Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back to Boston

The day began with breakfast served up by the new owner of the Fitzwilliam Inn. It was very special to be their first and only guests (more were due in today). A nice 50 degrees out and we were on the road. It was to be a net downhill day but still lots of rolling hills. The usual 2nd breakfast on the road followed by lunch as we approached Boston. To ease back in to civilzation we stopped at Subway and each had a 12 inch sub, and finished them off.

It was time to call on the GPS to find Liz's new place and after a minute of thinking we were off following the directions. It did a great job of getting a nice path through the heart of Boston. One detour was a little painful, but a recalculation and we were back on track. About 240 miles for the last 3 days. Totals for the trip - 1,062 miles and about 23,000 feet of climbing. And too many stunning scenes along the way to count.

We finished in Jamaica Plain (Boston) with ice cream and a smoothie. A perfect end to the trip. After a shower at Liz's new place it's off soon for dinner and beer on Center St.

Definitely sleeping in tomorrow morning and then it will be time to pack up the bikes for the return trip via FedEx. Just can't wait to get back to toasty temps in Tucson :-)

Lots of good food and beer along the way. Just a fun way to travel. Met many nice people, including a number a good friends along the way, and of course saw wonderful sights. The legs are a little pooped for now!

Dartmouth, the longest covered bridge and Robert Mitchum…

What do those three things have in common? They were all a part of ride from Norwich to Fitzwilliam. The day started with breakfast at the room of the Norwich inn that we bought at the “Dan and Whit’s Country Store next door with the motto: “if we don’t sell it you don’t need it”. We went across the bridge into Hanover and visit Dartmouth campus briefly. I wanted to see the frescos at the basement of the library but it was closed until 8, so I saw a little bit through the window. We rode on Route 10 and then 12 A in New Hampshire. We were happy with the road by the Connecticut River going up and down the hillside into small towns. We were ready for our second breakfast when I saw a bigger town on the VT side, Windsor and were happy to be able to cross the river through one of the covered bridges of VT. It was actually the longest (see picture above). After a regular breakfast at the local diner, two eggs over easy with toast and potatoes and I also had a blueberry pancake. We went back to NH and continues on route 12 A and then 12, leaving the river and going up a big hill into Keene. This area is beautiful but very hilly, the Monadnock mountains…After going up to Keene, a medium city in our map I was tired, my legs felt like jello and had the bad feeling there were not be many hotels for another 30 miles. We had done already 64 miles with 3,000 feet of climbing and there were more mountains on the way. I tried to suggest we could stay in a nice Best Western with free wi fi, but Steve was on a mission to get closer to Massachusetts. So we went, and continued to climb into Troy, Steve said for sure there is a place to stay…wrong. We asked two women who were drinking in a porch with a Great Dane dog. There was no place in Troy, there might be an Inn in Fitzwilliam 4 more miles uphill but information did not have a phone number for the place… I was so tired I could not even complain and had a bad feeling it was not open. There was no choice; we weren’t going back so we kept pedaling. In 4 miles we were in Fitzwilliam, and we found the “Historic Fitzwilliam Inn from 1796”. The door was open, there was a rug outside on the porch and there were loud sounds of a vacuum cleaner. Even though I am the one that usually finds out about the rooms, I sent Steve, I was not very hopeful. The good news was that even though the couple that bought the building in an auction were still remodeling a number of the rooms were finished and we were their first guests! So why Robert Mitchum? Our room in the second floor by the stairs was the one used by Robert when he would visit his son who lived in Troy, NH, there were many of his pictures and a biography book where I learned a lot of useless trivia. We had our usual shower and walked to the only restaurant in town, then walked back to the Inn under the almost full moon, ready to go to bed for our last day of riding.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The end of summer

The beginning of September and the thermometer read 38 deg F as we loaded the panniers on the bike this morning. A little brisk! There was fog over the lake and a nice mist as we rode around the lake to get to the highway. We brought tights and jackets, but the first few descents were a bit brutal. We were actually looking forward to the first climbs of the day. Our toesies definitely got coldsies.

About 20 miles in we found a little diner and went for the 2 eggs over easy, toast, home fries, and coffee. It really hit the spot. The route was quite hilly until we made it down to the Connecticut River which separates Vermont from New Hampshire. We spent the rest of the day on US 5 which parallels the river. Very scenic and very light traffic as the interstate is just a few hundred yards away for most of the route.

