Thursday, August 26, 2010
Maximum Speed: 43 mph
Lowest Speed: 4.2 mph
Longest total distance in one day: 96.99 miles
Flat Tires: 4 (I had one at 56th street on the last day after we were back in NYC, and Brian had 3 at different points in the trip)
Bike Shops Visited: 3
Gas Station Pit stops: 8
Illegal/Sketchy Situations: every waking moment
Cliff Bars: 7
Red Bulls: 3 (by me, the other dudes were chugging those shits)
Gatorade/Powerade: at least 2 cases
dogs: 100 - 150 (including a golden retriever that almost took charlie off his bike, and a pack of 12 daschunds)
cows: thousands (they turn their heads and would watch you pass by. so weird)
horses: hundreds (one time we saw a horse with a straight up executioners hood on it's head. it could hear us, but couldn't see us. poor guy)
insects: millions upon millions.
roadkill (in various forms of decay) count:
This day started with us trying to find some short cut to Route 7 through the scraggly network of dirt roads that exist in southwestern Vermont. We ended up riding up-hill for about a half-mile in the wrong direction. This didn't turn out to be so bad because it kind of set us up like a drop-in. A fucking half-mile drop in to a 3 mile descent down a mountain. It was absolutely wild to have started your day in this way. It was, like, wake up, bathroom break, have a coffee (which ruled, being in the woods and all), and then get on your fucking bike and shred. For miles. At close to 35 miles per hour. This might not seem that fast, but becomes interesting once you add 30 pounds of gear to your 30 pound bike. Fucking fun, I say.
This wasn't the fastest we went during the trip. I clocked us doing 43mph on the previous morning. That descent also started on a dirt road, but only lasted for about 1/2 mile. I had off-loaded my front pannier and an additional 10 pounds of shit from my bike that I thought I needed, but (of course) totally didn't. I was a little sketched out because my bike felt, well, better. Anyway we ended up passing a huge piece of heavy machinery that was being pulled by a tractor trailer. Unsafe, but totally awesome. 12 miles later, in Manchester, we stopped for coffee. Then it rained for the rest of Monday, and it was horrible.
Jumping back to our ride from VT to CT: I had low expectations. I generally dislike Massachusetts (fuck the bruins), and Pittsfield was absolutely horrible to ride through. Chud roads, no shoulders, and drivers had their heads shoved directly into their anuses. It was living hell for hours, and miles. We pulled over, checked the map, and decided to barge through the rest of this shitty state.
Three miles (up-hill and with no shoulder) later, we made the right hand turn onto US Route 7, and things changed. The clusterfuck that is Pittsfield disappeared into country nothingness, and the road opened up into rolling hills, and endless descents. The turns were epic. We passed Charles Xavier's School for the Gifted at least 3 times. We hit up an ill bicycle shop in the Berkshires, and Brian copped a sweet new cycling computer. I got up on a new pair of cycling shorts (underlayer), because the new ones I bought had shredded themselves on the morning that we left. Don't ask.
It kept on going for about 45 miles. Even the climbs were awesome, but that was only probably because there weren't any cars on the road. We were riding right in the middle of the street, and it didn't even matter. I had been snacking the whole trip on all types of shit. Cliff Bars, granola bars, shit bars, and tons of gator and/or powerade. I even might've had another Red Bull (before Pittsfield) and I hate that shit. It's horrible stuff. In any event, I wasn't that hungry but Brian was. We pulled over at some random parking spot, which turned out to be a trailhead that will hook you up with the Appalachian trail. We debated about hiking out into the woods and camping on the trail, which would have been tight. However Brian and I wanted to rage it, and chose to keep pushing on. It was only about 6 miles to the next town, and ultimately 15 miles from Macedonia Brook State park, and we had to finish at our original goal. There was no other way.
We stopped for supplies in Lakeview, and charged out. After a short hill climb, we ended up in Sharon, CT. For those that don't know this is where the ultra-elite gather and make decisions that will affect the rest of the population. You might know these people as skull and bones, the illuminati, the federal reserve bank, Bildeberg group, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Halliburton, and all that shit. The place stank of Freemason sorcery. They had expensive driveways, too.
We blew past that shit, and missed our turn because we were in such shell shock from the magnitude of those ridiculous houses. We had to back track (up-hill, again) for about a mile, and then we had to walk through a fucking construction site. The bridge was out, and we had no choice but to walk the bikes through because our tent site was somewhere on the other side.
