I’m still tossing around which bike to bring on tour this weekend. I have a touring bike and a hybrid bike. Both are fine, and neither has an advantage for this easy tour which I suppose is the reason that I keep changing my mind. I’m going to put everything I’m taking on both bike today and hopefully that will settle this conundrum which gets vexing at times.
I’m also putting together everything else I’m taking. The equipment, tent, sleeping bag, netbook, cameras etc. are easy. The clothing to take always causes indecision. I did learn on my first tour a few years ago not to pack cotton shirts. One is OK but that time I think I loaded six of them along with blue jeans, underwear, a couple of long sleeve shirts, a jacket and raincoat. It added so much weight making every mile a lot more work than it should have been. I know how to pack for a tour and now it’s just a matter of fashion sense.
On item that is essential is my US Soccer shirt. My first night on tour, the US/Portugal match is at 5PM. I’ll do my research to find a place in Cecil Township, don my kit, order a pint and suffer the stress that is inherent with the passion of watching my country battle the hated Portuguese. My home town is 60% Portuguese, I grew up playing with Portagees, and playing on Portuguese teams. In 2002, we spanked them good in Korea and being a proud member of AO Providence, R.I.………… I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN on Sunday
Lots of activity all around today. Walkers, runners, bikers and dogs on the MUP. Motorcycles were out in force also on this warm sunny Fathers Day. I tossed around a couple of routes ending up winging the whole ride with no real preset destination. I did the long way around to the town of Wareham MA, near Cape Cod and while in that town stumbled upon a Revolutionary War era reenactment. I have to say that this area loves it’s war history. I usually ignore anything war or military related but these reenactments are so hokey they can be fun. Most of the participants are very nerdy and the Revolution era ones take the cake. I stayed for a few minutes to get some video but slipped away after 20 minutes or so.
My second stop was at the old Tremont Nail, where I came upon the Cupcake truck, claiming the best cupcakes ever made. I got one and it was good, but not special. I think good pretty much translates into lots of sugar. It was OK but I certainly could have done much better for three bucks which would have gotten me lots of fruit, nuts and some change to put back into my pocket.
Finally, around 15 miles from home two fully loaded tourist approached. As they passed across the road I yelled, “youse riding to the Cape?” The pulled over and we talked for a bit. They began their ride in North Carolina and were riding to Maine. I never did get the camera out for these two but maybe I’ll find them online somewhere. They are not posting on Crazy Guy (I asked) but didn’t do a follow up to see if they were posting online somewhere.
In seven days I will leave for the annual summer tour. This one will be loaded with high tech stuff. GPS, a netbook, video and still camera and the newest toy Spot GPS Messenger, a device that sends anyone I wish where I am and my daily route.
I’ll be staying in Harrisburgh, PA on Friday and taking a trip to York, PA for what is arguably the best doughnut possible. From there it’s a short drive to Cumberland, MD where I will board a bus with my bike to Weirton. WV to begin the 6 day bike ride back to Cumberland by way of Pittsburgh.
All the equipment, bike, tent, me , etc. have checked out and all are in good working order. I’m putting in lots of miles am as ready as I have ever been for a tour. Now all that is left is to listen to the Jeopardy tune for the next week while I’m waiting to ride.
The Blackstone River Greenway (previously known as the Blackstone River Bikeway) represents a big undertaking in this tiny state: The 11.8-mile trail is the largest open segment on a nearly 50-mile corridor that will eventually connect Providence to Worcester, Massachusetts.
A restored drive-in movie theater sign featuring the trail’s name greets you at the trail’s current south end on John Street in Lonsdale. From the start, you’ll be treated to many picturesque scenes of the wide, churning Blackstone River and the placid, historic canal. After a mile, you’ll cross over the Pratt Dam on a six-span bridge, which sits atop the original railroad piers and abutment.
Beyond the dam, the trail turns right and continues north (the path leading straight ends at a parking lot). Northbound toward the village of Ashton, the trail alternately follows and parallels the historical canal towpath. Keep an eye out for a large brick textile mill; the canal was built to transport cotton goods from the mill to Worcester and Providence in the 1800s
There was a whaleboat race being held on the waterfront at Fort Rodman in New Bedford, Ma. It’s roughly 7 miles from home to the fort and being a nice sunny Saturday morning, I couldn’t come up with anything better even if I was looking. While there I got word that there was a WWII encampment and enactment in progress. Inside Fort Taber three groups were encamped. A German, and English and and American group of reenacters were all bivouacked. There were not as many as usual because of all the other encampments around the area because of the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
The battle took place on actual bunkers built during WWII at Fort Rodman which added a lot to the ambiance of war. There were a few WWII veterans in attendance and I really don’t know if they like the battle scene very much. I overheard one comment that it brought back too many memories. One of the odd sights was when a man in a German officers uniform approached a veteran, shook his hand and thanked him for his service. That must have been creepy for the old timer I’ll bet.
After the battle reenactment I went back to the whaleboat racing area for lunch. I was not part of the group but there were all these hot dogs just sitting around getting old so I stepped in to help clear the table and ate two of them. (and two brownies, and a bag of chips. ) So much for yesterday’s smoothy idea from Bobby Flay.
If you ride you know biking can make us eat more. I fall into that trap much too often. Do a long 40 or 50 mile ride and come home and eat for a half hour. Usually junk food. I saw a commercial that other day with Bobby Flay. It showed him doing and early morning workout and upon returning home, made a smoothie and said. “don’t spoil a good thing by eating bad food”.
Today after a 40 mile ride to the Gateway to Cape Cod town of Wareham, Ma. I came home and made a smoothie that turned out to be the best I had ever made. That was confirmed by the lovely one.
One 16 oz bottle of Nestles wild berry water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Raspberries and strawberries that I bought fresh and keep frozen
Before I decided to ride a cross country solo tour I signed with the Rails to Trails group. This is my second tour with them. Every time I plan on doing a summer tour, usually in the dead of winter, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is on my wish list. Last year my two riding partners had limited time to tour because they are both working. The logistics of the GAP and the C&O combination ride was cutting things too close for the working stiffs and we did Lake Champlain as plan B so to speak.
I did a tour with the Rails to Trails group in 2009, and because of the route, I left a day early and finished on my own. Frankly, it bored me to no end. Because there were no potential riding partners this summer I decide to do a solo cross country tour in October. Things again conspired to force a postponement till the spring of 2015. Fortunately I had the Rail to Trails ride in the bag. It’s a mixed group of 300 riders and is fully supported. There is no set daily departure time and riders travel at their own pace. This allows people to ride with others or ride solo if they choose.
For accommodations, I am mixing tenting and B&B’s. I have ridden every day the past month and the equipment is all checked out and in good shape. I am taking two days to travel to Cumberland, MD and plan to stop in York, PA to meet a couple of fellow bike bloggers. Summer is bike touring time. The first day of summer is June 21st and the tour begins on June 22nd. It’s all in the timing.