Thursday, August 24, 2006

Farmington-Milford Bike Route

Here is the bike route for our ride to Milford on September 2nd. Again, we'll leave the UConn Health Center at 8AM on Saturday morning and ride down to Gulf Beach in Milford (at the intersection of Old Field Ln and Gulf St).

Please join us for our Welcome Home party at Archie Moore's in Milford from 12-5 on Sat. 9/2! For driving directions go to

Here is a link to the map of our bike route, written directions follow:

Leave the UConn Health Center and travel West on Rt. 4 (Farmington Ave.) 2 miles to the junction with Rt. 10.

Follow Rt. 10 South all the way through New Haven to the Long Wharf Area. Turn Right onto Kimberly Ave. just before the I-95 underpass. 35 mi.

Here the directions get a little complicated but if you just keep the Long Island Sound on your left you will get there! The ride finishes at Gulf Beach in Milford (at the intersection of Old Field Ln and Gulf St)

Turn Left onto First Ave. (Turns into Beach St)

Turn Right onto Washington St. then immediately Left onto Captain Thomas Blvd. 38mi. Captain Thomas Blvd will turn into Ocean Ave.

Turn Left onto New Haven Ave (Rt. 162). 41 mi.

Turn Left onto Merwin Ave. 42 mi. Merwin turns into Edgefield Ave, then into Melba St, then Bayshore Dr. Continue straight until you reach a T-intersection.

Turn Right onto Westland Ave. 44 mi. Then turn immediately Left onto Welch's Point Rd.

Welch's Point Rd turns into Gulf Street. Gulf Beach will be on your Left at about 46 mi total riding distance (at the intersection of Gulf Street with Old Field Ln).

At Gulf Beach you can join us as Ben and I dip our front tires in the Long Island Sound to complete our cross-country journey. To continue to Archie Moore's from Gulf Beach simply continue straight on Gulf Street (or, take a Left onto Gulf Street out of the Gulf beach Parking Lot).

Turn Left at the first light onto New Haven Ave.

When you first get into downtown Milford (you'll see the Town Green ahead) Turn Left onto Factory Lane. Archie Moore's is just a stone's throw from the intersection of Factory Ln with New Haven Ave. Total Distance: 47 mi.

I hope to see you all there, at Archie's if not for the ride itself!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Sorry for any delays for those living vicariously, but we made it home last Thursday afternoon!! We were greeted by the honking horn of my parents, brother, and Stacie coming down route 4 in Farmington with homemade signs reading "coast to coast: congratulations!" It is great to be home.

From our last post, we continued our way across northern PA passing by the beautiful Susquehanna River. Here, it got very hilly. The river was zigging, but the road wasn't zagging, and we climbed the steep river banks of the Susquehanna at least 4 times (see picture below to see the altitude we gained). We piled on back-to-back 130 mile days just to be sure that our last two rides would be short and sweet.

Our penultimate ride finally got us into New York where we climbed up and over the beautiful Southern Catskill Mountains (see Jeremiah's glowing face below). We stopped in New Paltz (where Sue Ristau was a proud student at SUNY back in her wild, and crazy college days) for lunch and then it was just a short jaunt to Poughkeepsie where we stayed our last night in a hotel for what I hope is a long long time!

Then, on Thursday, we started our ride home. Unfortunately, we slightly underestimated the mountains in Western CT. They are formidable bike climbs. Though shorter (only a mile or two), they certainly get an award for being steep. Below, I celebrate our passage into the homeland. I never thought I'd be so glad to see a welcome to Connecticut sign...

In Goshen, we met up with Jeremiah's aunt who generously fed us before the last leg of our journey. From Goshen, the hills of Western CT became a bit more tame and we coasted into Farmington (and actually on to Hartford) to get home.


When: Saturday 9/2

What: Ben and Jeremiah will ride from Farmington, CT to Milford, CT to dip our wheels in the Atlantic

Ride Details: We wil be leaving the UConn Health Center in Farmington at 8AM and heading down to Milford. Jeremiah will be posting directions shortly.

Celebration Details: 12PM - 5PM at Archie Moore's in Milford...$20 at the door all goes to Lea's Foundation. Drink Specials and Appetizer buffet included.

Tell all your friends and families. Anyone who would like to ride with us is welcome! If you don't feel up to riding, come help us celebrate down in Milford! We'll be riding into the sunset...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Home Stretch

We left Louisville, KY on Wednesday 8/9 to begin the final week of our trip. Well, actually its more like 9 days. We have decided to forego our final rest day in order to get home a full week ahead of schedule on Thursday 8/17. To be frank, we are eager to get home. Yes, I know that spending all day outdoors enjoying the beautiful scenery is a great way to enjoy a summer but the combination of 8 hours a day on a bike and living out of a suitcase for almost 2 months can get old like anything else. Thus, we decided to average 115 miles/day across Ohio. The landscape was rolling hills and farms like the one above.

