When Joe and I first started planning our trip, we wanted to conquer a 7,700 mile trek across the U.S and then some. You could say we were a little nieve and ambitious. But as with most things, that idea was soon replaced with a new one. I was offered my dream job in D.C and Joe will soon be attending graduate school at California State University at Long Beach. Because of this, we shortened our trip, so now instead of traveling all throughout Utah and Colorado after we made it to Seattle, we were now going to finish in Salt Lake City via Seattle.
Now, flash forward to 3 days ago. As we were riding through rural New York on our way to Rochester, we were talking about whats to come. We had just rode through the Green Mountains, the White Mountains and the Adirondacks, arguably some of the most beautiful places in the country. And what did we have to look forward to now, corn and big bugs in the Midwest.
Now I’m not saying the Midwest isn’t beautiful, its just not the beautiful Joe and I were looking for. So as we were riding, we were joking about the possibility of getting to Seattle quicker and bypassing the Midwest and Montana. At first, it started as a joke, but as we talked more and more, we realized we could do this. We stopped for dinner at this rad Mexican restaurant and looked up ways to get to Seattle. This was Friday evening, and now as I am writing this blog post on Monday night, I’m sitting in my beautiful cousins house in Seattle.
We ended up packing up our bikes in Rochester and snagged a flight out of Buffalo this morning. Its really crazy how things happen. We had an idea and made a spontaneous decision. You are probably wondering what are they going to do now? Well, we both have a great desire to see the Pacific Northwest and the California coast so in a couple days we are going to set off for San Diego, taking our time and visiting towns such as Portland, Eugene and San Francisco along the way riding the whole time down the Pacific Coast Highway.
When making this decision, Joe and I asked each other, are we cheating ourselves? We concluded that in no way that is the case. We figured, this is our trip, one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. An experience that most other people won’t have during their life time, so why not make the most out of the limited time we had on the road. Yes, going through the Midwest, we might have met some amazing people, but it would not give us the experience that we both want, which is a beautiful sight around each corner. This is our trip, we don’t have to live up to any expectations, the whole emphasis of this journey from the start was to see our own “backyard” in our own terms, and we are doing just that. We are beyond excited to begin our trek south, meeting more amazing people along the way and raising money for Outdoor Outreach.
Sorry for the long explanation, but I figured I’d share our reasoning so others would know why we chose to do what we did. Now, I’look share a little bit about this past week and the incredible experiences we have had.
Middlebury,VT to Paradox, NY
After leaving Zane and Elana’s house, we headed west to New York. After splitting a large pizza at a gas station, we ended up at the Lake Champlain Ferry crossing that led us into Ticonderoga, New York.
Once we got to Ticonderoga, we were faced with one of the biggest hills we have had our whole trip, a steep 2 mile incline that took it out of us. We were exhausted and it was getting to around the time we like to find where we are going to sleep that night so we stopped at one house and they said no, but pointed us to the boat dock where he said nobody would find us. After intensely looking, we could not find the dock so we just continued.
We decided to take a little side street that led us to this massive house on a river. We knocked and a friendly gentleman by the name of Chris came out and said it was totally cool if we camped in his backyard. After setting up, he came over and offered us his kayaks to go checkout the local lake. We obviously said yes. After about 20 minutes of riding, it started pouring so we raced back home. Chris felt so bad and invited us in for hot chocolate and even offered to dry our clothes. After we got to talking, we found out that Chris is a Professor of Literature at Eastern Kentucky University. Joe is interested in getting his Ph.D. so we had a lot to talk about. After about two hours, we parted ways and went back to our tent.
Paradox to Long Lake
Chris and his wife Susan invited us in for a quick breakfast and then we took off for Long Lake. After going 38 miles we finally came across a super small, hole in the wall bar where we snagged some burgers and beer. So refreshing on a hot day. After riding another 14 miles we finally hit Long Lake. We stopped at a convince store and each ate a pint of ice cream, this has since become a tradition.
