I spend a total of three nights in Philadelphia, the longest than at any place, and certainly much longer than I had expected. Here is how it came about.

I left New Jersey early Monday morning. Felicia and Justin needed to leave for Maine and I didn’t have a place to spend the night. I guess I could have gotten a motel, but there had been a really bad thunderstorm the previous night – bad enough that they were thinking of classifying it as a tornado – and more rains were predicted for the next day. My enthusiasm for braving a new city in this dismal weatherI waned considerably. Seeing that Philadelphia was a mere 80 miles away, I decided to ride down to see my friend Janie.

while I have mostly been on freeways after getting off of the coast of Maine, the ride down the New Jersey turnpike towards Philly was a horror unto itself. Before I left, Felicia had mentioned that the section of highway for cars and trucks was sometimes less crowded than the one for cars only. This stuck in my mind and when they hghway forked two ways, I got onto the section for trucks.

I’m not sure if it was less crowded than the cars only section, but I do know that this highway is a Bad. Idea. for motorcyclists. I spend the entire time trying not to breathe the noxious fumes the trucks belched out and trying to overtake the various trucks and semis. I can honestly say that not in all my life have I seen so many semis on the road at the same time, nor passed so many in the space of an hour. Passing one semi going 70mph is harrowing in itself, doing it repeatedly got very tiresome very quickly, and I was relieved when the highways merged again.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, except for the One. Asshole. Truck. who passed me at 75mph and I could see him trying to weave through traffic in the distance. He got stuck in some traffic eventually and I was able to pass him on the left. I was just getting off at my exit when he passed me again, even though he wasn’t getting off, as if just to prove a point. I pondered flipping him off, but considering that I was only as big as one of his tires, it didn’t seem like a good idea.

I made it to Drexel Hill before noon and spend the afernoon talking to Janie and getting caught up. I think we were meeting after almost 2 years and there was so much to talk about. I adored her two dogs who were delightful and well behaved.

She took me for a drive around the city but for some reason I was completely exhausted. It could have been just the stress of being in so many cities, riding on just interstates for most of the previous week, or just the terrible heat and humidity. My right eye also felt very irritable and I couldn’t stop rubbing it. I got some eye drops for it which helped a lot. It was all I could do to eat something and go to bed that night.

The next day, I spend most of the morning in bed sleeping in, then went to do some touristy things later afternoon. (Strike the Liberty Bell off the list).

While we were walking around, Janie suggested that I take the Bolt Bus up to NYC the next day. I was really regretting not being able to see the city after I had come so close, so this suggestion was quite appealing.

As I noted in other blog posts, I did just that and I’m glad I got the chance to see New York.

First impressions…

The bus reached New York at 8:36AM practically on schedule, which amazes me. I tried to sleep but was unable to. In the last half hour I started chatting with the boy sitting next to me, who looked amazingly like Anthony right down to his long, curly hair, facial structure and height. :P He said that he might very well be related because he was adopted and his origins were mysterious and they suspected that he might well have Japanese origins.

He was reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and not liking it very much. :P We talked a little bit about literature and have to say that he has to be the most erudite 17 year old I’ve met. The kind of person I wish the world was full of. Ah well.

I got off the bus and went to the Tick Tock diner to get breafast. The place was overwhelmingly full for this time of day. It is cheerful and bustling and people are talking earnestly around their diner coffees. A couple of policemen are sitting in the booth next to mine.

It’s a little like being in a movie. I’m glad I came to New York.

Taking the bus to NYC…

I know that I need to add updates for the past few days and I will try to do so as soon as I can. I am currently camped put in Philadelphia for slightly longer than I had planned. I saw a lot of the city yesterday. It’s mostly a lot of historical monuments and artifacts like the Liberty Bell. The architecture is very colonial and reminded me of the buildings in London.

Today I am taking the Bolt Bus north to NYC to spend some time in the city. I had felt really bad about leaving New York without actually getting to see anything besides the State of Liberty (combination of bad weather, being really exhausted and not having a place to sleep). Janie suggested that I take the bus which takes 2 hours up and back and go see the city.