Throughout most of Ohio, we were lucky to have friends and family to stay with. In Cincinnati I got to meet my long lost cousin, Greg Landsman. I had never met this side of my family so it was great to get in touch and Greg took great care of us in Cincinnati. Then, in Columbus we stayed with Kevin and Sandy Grady (relatives of Ben's girlfriend Jenn Grady). Sandy made us an amazing dinner and we really appreciate the hospitality we were shown.

Yesterday, we left Ohio (insert cheer here) and crossed the Pymatuning Reservoir into PA. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful days of our ride. 75 and sunny, you can't beat that. (Picture above)

In short, we were glad to be in Pennsylvania (only two states away from home). The scenery started to feel familiar. On the whole, Pennsylvania is pretty hilly but has so far been very fun to ride. Below is the Acock Inn in Pittsfield where we stopped for lunch today (Sunday). Trust us, they make a mean sanguitch. Also below, our trusty steeds chill out in the ivy by the Inn while we eat.

Our final destination today was Warren, PA. Below, Ben climbs a hill on the way to Warren.

Our itinerary for the rest of the trip is as follows.

Monday - Warren, PA to Mansfield, PA

Tuesday - Mansfield, PA to Harford, PA

Wednesday - Harford, PA to Poughkeepsie, NY

Thursday - Poughkeepsie, NY to Hartford, CT

Special thanks to Tim Grady for putting us up in Holiday Inns along our last leg both in Warren, PA and Poughkeepsie, NY.

See you soon!!

All the best,

Jeremiah and Ben

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Piling on the states...

Missouri welcomed us with rolling hills, trees, and turns in the road: things you might take for granted until you've biked through Kansas. Initially, the hills were roller coaster-like, with the downhills providing almost enough momentum to get over the next crest and so on. But before long, we hit the Ozark mountains. The Ozarks aren't mountains like to Rockies or even the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Rather, they are a series of steep hills and depp ravines through which rivers run. They were beautiful. Below, you can se me posing with the Ozarks in the backgound before descending into Eminence, MO.

Eminence is a small tourist town known for its eclectic cowboy feel. For many, it is a country vacation heaven with the confluence of the Current and Jack Fork Rivers running through the town. We arrived later in the evening due to a long mileage day. Looking for a place to spend the night, we swung by the Riverside motel and cabins. They didn't have a room, but absolutely bent over backwards trying to find a place for us to stay. After calling everyone in town, they found the Maple Tree Inn B & B who was willing to help us out. It ended up that the Riverside Motel gave us $20 towards a room for the night and the Maple Tree Inn knocked $20 off the price of our room so that we only had to pay $10 for the night. Their help and unselfishness definitely did not go unnoticed. Thank you so much to the Riverside Motel and the Maple Tree Inn. You made our night so much better and left us with an extremely positive view of Eminence. After settling in at the Maple Tree, we had some amazing BBQ. Below is a picture of one of the tables at the BBQ joint in Eminence.

Eventually, we did have to leave Eminence and push on. After a few days of riding, we made it to the Mississippi and crossed into Illinois. It was bittersweet because, although Jeremiah and I are both excited about cominghome, I think I speak for both of us when I say that we had a phenomenal time in Missouri. The terrain and people definitely made our ride through the state enjoyable. Below is the Mississippi and our crossing into Illinois.

We crossed the Mississippi at Chester, IL. I never knew, but Chester is the home of Popeye. To celebrate, we made sure to order spinach on our subway lunches.

Statue of Popeye in Chester, IL

The states are smaller as you go east, so we spent only a day in Illinois before crossing into Indiana. Much of Illinois and Indiana were flat and we made great time. However, there are a few hills interspersed. Below, we cross into Indiana and Jeremiah poses by the Ohio river before climbing an Indiana hill. Incidentally, we were on Indiana route 62, a beautiful road that parallels interstate 64. If you have time and are going through Indiana, I'd highly recommend skipping the highway and taking this backroad (also called the Ohio River scenic byway).

After our longest day of riding yesterday (131 miles), we made it into Louisville, KY where we are staying with Jenn 's (my beautiful girlfriend) family. They have been extremely hospitable and I hear that Allie (aka the best pasta chef in kentucky) has baked us a mean lasagna dinner for tonight. Thanks Allie!!

Tomorrow we head out to the Cincinatti area. A rough itinerary for the rest of our journey is as follows.

8/9 Louisville to Cincinatti, OH

8/10 to Columbus, OH

8/11 to Millersburg, OH

8/12 to Andover, OH

8/13 to Warren, PA

8/14 to Mansfield, PA

8/15 REST

8/16 to Harford, PA

8/17 to Gardiner, NY

8/18 to Farmington, CT

Thanks for keeping up with us. See you in a week and a half.

All the best,

Jeremiah and Ben

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Brief Update

Not a whole lot has happened in the last two days since we posted in Newton, KS. We continued our streak of 100+ mile days to arrive in Pittsburg, KS yesterday. Today is our much needed rest day. Even though there is not a whole lot of exciting news, it seemed wasteful not to make use of the great computer lab at the Pittsburg Public Library to say hello to everyone following our progress.