Later that evening we found ourselves at a campsite right on the lake. Absolutely epic spot! We did laundry for the first time using our soap and faucet. The people next to us got a good laugh out of it.
Long Lake to McKeever
After grabbing breakfast at the town diner we headed west, still riding through the beautiful Adirondacks. All day were riding through cool mountain towns and eventually we stopped in Old Forge to where we grabbed a bite to eat.
Later that evening when it was about time to find a place to sleep, we asked a couple homes if we could sleep on their lawn and they all said no. Up until then, everyone had said yes, maybe Joe smelled bad or my facial hair was to long and they thought I was 35 years old.
We ended up sleeping on the side of a highway. Cars stopped to look at us but it didn’t really bother us to much. That night Joe had a blister so I had to perform a surgical procedure using a needle to relieve the pain. It was quite epic if I can say so myself.
McKeever to Pulaski
After not having the best night sleep on the side of the highway, we boogied on out and rode 20 miles along a river to Boonville and ate at my favorite diner yet called Silks.
We continued to a small town called Redfield where we grabbed a beer at this hole in the wall bar. We chatted with some firefighters and the bartender for about an hour about riding and motorcycles.
That evening my Uncle Lee and Aunt Kim met up with us. They were driving from San Francisco out to Maine with their Airstream. We made camp at a state park right on Lake Ontario. They treated us to an actual dinner which was much needed. We talked all night about traveling and our crazy adventures thus far.
Pulaski to Sodus
In the morning we grabbed breakfast at the smallest diner I had ever been to but it was unbelievable. I had the best blueberry pancakes there. After, we parted ways with my Uncle and Aunt and we headed towards Sodus.
This was the first time we got lost. We decided to take our own route and not the one on our map, but this turned out disastrous. Instead of saving time, we lost time and rode on super busy streets. We learned a great lesson that day.
After finding our way back on track, we starting talking about what we wanted with this trip. We had just left the Adirondacks and realized for the next couple thousand miles, it would be nothing but corn fields and flat roads. We jokingly threw out ideas and after a while we started thinking this could actually happen.
We sat down for a great Mexican food dinner and researched ways to get to Seattle. First we wanted a train and then we thought a car might be a cool idea.
We got to our warmshowers host that evening and took a shower using their hose on the side. People looked at us like we were freaks, but you got to do what you got to do.
The next morning we decided that we were going to fly so the next thing we knew we had two, one way tickets to Seattle for Monday. It was Saturday. On the way to Rochester, we met Ryan, a great guy who also tours on the Erie Canal. Our friend in in Phoenix, Erick, put us in contact with two othercyclists, Alex and Cole. They had been biking for 5 months on the same route we were going to do, except they started from the West Coast. They were carrying their dog with them as well which was so rad to see.
After a long days ride, we arrived at my cousins house in Rodchester. I totally forgot I had cousins who lived in Rochester until my mom told me a day before, but it could not of worked out any better. They opened their stunning house up to us and showed us all around the city.
My cousins are the same age as Joe and I, so we went out that evening in Downtown Rochester. It was great being in that environment because we hadn’t done that since we started out journey. We ended the night with a garbage plate, a dish that is a Rochester staple. It was basically a combination of pasta salad, home fries and cheese burgers topped with meat sauce. It is up there with one of the best late night foods I’ve ever had.
We stayed at their house playing soccer in the backyard and relaxing until Monday morning when we left to the airport. Ryan, the guy who we met on the Erie Canal had a friend who drove us to the airport. His name is Nate. He’s a Ph.D student studying social work. Sure cool guy.
Once we got into Seattle, my cousins picked us up from the airport and brought us back to their house. We had an amazing salmon dinner and spoke about what we should do it Seattle for the next couple days. Neither Joe nor I’s parents knew we were going to Seattle, so we called my mom and she didn’t believe me for 10 minutes. We all got a good laugh out of it. We could not be more stoked to start our new journey.
Written by Jordan Mishlove.