84 miles and a little tired at the end of the day. The temp quickly rose to the 70's and stayed there all day. High pressure, no clouds and calm as well. Perfect riding conditions after we thawed out.

2 more 80 mile days and we should be back in Boston :-)

Recharging before the journey back to Boston

Another day at Caspian lake… the day started slowly as yesterday. I enjoyed my time in the morning before everyone get up. Since arriving at the lake I started reading Travels with Willie, adventure cyclist by Willie Weir (I highly recommend the book to all of you avid cyclists that read this blog). The book is about short stories of his travels on the bike, the one named “Buying Time” was on my mind all day. In a way the less we buy , the fewer things we are attached to or the less we want the more time in our hands to do what we like to do. I am glad I was able to buy time at the lake, to spend with friends, go for a swim and a walk in the woods with Lucy. Pel liked to hear some of the stories read out loud by Steve. The picture of the little shack with a green roof is a place called “Pete’s organic farm”. The shack is where you can buy produce, it has sunflowers growing in the roof and garlic drying at the eave. The second picture is Lucy with a wet suit and I with just a bathing suit going for our afternoon swim. Now for Randy, we did go to dinner to a very nice Vermont restaurant that is supported by many local producers called “Claire”. It is located in Hardwick. All the food is organic, Steve and I ordered strawberry basil margaritas, which were outstanding, my favorite part was a beet, walnut and green salad and the local bread with local butter. Lucy and Doug’s favorite was the corn chowder and to complete the meal I shared a blackberry and raspberry upside down cake.
It is sad to say goodbye and hope Lucy, Doug and Pel have a great month at the lake.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A day off at Caspian Lake

Things started nicely with sleeping in until after 7 (for Steve anyway). Patricia was up early having mate. The weather is clearing as the hurricane effects weaken. About 60 in the morning topping out at 72 with partly cloudy skies. A gentle breeze from the southeast.

We went in to town to buy groceries with Lucy and use the free WiFi in front of the library. Doug was throwing pots in his studio behind the main house. He is continuing the line of butterfly designs started with Patricia’s 50th birthday present 

Drinks are at 5:30. Very nice beer and wine and appetizers with Lucy’s sister and her husband next door. The sky is clearing and the moon is approaching full. The lake looks very peaceful. It’s so civilized off the bike!

The punctured tubes have been patched, chains and pedals are cleaned and lubed from the rain, and tires are all at 90 PSI ready for the run to Boston starting on Tuesday.

Patricia is back in triathlon mode, swimming a few miles in the 68 F lake with Lucy and doing a 5 mile run around the lake. Such a relaxing day, eh? We had lattes from Doug’s machine imported from Tucson this afternoon, very very nice.

Is it cooling off in Tucson yet?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Arrived at Caspian Lake!

Two years ago at the locker room after masters swim practice, my friend Lucy Mitchell was telling me about her month long vacation at her family property on Caspian Lake, Vermont. She said you should come visit when I go back in two years and I said sure, we can do a biking trip in the northeast and stop by at the lake house. That was the seed for the idea of this trip and today we arrived at our destination. It was not an easy day, Vermont is hilly, and the forecast was saying 100% chance of rain. We started by having breakfast at the local diner in Enosburg Falls, the winds (due to hurricane) were strong and they were mostly headwinds. The terrain was very hilly, not many cars early on but got busier later. We stopped for a snack in Johnson and when we came around 12:45 it was raining heavy, but the winds had stopped. The Ortlieb panniers and our water proof jackets kept our things dry and us warm. Steve got a flat tire, which we fixed under the light rain but we could not find the offending item, a few miles later got a second one, this time we found the small piece of glass. By then the rain had stopped and we found our way to Greensboro by climbing a long hill. We were pretty tired by then and we had to go on a dirt road around the lake. Steve said there should not be any more hills, to make me feel better but as usual there were a few more steep and short. When I was ready to give up we got to the north end of the lake and were very happy to see Lucy, Doug and Pel waiving at us from the porch.
The place is gorgeous. We will say more about it in the next two days when we will have a chance to explore it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Montreal to Vermont - Back in the USofA, August 28

We got up and on the bikes at 6:30 AM, ready to take on the task of crossing and leaving Montreal during rush hour. 52 degrees and clear and a very light breeze to start. We took the Route Verte 1 across town and after a few circles made it up on the Jacques Cartier bridge. After a detour of finding out the intermediate islands were closed for a NASCAR race we were back on the bridge and on to the mainland. We found the RV 1 again and were off. What followed was about 50 miles of separated paths on the RV 1. Great countryside, no traffic and very peaceful. Several miles with a canal on one side and a river on the other. (Canal = flat :-) ) Really the best of the Route Verte.

