93 days in 15 minutes
Days 90-93: Lubec, ME back home to Florida
Days 87-89: Orland, ME to New Brunswick, Canada!
Days 83-86: South Portland to Orland, ME
Days 80-82: Portsmouth, NH to Portland, ME
Days 75 – 79: Rest and Boston, MA to Portsmouth, NH
Days 72-74: North Dartmouth to Boston, MA
Days 69 – 71: Windsor Locks, CT to North Dartmouth, MA
Days 66 – 68: Stamford to Windsor Locks, CT
Days 63 – 65: Princeton, NJ to Stamford, CT
Since I splurged on a hotel, I was excited for the breakfast and was going to be a rebel and go twice.
I had set my alarm for right before 6am so I could get down early, eat, and then go back and sleep a little more before grabbing some food again when I was leaving.
Walked downstairs, saw the buffet and my eyes lit up! There was eggs and bacon and pancakes and hash browns and fresh fruit and the list goes on. My stomach was growling, and I was excited for all this food!
No one else was in the room so I just about sprinted to grab a plate to load it up.
A lady came out of nowhere and asked for my room number. So I gave it to her and she said they don’t have complimentary breakfast at any DoubleTree hotels, and my room didn’t come with breakfast.
Nooooo! I asked how much the buffet costs and she told me $18! My head sunk and I walked back up to my room.
That’s my number one thing when booking a hotel is making sure they have a complimentary breakfast and I failed. It was one of those Priceline deals where you pay $70 and they pick between 3 hotels for you. I learned my lesson there!
On my way out of the hotel I asked the front desk for some cookies for the road. Luckily the cookies are complimentary.. I have now had a total of 4 cookies from them and they came in handy on my ride today.
My buddy Doug from back home hooked me up with an old college friend for tonight’s stay. The destination for today is Brooklyn!
Riding was a little rough today. I take that back, the roads were super bumpy and parts of the route were absolutely terrible (exaggerating – really only one part was terrible).
The New Jersey roads were all sorts of bumpy which is not fun on a fully loaded touring bike. You feel bad for your bike every time you bounce up and down and the paniers clap against the racks. You’re stuck between going slow over the bumpy sections with cars wizzing by you or trying to go fast and just letting your bike, butt and hands take the force the bumps cause. I would rather be on gravel road than a lumpy asphalt road.
The worst part, though, was getting over the bridge to Jersey City. One section I was “riding” between the guard rail of the highway and a large concrete divider. On top of that little “path” being hardly wide enough for my fat rear end, there were bushes protruding across it and there was loads of trash and broken glass bottles on the ground. There were water bottles half full of what looked like piss, old food containers, and bags that I had to ride over that I had no idea what was inside.
This made for a disgusting and terrible riding section, but I think it was the only way across without taking a train, going the long way round, or riding on the highway. I felt like I needed a shower for both me and my bike just from that section.
So I finally made it into Jersey City and found myself a brewery. I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t lock my bike up in front of Departed Soles Brewing, but rather down the block. So I made sure I took anything important into the brewery with me and lock everything up.
I ordered a flight of some delicious sounding brews and they loaded them up onto a mini skateboard. Super cool!
Their flights come with a pint, so I was forced to get another beer. Shoot.
This is one of those breweries that doesn’t have a bar you can sit at, only tables and high top tables with a get it and go bar. So coming here would be fun with all the games with some friends, but makes it harder to have conversations with others if your solo.
After only cooling off from the beer since there was no AC in the place, I walked back out to my bike.
I put my bike as close as I could to the brewery, but when I came out something was missing. Someone had stolen my phone holder that was screwed into my handlebars!
That phone holder was my second of the trip as the first one broke. I got it for around $10 at Walmart so it wasn’t a big loss, it was just super annoying that someone would take the time to unscrew that and steal it.
That little device has been extremely useful and helpful for directions while riding so I now had to go and find another one.
Found a shop over in Brooklyn, but I had to get over there. My most convenient option was to take my 5th ferry ride of the trip over to NYC!
Didn’t bike around Manhattan long, just went straight for Brooklyn Bridge.
Made it over to the bike shop right before they closed, bought myself a $20 phone holder that does it’s job fine.