I had t wake up at the absurdly early hour of 5:30 to catch the 6:30 bus and here I am. They predict rain so I don’t know how the day will pan out. I am just hoping to walk through Central Park, the Metropolitan, maybe Chelsea and Greenwich Village and generally just get a feel for the city.

Now I will try to get some sleep.

Getting to Montreal…

The ride to Montreal was short and uneventful. I officer at the border crossing asked me a lot of questions about my visas (US and Canadian), seemed satisfied with the answers and let me pass.

Here is where a minor annoyance came up. My GPS seemed to be routing me through scores of little backroads, which normally would have been pleasant, but I just wanted to get the most direct route to Montreal. The route appeared to be almost 40 miles, but I was certain that Montreal was only 20 miles away. What was worse, the road was narrow with no shoulders and the only place to stop was people’s driveways, which I didn’t like doing, so I couldn’t stop to futz with the GPS for a long while. I finally hit a long red light, where I checked the settings and found that I had set “Interstate highways” as an obstacle to avoid. Problem solved! I unchecked the box and was immediately routed to the closest freeway and was in Montreal in a little over ten miles.

I found parking outside the hostel – taking a good few minutes to decipher the French No Parking signs – and went in. Checkin time wasn’t until another hour and they asked me to come back later. I chained up my gear to my bike but there was no way to leave my boots so I was forced to wear them. I walked a couple of blocks north to St. Catherine St., the main downtown street. It was hot, very hot and I felt overdressed in my long sleeve moisture wicking base shirt, pants and riding boots. I found a place to eat at – yet another creperie – where I was able to use the first of my Canadian currency.

After lunch, I went in search of a battery charger on St. Catherine St. I found a universal charger for the whopping price of CDN $56. :( I could have found one for half as much online, but that is a luxury I cannot afford right now seeing as my battery has been steadily depleting. I call this Phileas Fogg way of travelling — throwing money at obstacles to make them go away. Let’s hope I won’t have to take recourse to it too many times on this journey.

Missions accomplished and time to check in. I was handed two sheets and a card key. Thankfully I got the lower bunk bed. The bathroom looked clean and overall the place was bustling and cheerful and well-maintained, like most Hostelling International locations. I took a much needed shower and felt human again.

Then spent some time on the computers in the basement to upload the first batch of photos. After this, I set out to explore Vieux Montreal. It was a 15-20 minute walk up to there and I got to see some part of the old city. It was pretty crowded and tourists were everywhere, as can be expected it such a city. In that respect, it reminded me a lot of Vancouver, BC. More thoughts on Montreal in a later post.

I stopped for dinner in the Quartier Chinois under the misguided assumption that I would find genuine Chinese food there. To my horror, all the food I tried at the buffet was either luke warm or inedible and the chocolate eclair I tried for dessert had just been taken out of the freezer. Yuk.

Headed back to the hostel and ended up chatting with two cute boys. I might go see the city with them tomorrow. Montreal really does seem like the kind of place you should be in with someone else. That’s a feeling I don’t get very often.

Camping and Canadians…

I haven’t camped at very many state parks – or at all really – but I did think that the camp sites at the Cumberland Bay State Park were huge. It helped that the spot to my left was open and the lake was right in front of me.

An RV with an awning was parked to my right. One of the occupants came over to introduce himself after I smiled and nodded at him. His name was Serge and he was there with his wife Ghislan. It turned out that they were from Montreal and they drove down there every summer. They stayed for two weeks at a time, which was the maximum amount of time you could stay at that State Park, then go back home to Montreal for a week before returning again. They did this four times for the entire summer. I was a little surprised that they would come to the exact same spot if they had the freedom to move or go anywhere they pleased, but they appeared to like it a lot. I could see why – it was quiet and calm compared to Montreal.