After crossing we got on the bikes and started pedaling again. The road seemed to jack straight up, and kept on going. This climb lasted for 3 miles, and the road disintegrated into mud and rock. It was wild. When it ended, and switched to downhill it was kind of like mountain biking, kind of. We were cruising at about 30mph down this shit when we saw the sign that said we had entered the state park, and we saw campsites appear out of nowhere. It was also a security-free zone, and we just set up camp without fee, or fear of hassle. It ruled. We had neighbors, a Wiccan couple who shared corn and hot dogs. They were real nice. The woods are fucking rad.
We ate, crashed out, and woke up the next day and rode back to New York City.
The ride through Massachusetts I would have to say was definitely my favorite day of the entire trip. We were surrounded by mountains the entire day and went up and down lots and lots of hills which meant lots of bad ass descents. The weather was pretty much perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. However, it was very cloudy, which I think rules and makes the world look scary. Honestly, the day couldn't have been much better. Toward the end of the day we rode through sharon CT which I have to say is possibly the richest town I have ever seen in my life. There were mansions ALL over the place. It was actually kind of absurd. Matt said he thought it must be the home of the freemasons and that they were running the country from sharon CT. Not long after, we needed to find a place to sleep for the evening. I really wanted to pull up to one of those mansions and ask to sleep in their yard just to see how hard the rejection would be, but I was too lazy to travel the extra two miles down their $20k paved driveway. We instead stopped at some potential hippie house (which I deduced from their subaru outback with a bucket of compost in the back) thinking it would be a sure bet. We were unfortunately denied and had to instead cross a broken under construction bridge by foot and then bike 3 miles up steep ass hills to get to macedonia state park. It all turned out to be pretty awesome in the end as the park was really nice and not near civilization and we met a couple of old wiccans who gave us sweet corn and hung out with us until our 9pm bed time.
The next morning we decided to suck it up and do the last 100 miles to brooklyn in one day. Honestly, 100 miles isn't shit. People get all worked up about centuries... but the way I see it is if you can do 60 you can do 100. You still feel the same at the end of the day. So yeah, the day started off really nice for about the first 40 miles until we started getting in to NYC suburbs then everything just got sort of stressful. Lots of wrong turns and re-routing to try and stay off hectic streets. However, we had to take some shit roads here and there to get things done. Once we got right outside of yonkers things got much more bike friendly as we hopped on a bike path for 8 miles or so which popped us out on broadway which we rode down to 181st street to hop on the west side highway. Basically the trip was over by then (even though we had almost 20 miles to go haha). Once we were on the westside highway we knew we were home. Amazingly, matt managed to get his first flat of the trip with 10 miles to go haha. He made it the entire way to vermont and back with no flats until the west side highway haha.
Anyway, the trip was a success. The first week was kind of boring to me as we just biked through suburbs and farmland, but the last half was super nice and very scenic. I shall post photos soon!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Back in Brooklyn tonight, sucka.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
I'll skip the part about the hamburgers and bacon wrapped chicken carcass, and also the part about the 35 foot tree we pulled out of the woods, broke, and burned. I'll also fail to mention a sweet hike, Charlie climbing up a twelve or thirteen foot tree-bridge jawn, endless games of eukert, and the part about five "bottles" of wine. instead I'll talk about the rain.
the first rain came on Friday morning while we were camped in the backyard of the dude with the kayak on his car's roof. it didn't last that long and wasn't that bad. Sunday morning was another story altogether.
sometime overnight the rain had started pouring, and was off and on throughout the day. the heaviest stuff started coming at about five pm, while Brian and I were hiking back to the tent site. Sabah, Charlie, and eli had left for their "jobs". mortals. pffsh.