I made my way over to Brennan’s apartment, was greeted with some delicious southern leftovers. Leftovers or freshly made, I don’t care! Just thankful to have some good food!
Brennan is gay, and we had a nice long conversation about Christianity and gays and man that is a tough thing for myself on where I stand. I know I support and love them no matter what and it doesn’t weird me out or anything like that, but I also believe in Jesus and the Bible and know what it says about it in there..
It was definitely neat hearing his side of it, though, as he grew up a Christian. These are the types of things I love – getting to spend time with strangers. The conversations, opinions, and ways of life that I get to see and experience.
I planned out my ride the past few days to be here in NYC on a Sunday morning. Back in St. Pete FL, I go to Liberty Church and they originated and have a few locations here in NYC. So going to service here was on my list of things to do.
I left Brennan’s apartment pretty early and church didn’t start until 10:30 so I was able to stop at a local bakery, ride over the Williamsburg Bridge, and then explore downtown Manhattan for a bit.
Made my way over to the downtown Liberty Church location at the Mezzanine on Wall Street almost an hour before service and got to meet some of the people there including Pastor Cody Abercrombie.
The music was bumpin’ and the message was excellent. Guest Speaker Nicole spoke on repentance and how it shouldn’t be a one and done thing but a continuous turning from our old ways, turning to God for forgiveness and then not stopping there but letting God then heal those sinful pains in your life through His grace and mercy.
Seems like all the services I have attended on this trip are building on each other. I don’t think that is any coincidence! I’m praying about it!
After service, Cody let me keep my bike there at the Mezzanine and said they will close the doors at 6pm. My plan was to take the train and go to a Yankees game!
I was able to get some cheap $15 tickets for the game. The seats were up high in the 400’s section, but at least I was sitting in the shade!
The Yankees ended up winning 4-2 against the Blue Jay’s and I crammed back on the train to get my bike before they locked it up for the night.
Made it back around 5 and the doors were locked and no one was around. Great!
It took me probably a half hour or more calling around to people, but I finally got in through a grumpy old man and was glad to see my bike was still in there!
Next stop was getting over to Hostel International New York where I planned to stay.
I was riding along a great path along the Hudson River and another bike came up next to me and wanted to chat and ride together. We rode a few miles, then a few more. My turn off the path passed by because he wanted to show me the George Washington Bridge and the lighthouse near it.
At first I said okay, then after realizing how many extra miles I would have to do and the fact that I would be riding past it tomorrow I had to tell him “sorry, I’m turning back”.
After so many days of riding, you don’t always want to ride those extra miles, especially if you will be doing the exact same ride the next day.
A lot of people have said to be careful riding in NYC and asking how it’s been. It’s actually been pretty nice! There are actually designated bike lanes all over the place which makes it so much easier and nicer.
Sure the drivers here are crazy, but there have been crazy drivers everywhere I’ve been. Never assume they see you and will yield to you has been my thinking.
Once I checked into the hostel and showered, I walked over 30 blocks south to meet up with an old friend. I met her back in Poland at the Auschwitz tour. She is originally from Russia and lives in NYC now.
Went over to her boyfriend’s place and we were able to chat on his balcony a few stories up near the river for a couple hours. She had some crazy and interesting stories of Russia and her parents doing top secret crazy Russian things back in the day. They weren’t even allowed to leave the country for many years.
Decided on walking back that night to my hostel in the lit up New York streets instead of taking the subway so I could phone my wife.
Tomorrow I’m off to another state I have never been to before – Connecticut!
When I started this trip it was my goal to try and send my wife a postcard from each state I visited. Trying to find postcard, though, has proven to be somewhat difficult!
Unfortunately, I have missed a couple states, but I was determined to find one here in NYC. I looked up souvenir shops and it took me back a couple miles to Times Square. Finally found one though!
Since I was in Times Square, I was able to ride back north through Central Park which ended up not being anything special as the more cool parts you had to dismount and walk to.
My route took me up Manhattan, through the Bronx, then up past all the smaller cities along the coast of the Long Island Sound and into Connecticut.
Whenever I’m biking, I am constantly shifting my eyes from the road in front of me, to cars around me, to the scenery near and far.