Serge and Ghilsan were both French Quebecois. Serge’s English was pretty good while Ghilsan was a little slower – although not as slow as when I tried to talk to them in French. When I spoke to them, I had the same feeling as I had while I was in Beijing the year before. People made such an attempt to talk in English even if it wasn’t their native language, to the extent that they would whip out their phones and use the Chinese to English translation to communicate and make themselves understood. I felt guilty about not making enough of an effort to speak in French. I did try but they spoke too fast and I was only able to understand every other word. Likewise my French appeared to be very different from Quebecois French especially with the pronunciations of certain words. So we settled for communicating in a mix of English and French, each of us speaking very slowly. They seemed pleased that I even made the effort so I was glad I tried. Their accented English and the very French expressions sounded really delightful. :) I especially smiled when he told me about a nephew who
had ridden from Vancouver to Labrador on his B.M. double-vey. :)

I talked to them for a little bit before I went on my ride, and spent an hour with them around the fire they had built later at night. We toasted marshmallows and talked about our respective lives. I asked them how they had met and Serge told me that Ghislan lived in Joliet – a little north of Montreal – and they lived above a restaurant that he was at. “I saw her standing in the window and I knew she was the one.” They had been 17 then and were married in three years and still together almost 40 years later.

They were very curious to hear all about my family and details about my life. In their turn, they told me about their own lives and their children and grandchildren. It struck me that the reticence around volunteering personal information and inquiring about others’ lives was a quality that was very American and people of other nationalities do not have such inhibitions. In fact, I rather think that it is their way of being friendly and expressing goodwill.

This thought stayed in my mind the next morning when I was on my way out and saying my goodbyes. They introduced me to their friend Andre who was camped in another lot and had dropped by to say hello. Andre had worked as a photographer for a leading Canadian newspaper in another life and was also retired now. When he heard that I was going to Montreal that day, he gave me his card and told me to camp in his backyard next to the pool. “There’s nobody at home, but you can just push the main gate open and go in!”

While I have met many kind, helpful people on the roads in America, I could not readily imagine anyone being kindhearted enough to trust a complete stranger with their property while they weren’t even around. I politely declined his offer, saying that I was going to stay at a hostel close to Vieux Montreal. I did take his card though, and gave him mine. As I rode out of the campground, I thought that if most people in Quebec would be as kindhearted and generous as these worthy folks, I should possibly consider changing my route to ride through more of the region instead of heading directly back into the US from Montreal.

Photos so far…

I’ve temporarily posted photos of the ride so far on Facebook:
I’ll add them here as soon as I am able to.

Nightfall in Cumberland…

Got a late start again this morning on account of being up late editing photos, writing blog entries and poring over maps last night. The breakfast at the B&B was cold cereal and coffee, which was a bit disappointing, to say the least.

Got out on the road and took US2 (yay!) out to Burlington. It was a mere 30 miles but super nice riding through rural farmlands. Compared to the ride, noisy, bustling Burlington was a bit of a shock. I parked the bike in a motorcycle parking section downtown, chained my riding gear to the bike, and walked to Church St., the main street downtown. It looked a little like Pike Place Market does on a weekend. Lots of shops, people and noise. The camera shop – my raison d’etre for being there – was closed as it was a Monday (!).

I got a quick lunch (a crepe again!) at a roadside stand and followed it up with a Ben and Jerry’s orange cream ice cream cone. I think I ate too much because I felt really full for the next hour.

I had heard that Burlington was a cool little university town and I’m sure it is if you know where to go and what to see, but sadly the coolness escaped me. I was glad to get out of there, especially after getting lost on the way out in spite of my GPS.

I got back on US2 and headed north west. My intention was to go north through the islands to Champlain and then south towards the Adirondacks where I would camp. I’d had enough of living in cities and was craving some peace and quiet.

Going over the bridge over Lake Champlain was gorgeous, not unlike going over the 520 bridge in Washington. ;) A little while after, I saw a sign for a ferry that crossed over into New York. I followed the sign and made it to the ferry dock just as it was leaving. The ferry ride was a whopping 12 minutes long.

I got off the ferry and stopped at the first campground I saw – Cumberland Bay State Park. I hit the jackpot as I got huge campsite with view of the lake for $19.

It was so hot out that when I got to my campsite I took my gear off on the cool grass in the shade and just lay there.

I decided to set up camp and then go out for a ride, this time with my cooling vest on.