Below is a pretty good picture that encapsulates most of what we've seen in Kansas. We are looking forward to crossing into Missouri tomorrow and getting into the Ozark Mountains the next day.

We've been riding in the middle of a heat wave here in Kansas, with temperatures getting into the low one hundreds. It was great that we got to stop one day at Toronto Lake (Below), a pretty darn big lake by Kansas standards. At the grocery store by the Lake we had a long talk with some locals who told us all about the corn farming, oil-drilling (apparently WWII was fought with Kansas oil), and the process by which the Verdigris River was dammed to make Toronto Lake in the 1960's.

After talking about wheat, corn, soy beans, and oil, one of the Kansans asked Ben and I what Connecticut produces. We responded with blank stares. After an awkward silence and some shuffling of feet we managed to come up with tobacco and submarines.

Yesterday morning we almost hit a snake in the road. Again. (This was the third time) I tried to get my camera out to document this one but he was quick and got away. Below, Ben looks for the now absent snake. To be honest, I don't think this one was a rattler; I did not see a rattle.

But he did have fangs.

We'll try and take more pictures through Missouri. We've heard from other bikers that the Ozark Mountains are pretty tough (though small, they are apparently pretty steep). We suspect that this information is skewed because West-bound riders have not yet experienced the 14% grades of Utah. We'll keep you all updated.

Happy Birthday to Sean Tracy! (Jeremiah's brother)


Jeremiah and Ben

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Little House on the Prairie

No this isn't the uplifting story of a plucky young girl and her family making their living on the unforgiving Great Plains of turn of the century America. This is a different "Little House on the Prairie."

Ours version doesn't have much of a plot. It goes like this...

Two mid-twenties guys wake up, then ride bikes for 8 hours in the middle of a heat wave; they sweat profusely, eat lots of trail mix, and drink lots of gatorade. After that they sleep. Repeat. Since we left the scenery of the Rockies, we have been all about putting miles behind us. We are working on getting another day ahead of schedule and plan to be in Golden City, MO on Monday night (this will put us 2 days ahead on the itinerary posted previously.)

The riding has been pretty fun, although the days are long. We've averaged better than 110 miles per day over the last 4 days. It actually feels kind of good to cover so much distance after all of our 70 mile days through the mountains.

Jeremiah Sweats, Eats Trail-Mix, and Drinks Gatorade (Sheridan Lake, KS)

Ben Celebrates Our Passage Into the Central Standard Time Zone (We are now only 1 hour away from everyone on the East Coast! kind of...)

I don't know who called the Dairy Queen in Scott City, KS and told them to put this sign up but I appreciate it.

Oddly enough there are Camels in Kansas. I don't really have an explanation for this picture. It just feels right to close this Blog entry with Camels.


Jeremiah and Ben

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Over and Out

In the last week we have biked most of the way across Colorado. Below, Ben and I celebrate crossing the Continental Divide with a cup of bad coffee on top of Monarch Pass. This is the highest elevation we'll reach on our trip and the start of a BIG downhill (see the second picture below).

I Snap a Picture On-the-Go as we Descend the Rockies

We added on some mileage for a few days and managed to get to our rest day in Pueblo, Colorado a day early. In Pueblo we hung out with Ben's dad, Steve.

The Proud Pop and his Boy

Steve drove us up to Colorado Springs on the rest day. We ate lots of good food and drove to the top of Pike's Peak: a 14,000+ foot mountain. It felt good to take a ride up a mountain instead of pedaling for once. At the top we talked to some very cool people: Carol, from Denver, and Stan, from Ohio.

After our trip to Pike's Peak, Ben's brother, Aris, met us in Colorado Springs for a Ristau family Reunion. Below, we enjoy some drinks and a refined yet casual atmosphere at the Broadmoor. Later, The Ristau Boys and I had a night on the town in Colorado Springs .

The next day was back on the bike. We laid down a huge 120 mile day - with the wind in our faces yet again. Everything I've heard is that the winds blow from the West across the plains. I guess the wind hasn't heard that.

The View in Eastern Colorado (or, What We'll Be Seeing for the Next Week and a Half)

In Eads we had a room donated for the night by the friendly people of the Econolodge - Eads, CO. While doing our blogging in the Econolodge lobby the gentleman below, J.J. Williams, asked us what we were doing. He raises quarter horses in Texas and travels all around the West with his combines during harvest season. He had some very cool stories.
Today we have another big day: 105 mi to Scott City, KS (or 130 mi to Dighton, KS if we are feeling bold). It is threatening to rain right now so its definitely time to get rolling.

Until Next Time,
Here's to New States and New Time Zones!

-Ben and Jeremiah

Odds and ends...

Since we had some technical difficulties lately, here are some pics to catch you up on recent goings-on.

Pretty shady

The Buddha and the boys at Mesa Verde National Park

Thousand-year-old Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park

Blue Mesa Reservoir - the largest lake in Colorado

Black Canyon of the Gunnison River