Today for reason I hit so many potholes! I was either looking up too much, or there was an extra amount of potholes today. Either way, they never sounded good! A couple times it threw me forward towards my handlebars as if I was riding a bull.
I always cringed and hoped my bike was fine. But my bike is a beast and handled them no problem! (I don’t recommend hitting potholes while riding, even if you have the Long Haul Trucker!)
In the morning I was looking for campsites but couldn’t find any in Southwest Connecticut so I opted to try a website called warmshowers.
Warmshowers is similar to couch surfing, but built for the biking community.
So I texted a guy named Stuart this morning and he said that they would love to host me!
He lives in Stamford, CT so I made my way through all the beautiful coastal cities and up some hills to his house.
All the breweries along the way and near their house weren’t open until Thursday and today is Monday so it is another day without a brewery.
Looking back on it, I didn’t go to a single brewery in New York! That seems crazy, but I guess I was too busy doing other things.. (I have been to a couple in NYC before)
The family I was staying with has two sons and a daughter with the youngest being 17 years old so I felt like I fit in pretty well!
The kids had no idea who I was or why I was there at first. One asked if I was friends with his dad or if I worked with him. Nope, just met him, and he is letting me sleep in your house tonight!
They made me food, he cleaned my bike chain for me and I think I got the nicest bed in the house!
I slept too good last night. In fact, I was in the basement with no sunlight to wake me up and I hadn’t set an alarm. It wasn’t until 9:30 that I woke up and Artie was saying it was time to get on the road.
Whoops! He did make me some eggs and toast smothered with some delicious smoked peppers before we left.
He drove me right back to where he picked me up yesterday – at Gift Horse Brewing.
My riding day was just beginning at about 11:30 and the sun was hot!
I was feeling weak as I started to ride. Maybe from all the beers last night at Appalachian Brewing? Maybe I slept too much and just feel groggy? Maybe since it’s almost noon and I haven’t even put in a mile?
Whatever it was, I was not looking forward to the riding. I had tried to plan out the days to where I would be in Philadelphia by Thursday and then in NYC on Saturday so that I could attend one of the New York Liberty Churches. (I go to the St Pete FL Liberty Church).
This meant that I needed to put in at least 30 miles. If I did 30, then tomorrow I would have to do roughly 70. That sounded doable to me at that point.
I am just winging the route since it is not a part of the East Coast Greenway. As you can see from the map above, it was pretty much a straight shot east from York, just barely skimming Lancaster.
Once I made it over the Susquehanna River, I started to feel better and stronger. This was a good thing cause later in the day I was gonna hit some steep climbs!
Just barely stepping foot in Lancaster, I found Spring House Brewing Co which was recommended to me by Artie.
I only had a pint, but they really only had IPAs on draft. I asked for the bartenders favorite, and got a pair of large soft pretzels. Perfect combo!
Seemed like a strange area for the brewery, but the inside was real nice with games on the second floor and a delicious looking food menu. Unfortunately only those pretzels were in my budget!
Next part of the ride was actually super awesome! It was through Amish country!
I was pressed for time trying to make it to the campground before the office closed at 5 so I didn’t get to stop as much as I would have liked in these small towns.
The biking was awesome, I had a whole lane to myself and other horses and buggies but I was much faster than them. All I had to do was keep an eye on the road in front of me so I didn’t kick up horse poo all over me.
Every other house was selling something. Whether it was homemade root beer or fresh milk or baked goods or wooden trinkets, it was fascinating to me seeing their lifestyle.
I was able to pass by a lot of Amish families (yes I was faster than their horses) and the kids would always stare, smile, and wave hello. The teenage to young adult girls would always show a little smile and turn their head away. The older folks were hit or miss whether they would say hello or pretend they didn’t see me.
I didn’t get many pictures, cause I didn’t want to be “that guy”. If I get the chance, I’d go back and spend a lot of money trying all their delicious looking foods and handcrafted stuff.
The last couple miles up to Hidden Acres Campground was brutal. Steep climbs with no downhills.
By the time I got to the campground (which was 20 minutes before they closed) I looked like I just got out of a pool. I paid for the campsite and chugged a large Gatorade before she could even process my credit card.
