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Day Ten: The End Monday, May 25th, 2009

Today we left the majority of our gear behind and covered 87 miles returning to Londonderry. This put the trip total over 400 miles. We started pedaling before 9am and just barely made it before the sun set. Once, we stopped for Lunch and then later we were forced into an unlikely North Quincy diner by a severe afternoon thunderstorm. As usual, we found people inside who were welcoming and interested in the trip.

Searching for the shortest route home we traveled through Boston and Cambridge. There is a sharp contrast for the cyclist between the two. After dodging cars through Boston, Cambridge provides many designated bike lanes. These are the only dedicated lanes we’ve seen on regular roadways the entire trip. More, please!

Rolling back into my development as if it were any other Sunday evening ride it is still hard to believe the distance we’ve covered! Until next time…

Day Eight: Reprieve Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

We are now hanging out at Miles Standish on Charge Pond for a couple days camping with friends. The plan is to do the entire trip back home on Sunday. After some rest, that shouldn’t be much worse than some of the long days we’vw already had and we won’t need to bike anymore afterwards!

Yesterday, a dirt road that we had followed for a mile ended in a bush about a mile from where it was supposed to meet up with the park road. Isaac wanted to persue a scraggly path into the woods from that point, but I had to insist it was too uncertain. It took us many extra miles including miles of dirt road and directions from skeptical locals to get us around to the park entrance. By the time we did, it was after dark and the bugs in the park woods were so thick that it was impossible to open one’s mouth while ridign without catching a fly. :x. Similarly, we had to wear our sunglasses into the night to protect our eyes from insects. We setup and climbed into our hammocks as fast as we could.

Today, we biked out of the park to a nearby town to do laundry and have some lunch. Our trip mileage now exceeds 300miles and will approach 400 by the time of our return.

Keeping my phone charged has continued to be a challenge. After Thursday in the Sun, my solar charger had enough juice to charge my phone an extra 25% and that got us through the day. I think some new techniques for positioning the charger on my bike might help its efficiency. It doesn’t really make sense to me that 10 hours in 80-90 degree sunshine can’t provide a little more energy.

We have been noticing that people are interested in what we are doing in ways we didn’t expect. Isaac walked into a Dunkin’ Donuts that we had never been in before and was immediately identified as a Fernandez brother on a bike trip returning from Provincetown before anyone had a chance to see his jersey. We think the woman might have seen us at another Dunkin’ Donuts earlier in the trip. Either way, at least once a day we run into someone who wants to ask us about what we are doing, ask about our gear, or tell us stories of personal biking experiences. Some people just ask for clarification in disbelief and others seem to want to come along! We haven’t yet figured out how to make this public interest work for us, but we’ve got plenty of time on our bikes to dream it up.

Day Seven: Detours Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Today we had trouble following Google into Myles Standish state park the back way and we had to go all the way around. We made it though, with a daily total of over 70 miles. My phone battery is low, so I’ll have to keep it short today. More soon!

Day Six: Homeward Bound Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Powered by hand delivered homemade treats we turned our backs on Race Point and started wheeling home this morning. We were rewarded today with what will probably be the best riding on the trip as we worked southward taking the scenic route along shores and through protected land. Personally, I also rewarded myself with the creation of a new culinary delight by topping peanut butter cookies with extra peanut butter. :)

It was a 35ish mile day that we ended at Nickerson State Park. This park is convienently located right on the Cape Cod rail trail! There’s been much renovation to facilities here in the last few years and it is a very enjoyable place to stay. It’s nice to be sleeping out in the fresh air again and our hammocks have drawn some interested comments. This is the most publically displayed campsite we’ve had yet. We arrived early and were hoping to find some local social life, but we’re told there is none. Interestingly, locals seem to expect that they will be overrun this weekend and that it will be crazy from there out. Instead, we wet our feet in the lake that is adjacent to our campsite and had dinner at a nearby fish joint.

Keep the sun coming!

Day Five: Visitation Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Today we were met in by our father for an afternoon of exploring the town. After Monday afternoon’s exposure to the Cape’s depressing tourism underbelly in Truro, experiencing the central culture and attractions of P-town has been refreshing. It has an authentic culture with the geography of Bar Harbor and the expressive freedom of Woodstock. There is also a unique history of whaling port turned artist village. We are fortunate that tourism season hasn’t yet arrived in force and some of the day-to-day experience here is still visible.

We spent the morning catching up on sleep, cleaning our bikes, and doing our laundry. After days of intermittant rain, there was plenty of accumulated sand, and we needed to replace lost chain lube. I made some experimental front derailer adjustments to ease upshifting that may leave me fiddling for the rest of the trip. The hotel we are staying at did not have an established laundry facility, so we improvised with the use of the bath tub and the room heater. :)

After a viewing of the latest Star Trek movie, we finished the day with dinner at a little tavern identified only as “The Pig”. Again, I enjoyed absorbing the unfamiliar community. It reminded me of the motivation to seek out new digs at home!

Today’s cycling odometer is at 0, which is much needed rest. Tomorrow, we are acclelerating the itinerary and going straight to Nickerson. This will give us an extra rest day on our return. We will add a few miles to experience a little scenic town and seashore riding. Finally, we are expecting a sunny day!

Day Four: Provincetown Monday, May 18th, 2009

With a daily odometer at the bell of 70.5, including a masochistic evening trip to the grocery store, and the overall trip odometer at 187, we have come to rest in the densely developed town of Providence, MA. Today was a thorough test with windy 50 degree conditions and intermittant rain that started with a three mile effort in the wrong direction. Despite rolling out of our campsite at 7:30am in an attept to flee the raining worms, we didn’t see the Provincetown line until about 3:00pm. We were greeted by cool, but clear skies and are looking forward to fairer conditions tomorrow.

