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Philly to Maine

Summer 2004

Days 1-5     Days 6-9

Days 1-5

Introduction  6/27/2004   8:14 am

     Hello to all. This is a group letter going out to those of you that have nothing better to do than read about my sore butt and bicycling adventures. I am taking a short ride from the Philly area up to Maine. should be about 550 miles and take about ten days. If you are other wise occupied and DON'T want to get a note daily from the road, let me know. I will try to make the emails worth while. thanks for all the moral support form everyone. this perimeter ride has taken a lot longer than I ever thought but piece by piece I am getting there. See you late Monday the 28th from somewhere on the road. Philip Gerding

Day 1    Monday 6/29/2004   6:22 am

     Hello to all. Couldn't get access last night so this is an AM update of the first day. Riding was wonderful. Cool and clear. Found too many detours and bad signage in Pennsylvania for my liking but I got it done. Met my Friend Beverly-from the ninth grade-at New Hope for lunch and then she carried me over the river bridge that is not very friendly to bikes. On down the road on 29 which had way too many trucks and then GONE. Like having a private bike path about thirty feet wide. Just when it looked like the traffic was picking up I found a bike trail that parallels the canal for ten miles and cruised on in. 
     Only bad news is I could not find anywhere to stay. So on to the next town, and then the next. Now I am at sixty miles-only wanted to do 50 for the first day. Hooray, camping just 3.5 miles off the route. DRATS it was up the steepest hill I have ever climbed that was not an actual mountain. Denise, I don't think you could have done this one. I walked. Oh well. Nice place with good showers. Fresh cookies too!!
     Back down the hill this mooring whoooee!! forty mph for a very short bit, coffee and croissant in Millford and now to the road. See ya later. PG

stats:60.1 miles
6:49 riding time
max 30.8
Ave 8.8-lousy!
total miles to date 7776.8

First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04 First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04 First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04 First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04 First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04
First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04 First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04 First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04 First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04 First day of the Maine Ride 6-28-04

Day 2   Tuesday 6/29/2004 2:52 pm

Well I am behind on my pics so here are some. Not much but basically all I did was ride. Today was a good day too. Still way too hilly but I only had to walk twice.The route I am on takes me along side the Delaware River for miles and miles. I am usually riding on some version of "River Road". Have crossed back and forth between New Jersey and Pennsylvania untold times. I pulled in a bit short tonight as I found a lovely campground only four miles from my projected destination. Turns out they have a "special" rate for bikers. $7.50 a night. AND my Sprint card is working so I can do a bit of letter writing. Not much else to say except this is as much fun as I remember and so far absolutely no problems. Hope everyone is well and having fun. If you get bored, grab a bicycle and join me. Still got about 400 miles to go. PG

Day 3   Wednesday 6/30/2004  3:25 pm

     Was just a lovely day of riding today, Hard to imagine there is this much "rural" in New Jersey. I went over an hour without even seeing another car. roads are great except there seem to all go UP. I still don't like hills. Messed up and got on the road today with out very much cash. Ever try to find an ATM in a town with out even a pay phone? The diner was great at breakfast but by 1:00 that was a Long Time Ago. I finally got to a place listed on my maps as having both meals and grocery. Nope, Don't take any kind of plastic. Well now. Got 3 dollars and 24 cents. Hmmmm. How about a large bottle of Gatorade and a piece of somebody's "HOMADE" pound cake/ The cake was the consistency of melted sheetrock but I washed it on down and got back to riding. Was struggling up a serious hill when here comes another rider. Wearing full racing gear and weighing about 140 pounds. He called out as he went by," these hills are nothing. I am from Columbia. try riding the Andes". Well, I sort of muttered what he could do up in his Andes but I did get over the top. Yes I walked some too. When I can't even SEE the top I know I am gonna end up walking.
     Got to Port Jervis, NY at about 3:30 and hit the bank, the Dairy Queen and then a motel. Gots to do do some laundry and eat some sent in Pizza. god this roughing it is tough! Here are some pics that don't do the ride justice but it sure was pretty.
     Sandy. The shot of the CURVES place is for you. The town there didn't even have a gas station but they had this. I still can't figure out the Live Music to Go. And that one of the wall with all the rocks? The Ranger said it was to keep folks from sitting there. Oh well. PG


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Day 4  Thursday 1/2004  6:30 pm