Brian and I are invincible, and lucky as shit. we found a package of fire starters hidden in the corner of the lean-to at the tent site. without this we would have surely been fucked, and with it we was able to resuscitate the already resuscitated fire from the previous night. I can say "we was" because I'm from the east coast and I'm all hip-hop and shit. word.
anyway I threw, like, 10 giant logs on the fire and it raged. I can't speak for Brian, but I was actually dry and comfortable in my tent under the shelter. if we didn't have that shelter then we would have had to have slept in the woods in some near hurricane force winds. no bueno. it's all good tho, we were chilling. I made some couscous, and we mowed. the. I read a sin city graphic novel and peaced. I wish I got photos or video of the storm, but my phone was dead.
it was also raining, like, all day today. It didn't phase me at all. I dunno, maybe it was the first descent of the day: 43 mph on winding Vermont country roads, passing tractor trailers, and riding much lighter than previous days. I appreciate Sabah, Eli, and Charlie sacrificing some space in the rental car for me. I left them with about 20 pounds of gear, maybe more.
we made it to Bennington today in about two hours. I had an espresso in Manchester, and then raged the whole way down there. an awesome tailwind and descents that stretched for miles helped, too.
when we got to Bennington we re-upped on groceries, and the we hit taco smell, which for some reason had the best music selection playing inside it. all fifties shit, it totally ruled. anyway I dont eat that fast food, but Brian offered tonpay for a double down if I would eat it, and I said 'ok'. derrrrrrrrrrrr.
then it started pouring again, and we sat it out in an alley on main street in Bennington. there was a bike shop next door, and the owner was cool as shit. he let us take up floor space for a while, and make some small repairs.
after about three hours of waiting we finally decided to barge, and we headed out. rain was, again, off and on. Brian had the whole jam figured out, and took us on this route down dirt roads through some ill dairy farms. he hollered. shit was tight. we got here at this campsite that's hooked up with electrics and agua at about four pm square. I had to buy some firewood (BULL), and we ate pasta and now I'm going to sleep because we got fifty some miles to ride tomorrow to Massachusetts. boom.
I had a gallon of water and a six pack of long trail ale strapped to my bike on the last one , and both of these things were incredibly beneficial at bringing me to a complete stand still. i repeat: the climb up rupert mountain road was the hardest hill climb yet.
merck forest is, basically, a bunch of small steep mountains. nobody is really out there and when you camp there it's lime you are on a mission into the woods. the hike is steep, and you are not allowed to ride bicycles of any sort back there because of this. after climbing up that beast-hill rupert-hell our reward was bombing that trail on our fully loaded (or in my case overloaded) touring bikes. you will read the previous sentence in the voice of Emperor Palpatine. if you do not know who that is then die.
later that evening, and after hiking our bikes back up the hill and out to the visitor center, Sabah and Eli show up. in a car! WTF! how do you get o e of those things jeezus lord have mercy. we hiked, ate, and unfortunately did not jump off of forty foot cliffs into the now water-filled Dorset marble quarry. we did drive past it in the rental car on our way for pizza. this was not as extreme as I wanted to get, but I couldn't really complain because I was still on a crazy caffeine/sugar crash from the red bull Brian stegall made me drink back in Salem, ny.
Charlie told us he once was in Salem, Massachusetts for Halloween and it was wack. Charlie then demonstrated the ill switchback hill climbing technique on ruler mountainhell road. I tried to follow in suit and smashed my fender w my clumsy foot.
that's where this one ends. late.
The weather was pretty damn nice all weekend until Saturday night when it decided to pour rain until the end of time. It rained all night Saturday until I had some sweet puddles in my tent. It let up a bit by morning but drizzled all day which sort of ruled out many outdoor activities for the day.
After ZABAH and others took off matt and I trudged back in to the woods for one more night in the forest. It started raining on us pretty hard during out walk back just enough to drench me to the point of anger. We moved our tents under the wooden leanto thing at the camp site and miraculously found a pack of fire starting blocks hidden in a corner of the leanto which we used to ignite an all powerful bonfire which fought it's way all night through the pounding rain.
While we slept shit got straight bananas in some mini-hurricane bullshit. Trees were falling over all night and when we woke up and walked around outside there were tree bits all over the damn place.
After lugging our gear a mile out of the woods and doing some minor repair work to matts fenders we hit the road starting with a 3 mile descent which was pretty satisfying. Planet earth was still spitting all over us so I was rocking my rain jacket which I have decided does no good. Yeah, it blocks the rain.. But is also traps all the sweat to the point where I am still drenched and even more disgruntled. It was, however too cold to shed the jacket so I miserably peddled all day leaking sweat out of my arm holes all over myself. Those of you who know me well know how I hate being wet. With that said, I was pretty fucking annoyed all day which was unfortunate because the ride today was really pretty. I was just losing my mind after being wet for 2 days straight. Totally not cool.
