Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 50 the LAST DAY - 60 miles from Manchester to Portsmouth, NH

It was only fitting with the way God has blessed us with excellent weather throughout these past 50 days that the last day was like this.

We rode the Co-Motion the last day of the xUSA tour the 60 miles to the Wallis Beach on the Atlantic at Portsmouth. What a beautiful day with the temperatures in the upper 60's. Even the last day was challenging as it was up and down for 45 of the 60 miles before we got near the beach. However, we did have a tailwind most of the way and the scenery was gorgeous. New England is so pretty with it incredible density of trees and historic buildings and cemeteries, canals, lakes, rivers, streams, etc. and friendly people. In fact, people all across the USA have been friendly. We live in a great country!

  Our last SAG stop of the xUSA tour.

 Exeter, NH founded in 1639.

School where all of us assembled before the police escort to Wallis Beach.

Our foreign riders: Israel, Holland, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Canada & Israel

All of us!

The police escort to the beach.

Family and friends meeting and filming their loved ones.

We did it, over 3.600 miles from Astoria, OR to Wallis Beach in Portsmouth, NH. My stoker sure deserved a kiss! A big Yeah and Oorah!

Lots of celebrating.

Our three oldest riders at 70+ pour water, which was brought from the rear wheel dipping in the Pacific Ocean, into the Atlantic Ocean.

The beautiful homes along the beach.

After the beach celebration, we rode to the motel in Portsmouth.

Our last celebration dinner at restaurant on the waterway separating NH and ME.

This is ME. We wanted to bike into ME to say we had; however, the drawbridge you see in the lower right corner was under repair and the closest alternative bridge that allowed bicycles was over 20 miles away!

Well, the best way to close out this blog of our cross America bicycle tour is show how happy and proud we are of what we did. We have many memories and new friends that will certainly last a lifetime and a love of each other to go them.

We encourage anyone who is reading this to make ambitious plans and then go make them happen. I hope you have enjoyed this blog and we hope it will help motivate you to go out and make your dreams and journeys come true.

We are examples of "it is never too late". What will we be our next challenge and journey - you never know!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 49 - 78 miles from Brattleboro, VT to Manchester, NH

Michael rode 30 miles to the first SAG stop then Anne and Michael rode the Co-Motion the remaining 48 miles to Manchester, NH. We were blessed with another beautiful day with the temperatures in the upper 60's and lower 70's, plenty of sunshine and no rain.

We only stayed one night in VT. After about 1 mile from the start, we reached the NH State Line.

Although this picture makes NH appear flat; it is misleading! For the first 30 miles, we were constantly climbing long stretches with grades of 4-8% and for one stretch we hit over 13%. NH, like VT, has an abundance of beautiful fir and many other kinds of trees.

NH, like CO, has interesting streams running alongside the road. Not good when the flow of those streams is in the opposite direction you are riding!

Each town has buildings like this one built in the early 1800's.

Towns, like Francesville and New Boston were founded in the 1770's. The quaintness of these towns is in quite a contrast to those we saw out West. This is one of the things that has made this cross-country tour so interesting; especially, when you view backwards to the way the towns were founded, that is, late to early.

Tonight is the banquet where some of the riders are going to perform a skit and everyone will likely share something individually he or she will take away from this incredible journey. The Support Staff will speak and overall it is a time to say goodbye as tomorrow after the final ride everyone will be heading back to their homes.

Tomorrow, we ride the LAST DAY and 60 miles to Portsmouth, NH and meet at a school. Then, a police escort will take us to the beach on the Atlantic Ocean to dip our front wheel to go along with dipping our rear wheel in the Pacific Ocean and some riders will meet their family and friends.

The emotions will be running very high after the 3,600-mile journey we 35 riders accomplished over the last 50 days that started in Astoria, OR on June 16th. Cheers to all of riders and Support Staff for a job well done!

A special congratulation to my wife, Anne, who I am very proud to say rode as the stoker on our Co-Motion tandem like a champion hanging in there through all the up, down and flat sections the roads through at us. I love her.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 48 - 79 (turned out to be 100) miles from Latham, NY to Brattleboro, VT

Michael rode the Cervelo the 79 miles, well since I got to the motel early, I rode on to make it a century. There was rain above and below where we were and the course we were riding; so, fortunately none of us got wet today. The day turned out to be a good one with the temperatures in the low 70's and the sun came out the second half of the ride. So, all was good.