     Well. I don't to jinx this ride but it just keeps getting more and more fine. When I got this morning it was so foggy I couldn't even see the road outside. The weather clowns said strong possibility of thunder showers. I was up and eating the "free breakfast" at 06:15 and decided to wait until it cleared out. By 0700 it was better so I bundled up and hit the road, prepared for bad weather. Never happened! by 8:30 I was out of the Jacket and rain hat, by nine o'clock out of the long sleeve shirt. 
     After three days of mostly uphill I got the payback today. Although there were a few manageable hills, it was mostly up a short hill, then five minutes of freewheeling down hill. Just too much fun. I did meet another bike tourist. He is a teacher on summer vacation, riding from MAINE to FLA. He was nice guy but riding a pretty cheap mountain bike and I think he is getting tired of it already. 
     I got lost three different times today, perhaps I should just call them "different roads" but still managed to get where I was heading which is New Paltz, NY. was about a 70 mile ride today, sure helps to not have so much UP. I stopped in a local bike shop and got a new chain-yeah!!- and the mechanic said "did you know this piece of bungee cord is wrapped around your front wheel? "Well, all I can say is sue felt funny when I had to peddle DOWNHILL. Was only on there for a few miles as I remembered it breaking. Stopped at the hardware store and bought bungee card and S hook and back on the road!
     I am going out for a gourmet meal at Mickey D, followed by Baskin Robbins. What a life.
stats for yesterday-forgot to put them in:
55 miles
5:46 time
Max 415
avg 9.6
for today:
70 miles
max 41.5
6:30 time

Philip Gerding

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Well I was going to just post the pics to the web site but Kurt and Mary are off on Vacation so I will keep putting them here in my email.

Day 5   Fri 7/2/04 7:32 PM

     Remember the story that starts off, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times"? Well that sort of sums up today. Started of nice an cool, riding out of New Paltz and very quickly getting to the FDR Mid-Hudson Bridge. Was very impressive. The two guys on bikes were just coming off the bridge. They took the train from NY City and were going biking. Considering the shape of their bikes I don't think they will get far. But nice folks. Got across the bridge and found that the alleged route prohibits bicycles. Neat. So in my usual mastery fashion, I rode around in circles until I noticed a cleverly disguised green sign with a picture of a bike on it saying THIS WAY TO THE BIKE ROUTE. Oh well!
     If you can't read the Green road sign it is for the Culinary Institute of America. That place falls under the heading of "if only".wonderful set up and they turn out top notch cooks. The baker whose book I used to learn from graduated there. One of these days.....
     After passing FDR's house and his next door neighbors, the Vanderbilt's, everything went south on me. When I try to access my lowest gear the chain pops off. Which usually means I am stopped right in the middle of a big hill. Fun.
     Anyway, the steep hills were back and never went away. 
The good news is that in a small deli in some town I ate the best Reuben sandwich I have ever tasted! I still think it had a touch of horseradish in the dressing. Then onward. and onward, and dammit still onward. I cold not find a place to stay. Only listed camping was several miles off the route, and of course STRAIGHT UP A HILL. So I kept on. First Motel said they were full. Only one car in the parking lot. So I asked the clerk if they were really full or just didn't rent to bike riders. She admitted they were NOT full. Said too many folks had stayed there and ruined there carpets by cleaning oily chains and stuff. So some morons have spoiled it for us. Next place WAS full, big wedding party, so I kept riding. Hey, I'm in Connecticut! I found a real dump on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Not listed on any map. Called the Bates Motel-actually called my place and except for the musty smell is fine. Rooms are immaculate and the water dang near parboiled. Cooked some Ramen noodles out in front of the room and made a cup of coffee. Life is good! Hope everyone has big plans for the Fourth. I will try to stop early so I can get a camping spot. 

All for today, here are the numbers:
today's miles 70
max 41
ave 9.4
riding time 7:34
Forgot to mention, my speedometer turned over 8,000 miles at about 4:00 today. Have a good Sat.

Philip Gerding


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Days 6-9

Day 6   Saturday 7/3/04 3:16 PM

     Well after a really rotten night in a horrid motel, the day was lovely. A short uphill to a great classic diner. This was one of the originals. Had no add ons, just step in and there was the counter. Four booths off to the right. Had two pancakes BOTH the size of dinner plates and about a half pound of bacon. Mmmm. Back on the road and one more small uphill then the highlight of the ride so far. Nearly a fifteen minute gentle down slope. I knew I was giving up all the hills I climbed yesterday but who cares? 15 mph and no pedaling. Too fine. Rest of the day was quiet. I stopped in the meddle of a bridge to take a picture and got to visit with some of the other kind of of bikers. Nice folks out for a spin on huge Harley-Davidson's. They were rather surprised to learn I was actually trying to get to Maine on BICYCLE. 
     By the way, this is when you get the FIVE QUESTIONS:
     5. WHY?