I rode south on 9 through Plattsburg, Valour and Ausuble. It was a nice, relaxed, gorgeous ride and I as a little thrilled to be riding through abitof the Adirondacks. Ausuble chasm in particular was unbelievably beautiful. For some reason, I was the only one there, which made it even better.

Many pictures and side jaunts later, I rode back to camp, stopping at a gas station on th way to pick up some chili, baked beans, a couple of bananas and some banana bread.

I heated up the chili on my camp stove and ate it quickly so I could go watch the sunset from the beach.

Night fell quickly and cold. I’m now warm in my sleeping bag, ready for another good night’s sleep. :)

Montpelier by night…

I left the Skinny Pancake a little before closing time and walked to the edge of town. The river was gray and still and a bit disappointing, so I didn’t stay long. As I turned back towards town, a car stopped in front of me, and an gentleman with a long gray beard climbed out. He wished me a good evening and asked me how my day was going. I told him that it was going a lot better than I had expected. He remarked on my camera and told me about his niece who was going to school to learn photography. We got chatting and he asked me if I played pool. There is no such thing as a co-incidence, right? He seemed interesting, a character who either knew he was one or was completely oblivious, I’m not sure which. I grinned at how he peppered his speech with expressions like “oh lord have mercy”.

We ran across the street – him rather impressively on his crutches – and stood outside a bar called Charley O’s. Mike asked me if I had ever been in there, and I responded in the negative, claiming that I had hardly had the time in the two hours that I had been in town.

In we went. It was a regular old bar except that the walls were adorned with scenes from old movies, photos of Elvis and framed pictures of people – perhaps old patrons or people passing through? There were also many pithy sayings, one of which made me laugh – “No life stories please.”

We got beers – Long Tail ambers – I found out later that he paid for without me knowing. The bartender and the other people in the bar appeared to know him pretty well, so I guessed that he was a regular there. We got a table pretty soon too. Playing pool was fun as usual. I’m a terrible player, but it’s one of the few games I can lose at without feeling competitive or upset about losing at. Not that I lost – he had many opportunities to win, but he kept prolonging the game so that I could win. It was so transparently obvious and good-natured that I couldn’t help laughing.

I wanted to stay and play some more but I knew I had to get an early start the next day, so I made my apologies and started to leave. He was headed to the back of the bar with a cigarette, so I said I’d join him for a little bit before I left. We joined two other girls outside – Sarai and Maggie. We smoked and talked about Vermont, Montpelier, the history of the bar we were at (apparently it dated back to the war between the states!), Lebanon, NH and the country Lebanon (Mike co-incidentally happened to have a tourism brochure for Lebanon that showed women in the 60s in swimsuits), the civil war, slavery, emancipation, eugenics at the University of Vermont, Alexander Twinkle, cotton gin, and finally Bing search. They seemed amused when I told them that I worked for the search engine.

I finally dragged myself away from their excellent company and made my way back to Gamble’s.

The night sky was studded with thousands of stars clearly visible in spite of the lights in town. I love walking at night through the shadows, when it is cool and quiet and the air is fresh and clean. The world seems like a different place – darker and more mysterious.

I passed tourists walking down Skate Street, teenagers grouped around doorways, couples kissing in dark corners, a cat padding softly across the street. I paused to wonder at how I had just experienced a sliver of these people’s lives, how through a chain of incidents my life had intermingled with theirs even if just for a few minutes, and suddenly it seemed right that I was there tonight to feel and experience all that I had.

I snuck into Gamble’s quietly and went upstairs to my room. My bed has fluffy pillows with pillowcases made of knitted lace – they remind me of the ones my mother used to make when I was little. I think to myself that I’ll sleep well tonight.

Thus ends my first day out on the other side of the continent. It’s been a good ride so far. I cannot wait to see what the next few days bring.

Update from Montpelier, VT

I am stopped for the day at Montpelier in Vermont after spending most of the day in New Hampshire. I am at a creperie called The Skinny Pancake and settled with my laptop, a latte and a chicken/pesto crepe. The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Scar Tissue is playing in the background. The latte is exremely milky and a world apart from what I would get in seattle. I have mostly given up home of finding good coffee for a while, so I’m not completely disappointed. Apparently the coffee house culture that I take for granted in the Pacific Northwest is not a fixture all over the country.

