We rode from Brewster to Chatham and back. We lost the older Charlie at a pizza place when his aunt picked him up because he wasn’t feeling well. It was great to have him and the trip won’t be the same without him. Then we went to the pier and saw seals. They were hanging out by the fishing boats waiting for the crew to throw them a scrap to eat. We decided to take the bike path back to camp to avoid some busy rodes. On the way we played 100 bottles of beer while we rode our bikes. Then we built a fire and Gunner and the food crew cooked burgers.
A mighty storm blew in last night, rattling our tent poles like animal bones. Felines and canines pelted the rooftop of our little pavilion at Laura Ingalls Wilder Park, but somehow Mateo stayed dry while sleeping outside. He credits the mobility of domicile-free sleeping, though he may actually be a meteorological shaman of sorts…
Our goal today was La Crosse, WI
, a town named for the oldest organized sport in North America whose stick resembled a bishop’s crozier, or ‘la crosse’ en Francais.
La jeu de la crosse can be traced back at least as far as the 12th century, when it was played with teams of 100 to 1000 over fields miles long.
From Wikipedia: “These games lasted from sunup to sundown for two to three days straight and were played as part of ceremonial ritual… Early lacrosse was characterized by deep spiritual involvement, befitting the spirit of combat in which it was undertaken. Those who took part did so in the role of warriors, with the goal of bringing glory and honour to themselves and their tribes. The game was said to be played “for the Creator” or was referred to as “The Creator’s Game.”
Anyways, we didn’t end up in La Crosse.
Our ride took us just north to Onalaska, and despite heat that could melt a Denny’s sous chef’s slip resistant soles, we had a grand slam of a ride, managing to stay close together as a party of 8, which made the miles go down like eggs and bacon with a steaming mug of arabica.
Like ducklings over a charred marshmallow roadway we waddled past lily lined lakes and fields bursting with corn
destined for the tummies of gluttonous Yankees.
Our sweat sizzled like syrup stuck to a griddle until we cooled off with ice cream and air conditioned retail flooring, to the delight of the workers, who deemed it ‘bleeping awesome’. The group vetoed mint chocolate chip, which had served three consecutive terms ala FDR, so we had “Truman” Vanilla and “Eisenhower” Cookie Dough. In terms of group preferences, Doughy Defeats Truman.
Our last 23 mile split went by in a blinding flash, and we doubled down on DQ before a Philadelphia Experiment-ish protein pancake dinner at the park.
One more atomic day tomorrow, but the mileage will be lesser and we have already penciled in a swim after our early, cooler start. We hope this new deal will usher in an era of bikepacking prosperity which will see the Across American Dream made real for all who wish to attain it.
We woke up early, prepared and a bit nervous for our first day of covering notable mileage on the bikes. After a calm morning of breakfast and packing tents, we maneuvered out of Provincetown, pointing our front wheels down the Cape. We had 30+ miles ahead of us, packed with scorching sun and steep punchy climbs. After a difficult morning overcoming a few emotional breakdowns and a big challenge to our spirits, a quick lunch at a local eatery provided some shade and a chance to refuel. A local also advised us on a shadier route than our original plan. After lunch we followed beautiful rural roads that wound along marshy shorelines. Leader Aaron made the fatal mistake of trusting the navigation on Google maps, leading to 3 extra miles on sandy and hilly backroads. After lots of intense emotions and a near Lord of the Flies style uprising, the group finally located the bike path that would take us all the way to our destination, Nickerson State Park. We enjoyed 12 more miles of lovely, shady bike path, miles that passed quickly as we found ourselves distracted in comradery and soon at camp for the night, still hours before sunset. Pizza for dinner capped off an excellent day, one marked by the first real challenge in which the trekkers rose to the occasion and realized how strong we all really are!
Our 98 miler became 85 due to high heat that would make Sammy Sosa blanche, on top of a rather languorous start made all the more tardy by early morning Jaenisch gambits on the hotel lobby Compaq Presario desktop.
Once we cut power to the hotel and snapped our bungies twice for good luck, we flapped our flippers into a picante pneumatic porridge which Coriolis left unstirred.
It was hot today, so we opened our post-breakfast fast with a Dairy Queen’s gambit. Blizzards kept the hounds of heat at bay and we puttered onward between towering bluffs and the broad Mississippi. We then rocked up to Bluffs Bar and Grill for water refills, where we met Tracy, who filled our bottles and then our hearts and tummies with pizzas she insisted on buying. We left with hugs and forged onward to Pepin, our amended final destination and the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The moment we hopped off our bikes, an air raid (tornado) siren sounded mere feet from us, scattering us like hapless infantry in the Red Baron’s crosshairs. Now there’s nothing left to do but rook at the stars and greet the knight.
Lacrosse is in our sights tomorrow. Check you then.
This morning we woke up and had our first breakfast together at the campground. After, we packed our bags to head to the beach and Provincetown for the day. The trail was hillier than we expected and the sun was hot. But, the beach was beautiful and the cold water felt refreshing. After hanging out for a while, we got on our bikes and headed for Provincetown. We locked our bikes up at our favorite bike shop, Ptown bikes! Then we explored town and stopped in some shops. Once we got back to our campground, we started making dinner. It was our first time cooking and it turned out pretty well. We made a stir fry ramen dish! Tomorrow we have our first big ride day so were headed to sleep early to get some good rest.
We have braved the seventh ring of retail purgatorio and ridden away unscathed, save for bruised pockets and battered baked goods consumed from infernal constructs such as Shake Shack and Great American Cookie Co.