This is the first time of my trip that I have paid for laundry. I gave in today. The dirty smelly stack was almost everything I had. However! I washed them all in the sink first by hand and then paid for just the dryer. It was worth it.
Woke up quite early today. Got going on the bike at 7am because I knew there was a lot of rain in the forecast for the day both where I was and where I was going.
I rode a good ten miles before my body woke up and realized I hadn’t had any coffee or food yet.
Stopped at a little diner, got a breakfast bagel sandwich and a couple cups of coffee. I didn’t stay long though as I knew I needed to keep biking since it was going to be a bit of a longer ride.
The good part of today’s ride is that it is almost completely downhill! I felt like I was cruising!
Sure enough, though, by the time I made it to King of Prussia, it started raining. I was able to get cover and stayed there under a slight roof overhang of a park bathroom for about 20 minutes.
I was tired of waiting and it looked like it was clearing up. I found a Brewpub about 30 minutes riding down the Schuylkill River Trail. Figured I could make it.
Wrong! It started dumping again. By the time there was somewhere to take cover, it was pointless as I was already soaked. So I kept riding and made it to Conshohokin Brewing. Waddled into the bathroom and used a bunch of paper towels to semi dry me off.
Plopped my wet clothes on a barstool, and ordered a flight or brewski’s.
This was the one time I was not a fan of the cranked AC. I was freezing in my wet clothes. Timed it perfectly that once I got into the Brewpub it stopped raining outside (of course). So I drank them quick and got back out on the bike, now with a little bit of sun peaking out.
Wasn’t long before I was dry again as I made my way into Philadelphia.
Almost all of the ride today was on bike trails which was awesome! The one part that wasn’t, which was near the beginning, I almost had my first spill of the trip.
I was cruising down a hill which I clocked in at 39mph and all of a sudden there were a bunch of large sticks on the shoulder.
A truck was coming up to pass me on the left, so I had nowhere to go. So I braced myself, nailed one of the sticks, it threw my front wheel off the ground and to the side.
Luckily I quickly corrected and kept a firm grip so keep from wiping out.
Tonight I am staying with a buddy I have known since kindergarten! This is the second time I’ve stayed with Sean in Philly. The first time was after my 5 months abroad. Seems like I’m always on some big adventure when I see him!
Once he got off work, it started raining again. We ordered an Uber and went out to Evil Genius Brewing. We both had a flight with one of mine having sparkles in it. Their beers were good, but the names for their beers were even better!
Names like: Ma! The Meatloaf!, #Icanteven, #analbumcover, Stacy’s Mom, Purple monkey dishwasher, and the sparkling beer For the Gram.
We decided on our next spot – Yard’s Brewing. It was still raining pretty hard outside but we decided to walk. Sean said it was only a little over a mile away.
I was walking with a sesame Street umbrella, and Sean just had a rain jacket on. After we walked about 2 miles, he said “only half mile more”. After that half mile, we were still walking in the rain, sandles sopping wet and squeaking.
Yard’s was packed and we sat and tried almost all their beers as well as had some food. While I didn’t have a Philly cheese steak while in Philadelphia, I did have a bomb chicken cheese steak here.
After the storm passed, we made our way back to his place and I slept on my first couch of the trip. It was definitely a comfy couch though.
Sean gave me a portable charger while I was with him to have and it can in quite handy for me today! Wish I could have had this the whole trip!
Spent the morning exploring downtown a bit and drinking coffee before setting out for the next destination.
I had the option to ride from Philadelphia up to Trenton NJ either on the New Jersey side or the Pennsylvania side.
I decided on the NJ side for no particular reason.
There were some rough neighborhoods that I rode through on my way up to Princeton, and I got a lot of stared, but it was cool to see.
(My wife is going to appreciate this next part) I think this whole trip is giving me insight and contentment on where I am living now. I am from Colorado originally and now live in Tampa, Florida and I’ve always said I want to move cause I don’t like Florida.
This trip is really helping me appreciate where I do live and today was a prime example of being thankful that I don’t live anywhere that I rode past.
I got up to a cool little city called Bordentown, NJ and stopped for some ice cream. Two kids riding their bikes probably around 13 years old came and hung out with me for a while.