Out the window, Montpelier seems lazy and sleepy, not surprising for a Sunday evening. Most of the local businesses in downtown are closed. From the looks of it, the town looks like just the kind of cool little artistic nook that I’d love to spend time exploring. I walked around a little bit gaping at some of the enormous houses. A friend of mine loves gazing at people’s front porches and yards to see how they are decorated, and I seem to have gotten this habit from him. Or – as I like to think – I’m looking at them for him and maybe I’ll remember some of them enough to relate to him. Sometimes I take pictures if the house looks sufficient impressive or unique. I think he would have been disappointed if he had looked for front porches though. The houses in New England do not seem to have these. I suppose the prolonged harsh winters have something to do with this.

I’m spending the night at a little B&B called Gamble’s B&B. It is an enormous house that reminds me of the old homes in Portland. There is a big pool table in the living room which made my face light up and I promised the landlady – a silver haired old lady called Laura Gamble – that would play a few rounds with her when I got back. Playing pool is one of those things that I could do all day long given the chance, but rarely do in real life back home.

Today’s riding was a mix of disappointing and exhilerating. The really scenic roads in Vermont leading up to New Hampshire had really bad surfaces and I didn’t enjoy riding them much. The riding in white Mountain National Forest was so-so. There was a lot of traffic (people in New Hampshire seem to enjoy driving at 45mph in a 50mph zone) and the scenery wasn’t very interesting. Granted I didn’t go as far north as Mt. washington. On my way there, I passed a stranded Harley rider and did a u-turn to go see if I could help him. His bike had completely died while he was riding and he couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I fished out my little multimeter and found that the battery voltage was 4V – super low – but that was more of a by-product of his trying to get the engine to turn over. Another rider stopped and started yanking at some of the cables going into the battery and found that one of them completely snapped. Problem identified! He rode off and I helped him strip the ends of the cables, splice the wires together and insulate it with electrical tape. I was glad I could put some of my tools to use and even gladder than I didn’t have to use them on my own bike. He managed to jump start it and get on the road again. I’d lost some time by now, so I decided to turn around and head west instead. It’s a pity I couldn’t take the gondola rides to the mountain, but I was glad I could help a fellow rider out.

I followed the various state highways to Littleton and then got on US-2 to St. Johnsbury and Montpelier. Riding US2 made me happy and a little wistful. I figured if I followed it far enough west, I would get to my very own Cascade range and Washington state. It was a good thought. I’m not ready to go home yet by any means, but it was nice to be able to ride a small part of the same road from back home.

My favorite riding was in Vermont after all. It’s strange how the landscape changed as soon as I crossed over from New Hampshire – big meadows and tall grasses all looking so lush green – an impossible green that I’ve never seen anywhere in all my travels. My favorite moments were when I would come up over the crest of a hill and there spread in front of me would be miles of green land – a little like the Shire would look like if it were real.

I am going to finish up my meal now, pore over a map to figure out the route for tomorrow and try to find a place to stay at in Montreal tomorrow. Then I’ll go walk up to the river’s edge and sit by the water and smoke a cigarette before heading back into town. Then for a game of pool and possibly even break out the flask of Scotch. :)

Stopped for lunch at Conway, NH

I managed to get an early start this morning and got out on Lyme Rd. Headed towards the White Mountain Forest Park. The road was gorgeous and winding but also badly pitted and cracked from harsh winter which didn’t make it much fun to ride.

Around 11AM I reached the beginning of the Kankamagus Hwy and stopped to get fuel at Lincoln. The highway as nice although very trafficky-y.

I noticed that helmetless Harley riders don’t wave very much.

I am not very happy with my luggage setup. So far I took both my Camelbak backpack and waistpack off and stuck it on the back because I just couldn’t move around much on the bike. I alo tok off the tinted strip on my helmet visor because I felt like it blocked my vision.

I am still trying to get used to being back on the bike. My arm hurts where the break happened last year and I find myself wincing a lot when I use it Hopefully it will fade soon.

