and this took me from Pennyslvania into New Jersey – this all took me to about 1/2 way of yesterdays cycling. After this though navigation was going to be trickier – take a right at 10 yards, a left at 1/2 a mile, right, left, etc – as with most journeys probably not a difficult route if you knew it but this combined with a tight scheduled and as the train station happened to be just past the end of the canal this seemed to be the most sensible option, although a little disappointing.
Getting myself and Bertie on the train was not altogether easy though – I hate machines and like to talk to someone but a machine it was and ticket was purchased but I did not even know if they would let Bertie on. Then I had to get myself and Bertie to the correct platform which involved going down a flight of stairs, under the railway line and up a flight of stairs – this involved unloading and then reloading Bertie – if I had waited I would have realised that it’s ok just to walk over the railway line to get to my platform – health and safety does not seem to have arrived in America yet.
It was fine taking Bertie on the train – apart from the 3 steps up and onto the train and luckily somebody helped me with this.
So I find myself outside Penn Station in New York – i’ts noisy, busy and smelly – I’m only 3 miles from the apartment but not sure I’m brave enough to cycle this bit – but there are cycle lanes and I follow the cues from other cyclists, which seem to be ignore the red lights and ignore the zebra crossing and if it’s safe keep going! Well we made it and Bertie is off for some respite care and and I’m going to have a few days sightseeing with Dad.
So a couple of days off before heading off to my final (time permitting) end destination in Maine.
I’ve got my Lancaster’s mixed up – there are 23 places in the USA called Lancaster – the one that is supposed to be famed for the Amish Mafia is Pennyslavania and I’m just a few miles away – think I’m quite safe though.
According to Google Maps I’m 173 miles from China Town, NYC – I need to be there by about 3pm on Monday – less than 48 hours away. Tonight me and Bertie are staying in a very old motel room – it’s clean though and that’s all that matters. Bertie is all ready to go and as soon as the sun is up it’s off to get as close to New York City as possible!
Since arriving in Michigan I’ve been relying on Google Maps – I hadn’t planned on travelling through Michigan so didn’t have maps – and Google Maps is mostly working really well – on bicycle mode it’s sending me on mostly quiet roads and is picking up the major bike trails as well – only once has it tried to take me down a “No Bicycle” road – can I sue for being directed onto a dangerous road??
So Google Maps is doing well and taken me through Michigan, Ohio and now I’m in Pennsylvania – it’s doing well as long as I don’t press the wrong button and scrub the route, which I did today in an area that I couldn’t get internet to reset it – so at the next T-junction I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right and I didnt – however glad I made my mistake and didn’t have to adjust my route by much and saw a Tardis!
At this point I’d picked a nice long quiet road – a few houses along it and one with a Tardis in the front garden. Mike Lawson was home and he and his grandson are huge fans of Dr Who – as well as the Tardis in his garden he has built a few mini ones and there are plans to build a K9 and a Dalek and possibly have a mini open air cinema in the garden to show Dr Who – I think he should. It was great to stop and relax and chat with Mike.
According to the Cambidge Dictionary a Campground is an “area of land for lots of people to put tents or RV’s while travelling or on vacation”. But not always so in America – I can’t member when in my trip I found out that some campgrounds only take RV’s (big campervans) or campers (caravans) and NO tents – you have to be contained – now when the zip is done up on my tiny wee tent I’m feeling pretty well contained but what they mean is I need to have facilities, ie running water and toilet. So some RV sites will take tents but not all campgrounds will take tents.
So why am I boring you with this information? I was tired today. Didn’t sleep well last night due to the cold. Nice cycling today – more quiet roads and cycle trails but lots of stops and rests. At 4pm I decided to stop early and aim for “The Lake Campground” – only 7 miles away – clues in the name you would think but despite advertising that they have restrooms (toilets) and showers you can’t camp there – luckily I checked online and instead cycled 25 miles to “The Countryside Campground” which does take tents. Another mostly good but long day × tired × making a few stupid navigational errors at the end of the day = a grumpy cyclist! But all good now. Showered and cosy – feels warmer tonight – and about to go to bed.
On a completely different note I’m now in Amish country – not seen any Amish people yet or their horses and carts – now I know very little about the Amish people but I believe they live very traditionally – their clothing, housing, equipment, etc and I assumed they were a fairly peaceful community but the folks I might at the campsite last night have advised me not to go to Lancaster in Ohio due to the Amish Mafia! This I had to look up – according to Google there is an American reality TV show called “Amish Mafia” but there seems to be some debate as to how “real” it is. Anyway dont think im going near Lancaster but hopefully more quiet roads tomorrow and maybe I’ll see some horse and carts on the road.
Blooming cold last night. Got all my layers on just now. Will warm up when the sun gets up. I’m told it’s at least 10° colder than the norm for this time of year.
Not had chance to blog much lately – not enough time or not being in the right place at the right time but I’m still here and pedalling away and thought I’d tell you about my wee adventure last night – hopefully later I’ll tell you about the other stuff I’ve done / the folks I’ve met, etc.
Fab days cycling yesterday from Lansing in Michigan to Toledo in Ohio – about 100 miles of lovely gentle cycling mostly through farmland. Got a flat towards end of day but didn’t take long to fix – I must be getting better – bike need a good clean though – any volunteers out there.
I was aiming for the Miakondo Campground I’d found on Google maps but it turns out to be a Boy Scout private campground and all security fenced off – getting late now and no other campground nearby so a wee bit of stealth camping required – the nearby Rest Home had a nice area of grass tucked away but that seemed a bit inappropriate but I could hide behind the abandoned greenhouses next door – not ideal from a noise point of view – busy road on one side and noisy motorway on the other but got off to sleep……..until the 1am (ish) wake up call from the police – he was doing the rounds and always checks on the greenhouses and had spotted my bike and then my tent – I explained the situation and apologised and he was cool (quite cute as well once he stopped blinding me with his torch) and left me to go back to sleep – very glad he didn’t ask me to move on.
So on the road again – campground I’m aiming for tonight is definitely open and hopefully I’ll not get any wake up calls in the middle of the night.
Well the title sounds good – don’t you think? I’ll drop the athlete bit thought – that gives an indication of speed which I definitely don’t do – I’ll leave that to the Mark Beaumont’s of this world (who is in North Dakota as I type this).
Can’t speak for anyone else but in my case the legs are turning, the wheels are spinning but I’m not necessarily thinking about anything, just enjoying the scenery I’m passing through. Of course when you are tired there is that mental conversation between brain and legs – “yes you can get to the top of that hill” / “yes you can do another 10 miles to get to the campsite tonight” / etc. And then every now and again my brain goes into over drive – yesterday was a perfect example (possibly fuelled by a large can of high energy drink). Sane brain and not so sane brain kicked in and I couldn’t shut them up and it went something like this – you’ll figure out which is sane brain and which is not so sane brain.
I think I’ll go to Australia next.
Cycle round the coast – do you think they have any lighthouses?
You’re 1/2 away across America and you’re tired and you want to go Australia!
I’m planning ahead.
How would you get the time of work?
I could retire!
What would your parents say?
(And then it got really random)
I could learn to surf.
You can barely swim and have no coordination (I have to agree with this).
I could take more lessons
Both brains are now thinking of a much younger (much more alive in fact) toned and rugged Patrick Swayze in Point Break.
And so sane brain and not so sane brain carried on for a couple of hours.