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From Connecticut, With Love

I am sitting in the Thompson Public Library, accessing the internet for the first time in about a week and a half. It is nice to be typing on a computer again. I didn’t really notice how much I was missing it.

I kept a paper journal of a good part of the trip so far, so I will transcribe that below. But for those that don’t want to read all of that, here is the summary:

Scott and I boarded a Greyhound bus in Seattle on Friday, June 17th. Only though much pleading and careful watching did our bikes make it all the way to Portland, Maine with us three and a half days later. We assembled our bikes between 10:00pm and midnight behind the closed bus depot, then rode to the Motel, where the real adventrue began. After working our way down Maine into New Hampshire for a couple of days and battling four flat tires, Scott hurt his knee, and we had to take it easy for a couple of days. We headed off again and passed though Massachusetts (sp?) before crossing into Connecticut today.

Now, the long version: [Denotes addition – not in original journal]

6/17/05 – 7:06 am
Pulled an all-nighter getting ready. My house and Scott’s both look like war zones. Scott seemed hell-bent at times on leaving today, so we are ready despite setbacks such as no panniers for Scott becasue we purchased 3 left and 1 right at Performance.

6/17/05 – 9:01 am
We just boarded the Greyhound bus. We got the bikes on board, somehow, after some Greyhound shipping clerk’s incompetence. Point of no return is rapidly approaching, and both SCott and I are looking forward to getting some sleep. The cost to ship the bikes was $34, not $15 as promised.

6/17/05 – 4:16 pm
Driver change in Stafford, Oregon to a much worse driver; we didn’t get started until 30 minutes after we were supposed to and he doesn’t talk or provide information. The Bus is not fast, and Scott recently said that the whole bus thing may have been a mistake. Too late now though…

6/17/05 – 6:27 pm
Baker City, Oregon – 10 mintue stop, so Scott and I played a round of Hearts with two other bus passengers. We had the moon shot on us unexpectedly. Next stop, we’ll have to begin the stuggle back into the game.

6/18/05 – 12:11 am (Mountain Time)
These Pilot trucker rest stops start to make a lot more sense after two days without a shower and sardine-like packing into a Greyhound bus. Actually, its not too bad yet, even though a pretty girl disembarked in Boise [She smoked, however]. We are scheduled for Salk Lake City around 7am. I found sleep easy earlier, and now I am wide awake, reading a book that Scott brought called “Kane & Abel” – quite a good read. Scott, on the other hand, who had trouble sleeping before, is now getting soem rest. The cool midnight air is a welcome relief for me, as I always seem to be running warm. So far, all is well.

6/18/05 – 6:31 am
We are on an hour and a quarter layover in Salk Lake City. Scott slept most of the night while I read. Most of the people on the bus are quiet and interesting; a few are more talkative and more interesting. We are looking for a gas station to get the stove working for food at the next layover [The balance bars, fruit snacks, and fat jerky get old pretty quickly, you see. While in Salt Lake, we walked up past Temple Square, into Brigham Park, where we rested a while, then back to the bus depot.]

6/18/05 – 5:28 pm
Now in Denver, the busiest terminal we’ve been in yet. Keeping track of the bikes is a chore, and we never know if they are going to make it onto a particular bus… The line to gate 4 is longer than any we’ve been in, and we’ve been in full busses before.

6/18/05 – 6:26 pm
We managed to make it onto a bus – there were two – but not with our bikes, which made it, bus barely, and not without much pleading, onto the 2nd bus headed our direction, we hope.
Bikes on:
Burlington Trailways #68207
US DOT 044110

6/18/05 – 10:08 pm
Nebraska – the first new state for both SCott and I. The night is warm and muggy. The bus with our bikes on it is here at this stop as well, bolstering our confidence at being reunited at some point in the future. We are travelling on perhaps the newest bus in the Burlington Trailways fleet; it has a video system which we have put to pretty terrible use for the forgettable Big Daddy and the sickening Dumb and Dumber. Hopefully that will be over soon. A nearby readerboard states 68* F, though it feels warmer with the humidity and only sporadic breezes.

6/19/05 – 2:17 am (Central Time)
Now in Central time, we have stopped for a 30-minute food break. The days and nights run together when constantly on the road: in Denver, at around 6:00pm, I wondered aloud if it were day or night. Its a strange life on the bus, but not wholely unpleasant.

6/19/05 – 6:05 am
Omaha, Nebraska – we saw the bikes again, on the bus we will be tranfering to in Des Moines, we are told: Greyhound #2309

Happy Father’s Day! But we’ve gotta wait a while to phone up and say it. We’re both stuck in the space-time warp of long-haul busland.

6/19/05 – 9:02 am
Now we are in Des Moines, Iowa – the land where my brother served his mission and the second new state of the trip. We are on the same bus as our bikes again, finally, we think. Boarding was quick and we didn’t actually get to see the bikes again. Now we sit, waiting to depart, already 20 minutes late and with only a 30-minute cushion/layover in Chicago at 5:00pm. I am beginning to smell again, so it must have been another 24 hours or so since I last applied deoderant, sometime before Boise. I am somewhat less motivated now, though, fo thte dearth of attractive women in these parts.