The ride today along parts of rural route 6A through cape towns and 22 miles of the dead flat Cape Cod Rail Trail was the best of Cape Cod charm. We missed some of the beach trails in favor of the shortest route. I hope the sun stays to allow us to enjoy them on the return trip.

Conversely, prodigal tourism development in shorefront just south of Provincetown is depressing and service in that area is downright unfriendly. We covered ten miles where every convienience store refused public access to the restroom and every foot of shoreline was strip motels and cottages for rent. At present, it is a whistling tumbleweed ghost town, waiting ominously for the influx of summer visitors. Happily, Provincetown center is a much more authentic experience. We were happy to find a double width bike rack at the local Shop ‘n Stop that was packed with other cycles. :) I look forward to exporing more and resting tired bodies over the next couple days.

Day Three: Plague of Silkworms Sunday, May 17th, 2009

We had a shorter day today. My odometer ended the day at 33.7mi. The trip odometer is at about 115mi. There was plenty of excitement though. The climax of the day, near the end of our travels, was walking our bikes over the Sagamore bridge into Cape Cod. It’s an inspiring bridge spanning the canal with a jungle gym of steel and a signs displaying it’s proud heretage as a 1933-1935 public works project. Now, a generation later, it supports highway traffic at rates of 100 cars/minute and the only passage for the diligent bicyclist is a minimum width sidewalk on the northern side of the bridge. A concurrant encounter to that of the landmark was the passing of a heavily bearded man who is the only cyclist we have seen with anything near our amount of load. In fact, he was carrying twice the bike luggage we each have! It would have been interesting to chat, but the traffic on the bridge is so loud one can bearly hear themselves.

Although our distance today was relatively modest, we are getting tired and sore. I think our bodies are using as much energy moving the bicycle as they are repairing tired muscles. As a result, it’s hard to eat enough. Today, I ate:

  • 2.5 Kashi GoLean Bars
  • Handful of Peanuts
  • Half a large Antipasto Salad
  • 2 Footlong Italian Sandwiches
  • Half of a large frosted sugar cookie
  • Half a Broiled Seafood Combination Platter

and the best I can say for my digestive state is “satisfied”. I wouldn’t turn down a second dessert. :)

We are now settled in Shawme-Crowell state forest. We are experts at setting up camp and both hammocks go up in minutes. It is very quiet here, as the camping season clearly isn’t going yet. Everything would be great except there is some kind of small silk spinning tree worm that is attacking the campsite. Quite literally, they are falling from the sky by lowering themselves down from tree branches. A stroll across the campsite guarantees you at least one unwanted passanger. Either we are running into them or they are attracted to us because there are many more on us that on any inanimate objects. Luckily, we feel safe elevated and enclosed in the hammocks.

There’s only one day of riding left to Provincetown, but it’s going to be a challenge. Sore and tired we must complete nearly 60 miles to reach our destination. The consolation lies in the day we get off of riding afterwards and the comfy hotel bed we get Monday night. We are also hoping that motorist free bike paths here on the cape will smooth tomorrow’s journey.

Hammocks 2, Rain Storms 0 Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Somehow, the rain forecast for today has improved and we are humid, but dry this morning. Last night it rained steadily for some time and the wind whipped my rain fly around like a dust mite in a box fan and yet the only water in my hammock was from a leaky water bottle! This is the second time we’ve experienced rain in the hammocks since we bought them. When you’re in the hammock, there’s a pretty good view out the sides where you would expect the rain to blow in, but the fly is wide enough that this doesn’t happen as long as all your knots hold.

The KOA is a pretty cushy campground and I have the luxury of charging my phone right now in the laundry room. There is a pool, a playground, a general store, and we’ve been told by other campers that they have WiFi on site. However, our campsite was sufficiently wooded for the hammocks and the grounds quieted down nicely at night.

Off to the next task of the morning: finding some quarters to run the dryer and take the damp out of our clothes.

Day Two: Calm before the storm Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Today went very smoothly. :) We saw the first road sign indicating “Cape Cod” and we crossed paths with a small private college graduation. There were no wrong turns, no injuries, and no significant mechanical problems and we arrived at the Boston/Cape Cod KOA after 40.4 miles of pedaling. Our hammocks went up in minutes. Then, we got cleaned up and made dinner of tuna fish, ham, crackers, from the camp store. Some fellow campers let us use their can opener to extract the tuna.

I’m a bit disappointed in my solar charger we rode in good sun for most of the daytoday and it’s only 20% charged. We may have to stop at a coffee shop for an hour tomorrow just to charge the phone.

Speaking of tomorrow, a coffee shop will probably sound pretty good then, because the forecast for the next 24 hours is solid rain. We’ve arranged our campsite to survive a night of rain, but packing up in morning rain doesn’t sound like much fun :/ I’m just hoping that our clothes which we rinsed out this evening dry out in time for our tomorrow’s start.

First Day Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Off to a roaring start, we logged about 40 miles and were greeted by Debbie’s hospitality in Newton, MA. Having our headlamps and charger ready paid off as the sun went down although it may be the only time we use them this trip! Isaac stopped his bike and took some video of us night riding. It came out good except that he did the stopping of the bike and the video in the wrong order.

I’m very happy with the way our gear packed up and our bikes are running smoothly. I have some hesitations that we are highly dependant on this little phone. Tomorrow I’ll have my eye out for a good map store.