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.
Reading Chris Miller’s book about hiking the Appalachian Trail is a reminder that planning is a good thing. He had never hiked before, built a tent out of industrial plastic bags and bought new hiking boot the day he began his 1200 mile sojourn. I’m very comfortable with all the things like that for my tour. Things turned for the worse very quickly. I know my tent, how and what to pack to keep the bike from getting too heavy and stuff like that. What I am working on is the technology. It would have been very frustrating to try to work out the nuances of my gps and video equipment while working out all the other stuff during the first few days of a long bike tour.
Today’s ride takes us on the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen’s ride into Mattapoisett, Rochester, Wareham and Fairhaven. All on the south coast of Massachusetts. When we pay attention to our surroundings we get to see and experience things that unless we were on a bike, we would miss.