Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 6

Net Elevation gain: 203 ft.
Average Speed: 8.4 mph
Top Speed: 38.6 mph
Time spent biking: about 6 ½ hours
Total time for the day's travels: about 11 hours
Miles biked today: 54.6
Total for trip: 275 miles

For breakfast this morning, we ate local flavored yogurt (raspberry, strawberry, and orange) with granola. While packing up our gear and getting ready to ride, a fellow camper, a boy of maybe eight years came over and asked Jenny, “Is that a motorcycle or a bike?” Satisfied with the answer, he ran back to tell the rest of his family (“It's a BIKE!”), who we later gave a card with our blog on it, so they could follow along on our trip. What fun! We get all kinds of questions and comments about our bike each day. It's fun that people feel comfortable coming up to ask questions and talk with us. We love it!

Getting going in the morning is sometimes slow.

Once again, it rained today. For the 5th day out of 6 so far, it has rained for at least part of the day. Since in rained only in the morning this time, much of our gear actually dried up in the afternoon while strapped to the top of the bags on the rear rack. Anything that is really damp or wet, we like to strap on rather than pack into the bags because the wet can be spread inside the bags to other things that were dry.

We stopped for brunch at a little country store. We get to see so many different versions of “country store” while passing through the smaller towns, and we enjoy that very much. This instance offered a tasty Chicken Parmesan sub! We also ate a delicious brownie and drank some mango juice from Snapple. (Side note: It is really hard to find good juice in the small towns and it usually isn't an option. Snapple is okay, but if you want something besides that or orange juice or apple juice from the soda companies, good luck!)

Today we saw another great blue heron. It flew off before we could snap a picture, but it was standing in the shallows of a river we crossed in the morning. We also saw a couple trains today! We like seeing trains; there's just something about them that is intriguing or exciting.

Jenny takes a silly picture using the bike mirror while we stop for a short rest.

The terrain today was wonderful. We were riding in the river valleys most of the day, and it makes a huge difference, especially for this bike. We may be super slow up the big hills, but we can make decent progress in the valleys, even when we're gaining elevation.

One of the many lovely views from today.

Another wonderful thing we discovered today was that singing makes the miles (and small hills) speed by! We don't always know all the words to songs, but we try and see how many of the words we can remember. We've been singing songs by Bill Staines, Billy Joel, Kate Wolf, and any other songs we can think of, like The Star Spangled Banner. This is why we wanted the tandem, so we can talk and sing together without difficulty. Of course, when we're huffing and puffing from the more significant hills, singing is more difficult no matter what you do!

As we neared Binghamton, our road turned into a large interstate highway. We decided to give it a try, and continued riding on it the few more miles into the city, instead of trying to find an alternate road that would take us the way we wanted to go. We were a little nervous at first, but the few miles biking on the highway were actually quite pleasant. We had a big shoulder to ourselves and followed a large river on our right, so the grade of the road was mostly flat. People seemed to be aware that we were there and tried to move over to give us more room.

Binghamton was not the most attractive city. Most of what we traveled through was run down and a lot of places were for sale or vacant. We were looking for a cafe to stop and rest, and hopefully be able to go on line to look up directions. We found one after coming into the city from the north and turning west on Route 17C. They claimed to have the best sweet potato fries in the city, so we got some, along with two cups of fresh squeezed lemonade. The Internet connection was slow and therefore frustrating to use, but it did eventually prove to be useful in helping us determine our end destination...and the sweet potato fries were really good.

When we left the cafe, it was after 5 P.M. and we were both feeling cranky and tired. We made one more stop before we left Binghamton, this time for some groceries. Jenny went into the store and picked out yummy food: cucumber, blueberries, granola, soy milk, avocado, and nectarine.

Align CenterWe were glad to leave the city of Binghampton.

The road to get to the campground went straight up. It looked like a hill that you would expect to find in Seattle, WA, or San Fransisco, CA. We went slowly, but we made it to the top. We took a few stops on the way up to talk with people out in their yards about our bike and our trip, and also just to take breaks. When we got to the top we had climbed up 400 ft in just 1 1/8 miles! Eesh.

We biked up this!

We made it to the campground and set up our tent, took a shower, made a meal, and went to bed. We had gotten a bit of sun, which might have sped up our exhaustion.

Note: We are planning to write another “Questions Answered” post to answer a bunch of questions that have been asked in the comments. We love the questions, and all the comments. They are the first thing we look at when we stop someplace with Internet! Thank you so much for all your support!