They were impressed with the ride but said they would never want to do anything like that! If you would have asked me to ride 3000+ miles I would have said the same thing. This is my first road bike I have ever owned, actually!
The only brewery that was open and near my route was in Princeton.
I feel bad for those college kids that only have Triumph Brewing Co available to them. I thought their beers were average or below, the service was top 3 worst on my trip, and the only good thing I enjoyed was the TV in front of me and the location right across from Princeton campus.
I’m sure those college kids are too busy studying or practicing lacrosse, or fencing, so that’s why they are the only brewery nearby. I take it back, they will be my boss someday, so I don’t feel bad for them.
There was nowhere to camp, so I opted to treat myself to a nice hotel room. I got a good deal, but used Google maps to get me there. It took me on this grassy strip that turned into a Marsh and then led me to stairs. Next to the stairs was a little clearance to push my bike up the hill so I went for it. Once I got to the top, I had to lift my bike over a street guard rail. Oh Google…. I can only imagine the thoughts from all the cars passing by..
But right down the road was the DoubleTree by Hilton greeting me with a delicious chocolate chip and walnut cookie. I asked for a second. So good. I’m a cookie monster.
It’s Sunday! That means I get to sleep in a little bit, and find a local church to attend.
My buddy Schwalbe recommended one that meets in a movie theatre and said he would come with!
Before I set out, we cleaned and lubed my bike chain so it was feeling fresh and strong again without any noises.
I biked the 7.5 miles to church and Schwalbe drove. I beat him there and as I waited, I almost put the church out of donuts and coffee! I definitely had more than I should have, but they didn’t tell me I needed to stop..
Message today was on healing and to never stop praying for anything! Just cause He doesn’t answer your prayer right now, doesn’t mean He isn’t working.
After church we went over to a pub to watch the World Cup finals. Go USA! Had myself a big chicken sandwich, said goodbye to Schwalbe and it was back on the road!
The East Coast Greenway from Alexandria takes me up through DC then over to Annapolis and then back up to Baltimore. This was my original plan for the day.
But… With all Austin’s plans comes random changes.
DC was packed with people and they were still cleaning up from the 4th of July so I quickly saw a few sites and got out of the city as quick as I could (which was slowly due to the overload of people everywhere).
I had gotten a message on Instagram from a guy, Pinkesh, who had seen my picture from when the East Coast Greenway Instagram account featured me.
He reached out to me and said he was getting back into town tonight around 7 and that I could stay at their place. Only problem was it wasn’t on the route. He lives in Burtonsville which is about an hour and 45 minute bike ride north of DC.
I thought about it for a second and realized I am biking to meet cool people, try new things, drink good beer, and get to Canada. So why not, I’m not married to the route.
I got back to him and said I would be over after he got home! He and his wife are originally from Mumbai, India and his mom is a professional cook. He said they were making some traditional Indian food. I was all about that! Try something new and from a chef that even caters to the White House!
I had some time to kill before I got there though..
What does that mean? Find a brewery!
I found a couple actually 😁. First stop was Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. Small, quaint spot with an awesome bartender who is basically deaf. Enjoyed my beers there and the company I met.
They sent me o we to Franklin’s next where I was able to grab a small table by the window and work on my blog. (Lately it has been hard for me to find time since I am always meeting awesome people!)
My server brought me over a complimentary basket of bread that I destroyed in about 2 seconds.
Third stop for the day was to Denizens Brewing Co. While it was okay, they were probably my least favorite of the day. The bartenders we’re pretty cool though. Food overpriced.
Made my way over to Pinkesh’s house, and ate some delicious food. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was almost like a thick lentil soup with a sweet and spicy curry you pour over and mix in and then some toasted tortilla-like bread on the side.
My description is probably terrible, but it was delicious! I had 3 full servings.
After dinner me and Pinkesh went out to his favorite bar and the USA vs Mexico Good Cup final was on. Everyone there, however, was rooting for Mexico. The TV was even on the Spanish channel.
We (USA) lost, but everyone else was stoked and the bartender gave everyone a free shot to celebrate.
Got back to the big house, and had the whole basement to myself. Passed out on the big bed and slept great!