Now I am in a charming litte cafe in Conway eating a Philly Steak with kettle cooked chips. Outside of the pain, life is good.

Today in Hanover…

Got off to a really late start today – 8AM PST but a horribly late 11AM in East Thetford, VT. Woke up and re-organized my stuff into my saddle bags and tail pack so that it’s ready to go tomorrow.

My friend and I then drove over to Hanover to see the street fest. I got to see Dartmouth College, the school that she’s been at for 9 years getting a PhD and doing post doctoral studies.

It was a pretty hot day but the festival was fun and lively and it was good to be outdoors. I ate buckwheat crepes for the first time. The taste was odd at first but the spinach, goat cheese and caramelized onions made up for it.

Afterwards, we drove to Quichee gorge and walked down to the water’s edge. The water feet wonderfully refreshing as we dipped our feet in. :)

Then for ice cream in sugar cones – black raspberry for me.

When we got home, I decided to conect the cable for my Slime air compressor on to the battery. When I tested it out though, it didn’t work! I heard a brief clicking sound after which it died. This time the fuse looked intact but it didn’t matter. :| I guess this POS is going back to Seattle with Sterling’s duffel bag.

The day came to an end too quickly. We ate quesadillas for dinner and looked a old childhood photos and giggled as we tried to remember old classmates’ names. She has a significantly better memory than I do.

As an aside, the beet accident from yesterday appears to have hosed my Panasonic Lumix camera battery’s charger. :| I am a little aggravated at this as the battery is a special li-ion one with a proprietary charger. The only thing I can think of is to order one online and have it shipped to a place that I am definitely going to be at on my route.

Landed in Lebanon …

My 3 hour layover turned out to be slightly less as they decided to fly out earlier (!). The plane – a Cessna – turned out to be the smallest one I’ve been in, outside of a small one I flew for 15 minutes in Portland, OR many years ago, and the air ambulance back from the Yukon last year when I was slightly more uhhh… Strapped in and supine.

It was rather charming and old world to get into a small plane that vroomed through cloudy skies high above impossibly green country. With a little imagination, I could very well pretend that I was in pre-WW1 times.

I felt slightly tired and worn out and disinclined to chat by the time we landed. Red eye flights really are rather hard on you and I’m not sure the saving of one day and a little money was worth it.

I’ve got to say that writing longer blog posts on the Samsung i760 is not too bad at all. The full QWERTY keyboard really helps. The only downside is that the battery gets depleted far sooner than I like.

I am now sitting in an Irish pub in Lebanon with my childhood friend whom I haven’t met in 8 years. We drove through charming, winding country roads to get here. The weather is perfect as was my lunch of roast beef and horseradish sandwich with homemade chips and an orange cream soda.

We are going to get coffees and go for a walk and catch up on the past 8 years. So far life is good. I think I like beng on vacation.

Heading out to Lebanon …

Slept through the flight to Lebanon too, thank heavens. Got in to Boston Logan at around 9AM local time – still around 6AM PST.

I had to go to another terminal to catch the Cape Air flight to Lebanon so I decided to take the airport shuttle. As I walked outside to the stop, I saw a bus stop with destinations like New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island and the realization sunk in -I’m in New England! I’m in BOSTON! :) Can’t hardly wait to ge out of the airports!

I have a 3+ hour layover before the next flight and I feel tired. The blaring TVs and strange people all around are a bit much to deal with. It’ll be good to catch a bit of a nap later today.

It appears that the Cape Air flight is a 9 person flight – quaint! – and they are waiting for 5 more passengers to show up to get us out earlier. Here’s hoping.

Made it to Cleveland, OH

Slept through most of the flight, which is saying something considering I had middle seat, there was barely no elbow or leg room (such quaint demanding terms in the era of modern air travel!) and I was freezing because I hadn’t thought to bring a coat.

I seem to have crossed into another time zone as well. It is 6ish here but still 3:30AM in Seattle.

The flight to Boston I at 7:30AM. So here I wait. No point trying to sleep any more, I reckon.