  1. This is cool. I was thinking it would be nice if there was a google map that showed where you were on each blog post, because it is hard for me to visualize where each place is. Maybe there is a way.

    Here is a link I found about it:

    Maybe there could just be a google map in the sidebar with all previous stops on ii or something.

  2. Yeah, I like Jim's idea. I was actually wondering the same thing. It would be so awesome to see on a map to get an idea of where you guys are.

    Yay, for tandem bikes, singing together and cool people who venture over to ask questions!:)

    May the tailwinds be with you!


  3. i agree with selena and jim (hi guys!), a map of your travels would be a great addition.

    i love the thought of you singing while you pedal and how nice it must be to get such positive feedback from people you meet along the way as well as your growing fan base.

    brett - how's your knee feeling today? has the brace helped?

    you had a day without mechanical problems! yay! it must have been a welcome change to travel without breaking down along the way. now if the darn weather would just cooperate....

  4. Today it was my turn to cry. Thinking of you two singing your way across the country is just a lovely thought. Thank your for sharing your trip with all of us!

    May the sunshine light your way.


  5. I love hearing about all your food too!

  6. I went to a funeral in Binghamton once, I think it was the most depressing place I've ever visited, and not because of the funeral!

    Enjoying following your progress.

  7. Hmm, Brett, did you take note of Dan's advice re: stretching? I know you hate it, but I think you kneed it!
    Do you keep time for your songs with your pedal strokes?
    Love and hugs, Mom

  8. I like the singing too! I was thinking I should send you some words, since you said you didn't remember them all, but then I thought if you are on the internet to read the comment, you could also look up the lyrics to whatever songs you want.

    Then I thought of a song that wouldn't be on the internet, though I don't remember the words to that either. When I was around 4 or 5, I told my aunt we should make up a song. Basically that meant I would pick the topic and she would make up the lyrics. We were walking alongside cornfields at the time, so I said it should be about cornfields. And one of my favorite things to do, which that aunt did with me, was to have a tree picnic -- climb a tree, and eat food while up in the tree. So I said it should be about a tree picnic. So she made up the song. I don't remember all the verses. It is to the tune of Clementine. The chorus, which is repeated after every verse, is

    Yellow cornfields, yellow cornfields
    Yellow cornfields everywhere
    Filled with cornstalks, ripe with corn
    Yellow in the summer air

    The first verse is

    In a cornfield, in the country
    Picking corn to eat at night
    Were a farmer and his daughter
    And their names were Nell and Dwight

    Then there are several verses during which they have a conversation and decide they are going to have a bite to eat, they will eat it in a tree, and the menu will be corn and apples. They gather food and supplies, and Nellie starts to climb the tree, but Dwight stops her. I'll have to check with my mom for the lyrics in that part, but then I remember the rest from there:

    "I am old and cannot climb well
    As I could when I was young
    You must help me dodge the bees
    So that I will not get stung"

    Smiling Nellie pushed her father
    Firmly in amongst the leaves
    "Thank you Nellie, you're a good girl
    Your the best I do believe"

    After eating, they descended
    Nellie caught Dwight as he fell
    Nell and Dwight continued working
    In the fields they loved so well

  9. Hi guys. Thoroughly enjoyed today's blog. Brett, how is the knee? Hard to take it easy when you are biking somewhere every day. Going through the "less nice" cities makes you really appreciate the nice ones. What is interesting is that for a lot of people that is "Home". Heading for bed. Have a great tomorrow.

  10. I'm following along on my google map. Don't forget to name the towns you travel through and where you stop to camp. Wishing you smooth roads. Love, Aunt Jill

  11. I agree - singing while biking is one of the best cure-alls for boredom, crankiness, or just passing the time! One of my favorites is The Day the Music Died :)

  12. I love looking up your travels on my road maps of the States! I've always been fascinated with maps, read 'em like books! Dad always taught me to look for route numbers, so the hunt is half the fun with your travels (I think.) I love that you and your spouse love to sing together. Just wait 'til you get out West. I couldn't help bursting into "This Land is Your Land" as we discovered wide open spaces on our way to CA. I even got choked up! Unfortunately, so did my family - they can't stand to hear me sing.....Your trip is impacting so many people with your youthful enthusiasm and joy at the moment.

  13. Hi Jenny!!! You were right, you did post a lot on your blog. I like hearing about all the cheese and broccoli and eggs. The pictures are nice too!