Our rest day at the Mall of America (MoA) saw us blessed with more friends and family hospitality — delightful lunch of ramen, boba and gourmet chocolate with Mateo’s great aunt and uncle Linda and Kent followed by a surprise healthy homestyle dinner of cornbread, chicken, rice, beans and more from Roch’s family friend, Meredith, an experienced adventurer in her own right. We are so grateful to you all for the kindness and generosity so often shown to us. You can hear the morale shooting skyward like a bottle rocket after these encounters.
Today also saw us saying our final goodbyes to Dane. We then stared blankly at Google maps like Kubrick’s chimps before a monolith, ultimately grunting approval at our next destination, Wabasha.
Tomorrow we shall pedal 98 miles into temperatures hotter than HAL. Coincidentally, our mileage will also pass 2001, properly apace for our odyssey.
We’re now down to our core half dozen Trekkers: Emerson, Mateo, Noah, Oscar, Roch and Shaun. We miss all our friends who rode with us along the way and will carry your spirit over the cracks of Coney Island’s boardwalk and into its palm-lined, sapphire shores.
Time to stock up on morning sausages and tuck toast into our pocket protectors before this odyssey zips us out of the City of Lakes and back towards Ithaca. Adieu.
The day started with a meet up on the harbor at Boston. After a ride on the ferry to Provincetown, we biked to and climbed up the Pilgrim Monument. We biked to the Bike Shack, a bike store, to pick up some supplies, then we ate lunch outside the store. After that, we went to explore around the Provincetown, and got a few goodies. We went to the grocery store to get the food for dinner. After we arrived, we met the other leader and the other 3 campers. We ate dinner, and we got ready for sleep. That concluded day 1!
All was quiet on the Midwestern front at St. Cloud’s Rivers Edge Park… Til the midnight bell tolled. Quietly nestled in our sleeping bags like stuffed stockings under the mantel, we lay blissfully unaware of the terrors that would soon unfold.
Dark obelisks rose from the earth one by one, whirring to life with sinister hydraulic intent…
The demon shafts arced frigid rainbows across us in the dead of night, soaking our tents and unprotected bikes. We scrambled like Denny’s sous chefs to the safety of floodlit cement, caught between wet socks and a hard place to rest our heads. There we lay, petrified in
petrichor till the morning sun banished our wet torment back to the troposphere.
It wasn’t our best night’s sleep, so we eased back into biking shape with a comforting breakfast at Ronald McDonald’s fine dining establishment #37,674 and got to work with a grimace on our 83 miler to the Mall of America. The terrain rolled gently in tandem with the clouds, so we followed suit and enjoyed a pleasant ride into Minneapolis. Emerson’s relatives surprised us again with a clutch refuel of water, bars and delicious Gatorlyte along the way, keeping us rolling when the afternoon lethargy came knocking.
Dane once more guided us home, a coup de grace navigation performance which capped his time riding with us. We are liable to end up somewhere between Lisbon and Lesotho without his adept spatial reasoning and real time problem solving ability, but we will do our best to decipher elevation in his stead.
Our ride through thrumming Minneapolis downtown at the lovely Best Western Plus, where we met Dane’s mom Kristin, who treated us to a warm welcome and a delicious dinner at Chevy’s, restoring the mana we left on the tarmac.
Now we roost in comfort with down pillows and high thread count sheets, enjoying the buzz of humanity in contrast to the hum of cicadas and rattle of cornstalks. Tomorrow we become Macaulay Culkin archetypes and parlay with indoor SpongeBob roller coasters before we say our final goodbyes to our Charleston Chew-obsessed Magellan.
Until then… All quiet on the Best Western front.
The Trekkers of 2 groups the Cape Cod Trek and the New England Shore Trek met this morning to begin their adventures. The groups embarked onto a ferry going from Boston to the far tip of Cape Cod, the town of Provincetown. Over the next 10-16 days this combined group of cyclists will ride the entire length of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard and along the way will climb the Pilgrim Monument, bike the Dunes Bike Trail, tour the towns of Truro, Wellfleet, Chatham, Hyannis, and of course stop at many beaches along the way. The New England Shore Trekkers continue 6 more days to Newport, RI, Block Island, Mystic Seaport and end in NYC. Stay tuned for the stories of their adventures right here!
The sound of miniature hooves clip-clopped atop our tents, rousing us like children on Christmas morn. Did our yuletide kahuna return bearing gifts of Lays potato leis and pineapple scented bike grease for our knitted stockings?? Or was our sense of urgency fueled by fears of drenched panniers?
T’was the latter.
The rain chimed the morning bell, and our stomachs stoked the coals, sending us down the street to pump the bellows with gas station fare. Nordic waffles and breakfast pizza burned slow like Centralia’s underground as we pushed off down Lake Wobegon Trail. Woes were minimal — our only complaint was the constant thudding of our frames over seams in the trail, jarring our bones every five yards.
But what are a biker’s bones if not to be rattled? So we rode on, passing through a youth triathlon and mini-music fest underneath a large Viking statue.
The chittering of chains and bike rack thunks mingled with birdsong as we cruised past opalescent waters and arboreal overhangs for many miles, until coming upon strangers holding a sign… Protesters? Nay, Emerson’s relatives! They quelled our appetitive rebellion with pizza and stamped out our thirst with Powerades and waters. We camped in a bustling park and chatted with locals on spirituality and the merits of treating the world as one’s house. Then we staked out our bedroom under ceiling beams of stars and a crescent shaped chandelier . Tomorrow our berth is the home of the Twins.