We had to leave the RV as we headed south for Vermont. The highways were fine with only 1 detour today! Even had a slight tailwind from the north. The temp topped out at 67 degrees with partly cloudy skies. The hills started to appear about 10 miles from the border, but weren't bad. We left our last French speaking town and headed south

The border crossing to the USA was easy - just us and no line. Had a nice chat with the officers and we off for the last 7 miles of the day. Our goal was Enosburg Falls. Found one Inn with one room, that's all we needed. Dinner back with the American cuisine of fried food and several beers.

90 miles for the day and feeling good. On to Lucy and Doug's place in Greensboro in the morning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday Aug 27: Sightseeing Montreal by bike

We decided to take the City bike routes and see some areas of Montreal: Mount Royal, La Maison des Cyclistes, the Olympic village and Botanical Gardens.
Riding in Montreal is either really bad or good, in most of the streets are good where there are designated bike lanes. From Pat's house we took the North-South bike way and it took us where we wanted to go without trouble. It is like a highway for bikes, with people of all ages going in both directions, some are commuting, others look like training and others are going for a stroll with the family. It was like driving in Argentina in a two line highways, you needed to strategically pass people when there was an opening in the oposite lane.
Mount Royal is the small mountain in the island of Montreal with easy access by car, foot or bicycle. The road in not paved but well kept and with a nice slope so it was not hard to pedal to the top. The views of the city are great as you can see in one of the pictures. We tried to get to a "cross" structure at the top and I got separated with Steve. It took about an hour to find each other again, it is hard to be without cellphones, we are spoiled with the ability to use them all the time.
After we found each other we went for lunch at the Maison des Cyclistes: a nice cafe with a bicycle shop and all the maps you might need to tour the route verte.
We also rode around the remaing structures of the Olympic village and then went to the Botanical gardens which are amazing. We took many pictures of plants and flowers (you can see one on this blog). In the way back to Pat's house we stopped a the "Jean-Talon" market to get maple syrup and we also got some cheese and bread for dinner.
We had a nice dinner with Pat and family and we called it the day to get up early in the morning to go from Montreal all the way to Vermont.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sightseeing in Old Montreal

Wednesday was day one of two off in Montreal. After sleeping in late :-) we had breakfast and hopped on the subway 2 blocks from Pat's place. About 10 stops later we were downtown checking out the sights. Several nice churches and old buildings mixed in with a modern downtown. The waterfront is well developed with a number of things to look at. Another fun coincidence - while walking along the waterfront we saw a couple that we had seen in a restaurant 2 nights before in Quebec City. They turned out to be from Wisconsin.

Had some very nice coffee and later a great lunch. We have yet to have anything less than great food in Quebec. Checked out McGill University (for English speaking students) and caught the subway back home. Pat is working part time at a local bike shop and we hopped on the Surlys for a ride over to see him and chat with the guys.

Finished the day with dinner at a neighborhood restaurant with Pat and his family. Was a little chilly on the walk back home. Looks like highs around 70 for the next several days. Sounds great!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25: Arrival at Montreal