At SeaTac airport…

My sweetie just dropped me off at the airport. Checkin turned out to be a bit complicated as the massive duffel bag he had lent me turned out to weigh 72lbs -11lbs over the 50 lbs limit. I took some stuff out placed it in the Ortleib bag and checked in two bags toal for $40 ($15 for the first bag and $25 for the second – $&*@# airlines!).

Security check went through smoothly. Now to wait for 1.5 hrs for flight CO 274 U to arrive. I feel really tired and hope I can catch some shut-eye on the various flights.

‘Cos no adventure is complete without a pickled beets disaster

While I was loading my Ortleib bag int my friend’s car, I froze when I heard the clink of broken glass. Apparently I had tossed in a jar of pickled beets (present for my friend) in there and it had smashed to bits in transit.

Fortunately it was in a stuff sack so the glas was contained within it. Unfortunately the stuff sack also contained all my power and data cables, so I spent an hour picking out pieces of glass and beet from the cables, and wiping them all down. The astonishing thing is that the vinegar seems to have been corrosive enough to create pock marks in the metal prongs of the power cables.


(The other jar of vanilla strawberry jam survived unscathed, so all was not lost on the present front.)

Itinerary for tonight…

Thursday, July 16, 1009
Depart 11:00PM SeaTac (SEA)
Arrive 6:14AM +1 day Cleveland (CLE)
27B, Economy/Coach Class, Boeing 737-800
Continental, Flight 274, 4 Hr 14 Min

Friday, July 17, 2009
Depart 7:30AM Cleveland (CLE)
Arrive 9:15AM Boston (BOS)
22A, Economy/Coach Class, Boeing 737-700
Continental, Flight 1467, 1 Hr 45 Min

Depart 12:30PMBoston (BOS)
Arrive 1:25PM Lebanon (LEB)
Economy/Coach Class, Cessna
Cape Air, Flight 1877, 0 Hr 55 Min

Some last pre-journey words…

I leave tomorrow night on the red-eye to Lebanon, New Hampshire, with no less than two connections (one at Cleveland and another at Boston). I will arrive in Lebanon at 1:25PM (east coast time) where an old childhood friend will pick me up. I might go pick up my bike from Lebanon Motorsports and ride it to her place. I’ll hang out with her part of the weekend and start the big ride on Sunday heading up north towards Montreal.

I don’t have all of the details of the route planned yet, just the first few days where I plan on seeing most of New England, riding some good roads, and stopping at cool little towns, maybe even doing the occassional tourist thing. I hope to be in Ohio on the 31st after which I start heading back out west. You would think that with one month off, I will have all the time in the world to ride without feeling rushed, but I’m sure reality will be far different. On the way I hope to meet many old friends. :)

Assuming my various devices work as they should and I have cell phone coverage, I will post on here as often as I can.

That is all. Thanks for coming along on the ride! :)

Blogging on the road…

So far my attempts to blog while out on my rides have been limited to stumbling across internet cafes in random cities, logging into my account, and posting an update. While on the Alaska ride, I got slightly more sophisticated and set up a discussion list to which people could subscribe to get my broadcast emails.

For the x-country ride, I decided to further investigate different ways of blogging and sending real-time updates via my phone and/or computer. I am carrying a netbook with me to facilitate composing blog posts. I’ll update either when I have access to wifi/internet cafes or from my cell phone.

In my mind, there are two kinds of blogging modes – regular blogging and micro-blogging. Here’s some info on how to set up and use either mode.


Micro blogging is defined as posting mini-updates about your status to a feed that people can subscribe to. The most popular services are Twitter and Facebook. Facebook has a Twitter app that pulls Twitter updates (tweets) and posts them as your Facebook status updated. I figure that the best way to micro-blog would be to tweet via a mobile phone (a Samsung i760 which runs Windows Mobile 6) although you can certainly use a regular computer if you happen to be at one.

Here are various ways to mini-blog. The steps assume that you have a Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Be warned that unless your mobile phone plan provides unlimited texting, this is a surefire way to rack up a huge phone bill. When I last checked, Verizon doesn’t allow unlimited texting except between mobile phones, so I decided not to go down this route.