6/19/05 – 3:20 pm
Aurora, Illinois. Scott’s been around the state before, but I’ve only been at Chicago O’Hare, primarily bad experiences there. It is bright sunny hot weather pretty much everywhere we’ve been since Washington. My left wrist is hurting for some unknown reason, and Scott is being scik of something-or-other. Great start to the trip. Woo-hoo!

6/19/05 – 5:39 pm
Welcome to Indiana – Crossroads of America [oh, really?]. A new state for both of us. And the second tollway in 5 miles. Land is mostly flat, well-treed (entirely leafed/deciduous) and clouds appear only at the horizons. I begin to wonder if the East ever recieves any rain. OIr is this the Midwest? I guess so………..

6/19/05 – 10:35 pm (Eastern Time)
We are now in Ohio and finally less than 24 hours away from our destination. We both gave calls to wish our fathers a happy day and let people know we were doing alright. I think I may have contracted SCott’s cold, a somewhat sore throat is the perpetrator. Hopefully, it will soon pass for both of us.

6/20/05 – 1:18 am
Cleveland has by far the nicest bus depot we’ve seen so far. Well lit, mostly clean, and even with arrival/departure televisions, it approaches the class of a small town airport, perhaps. There is even a gift shop open at this hour. Perhaps busses do better out here in the Eastern time zone.

6/20/05 – 3:09 am
We just crossed into Pennsylvania. I am writing this in almost complete darkness to avoid waking Scott up. I don’t think we stop here in PA; next stop is Buffalo, I believe. Then Rochester, then Albany, then Boston, then 2.5 hour layover, then Portland!

6/20/05 – 5:10 am
Buffalo, New York – another nice, big bus depot. Mostly empty compared to Cleveland, though. We stepped off the bus, unsire if we were changing busses because we had another ticket but our bus was also going the same place. In the same situation before, we changed busses; this time we stayed. However, leaving the bus to figure this out, we forgot yo claim our seats and one became occupied before we came back. We moved back acouple of seats, and now sit next to a somewhat overaffectionate mother of a cute baby boy. Next stop is Syracuse, I believe…

6/20/05 – 7:58 am
Just left Rochester. Scott hasn’t been sleeping well on the bus and now seems practically comatose when I try to hold a conversation with him. As for me, I’m working on keeping m y contacts bathed in tears so I don’t have to take them out and become blind again like I did earlier in the trip.

6/20/05 – 9:31 am
About 12 hours to go now that we are about to leave Syracuse. Its a good thing the U.S. isn’t any bigger, or I don’t know if both of us would make it. There was a Subway here, but they weren’t open yet. I was looking forward to a real meal for a change. The last Subway we tried has ran out of bread (!) Bah. [We ended up getting our “subs” on not-fresh-baked roundbread.]

6/20/05 9:01 pm
Boston was pretty spetacular, from what I saw. A multistory bus depot on top of a train station in the middle of downtown was all I could really explore. We ate and started trying to book hotels for Portland. We’ve had no luck so far and are somewhat concerned about what the final destination had in store for us. We recently crossed into New Hampshire and are currently stopped at Portsmouth, dropping a few people off. The moon is full, and the town still seems to be bustling on even this Monday night. I look forward to the end of this part of the journey.

6/20/05 – 11:57 pm
Arrived Portland around 10:00. Closest affordable hotel was 3+ miles away, so we assembled our bikes, packed bags (we have too much stuff!) and set out for a hotel.

6/21/05 – 12:37 pm
Last night was interesting to say the least. We biked randomly until we found an open gas station. Scott bought some maps, I called the Motel 6, and we finally foudn them on the map, got some advice from locals on how to get there, and set out. The 1:30 am ride was actually quite pleasant, even with a bike that wanted to fall over backwards.
On another note, we thought for a while [as we assembled our bikes] that we had no pump until I found the CO2 pump; Scott, with no panniers, made an ad-hoc pannier out of cardboard and his bag. [Presently] He just took off, while I hold on to the stuff, to buy some [panniers] himself. Hopefully, he’ll pick up a pump as well [he did]. At the hotel, we planned out routes, watched the tube, and ate, then slept way past the 10:00 alarm that Scott said would be enough to wake him up. [Actually, it did wake him up, but then he went back to sleep]. As it was, we barely got out before an extended check-out time. At least we feel well-rested, and least mostly. For breakfast we had milk & granola. Portland was dead last night, but now it is fairly bustling, birght & sunny very much yes indeed. Now, I just get to wait as clothes dry in the sun.