The 86 miles from Trois Rivieres to Montreal were flat, so until crossing the bridge to the Island of Montreal the ride went smoothly and fast for what we can do on the loaded Surlys with some head winds (12-13 mph). The route has very pretty spots by the St Lawrence river, there is a part where it becomes a big lake (pictured above), then a "delta" and near Montreal a narrow river. We have a system for the longer rides when we stop every couple of hours for a meal, it prevents us from bonking and going even slower. After the two course breakfast at the B and B we stopped for cafe au le and pastries, and then lunch along the way.
There are some neat old towns on the route with old churches (as you can see in the picture). We saw many cyclists on the road including many unsupported touring souls but all of them going in the opposite direction.
When we got to Montreal it got very stressful, first a slight uphill with stronger head winds and then rush hour traffic in a major road with no bike lane or shoulder. We did not have a good map so we had to do with Mr. GPS told us, and although he is usually right this time he wasn't. We pushed it through and made it to our friend's house. Pat Bouchard, his daughter Maxim and girlfriend Crista. My favorite part of the touring day is arriving to your destination, take a shower and have a relaxing evening drinking a cold beer and eating dinner, specially with friends. Also looking forward to two days of sleeping in and having a break from the bikes (my butt is happy!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Halfway to Montreal - 91 miles on Monday

Today began and ended perfectly, with a little suffering in the middle. We started at the B&B with our 3 course breakfast which was excellent. We loaded up the panniers, said goodbye to our hosts and zipped downhill to the ferry and made it on with 45 seconds to spare. A nice start to the day.

On the Quebec City side of the river we picked up the bike path for a very enjoyable ride south. After the bridge we were on the Route Verte 5 for the duration of the day. Initially it took us through some neighborhoods but ended up in a park with a very steep downhill followed by several flights of stairs. I'm sure some sign in French warned us of this, but it was not obvious to us. To descend the stairs you just put on the brakes, head over the edge and hope everything arrives at the bottom together :-)

After succussfully navigating the several flights of stairs a nasty little construction detour took us up a 150 foot hill and through more neighborhoods. South of Quebec City where we ended up on some very pretty and lightly used country roads for several miles. Eventually it was the shoulder of Hwy 138 for the rest of the day to Tres Rivieres. The temps stayed in the 70's under partly cloudy skies with a mild breeze in our face.

I think I've figured out how to describe Quebec now - take equal parts of France and Iowa, put them in the blender and push the frappe button. The mix of quaint little side streets with cafes and WalMart strip malls is interesting.

As we got near our destination, after 82 hard miles, a rather annoying 4 mile detour appeared which took us directly in to the wind for the first half and forced us to bypass the 4 B&B/hotels we were considering. That left us to downtown and one preferred bike friendly hotel choice. This hotel turned out to be a little business like, but fortunately Patricia had spotted a nice B&B a few blocks away and they had a room and were very nice (as we have experienced at all of our stays in Quebec). Another great French dinner and we were ready for bed and another long day on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quebec City; "our day off" = 25+ miles

Today was going to be our first day off since we started touring. Steve slept in while I went to have my mate/tea up in the attic of the B and B. Breakfast was amazing, I love Quebec because the way they prepare and present their delicious food. Every meal has 3-4 courses, even breakfast: first course granola with fruit and yogurt, second the best eggs over easy I've had in my life with fruit and pieces of local cheese on the side and a selection of breads. Third rhubarb/strawberry pie, and of course coffee and juice. So far so good, the day was going as planned. We got our bikes even though we were taking the ferry from Levis to Quebec city to get around in the old town. There was wind (probably the effects of Hurricane Bill), as we rode to the ferry station we realized the next one was leaving in 45 minutes. This is the part that I would do different if I can go again through the day: Steve suggested to ride to the bridge we can see in the horizon rather than wait for the ferry. The bridge we thought was 5 miles away, was really 10+ miles away and the wind on the bridge was at least 60 mph and I had trouble controlling the bike while walking...(you can see its effects on me in the picture).
The old town of Quebec city has beautiful buildings, great restaurants and stores, we rode and walked around, toured the local farmers market and tasted the local berries and took the ferry back. I did the laundry while Steve worked in the computer. We went to L'Escalator restaurant, near the B and B and had a 4 course meal with a view of the Chateau Frontenac. Tomorrow is another long day to Trois Rivieres half way between here and Montreal.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A taste of the Route Verte

