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!)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We are sorry... sooooooooo.... PICTURES!

We feel that it is necessary to begin this blog post with an apology. For some reason, no matter where we went, our blog posts would neither post to the blog site nor save a draft for later posting. We originally thought it was a problem with the wifi connection, but we later discovered it was a problem with the blogging site; and so we offer our apologies for those who have been following our blog. Because it would be impossible to describe our two week journey day to day, we will give an overall picture of our progress through Wisconsin and Michigan. Wisconsin was a very beautiful state and we enjoyed it thoroughly. There were many days over 100 degrees but we got used to them very quickly. There was much green scenery and we rode a majority of our days on rail trails. We also passed through 3 old train tunnels, one of the tunnels being 3/4 of a mile long with it raining inside that tunnel. We also visited a dairy farm - in which we took a tour, ate some cheese (including chocolate flavored cheese), and enjoyed ice cream! We also went to the Wilderness Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells - the waterpark capital of the world! Mac and I both agree that Wisconsin was one of our favorite states. After leaving Wisconsin, we boarded the high speed fairy (which went 45 miles an hour) from Milwaukee, WI to Muskegon, MI. We enjoyed our first day in Michigan as we swam in Lake Michigan and the next day we took a rest day in Michigan Adventure Amusement Park. We enjoyed our first day of riding in Michigan as we got to ride on a pretty rail trail for about a quarter of the way. I would like to comment that I did not enjoy riding my bike through Michigan. The roads were terrible - the paved roads were cracked so bad that I wished we would ride on dirt roads (which we did plenty of). There was A TON of roadkill on the side of the road - in one quarter mile stretch there were 5 dead raccoons followed by a dead deer - it was disgusting. The drivers were extremely rude, as they would pass extremely fast and close to us as we rode. The scenery wasn't great as it was mostly corn fields along with straight roads. There was one highlight as we passed through Michigan and that was Jack Van Houten's house (Jack is one of the Jett Rider's). Jack's house was really fun because we got to hang out with Jack's little brother Kyle (who is afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy), and we got to swim in Jack's pool. After Jack's house came our hardest day of the Jett Ride portion of our ride. We rode 76 miles that day, which usually isn't too bad of a day, and the bike riding portion wasn't too tough. However, the tough part of that day was the fact that the air temperature was a blistering 110 degrees, with high humidity. This combination didn't bode well for our butts as Mac and I both got the most painful bikers rash we've had our entire trip. However with a combination of baby powder and chamois butter, our butts have made a full recovery! Yesterday, Mac and I both made our first trip into Ohio. We rode through the town of Toledo, which is one of the worst large cities we have visited so far. We are now taking a rest day in Sandusky, OH. We have decided that because we haven't posted in two weeks, that we would reward those reading our blog by posting pictures. Also, if you want to view some videos of us biking on our self contained portion of our ride, you can view them on Neal's blog. Enjoy!