     I have thought about having my shirts printed with this but never get around to it. Started to have a bit of Right Knee pain by lunch and when I pulled in to Windsor Locks, CT. I decided to take advantage of the two 70 miles day I did. Only 40 miles for today but I still have five days to make the remaining 200 miles. I think I can do that. There is no camping located on the route for over thirty more miles so I am happily ensconced in a Hampton Inn with an AIR CONDITIONER and broadband, my nasty clothes upstairs in the dryer. If you are following me on a map I started just West of Canaan, CT and stopped in Windsor Locks, CT. for the trip I ridden 341 miles so far, not counting all the times I forget to turn the Speedo back on. 

Here are today's numbers
44 miles
41 max
9.9 avg
4:25 time
8057 total miles ridden since I started counting them I guess that is it for now. I am gonna soak the knee a few times tonight and hope I can get after it tomorrow! Watch out for those firecrackers tomorrow. 

92.85 today
max 64 mph
avg 10
time 9:19
Philip Gerding


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Day 7   Monday 7/5/04 6:15 AM

     Looks like most of you nice folks did not get the note from last night. I don't have good connection here. I ended up riding from Windsor Locks.CT to Westborough Mass. I couldn't find a place to stay after about fifty miles so I just kept going. Was 92 miles before I got tot a Motel. Met some really nice people and all in all was fun ride. I will add more tonight.
Philip Gerding


Day 8   Mon 7/5/04 2:50 PM

     Well since every one has commented about the fabulous time I had yesterday for my MAXIMUM, I will have to add today that I suspect the computer is a bit off.I don't know if it broke because I went to fast, to rough, or because I bought the cheapest one out there. OH well!! I honestly have no way of knowing the actual speed on the wildest descent yesterday as I was too petrified to look down. When the front brake stopped working that was when I got a tad nervous. I did check the rest of the stats, distance and average against time and they are correct. 
     Today was what we used to call a "discipline" day. Just put your head down and peddle. It was ugly gray when I left the motel at about 8:30 and started raining within ten minutes. Never really stopped until about 1:30 PM. Mostly just drizzle which is a bal to ride in, but at least it keeps ya' cool. I stopped at a place for directions and got a fellow to take my picture. I look like a giant banana. But a dry and warm giant banana!
     I just couldn't seem to make any time or distance today so I gave up when I reached Nashua, New Hampshire. I have done about 485 miles so far, quite a few of them on paths never imagined by the folks who drew up the maps. So many of my directions began like this, After .7 miles on SR 111, bear Right slightly on unmarked SR 8. At 5.6 make acute Left onto Hollis which immediately becomes unmarked RTE3. As you can see it is a joy to behold when you climb a hill, round a curve and there is actually a town there you were hoping for. 
     All in all has still been fun but I think they need to redo the route to allow for more camping choices. I am again in a motel as there is no where for the next 43 miles except the side of the road. I am tough, but not that tough. I guess that is it for the day. 
     OH, for those who asked about the bike and gear, Most of it is listed on the web site but the new panniers are working out great. I need to redesign the clips for the front ones as they don't really fit my racks. Bike is, as always, steady as can be and a delight to ride. 
     According to my guesstimates, I am only about 60 miles or so from Maine. I guess I best call the boss and see if she would like a lobster dinner in return for picking me up. I thought this would take a bit longer but those two 70 mile days and yesterdays 92 seem to have knocked of a bit. Will let you know the details tomorrow. I may take another day and ride a bit more into Maine but my knees are pretty tight right now. Middle age is for the birds. PG
     ps, Sandy, the business sign in the picture is the first thing one sees after enter New Hampshire. One of three I saw today. 
Philip Gerding


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Day 9 Tue 7/6/04 2:12 PM 

     WELL! done and sitting on a very nice padded chair in Kittery Maine. It was just the finest day of riding. Cool breeze, about 72 degrees. got a one minute sprinkle but never even put on the rain gear. roads were paved YESTERDAY, no kidding. It was like riding on glass. Did 60 miles and was checking in at a motel by 3:30 PM 
     I know everyone is tired of hearing about how great this ride was, but there just hasn't been anything to compare it with. My first ride, from Ft. Lauderdale to New Bern, NC was just that. My first ride. It was hotter than Hell and flat as can be. I didn't really do anything but peddle and sleep. The next one, from Seattle New Jersey was the big one, but so much of it was hours spent just getting across places like North Dakota, or Montana. Interesting for me but none too picturesque. anyway, this has been short, only nine days, but I have climbed more hills than ever in my life. I am certainly a better bike rider for it but I wonder if it was totally necessary. oh well>>>>
     Thanks for coming with me on the ride. I really enjoyed getting notes from you all. Moral support is always a good thing. I probably won't be doing another tour until next sprung when my friends Jim and Denise NEED to come and ride the Pacific Crest form Canada to Mexico. I will holler at you al then to see if you want to join the fun. 

Philip, July 5, 2004  stats for today and total:
60 miles
avg 11
time 5:38
total miles ridden for this trip 545
Philip Gerding


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