The day started very nicely by sleeping in until 6:45 AM. After about 10 hours in the saddle the day before it was great. We were the only ones in the B&B so the owners made breakfast just for us. There was another guest, but he was a bit of a complainer so the owners made him a reservation at a motel and sent him away :-) The breakfast matched the gourmet dinner from the night before. We were checking out some places to stay in the Quebec City area and the owner helped pick out a nice B&B for two nights and made the reservation for us. He brought the bikes around and brought out his box of bike stuff - part of being a bike friendly B&B. I needed some WD-40 as we had a number of rusty spots after the rain, mud, and subsequent cleaning - and he had a can in his box of stuff. I'm guessing there was some residual salt on the roads.
It was off to find our first real parts of the Route Verte (Green Route) which is a very nice bike path/route network in Canada. This stretch from the USA to Quebec City has a number of unfinished parts and most of it is just riding the shoulder on the highway, but in today's stretch there were a number of separated paths that were great. Nice pavement, and some were far from the highway through fields and by the river. We stopped at an outdoor cafe by the river for some pizza and salad. Patricia wanted her water bottle refilled so I asked the waitress for some 'cold water'. Seemed fine until about a mile down the road Patricia discovered her bottle was filled with 'cold pepsi' :-)
Most of the day was on the highway, shoulders varied from nothing to perfect. Traffic wasn't too bad until we got to the edge of Quebec City. We've been using my Garmin 705 GPS a lot on this trip for directions and route finding and it's been great. Today we plugged in the address of the new B&B and when we were about 10 miles away let it take over. Turn by turn directions right to the front door, and if the street signs are missing or wrong it doesn't matter. Very nice to have with us.
The new B&B is very nice as well. Just had a hot shower and it's off to do laundry and grab dinner in a bit. Tomorrow it's sleep in late and explore historic Quebec City as we take a day off before heading to Montreal.

96 miles to Canada: hills, bugs, moose, rain and mud

Bingham to St Georges, Quebec was a very long day, if you decide to repeat our route; we would recommend you do it in two days. We left Bingham fairly early, the weather felt wonderful in the 60s and cloudy and initially there were just a few steep rollers along the way. The scenery was beautiful, green and lush, flowers on the side of the road, rivers and lakes, It sounds pretty idyllic except for the “bugs”, the slight tail breeze helped a millions of bugs, including mosquitoes and gnats swarming around our heads when we were going less than 7 mph up the hills. After a short stop at The Forks for a snack the rollers became big mountains. It was the north part of the Appalachian Mtns and those never ending hills were making us very tired and hungry. We stopped at one of the long ridges and found a moose as you see in the picture, we had a snack in his or her company (too far to tell the gender)
About half way between our start and planned end of the ride is Jackman, ME. We stopped at The Four Seasons restaurant at around 1 PM we had the special: fish chowder with a grilled cheese sandwich, and we also ordered cole slaw and dessert. Steve was wondering if we overdid it for lunch but now knowing what we had to go through in the second half of the ride I think it was a good idea. There was another big mountain to climb after lunch and it was not until we were 5 miles from the border that we started going downhill. We arrived at the border around 3:30 PM with still about 35 miles to go. We got special treatment trying to enter Canada, they asked us many questions as if we were smuggling stuff in the panniers, or maybe they were worried we were homeless (probably based in the way we smelled at that point).
After they let us go, a miracle happened, the tail wind got very strong and the hills disappeared, what a relief... but wait... only until it started pouring rain.
We made it to St Georges by 6 PM and the last part of the road was awful, under repair and the pavement was gone so with the rain it was pure mud.
With some struggle we found the "Gite B and B Maison Vinot" marked as bicyclist friendly. We were worried to enter the B and B in the state we were in, wet, smelly and full of mud. The hosts were unbeliabable nice. Raymonde and Philippe. They have a restaurant in the first floor and four rooms with a shared bathroom upstairs. The house was built in 1927, had hardwood floors and very nice decorations. We took a shower and went downstairs to have the best meal we had since we started, steamed mussels, salad and lobster with veggies and rice, dessert was a "margarita cream brulee" and mine was "orgasmic dessert" (it had chocolate, strawberries, port wine, and rasberry sorbet and you can imagine how well it tasted with that name!).
The owners invited us to have wine with them after they closed the restaurant, unfortunately we were so exhausted with crawled into bed and slept soundly until the next morning.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our 4th Anniversary