The route had two long climbs and a lot of small ones. The total ascent was 5,150'; so it certainly was not a flat day. This is the most climbing we have done since SD when we climbed Mt Rushmore.

During this ride, we left our 8th state NY and entered our 9th, VT. The scenery in both states is full of trees  everywhere as you will see in the pictures below. The state has many old towns founded in the 1700's; however, VT was not one of the 13 colonies like NY we just left and NH we enter tomorrow. However, VT has lots of maple syrup!

VT State Line. I had the Cervelo resting against the sign for the picture. After I took it, I noticed it had fallen just before I took the picture. Oh well!

The first VT town we entered - Old Bennington, chartered in 1749. That's Phillippe (Israel), Brian (Austrailia) and Rick (VT) in the picture.

Typical site during this ride. All green as opposed to mostly brown in WY.

There are lots of beautiful lakes and rivers in VT. Here's one.

And streams.

Our second town in VT, Wilmington, chartered in 1751.

This picture was taken at the top of the highest climb at an elevation of ~2,500'. You can see for miles in many directions. I think was told I saw three states: MA, VT and NH from this vantage point.

Arrived in Brattleboro. A very popular town with lots of tourists and shops, etc. to visit.

We attended Mass at St. Michaels built in 1855.

Notice the hill in the background; it runs for miles and the trees are so dense you cannot see the ground anywhere. Very pretty. I found in riding around Brattleboro that the whole area is like this.

Here are Alan and Mitch dividing up the tips we collected from the riders for the Support Staff.

Here is the Support Staff. From l to r: Karen (route info), Mikey (mechanic), Pam (nutrition, etc.), Jeff (ride leader), Judy (motels & food) & Jim (mechanic). They did a super job and exemplified by the amount of tip pool the riders contributed for them.

Tomorrow is  the second to the LAST day of our xUSA tour. I can hardly believe it.

We will leave VT and enter our 10th and final state - NH with the ride to Manchester. However, Anne and I have plans to make a ride into and right out of ME on Monday.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Day 47 - 74 miles from Little Falls to Latham, NY

Today, Anne and Michael rode the Co-Motion the 74 miles to Latham. By the way, here is a picture of our Co-Motion that has served us very well during this xUSA tour. Notice it is at another ice cream shop.

Again, we were blessed with a very beautiful day with plenty of sun and temperature in the 70's and little humidity for the most part of the day. So, along with these attributes and the beautiful scenery, the ride was very nice.

As opposed to the last few rides, we took lots of pictures on this ride. Some are shown below; however, if you want to see more just open the xUSA album at

We wore our new Canada jerseys for the first time. Notice that someone has to be looking at where we are going! Again, we thank our fellow rider Don for this picture.

As we left Little Falls, we didn't get very far before it was picture time. These three were taken from a bridge on the way out of Little Falls.

Soon thereafter, we had a two-mile climb with some of it at over 9% grade to reach the top of a ridge we rode for about four miles before descending.

Notice how far you can see in the distance. It was this way all along the ridge.

This is the other side of the road.

Here come some of our riders.

Here is where we started the 4-mile descent and what a descent it was, especially on the Co-Motion!

We went through many old towns like this one built in the early 1800's.

Today, we rode on some great paved bike paths along the Mohawk River. Here is one of them. What was challenging on this path was a short climb of  12-15% that took all we had to get the Co-Motion to the top and Anne's cheerleading sure helped, too.

Bridge and locks on the river.

I found this interesting. It is an old lock, No. 23 that use to be on the Erie Canal; obviously, the Erie Canal was rerouted after it was built.

After leaving the bike path and stopping at the last SAG stop, we entered another bike path along the Mohawk River that led us to Latham. The river reminded us of the Mississippi River except it is not muddy.

After reaching Latham, of course we had to find a ice cream. A first for a chocolate/peanut butter shake. Yummy!

At the ice cream shop, we noticed this picture. Don't know whether it is a modified picture or not; but notice how no one is looking at President Bush! Murray, I doubt you think it is a modified picture!

Tomorrow, we ride 79 miles to Brattleboro, VT. The profile depicts some steep and long grades; so, this will be a challenging 79 miles, then there will be only two days left of our xUSA tour!