Friday, August 10, 2012

A Final Farewell (Day 67)

Mac and I are now back in Missoula but we still need to catch up on the final few days of riding, all leading up to the 67th and final day. First, I should describe the days leading up from Gettysburg to the final day. That morning in Gettysburg, we awoke at 5:45 am sharp to begin the day early. We worked fast and efficient that morning as we were on the road by 8:00. The ride was once again beautiful as we rode over many rolling hills to the town on Ephrata, PA. This day, unexpectedly, turned out to be our longest day at 78 miles (it was only supposed to be 67 mi.). Those days, I have found out, are the worst days because you keep waiting and waiting for the ride to end; only to find out you still have 10 miles until your destination. All in all, it turned out well as I was rewarded with a shared chocolate frosty at the end of the day. Also, that day we got to eat with an Amish family and use their showers. A new experience for both Mac and I! The next day, we hopped on our bikes for our ride from Ephrata to Doylestown. At about 25 miles in, I met with my Grandfather and my Uncle, who were riding a tandem, for a ride with them for at least part of the day. It went awesome, as we rode along the Schuylkill River Trail all the way to Valley Forge. We stopped there for the day and were shuttled into Doylestown for the remainder of the day. The next day, we went to a lake near Doylestown and kayaked and canoed on the lake. For the remainder of the day, we were once again shuttled to Evesboro, NJ in preparation for the final day. On the final day we were pumped to ride the 55 remaining miles to the Atlantic ocean. We woke up early at 4:15 to quickly pack for the final leg of our journey. The final day felt like a piece of cake because of how cool it was, how flat it was, and how much adrenaline we had. We rode 50 of those miles in no time, as we ended up at a Dunkin' Donuts at 10:45, about 45 minutes earlier than we were supposed to arrive. We stopped for coffee there before meeting our final police escort into Point Pleasant, NJ. The police met us on bicycles at the Dunkin' Donuts and we proceeded into Point Pleasant and into a parking lot for our final preparations. At this point, we were emotionally charged, almost to the point of tears welling up in our eyes. We met the fire trucks and many other people there who decorated us in streamers. Then came Mac's Mom, Ginny, who surprised Mac in the parking lot and they enjoyed a long embrace. Then to top it off, the boy who we had been riding for came, Cory. That was one of the most memorable parts of the entire experience for me - to see the kid we had endured the freezing 40 degree rain in Idaho and Montana, the kid we had made up to 3,000 ft. at 8% grade for, the kid we had persevered through the 110 degree heat (with high humidity) in Wisconsin and Michigan for - that moment was special. The Jett Ride then proceeded to bike with great Pomp and Circumstance onto the board walk and onto the beach, where Mac and I made our final dip into the ocean with our front tires. From there, we took our pictures and immediately ripped off everything but our bike shorts and jumped into the warm Atlantic Ocean, much different from its colder cousin the Pacific. The finish is a special moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Four Score and Seven Years Ago.....

We started in Hancock and went out for a big breakfast, it was awesome! Then we hopped onto a paved bike path and went on our way. We got off the path and onto a road after ten miles of riding, and, we were immediately met with large rolling hills. The largest hill we rode over was three miles, it was pretty fun, I must admit. We quickly rode the 70 miles to Gettysburg and  ordered pizza for dinner. We had a rest day the following morning so we got to sleep in and it was super nice. We explored the town a bit including two cemeteries and went out to eat for lunch and dinner, it was a pretty relaxed day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A pain in the butt!

Today, we started in Cumberland, MA and got back onto the bike path, which quickly changed from the nicely maintained Great Allegheny Passage to a ton of big rocks, loose gravel, mud, puddles and tree roots. For this reason, wee spaced ourselves out and rode pretty much alone (for the first time in 3500 miles!). The path is also responsible for the severe pain our rear ends are in right now. At our first break, we had the option to ride a half mile to the West Virginia border... which we did! When we got to lunch, most of the riders went bridge jumping into a river. From there we rode into Hancock and tomorrow, we are off to historic Gettysburg where we have a rest day waiting for us! Overall the trail today stunk, but there was pretty scenery and at least we were off the roads!

Friday, July 27, 2012


July 26 - Yesterday, we started off on the Great Allegheny Passage. We began a beautiful ride through the Youghiogheny River Gorge. The area was beautiful because we rode along a winding river in a heavily wooded and almost rain forest - like area. The trail was also great because we rode across a couple of neat bridges. Perhaps, the best part of the day was the fact that we only had to bike 18 miles for the day and then we white water rafted the rest of the day. The white water rafting was very enjoyable because we had fun rapids to go over, enjoyable people to be with, and great river guides - courtesy of Wilderness Voyageurs located in Ohiopyle, PA. We were also lucky because we finished rafting 10 minutes before a large thunderstorm dumped a ton of rain on us. From our location in Ohiopyle we were shuttled to a hostel in Rockwood.  We discovered upon arriving at our hostel that our power was out due to the thunderstorm. No matter, we are the Jett Ride and we easily overcame this obstacle with a gasoline grill (for cooking), rain jackets, warm clothes, and a few headlamps.
July 27 - Today, we got back on the Great Allegheny Passage and rode through the aftermath of the storm. The trail was, at first, very soggy and filled with much debris. However, the storm also had good impacts as there were a couple of waterfalls raging down the cliff-sides of the trail. We stopped at a train depot in Meyersdale, PA. When we walked inside for a bathroom break, we talked to the lady working there. She had us put a pin on the map where we were from and sign her book of traveling cyclists. Then we told her we were riding for DMD. A few minutes later, when we were outside getting ready to leave, she ran out carrying the local newspaper. When she gave it to us, we saw that a boy in a local family had recently been diagnosed with Duchenne. The father's phone number was in the article, so we called him, and he had the boy's (Jackson) grandmother bring him down to the station. It was a series of coincidences that lead to an amazing experience, and new contacts in Pennsylvania. After this, we climbed to the "suffocating" altitude of the Eastern Continental divide, a scarcely breathable 2394 ft. From there it was a long downhill to the Mason-Dixon Line, which doubles as the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. After that, it was all downhill to Cumberland, MD. Tonight we are staying in the First Presbyterian Church, only a few blocks from West Virginia.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We left Sandusky and powered into a headwind to our first break in Vermilion, where the local church provided us sandwiches for lunch. We then headed on to the next break, and then into North Royalton where the Dumm family had a party waiting for us at their house. The next morning, we started with a bang as the Dumms had organized an amazing send off for us. We then got onto a a rail-trail called the Toepath which brought us all the way into the next town Massilon, where we stayed in a Rec. Center. The next day we rode to Minerva, and boy it was getting hilly! When we got to Minerva, the Rudd family (including Kade, who has Duchenne) was waiting to take us to their house. I got to sleep in my tent for the first time since Fergus Falls, MN! It was a great night and a lot of fun. The next day we rode to Beaver Falls, PA (that's right! Pennsylvania!) where we stayed in some dorm rooms at Geneva College. The next day, we went into Pittsburgh, caught a Pirates game and stayed in an amazing church that was in the middle of downtown. (Look up the First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, it is in a scene of the new Batman movie as well). Today, we were on a rail-trail all day called the Great Alleghenie and now we are in a old church in Connelsville, PA. It has been a great week!

(I have been searching every church we have stayed in for a violin........ I really want to play!)