Today marks the 4th anniversary of when Patricia and I met at La Indita for dinner. That was 10 countries and 13 states ago :-) We're looking forward to many more bike adventures together.
Today's ride was 69 miles from Gardiner to Bingham, Maine. The weather has finally broken a bit and it was much more pleasant. 64 at the start this morning and didn't get past the low 80's. It should continue to get cooler as we go on.
Lots of very nice scenery along the route today from rivers and lakes and our first view of the mountains of Maine. Some nice farms as well, although the aromatic waves from a few of the hog and dairy farms just about knocked us off the bike!
We found a nice motel (there's one) in Bingham with a pool, hot tub, and wifi. They can also get you whatever ammo you need :-) The owner was touched that it was our anniversary and gave us a bottle of sparkling cider and 2 glasses. Very sweet.
We're currently 65 miles from the Canadian border and 160 miles from Quebec City. The goal is to get to QC in 2 days and then spend 2 nights there. We'll be off early in the morning and try to get in close to 100 miles tomorrow. Looking forward to a cool morning. 72 outside right now and it's wonderful.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cooler weather on the horizon

So far so good! In spite of the heat wave we made it to Gardiner, south of Augusta where our friends John and Peter live. It was a shorter ride today but very hilly, 47 miles with hills up to 14% grade. We left Yarmouth early morning, with the intention of staying away from busy roads. We are now using Steve's GPS which is working better than the maps and cue sheets. There were not too many cars and there were farms and beautiful old houses along the way. We stopped in Brunswick for breakfast at an old diner and then stopped at Bowdoin college, an old small and quaint campus. After crossing the Androscoggin river we rode on hwy 24 along the Kennebeck river. The temperature held on the upper 80s low 90s and it is hard to keep hydrated plus the water gets really warm (as you can see me trying to do in the picture Steve chose to share with you. John and Peter's house is a beautiful three story house built in 1898. We are now relaxing in the porch surrounded by the green of the inside plants and the big outside trees: maple, walnut and oak, drinking wine and beer under the ceiling fan, telling stories. Tomorrow we will start exploring the northern part of Maine, hoping to see some wildlife and cooler temps.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another toasty one in Maine

Another hot and humid day in New England. We headed north on highway 1A to Portland after a quick internet session and yerba mate at the general store. The Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, NH, came highly recommended and it did not disappoint. A great omelet with japapenos got me started for the day. It was quickly up to 90 and just downright steamy when the sun was out. A few clouds provided some relief and we were blessed with a nice south breeze most of the day.
We knew it would be a long and hot day so we stuck mostly to highway 1 to make the best time. The conditions varied from nice to a little ugly. The more touristy towns were crowded and there was some construction along the way. The shoulder varied, but we didn't have any problems with aggressive drivers even where it was quite narrow.
The weather forecast calls for cooler temps tomorrow and returning to close to normal by Thursday. We're spending tonight with Patricia's associate Craig in his lovely house in Yarmouth with his family. Nice spaghetti and local brews. The cool shower was really exquisite to get the wonderful mix of sweat and sunscreen off :-)
On to Augusta in the morning

Monday, August 17, 2009

Boston to Jenness Beach

We had an excellent first day on the road and biked almost 68 miles in the humid and hot summer of New England. We left Jamaica Plain at 6:30 AM and did pretty well trying to get out 0f Boston until we reached Charlestown. The directions that Steve got from George, a friend from bike journal were a confusing at times.

After 16 miles of riding and no breakfast I began to get a little cranky, and was about to give in and go to Honey Dew donuts, a step up from "Dunkin' Donuts" when I spotted "The Blue Moon Cafe" in Greenwood, MA. It was the perfect place, since you had to go through the kitchen to get to the bathroom, deserving of the Bike to Breakfast website. After breakfast we got lost again and thankfully Steve listened to my complaining and got a map of Massachusets so we found our way after all but probably did a few extra miles.

After getting out of the city traffic we went through some pretty country with marshes on both sides of the road and some spectacular views of rivers and the Atlantic ocean.

We stopped for a snack at lunch in a cute old diner and an outstanding smoothie in a beach town in New Hampshire, called Secret Spot. By then we were sore (butt and feet), very hot and sweaty. The smoothie helped us get a little closer to Portsmouth in Jenness Beach.