1. Link your Twitter account to Facebook. Search for Twitter app and allow it access to your Facebook account. Note that your Twitter account needs to be set to Public for this app to work.
2. Log in to your Twitter account and go to Settings. Select “Devices”, add your mobile phone number and set Device Updates to “On”.
3. Send texts to the number 40404
4. Your texts will appear as status updates on both Twitter and Facebook.

1. Link your Twitter account to Facebook. Search for Twitter app and allow it access to your Facebook account. Note that your Twitter account needs to be set to Public for this app to work.
2. Create a Twittermail account. You will be asked for your Twitter username and password and provided with a private, cryptic looking email address like In Settings, you will need to set the email account that you will post from e.g. your gmail or hotmail email address.
3. You can set whether just your status update will be just the subject, body or both subject and body.
4. You can also set whether any images you send will be published to Twitpic if you have an account there.
5. Log in to the email account you set in step 2 and send email to the twittermail account.
6. Your email will be published to Twitter and Facebook in a few minutes. There can be a lag of up to 5 minutes.

1. Link your Twitter account to Facebook. Search for Twitter app and allow it access to your Facebook account. Note that your Twitter account needs to be set to Public for this app to work.
2. Create a Twitpic account. You will be asked for your Twitter username and password and your twitpic account will be set up and you will be assigned a pin and an email address to which you can email updates. The email address will be of the form
3. Send an email from any email account to your twitpic email address with an attached email. If you are on a mobile phone, you can browse to an image you just took with your phone’s camera.
4. ALTERNATIVELY, you can send email to your twittermail email account from the previous section, and if it is linked to your twitpic account, you can post an image the same way.
5. The image you emailed will be uploaded to and your status update on Twitter and Facebook will be updated with a twitpic link.

1. Set up an account at Qik.
2. Link your Qik account to Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you have linked Twitter and Facebook, a post made to Qik is somehow posted only as one update on Facebook.
3. Install the Qik app on your phone (assuming they support your phone’s model)
4. Start up the Qik app and take some streaming video
5. The video is uploaded to your Qik account and a status update is made to Twitter and/or Facebook with a link to the video


Assuming you have a blog set up via a popular blogging service like WordPress, Blogger, Livejournal etc, you can blog in the following ways:

Obviously you can just log into the website and update your blog. It’s harder to do on a mobile phone, but it can be done. Try and compose your post offline on some word processing app on your phone, or on a computer and then transfer to phone.

If your blogging software provides a mobile client, that would be one way to go. I don’t know of any client for WordPress or Livejournal that works on WM 6.0.

Blog on WordPress via email
Blog on Livejournal via email

If you attach an image to your email, it will be posted on Livejournal seamlessly. Not so easy for WordPress though because blogging to WordPress via email only works if you send email that is plain text, not html encoded, so there is no way to send images.


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The SV has landed…

Lebanon Motorsports in New Hampshire called me this morning to tell me that MY BIKE HAS REACHED THEM. So yay it reached them a week ahead of time, so I don’t have to stress out that it might not get there by the time I fly down next week. Part of me is a bit miffed that JC Motors overestimated and told me it would be there a week later (on the 17th) so I had to postpone my plans by two weeks instead of one. I could have been there now and starting my vacation a whole week earlier if I had known.

I’m not going to be negative though. The guys from the store were totally cool about hanging on to the bike for a week instead of just a day as planned, so I owe them some good quality beer when I go to pick it up. I also talked to them about maybe replacing the kick stand on the bike with a longer one and they said they could totally do that and charge me for 15 minutes of labor (which would be pretty unheard of in these parts). I’d be thrilled if that can be taken of for so cheap while the bike is just sitting there.

The first part of the plan is complete and I’m pleased. I will join my bike soon and together we will have strange, mad adventures together. :)

Contract Number: WM968300
Ship From: SEATTLE, WA 98102
Ship To: LEBANON, NH 03766
Actual Pickup Date : 07/01 11:30
Actual Delivery Date : 07/10 12:00
Current Shipment Status: Shipment has been delivered
Delivery Signed For By: DIXON