Monday, August 30, 2010

Leaving Base Camp

Walking normally on my left foot (and the right one, too, for that matter)!  It's time to get this thing going!  After 5 days of rest and ice, it's onward into the north woods, tomorrow morning.

I got some crucial feedback from this minor setback -

1.)  Don't plan on multiple long days without having trained - 50 mi. was too much for 3 straight days.  Probably would have been better to do 30, then work up gradually.
2.)  "Weakest Link" - no matter the state of every other body part, one injury is enough to hamper the whole.
3.)  Pedaling technique and seat height - many thanks to John Colliani for his expert advice, here.  My seat was too low and back, and I had far too much foot motion in my pedal stroke.  I'm now going to keep my foot mostly parallel to the ground, all through the cycle.  I also have some more specifics about fit and positioning that will really help along the way.
4.)  Giving the body time to rest lets it do miraculous things.  Never thought I'd get so excited about a normal stride!
5.)  Giving the body lots of sugar and dairy leads to a suppressed immune system, inflamation, and excess mucus production.  I knew this with plenty of certainty, but ... the world needed another one of my "(un)controlled studies" on the matter.

Cycling Day 4 will take me from Clinton north through Holland Patent, to Remsen.  This would be 25 miles.  If I'm feeling exceptionally good, I'll go an extra 8-10 miles to a camping area near Alder Creek.
After that, up through Old Forge, to Blue Mountain, Saranac Lake, St. Regis Canoe area (still seems like a good place, even without the anticipated company!), Lake Placid, and Burlinton.  And, all points between. And beyond.  Getting ahead of myself.  Time to focus on tomorrow - and starting before the heat picks up!!  G'night


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photo Tour

Here are some pictures I got along the way:

Truckie, who now belongs to Dan, sits in the driveway at 415 Elm Street.  It was a grey morning, drizzling a bit.  Greenhouse and volleyball court in the background, with the barn!  Nice home, indeed.

Alright, this was my first stop, at Ludlowville Falls.  Just after, I went up Salmon Creek (Rd), but took no pictures ... hands-down the best scenery of the first 3 days.  Humble apologies to the rest of CNY!

Here's my sister Kelly at home in Weedsport ....  plus front yard.  Day 1's completion point, long rest.

Cows at A-frame barn, on Day 2 (between Weedsport and Cazenovia)

Next, I found out what real hills are when I pedalled out of Marcellus.  In Marcellus, there was a funeral going on across the street from where I sat and talked with the pizza shop guy.  cafe ladies filled my water bottle.  I made it up the hill, but regretted being on such a busy and narrow road.

After Marcellus, I stopped at a Farm Market and sat for a while.  The owners (a middle aged couple), her mother, and a younger worker (daughter?) chatted for a good bit with me, and were so cheery and real.  They also fed me!  I was feeling so uplifted as I left that my mind was elsewhere and I got my foot jammed against the front fender, and tumbled onto the driveway!!  That'll be my last accident, thank you very much.

Made it to Manlius and sat at this gazebo and garden for lunch and a nap.  Bikey is feeling swell, besides his bent fender.

Getting close to Caz, I had to catch a shot of this bog that was spilling out into the road.  Looking quite fall-like :-)
Steepest descent (seasonal access road) so far.  Made it down fine ... Tomi passed me in her car as I got to the bottom - then I went to her house to sit and chat on the front porch, looking over Chittenango Falls park land.  A lot of memories at this house, actually - hadn't been there in a while.
Chittenango Falls!

Alright, so I made it to the Belton's house in Caz for night 2.  Rte 13 from the falls into Caz was up there in the top 5 best parts of the first leg.  Love those river valleys.
George gave me an awesome route for my Day 3, along with maps for the rest of NY!  I took the Peterborough Rd. way, and it was so worth it.  Here's me at the top of the longest, hardest hill yet.  I threw it in the lowest gear and promised myself that I wouldn't stop until the top (even if there appeared to be new "tops" after overtaking each section).  I dug into my faith in breath work here, and got into a rhythm of 2 seconds inhale to 4-6 seconds exhale (or a ratio like this) - within a couple minutes, i was totally relaxed as my body got used to using its oxygen more efficiently.  plus my muscles weren't unnecessarily tense.  I earned this view from "The Hill."

Once I reached the top of the hill, it was a nice gradual plateau and descent for a couple miles.  These cows lived at "Top of the Hill Farm"

One last view before I descended into the valley.  This actually was much of the path I was about to take!

Made it to Hamilton College where I stopped in to see Dr. Gapp and his 1812 HC Bicentenial vegetable garden.  I also went into Root Glen.

Home!!  My mom was somehow peeking through the trees to wave to me at the top of the driveway.  Across the street is an apple orchard.

Mom and Moki.  Made it!  3 Days, ~140 miles.

      Success!                                                                   And a warm meal.

Nothing so sweet as home!

