Sunday, May 29, 2011

Horse farm!

I crossed into Pennsylvania yesterday and had only gone about two miles before seeing my first Amish horse drawn wagon.

The scenery here is absolutely beautiful, although bucolic rolling hills are way more fun to look at than ride over. They're deceptively steep around these parts.

I passed this gorgeous old mill house on this morning's ride.

So after going down an extremely steep gravel hill, I got to a sign warning me that the road was closed 1000 yards ahead. I decided to continue down the hill, assuming that whatever meant closed to a car would be navigable by bike.
That turned out to be... True, but only because I am extremely stubborn. Turns out there was an only partially finished bridge over a river, so I did the only natural thing and carried my bike over the construction barrier, and then took my saddlebags off and carried everything down the construction scaffolding. It takes a lot to stop a determined bicycle!

Now I'm staying with a friend's family on their awesome horse farm!

Location:Downingtown Pike,West Chester,United States

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I have a new least favorite activity: trying to bike north out of DC. Particularly at rush hour on the Friday of a holiday weekend. I had plans to just casually put in a half day of riding and get myself out of the suburbs, but I ended up completely mired in urban traffic and made painfully slow progress. But! I finally made it to the outskirts and saw an ale house, and decided that beer and fish and chips would greatly improve my day.

I ended up meeting two hilarious cousins, both named Buck, who let me stay at their house. They were preparing for their 10th annual epic memorial day crab feed, and had an array of festive hats for the occasion. It was very tempting to stick around til Sunday for the festivities, as crab is pretty much my favorite thing in the world, but I still have too much restless momentum.

The two Bucks.

Why can't they just come out and say speed bump?

Pretty series of locks that I biked on in my attempt to get out of DC. Would have liked them more if they hadn't carried me west instead of northeast...

I imagine the conversation that led to spotsylvania went something like this:
"Hey! This is a nice spot, we should make a town here."
"Yeah! It is a nice spot. We can name it Spotsville."
"That sounds silly, we want something more imposing, more... exotic."
"How about Spotsylvania?"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I've crossed a few more state lines (states are just so close together this side of the Mississippi!) and am in the lovely town of Carrboro, North Carolina. The folks I'm staying with took me to an incredible salad bar, where I proceeded to eat a pile of greens far larger than my head. The rest of the afternoon was then spent with bloody marys, beet pizza, and the Sunday New York Times. I had gone 65 miles that morning, but had so much lazy resting that it felt like I'd been off my bike for days.

South Carolina

And then north Carolina the next day.

This picture doesn't really show just how pretty the morning fog was.

Location:Aberdeen Dr,Chapel Hill,United States

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Whale sharks!

I took a day off my bike in Atlanta to wander around and visit the aquarium. At first I was totally overwhelmed by the million and a half schoolchildren, so I found a nice corner by the big tank and sat around drawing weird fish until they all had to get back in their buses and go away. Far and away the best thing at the aquarium were the whale sharks. Sorry I don't have a better picture-

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I continued on the magical Silver Comet trail today and am now in Atlanta. I passed through this awesome tunnel on the bike trail- the next few days of riding are going to be a letdown after this stretch of the route!

Oh Waffle House I love you and your absurdly large portions and chili smothered hash browns. There is something satisfying about eating a breakfast that comes on three plates. Makes me feel like a good American.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:14th St NW,Atlanta,United States

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted... Being an artist involves a lot of maintaining an online identity, and one of my favorite things about being on vacation is being able to allow that identity to lapse. And by extension, I end up shirking blogging duties, too. But! I am resolving to do better about updates.

I've been crossing state lines like a crazy person, and have been going close to 100 miles most days of late. In the past week I crossed three state lines:

I was in Mississippi for less than 24 hours. Not much to say about it except that I was introduced to the beauty that is Waffle House. You can get a breakfast that I swear must have 4,000 calories in it. Even my crazy appetite has a hard time finishing.

I went up to Tuscaloosa to visit my friend Claire, and I can't even begin to describe how bad the tornado damage is. Ive never seen anything like it. I went out with my camera and hopefully got some good shots, will post/write more about that when I'm on a computer instead of on an iPhone in my tent.

The route between Alabama and Georgia was SO AWESOME!!!! there is a dedicated bike trail that runs about 80 miles, and it goes through some really lovely scenery. Being on a path just for bikes feels like the height of decadence after some of the roads I've been on lately (Louisiana's roads are appallingly beat up).

Pretty path!

Pretty flowers!

I had a pretty crazy bike malfunction a few days ago-- managed to get my rear derailleur stuck in my spokes, which was entirely my own fault because if my limit screws had been well adjusted, that would have been impossible. Anyways, my derailleur was just a mangled chunk of metal and my bike was rendered unrideable, so I hitched a ride to the next town with a bike shop. Paul, the guy who picked me up, was an underground coal miner and I learned all sorts of fascinating things about coal mining. Such a crazy world! Sounds like an alternate universe down there.
The bike shop I ended up at (Cahaba Cycles) was super ridiculously awesome, and it was far and away the most positive interaction I've had with a bike shop since I started this trip. I don't know why it is that bike mechanics are often assholes, but it's really just something you come to accept/expect if you're someone who frequents bike shops, especially if you are female. I'm by no means a bike mechanic, but I know how to keep my bike in working order and fix most things that go wrong with it, and it irritates me that walking into a bike shop often means getting talked down to. These guys were an extremely pleasant exception Here's a list of reasons why they were awesome:
1. They didn't treat me like an idiot or give me shit about managing to mangle my bike in such a dumb and avoidable way
2. They gave me a sweet jersey
3. They didn't charge for labor
4. Their mechanics were cute AND nice, which I sort of didn't think was possible- it's like having a horse and a narwhal, and having them somehow combine to form a unicorn; you always wished that it could happen, but had reconciled yourself to the impossibility (also, I have decided that all blog posts should really contain at least one unnecessary reference to unicorns).
5. I noticed later that they put a pink end cap on my cable to match my housing and grip tape! Zack the mechanic, if you ever end up in Seattle I totally owe you a beer for that one.
Annnywaaayyssss, my bike is now back to happy working order, and I'm getting into Atlanta tomorrow. Until next time!

Friday, May 13, 2011


I love encountering random pie shops in the middle of rural Alabama.