Woke up this morning to my phone screaming at me. I was getting an alert that the area I was in was getting strong rains and flash floods may occur.
Great… The weather was calling for rain pretty much all day.
That doesn’t sound like a fun day of riding! Luckily Pinkesh said I could stay at his place and wait it out. So I hung out for an extra hour and a half and decided I was just gonna go for it.
On my ride that day, I had to stop multiple times to take cover from the rain and definitely got soaked at one point, but by the time I got close to Baltimore it had cleared up.
I had seen that the storm was going the opposite way as my route in the morning. I learned while riding, however, that means I am biking into the wind!
So it was a tough ride, but thankfully I found a lot of bike paths to get me there. This route wasn’t a part of the Greenway which means I was using Google maps. At one point the route took me to a big flight of stairs that it wanted me to climb up. Yeah, right! I am not carrying my 80+ pound bike up those!
I found a way around it, and of course found my way to a brewery after.
Heavy Seas Beer had some great beers and a cool school bus out front that was home to the pizza kitchen. The bartender unfortunately did not like his job it seemed like, so once my phone was charged enough I left for another.
Landed at Checkerspot Brewing Co and the bartender was much better. He poured me some excellent beers, but unfortunately they didn’t do flights so I was limited to how many half pints I could drink before getting back on the bike.
Tonight I was staying at a hostel in downtown Baltimore. Once I got there, I learned that the AC was broken.
Great! It’s gonna be just like sleeping outside in my tent!
Made my rounds there and met some cool people – a girl from Jordan, another from France, a guy from Michigan and another from New York.
While it was cool meeting the people from all over, the AC being out was tough to sleep in. I also tried to like Baltimore, but just like last time I visited, I couldn’t seem to enjoy the city. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t allowed, but I climbed the ladders on the side of the hostel up to the roof to try and get a good shot of the city.
Stood there and ate an apple, but the view wasn’t as good as I was hoping.
Sorry if you are from there or live there, but I haven’t found the cool parts yet, I guess. So I laid down and sweat myself to sleep in the bed.
Was able to get some complimentary breakfast from the hostel this morning consisting of three frozen waffles, a PB&J sandwich, an apple, and of course some coffee. I had a long day ahead of me so I was needing the calories!
Today, just like two days ago, changed halfway through.
The biking route was amazing today! I actually loved the outskirts of Baltimore. The bike paths were pretty and the area was a bit edgy.
The route was going to take me East after I hit Monkton, MD and then into Delaware.
However, I had a hookup in Harrisburg, PA. His name is Artie. Artie is the owner of Appalachian Brewing Co and they have 7 locations throughout Pennsylvania!
Artie is an uncle to one of my good friends, Kelly, back in Colorado that I went to college with. So Artie said if I can bike up to York, PA he would come and pick me up and then drop me back off there tomorrow.
Heck yeah! So I decided in Monkton (with the inputs of my wife and 5 other old men that were biking on the same path) that I was gonna change my route to York.
The path that I was on at that point actually went all the way to York also. It was a beautiful path! Mostly unpaved, but I did easily 40 miles just on that path and I would do it again.
The path followed an old railroad with plenty of shade, beauty, and other runners and bikers on the long hot day.
I even came across gnome hill where I stopped and got some iced tea and laughed at all the gnome puns.
After crossing paths with cool little towns along the path, I finally made it to York. I let Artie know and he was about 45 minutes away.
Beer time while I wait!
Had a pint at Crystal Ball Brewing just to say I’ve been there and then went over to Gift Horse Brewing where I had a flight while waiting for Artie. Beers were delicious and the owner was there to share my time with.
Once Artie picked me and my bike up, we had a quick stop at his place and then of course he took me to his breweries. We stopped at two of them, one in Harrisburg and the other in Mechanicsville.
Throughout the night I’m pretty sure I tried every beer they had on tap which was something like 20+ beers! They were all so good! Also got to try some of their appetizers and a big ol burger.
I got to hang out with him and his family for the evening, played some shuffle board (which I lost), drank good beer, ate great food, and made it back to his place where I had a real comfortable bed.
All in all, it was a good decision to switch up the route!