And I need to get comfortable here, because I should now explain why I have so much time to sit and put pictures up and write about them ....  The morning of Day 2, I noticed a soreness in my left Achilles tendon, and on Day 3 in the morning, it was "creaking."  I decided to pedal with as much relaxation as I could, so as to make it to Clinton and also find a better form.  It felt good by the end of the day, but as I cooled down, I realized that I was actually rather hurt.  I forgot that part of exercising is dealing with more stress-related injuries.
So I'm sitting here with comfrey leaves on my Achilles, as I try to nurse it back to health before I continue on.  I'd like to make it to Saranac Lake in time to Camp with Phil and company, but I won't sacrifice my body ....  Sending healing and lubricating vibes to my left Achilles, and trying not to walk around too much.  Everyone said, "You can just hop on a bike like that because you're young," but youth can only go so far.  I feel splendid, otherwise, but one serious injury would put a real jam into my plans of freely roaming.  My body is telling me to slow down and check back in with why I'm doing this (before I get carried away and lose track of things).  So it goes.  I sure have good company and a cozy home to relax in!

p.b. (post-blog) - First day of relaxing, I got to hang out with goats, llamas, wolves, owls, otters, etc ... at ft. Rickey.  cages/fences aren't great, but the opportunity for interaction is still valuable.  My mom's going to get goats for pony companions (and companion pasture-grazers)!!

see my facebook page for more pictures

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Phase 1 complete - the only vaguely planned portion of this trip ....  3 days to go ~140 miles, and now I'm safely at my parents' house in Clinton :-)  Here to stay for a day or two, rest up and see some folks.  I'll have more detailed accounts of things (including pictures!) tomorrow.  I feel awesome - honest-to-God exercise has evaded me for so long, probably since varsity soccer days, so it feels like a new world has opened up.  And with all the time to think and breathe and not think, i seem to be processing things from the last ten years of my life that I never took the time to process.  Looking forward to more of this!!!  Sweet dreams

Monday, August 23, 2010

DAY 1!!

A bike trip of 1,000 miles begins with a single pedal.  After a marvelous evening and morning send-off from friends and family at Elm Street, I hit the road in the rain the this morning, tears blending with rain drops, heart feeling joyful and ready.

My first stop was Ludlowville falls - all the waterways were plump and rushing.  I rode up Salmon Creek Rd - I have to recommend this ride to everybody near Ithaca.  Really stellar creek bed route, which today smelled like pine duff and wet fallen walnut leaves.  Saw a heron in the stream and some hawks playing in the wind.

Rain stopped after an hour, turning to mist, and even giving way to sunshine at points.  Lots of windy farmland, until I reached the north point of Owasco Lake (near Auburn).  Went to my sister's from there, and got to hang out for a long time.  I made it ~55 miles in 6 or 7 hours on the road.  So very doable - I can do this!  I felt absolutely great moving about under my own power so efficiently (especially before the bike seat started to hurt!)

I of course spent a good deal of time thinking of all the things I would write here, but now it's time for sleeping!  Kelly and Frank made me a delicious dinner :-) including tomatoes, squash, and onions from their garden.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I biked my new bike (name pending) home from Glenn Swan's shop in Varna today, a few mostly downhill miles.  Packed up the bags, tested it all out ....  I could pretty much leave tomorrow!  Always possible to pack lighter, though, so time to pare it down some more.  I won't be posting this frequently on the trip, so I figure I should get it out of my system ....  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Excitement, Jealousy, and Releasing

A number of people I've told about my trip have been extremely excited for me, and some have expressed a degree of jealousy.  I love hearing excitement from other people, because it bumps me up a notch in getting pysched to hit the road.

I also kind of like hearing jealousy.  At first I think it really must not be fair, that I can just drop everything and roam (what privilege and freedom!); then I realize that it's not only fair, but necessary and a very replicable experience.  In fact, since I decided to move forward from my established Ithaca life and patterns, I've noticed other people in my life finding their own excitements and releases - letting go of undesirable patterns and rekindling long-hidden (or newly-found) passions, small and large.  In being more true to myself and taking a heart-felt chance, I feel the benefits extend beyond my self - even if it's only in the way I perceive (and it's likely more than just perception!).

So ... tell me you're excited for me!  And tell me you're a little jealous - just promise to find what it is your heart is longing for, and what it is that you no longer need, what no longer serves you.  Give it back with thanks and grace.  See ya out there.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

10-Day countdown to departure

Planning to leave on the 24th (or monday the 23rd, if everything is in line).

I have a bike picked out (Fuji Touring), some/most of my gear, plus I've moved my "stuff" to "storage."

Lots of good advice so far from experienced folks - Thank You!

Question of the Day:  What is the best way to store food so the bears don't eat it?

Home-Free Bicycle Blog

(from August 2nd, 2010)

This August, 2010, I'm setting off on a journey from Ithaca, NY to VT, NH, ME, and beyond.  I'm shedding my current life in Ithaca - growing food to sell at the market, living in a cooperative house, and driving a truck - to hop on a bicycle, and direct myself toward new and fantastical places.

I hope to keep a fairly well-updated blog here, so check in from time to time!

Current plans are as follows:
- Leave Ithaca in the 20-somethings of August, headed North on 34.  Stop at my sister's Weedsport
- Continue East from there to my parents' house and my hometown in Clinton.
- Head North and East to Saranac Lake
- Continue Eastward into VT and the Green Mountains (Burlington, Middlebury, etc.)
- Procede to the East, into and though NH
- Arrive at the Maine Common Ground Country Fair in Unity
- Further Explore Maine
- Head south on bike or west on train

 Mind you, I've never biked over 30 miles in one shot before ....  This is a train-as-you-go, learn-as-you-go affair.  I'll be as light as possible, though I'm taking a sleeping bag and tent, some food, first aid and bike repair kits, and a water filter (among other things, so long as they all fit on the back of the bike :-)

If anyone has suggestions of any sort, I welcome them - along with places to stay and be merry.  Besides beautiful places and people, I come across places of permacultural interest, energetic/spiritual healing and practice, music that must be danced to, and folks living exuberantly with the land.  Along the way, I make an offering of my music, songs, and voice (pianos in public or not public places bring me great joy!); I also offer my permaculture designing eyes/ears/body, and my laboring hands in noble and/or mundane projects.

I'm heading right now up to Swan Cycles Inc. in Varna to see what they've got going on.  Wish me luck and good travels, too!!