Anyway, we're now straight chillin at some camp growing south of Bennington vt. The rain has let up for now and I hope it stays out of my life. Tomorrow we will tear up Maryland. BEWARE THE BENNINGTON OBELISK!!!!!
Friday, August 20, 2010
We bombed some massive hills on our way in to eagle bridge (or some shit) where we perched up along side the road by some shitty river and cooked noodles. After lunch everyone realized they were out of water and CHORLIE and I were mega low on energy so we stopped in the next town to get high on red bulls. After that we crushed the next 20 or so miles feeding matt pounds and pounds of dust until he finally caved and bought himself a red bull too which brought him up to speed.
At this point we thought we had about 9 miles left to merck forest, but google was telling us sweet little lies and it was really 15 or some shit. Not only was it way longer than we expected, it was basically all up hill. We of course decided before all this went down that we better stock up on drinks for the weekend. GREAT JOB US!!! But yeah, shit wasn't too bad until literally the last hill, which I am pretty sure was the steepest hill I have ever climbed. I could barely go 20 ft at a time up this 1.5 mile monster before I thought my heart and lungs were going to break my ribs. It was for real no joke. Luckily our camping destination was right at the top of the hill.
HOWEVER, this was not the end of our gruesome journey. We still had to bike half a mile up a gravel driveway before going yet another mile through the woods on a hiking trail that basically went straight down a mountain side. Was extra crazy and exhausting.
We then chilled a minute, set up our tents and ate a little snack before we had to hike back up the trail where we are now sitting around waiting for ZABAH and our friend Eli to arrive for the seemed of raging. Our camp site is really cool and has a huge fire pit as well as a nice lean to shelter thing. Should be an awesome weekend me thinks. I am definitely ready for a riding break after today.
All right! Off to the wilderness for two days! No phone service!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
So anyway, the ride today was pretty easy even though it was slightly longer than usual. We stayed on country roads all morning and it honestly looked a lot like Ohio which kind of bored the shit out of me. We hit up some nice back roads here and there though that were way nice and we could finally leave the confines of the shoulder.
We popped off the road for lunch in some make believe town where, apparently, icabod crane was from. We never crossed any covered bridges so I guess we are still marks for that headless creep lord to ravage us in our sleep. The picnic spot we had was ultra cozy though and totally secluded in the woods. We might have made out with eachother. MIGHT (sorry lady friends and fiancée).
CHORLIE and I chugged some red bulls after lunch and left matt in the dust. He refused to be given wings. Our destination was some suburban camp ground north of Troy ny named makora camp ground. Shit seemed fishy to me when we looked it up and upon our arrival we learned the shit didn't exist. Fucking bummout. I was set on not riding any further so we pulled up to some dudes house who had a kayak on top of his car hoping he would take pity on us as a fellow adventurer and let us camp in his yard. Fortunately for us, he and his brother are stand up dudes. We are now perched up in their woods grillin shit on a camp fire. Eat that Troy.
Tomorrow we are heading in to merk forest for a weekend of cliff diving and other mountain dew sponsored events. Hang ten!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
this a photo from Linda's (from warmshowers.com) with our tents in the background. the bikes lie beneath a cloak of invisibility. I know this because used to be on some D&D shit back in the day.
Thanks Linda, your place is awesome, and thanks Brian for fixing my cycling computer. I mean your cycling computer
The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. Lots of boring suburbs and cars. Nothing notable. The scenery got much nicer as we arrived at bear mountain where we had to trudge up our first major hill of the trip. Shit was intense on our wicked out of shape bodies.
After climbing and descending the mountain we perched up to camp near HESSIAN lake. There were wild metal heads everywhere circle headbanging all around us wearing corpse paint. It was totally kvlt. Anyway, we stopped and asked some total dick master where we could camp in the area and he was too much of an ass hole to be helpful and basically told us we couldn't camp anywhere. With that said we rode another half a mile and dipped off in to the woods out of site from the road and renegade camped it. Shot turned out to be tight. Matt is king of bougie campers as he whipped out some box wine and proceeded to cook pad thai.
After sleeping for about 10 hours we popped up feeling pretty good, had some breakfast and hit the road again. The scenery to Poughkeepsie was much nicer and more nature ridden. However, Poughkeepsie looks like a straight up strip mall.
We are now off to rhinebeck. Toodles!
Monday, August 16, 2010