We are now cooler, cleaned and had a great dinner at the Carriage House, seafood chowder, salmon and a great fruit crisp with ice cream. Tomorrow we are hoping to get to Portland but will be stopping along the way for breakfast in Portsmouth at the Friendy Toast cafe.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's a wet heat

The phrase of the day is: "but it's a wet heat"... It is definitely hot and humid in Boston today. Steve put the Surlys together this morning while I went for a long run to keep up with my "Ironman" training. The goal was to do 13 miles or 2.5 hours running which I did in spite of getting lost around mile 10. I learned you can cover many cities and/or neighborhoods in that distance, starting in Jamaica Plain, to downtown, along the Charles River and accross to Cambridge and back to Brookline. After making the wrong turn I found my way back to Liz's house. We went for brunch to "The Centre street Cafe", highly recommended because of the delicious food and the great service. In the afternoon Steve and I tried our bikes and the route out of Boston for tomorrow morning. We are off to dinner in a little bit to the North End where there are many Italian restaurants. We are expecting two more days of temperatures in the 80's and then it might rain and cool down (we hope).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Made it to Boston...

...just in time for record high temps. Doesn't seem fair coming from Tucson :-) Warm and humid but very nice to be here. Our friend Liz picked us up at the airport and we're reunited with the Surlys. Tomorrow morning it will be time to put them back to together and go for a test ride around Boston. Monday morning it will be on the road to Portsmouth, NH.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Time to get serious

The Surlys made it to Boston and the plane leaves tomorrow morning so it must be time to pack. Time to throw in the panniers and racks and bike stuff and a fleece just in case summer ends while we're still there. Going through the list and checking it twice. Including a 3 into 1 plug so we don't have to fight over the outlets for recharging the numerous 'essential' gadgets. Each of us of course needs a phone, GPS, and camera, and then there's the shared netbook. So only 7 chargers! After a short ride in the morning with hopefully a stop a Le Buzz it will be time for the trip to airport. Our recent luck with flights on vacations hasn't been that great, but I'll probably get in trouble with Patricia for mentioning it, so don't tell her...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Prep continues and goodbye to a dear puppy

Lots of activity this week as we continue to get ready. The very sad part was putting Patricia's faithful pup Nacha to sleep after 15 plus years of companionship. She went peacefully on her favorite blanket with her humans by her side.

Our new netbook arrived in the mail. It's mostly set up and ready to go, so the odds of getting regular blog updates has increased. And thanks to a very nice friend in the Boston area we have a nice route from where we will be near downtown all the way to Portsmouth, NH. Thanks George!

We will start some early packing tomorrow and try to minimize our airline baggage charges :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Surlys are on the way!

We borrowed the GABA club bike boxes and packed up the Surlys for their trip to the east coast. We're sending them ahead to our friend Liz's place in Boston to avoid the current airline rates. On American Airlines at the moment it would end up being $150 per bicycle each way to use the bike boxes, or $600 total for the trip. Mailing them via FedEx ground takes a week and costs less than half. Hopefully we'll see them again in Boston! Only 9 days till departure, time to start looking at the maps a little more closely :-)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Steve!

Today is Steve's 51st birthday, he finally has to accept he IS older than me. It is the first B-day he spends in Argentina. Still enjoying the last 24 hours of winter weather in the Southern Hemisphere. We'll miss the "cortados en jarrita" at our favorite "office" spot at Cafe La Distincion.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Waterfalls, ruins, and a border shakedown

Wonderful sightseeing so far in Argentina and Paraguay. Iguazu Falls are as impressive as advertised. Winter temps are very pleasant after the furnace of Tucson summer. Very nice Jesuit Ruins in San Ignacio, Argentina and Trinidad, Paraguay. On the bus trip over to Paraguay they neglect to tell you that you need a stamp if you aren't Paraguyan, of course on the way back they can fix things for a little US cash :-) All part of the experience! Many nice people along the way. Patricia had a nice motorscooter ride from a woman in Paraguay looking for a hotel for us :-)

Friday, July 17, 2009

A trip south first

It's been a busy month already with Sol's wedding in San Diego last weekend and Patricia's conference in LA this week. Sunday we're headed south for a few weeks of sightseeing and visiting family in Argentina and Paraguay. Back in early August, and it will be time to pack up and ship off the Surly's to Boston right away.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thinking about getting ready

We met with Ignacio and Daniela last night to discuss their trip from New York up to Canada and back. Not much of our route will be the same, but lots of good info about the Route Verte in Canada and the types of things we might see