6/21/05 – 3:09 pm
Glorious start to the trip – Scott’s been out of touch for 2 hours now while I get to sit around waiting for him. [I expected a call, and I didn’t make that explanation clear.] I talked to a guy about the trip (or lack thereof so far) and to a girl about the hotel. Both wished me good luck, and at this rate, we’ll definitely need it. Most of the clothes have dried.

6/21/05 – 4:56 pm
It got to around 86* or maybe a little hotter today. We’ve stopped 5 miles out of Portland to fill up water and pump up tired. Scott is pretty jumpy tight now – what usually passes as friendly banter turns him defensive. It is not comfortable between us. Onward, though, onward.

6/24/05 – 11:52 pm
[I had lost the last few entries for a while, so I repeat myself somewhat here. This was written at the Great Eagle motel in Hampton, NH, where we stayed to recuperate Scott’s knee]
The first day of the trip, four days ago, we simply put together the bikes at the (closed) bus depot! Well, not so simply. First, we didn’t have a real pump, and we forgot where the CO2 pump was for a while. About midnight – a little earlier actually – we headed out. I had full panniers, and Scott built himself out of cardboard a platform to drape his bag over. We roamed until we found an open gas station, then we got a map, called the Motel 6, and with some help from locals, made it to the Hotel about 3 miles away. We stayed up late planning out the next day.

Consequently, we woke up late the next day and barely made late check out. I tooled around outside the motel with the stuff while Scott took off to get himself panniers. Three hours later, I was extremely bored, and he returned, having suffered two flats on the trip to two bike shops. We packed up and got on the road around 4:00pm. headed west to intersect the path on Scott’s maps. We made it about 29 miles as it was getting dark, so we found a place on the side of the road to camp in the trees and set up.

We woke up by 5:00 am, just before it started raining. We packe dup, with a few bugs (there were many the night before). We set off in the rain and eventually holed up in Goodwin Mills where we had some wodnerful breakfast sandwhiches and talked to the locals. Maybe two hours later we headed out again, still raining. We refilled water, still in the rain, then kept goining. Eventually, it stopped raining, and we were making decent time uuntil we got to Kennisbunk (?), where after stopping at the town traffic circle, Scott had another flat. He decided to patch, so another hour and change was gone. After his panniers fell off (several times) and various other difficulties, we were about 9 miles down the road in Wells when he heard something rubbing, got off his bike, and his tire blew out the side. We stopped in the shade of a tree at Captain Hook’s and I rode into Wells to get a replacement tire and tubes, then back to Scott. We bought Powerade there tsiunce we used their lawn for so long. We stopped at the bike shope again to fill up air, and then the new 28 tire I got [for Scott] didn’t fit [anymore], so we exchanged for another 23, filled up and headed out. Thats was a great bike shop. Since then, we’ve had no flats, but Scott’s knee started bugging him that day. He adjusted his cleat in the mid-afternoon, but to no avail, and we was soon peddaling with more of his left leg. We onlt made it to York Beach around 6:00, and we were despairing for a place to stay, in what appeared to be a tourist’s paradise and a camper’s hell ($25-$35 a night for a campground). Then John and Jill showed up. They had gone on long-haul bike trips after they graduated a few years back, and offered to let us stay at thier place’s lawn. We readily accepted and made fast friends.

We left their lawn about 7:30 am and headed to Portsmouth, getting out of Maine jsut before noon. Scott’s knee was hurting him more, and by the end of the day he was pedaling entirely with his left leg, sometimes unclipping his right foot, a stange sight. Still, he outlasted me on the last big hill of the day, just before we ate dinner at a really nice state park where we would have loved to camp but couldn’t. We ended up a little down the road in a ball field in Danville [after meeting another girl who had gone on an East-to-west bike trip 7 years earlier], where we spent the night on lumpy ground. About 4:30 we started waking up on and off, but we didn’t get up until 7:15, and we got going around 9:00 or just after. Scott’s knee was giving him so much trouble by East Derring that we stopped to let him ice it and to try to find a doctor. Four hours later, we started off again, and ended up in the ER at the hospital in Derring. Scott, too worried about the bikes (that no one even looked at the wrong way that I could tell) had me move them whiule he went in. An hour or more later, he came out with an order to rest for three days or more to see if it would heal. [He also got a wrap and some prescriptions.] So we went to the next town, Londonderry (they have trouble coming up with innovative names around here) and got a hotel, where we are now staying.

6/28/05 – 2:22pm
I stink like a pig on steriods. Juiced!!!!! We are now in an incompetent McDonalds. The infighting is somewhere between funny and really funny/sad. Last night we slept in the woods and today in muggy country and on-and-off rain. [The complete humidty and oppesive heat is nearly intolerable. I’ve been riding most of the day without my helmet for relief.] The route we were following has been very hilly. We have decided to go off-route to go to NYC more directly.

One Response to “From Connecticut, With Love”

  1. nordsieck Says:

    Hey you two:

    Don’t kill eachother. The trip is supposed to be fun. Take care and good luck with the rest of the way.

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