September 14, 2010

One Month on the Road

One month ago today I was saying goodbye to my friends in montreal, and awkwardly riding my behemoth of a rig down to the American border.  Now, over 1300 miles later (about  2100 km for you losers our there) I find myself in Richmond Virginia.  I now command my rig, collectively named "Big man, Little Man" from the song "The Rumor" by The Band, with power and grace.  I can ride it with no hands for short periods, and I can stand up to climb whenever needed.   Even parking the rig, initially a huge pain, has become easy.

So what have I been doing since Boston?  Not updating my blog, thats what.  A complete list of where I was every day, as well as a brief description of where I stayed and what I did can be found on my google map, which can be accessed from the "Map and Stats" page.  So instead of repeating myself here, I will just write up some highlights and thoughts from the trip.

First, Cape Cod was a worthwhile detour.  It was nice scenery, but what made it especially nice was biking on the Rail Trail, and the Canal Bike Path.  Spending all that time on the bike paths made me think how awesome the world would be if there were bike paths like this everywhere.  Not just for touring cyclists like me, but for local commuters, and the economy.  Let me explain that last bit: Obama has preposed fixing our roads, bridges and runways as a way to get Americans back to work.  Why not put a bigger emphasis on converting old railways to bike and pedestrian paths?  Like the other projects, rail to trail programs will give people jobs, but unlike the other projects building bike paths will have long lasting economic benefits in addition to the short term employment.  People will use the bike paths for transportation, and commuting, but also for recreation and exercise.  This will bring "local tourists" to the path from surrounding areas, and give excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs to start bike rental businesses, and snack shacks.  Plus, having a good place to run and bike will likely cause people to be more healthy, putting less strain on hospitals and government programs.  Enough ranting, bike paths are great.

After Cape Cod, I made my way to New Haven CT.  On my way I spent a night with a wonderful person in Narragansett RI.  I met Carla Norton via  After reading her profile page I knew we would get along just fine, and we did.   We spend hours talking about nearly everything, and drinking wine on the beach.  It turns out Carla is planning a very similar trip, and hopefully once she starts we'll be able to join forces at some point.

After a 100 mile day in blistering heat I made it to New Haven, where I spent a few days with my good friend Mark Schwab.  Highlights include some of the best pizza i've ever had, the coolest Sushi restaurant I've ever been to, and pranking a freshmen Econ class by tossing a frisbee in the lecture hall (our prank made the paper!)

Then, another crazily hot long bike ride to NYC.  Once there I got to stay in my uncle's apartment on the upper east side and hang out with my cousin.  Side note:  My cousin Scott is a ridiculous and hilarious person.  He recently published a book of memoirs which are equally ridiculous and hilarious, you should all buy it:  The Idi-Odyssey.  I really got to live it up for a while, I spent a week in New Haven and New York combined, and only biked one day.  After a day of eating pizza for every meal,  I biked to brooklyn to see a My Friend Other show, and hang out with the 518 crowd.  Biking in the city, with my naked bike, was a blast.  So much more extreme than biking in Montreal, and when I don't have the Little Man in tow I can really zip around. The next day I drove up to my other uncle's lake house with my cousin for what turned into an impromptu family reunion.  My parents showed up, and the next day I drove back to NYC with them.  I got to eat some good food, and even see a broadway show with my parents and my sister.  I started forgetting that I was even on a bike trip.

After NYC I got to bike down the Jersey Shore, which was really nice.  I knew it wasn't going to be like the TV show, but I was surprised at how completely opposite it actually was.   The entire way down was great scenery, and when I went inland a bit i got to go through some state forests that were really nice.  I didn't know there was a such thing as "rural New Jersey" but there is, and its awesome.  Great roads and bike paths the whole way.   The only place where the shore was over developed was Wildwood, but it was so extravagant that it was a really cool to bike through.  The boardwalk at Wildwood was like Disney Land on the beach, but more American, and actually, believe it or not, more rides (according to the official New Jersey tourism website).  At one point, they told everyone to stop what they were doing and blasted the National Anthem on the loudspeakers.  The entire boardwalk stood with their hand on their heart for the whole song, it was pretty cool.  There was also a "Motorcycles and Tattoos" Convention going on, so that added to the scene.

I took a ferry from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware.  I really like taking ferries because they're usually really cheap if you're not in a car, and its fun to be on a big boat and relax.  Getting off in Delaware felt really great for some reason.  Perhaps it was the new scenery (rich rural suburbs on large open fields), or perhaps it was the fact that I was in a state which was entirely new to me (despite the fact that I lived there for a year when i was about 4 years old), but either way, I just felt euphoric.  Plus there were some nice bike paths through some woods to the coast.  With a good tailwind I made it to Maryland very quickly, and once I did the scenery changed dramatically.  Ocean City is what I thought the Jersey shore would look like.  It was interesting to bike through though.  Eventually I made it to Assateague Island State Park, where I slept under the stars with the sounds of the ocean and wild horses in the background.  I saw both the sunset and the sunrise, it was real purdy.

The loneliness sort of sunk in at Assateague and Janis Island State park, where I was in a beautiful spot surrounded by groups of friends sharing beer and food, and I had nobody to share the experience with.  Being in a group, or even with just one other person, would completely change the trip, and I'm not sure if it would be better or worse, but it would be nice to try out for a while.  I would certainly feel better about sneaking into campsites like I did at both of those places.

I'm now in the south.  Something about the accent makes everyone seem extremely nice.  I just registered with "" which is an organization which gives people a chance to volunteer on organic farms in exchange for room and board.  I think it will be a good way to meet people and get some time off the bike.  So now i'm going to look for some farms to volunteer on and plan out my route accordingly.


  1. Thanks for the update on your travels. I liked hearing about you meeting and sharing your trip with Carla. I hope that you continue to meet people to take the loneliness factor out of your journey. While in Richmond, visit the James River! You spent many afternoons throwing pepples in this river when you were a toddler!!
    Love Mom

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  3. Hey Nephew Jaime-- awesome.
    I have an album of old pictures when you were a toddler in Richmond Virginia... you are an awesome little dude.... none of us in the family are surprised that you developed into an awesome young man of great character and strength.
    I wish i could follow your trip on the discovery channel or something.... may the wind be on your back as you head uphill.

    "Happy trails to you__ until we meet again." (jazz version and you the man on bass...who is also on 1st:)

    Much love and admiration-- always--Uncle Ritchie Rich

  4. Original comment had indirectly pointed out to me by another nephew. Scott Stram aka author of