Hey you kids (the ones I promised to write and miss so much) and everybody else,
Here I am in Guanajuato, Mexico, writing a post about the travel route that we took down the Atlantic Coast and along the Gulf Coast of the United States of America. Today, I calculated the total distance we’ve ridden our bikes so far and I came up with a total of 13,555 kilometers. With buses, trains, ferries and hitch-biking, we’ve travelled much further. It’s hard for me to believe that we have pedalled our bikes so far. But it’s true. Now I know how fast time flies and how easily kilometres add up if we just keep moving towards our goal, one pedal stroke at a time.
At first, our bicycle tour across Canada was going to be a training ride to see if we liked travelling on two wheels without a motor. If our first trip was a hit then our plan was to do another bicycle tour aiming for a route down the western side of North America and South America, in the following year or maybe even later. But sometimes plans change.
We’ve been dreaming about riding our bikes from our house to as far as the roads go in South America for a very long time (since 2007). Just before Lothar retired in December 2015, he proposed we ride across Canada, and then if we liked bicycle touring he thought we should make a right hand turn and ride south to South America.
I think Lothar was excited about seeing our dream come true, as soon as possible. He just needed to get going so that he wouldn’t miss the chance to make it happen while he still could. But I think another good reason to change our plans, is that it would be a better decision for our planet. If we combined two trips into one then we wouldn’t need to fly back home from eastern Canada. The new plan would be better because we would contribute less than our original plan to greenhouse gases that are changing the climate of this wonderful planet we call home.
With Lothar aiming for the door, I needed to scramble to keep up with him. And now almost a year later, and much to my surprise, we are here:
The odometer that we were using to measure the distance of our travel broke. So from Maine to New York we used Google Maps to the measure distances we travelled.
To avoid cold weather, we stayed close to the coast on our route from Maine to Georgia. I think it would have been fun to ride through the mountains further inland, more wilder spaces and fewer people. But sometimes we need to adjust our plans to fit the situation we’re in. Most importantly in this case, Cricket doesn’t like snow, neither does Lothar’s bike.
Dates: 17 to 24 October 2015
Distances we travelled:
- Bicycle to Brunswick: 389 km
- Bus to Boston: 220 km
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island
Dates: 24 to 29 October 2015
Distance we travelled:
- Bus: into Boston (see previous section)
- Bicycle: 100 km+, around the City of Boston
- Train: 82 km to Providence
- Bicycle: 81 km to the Rhode Island-Connecticut state border
On the bus, we left Maine and whizzed through the State of New Hampshire and into Massachusetts.
Dates: 30 to 31 October 2015
Distances we travelled:
- Bicycle: 86 km
- Ferry: 25 km (to Long Island in New York)
Dates: 1 to 10 November 2015
Distances we travelled:
- Bicycle: 175 km+
In New York, we bought a GPS to replace our broken odometer that we were using to measure our travel.
Dates: 10 to 18 November 2015
Distances we travelled:
- Bus: 436 km from New York City to Washington, DC
We decided to take a bus from New York City to Washington, DC, the Capital of the United States of America, for three reasons:
- winter was still nipping at our heels. We wanted to get far enough south that snow wouldn’t get to us
- we weren’t all that keen to ride through more densely populated areas between New York City and Washington, DC
- there was an interesting conference I wanted to go to. I learned about how to help people understand challenging problems and work together to solve them. Presenters talked about problems related to climate change, loss of species and ecosystems, some people not having enough access to clean water, and some children growing up with poor nutrition in countries that don’t have much money.
Dates: 17 to 26 November 2015
Dates: 26 November to 12 December 2015
Dates: 12 to 24 December 2015
Riding in South Carolina was often scary. The worst part was when we were stuck on roads with no bike lanes and fast traffic. Some drivers would drive too close to us, yell at us, or even angrily honk their horn at us. When riding got too crazy, we hitch-biked.
Dates: 24 December 2015 to 3 January 2016
When riding my bike gets too scary, I just take one step at a time, as safely as I can, walking if I need to. It’s a bit stressful sometimes but, eventually, I get through it. We are discovering so many wonderful things out here that the challenges are worth it. When life gets rough, my curiosity about what I’ll learn or find next keeps me going.
Dates: 3 to 28 January 2016
Originally, we were planning to ride our bikes to the Florida Keys, at the southern tip of Florida, but we soon got tired of bicycling in this densely populated state so we turned right again to head west along the Gulf of Mexico. It was hard for me to see people living in extreme wealth beside people living in extreme poverty. It seemed like rich people were afraid of poor people and poor people were having a hard time making ends meet. Plus beautiful beaches were blocked by massive hotels and shopping centers that sprawled, seemingly forever. I left Florida feeling sad about how people treat other people and other living things and our environment.
Dates: 28 January to 1 February 2016
Dates: 1 to 4 February 2016
Dates: 4 February to 18 February
Dates: 18 February to 10 March 2016
Stats for U.S.A.
We enjoyed our ride down the Atlantic Coast of the U.S.A. and along the Gulf of Mexico. We met lots of wonderful people, many of whom helped us along the way. We experienced a lot. And we learned a lot. So even though there were some big challenges, I feel very grateful for and fortunate to have had an opportunity to travel in this way through the eastern U.S.A.
Here are some totals for distances that we travelled in the U.S.A.:
Bicycle: 5,618 km
Bus: 584 km
Train: 51 km
Ferries: 64 km+
Hitch-bike: 178 km
Total Distance Travelled: 6,495 km
Watch for my next posts for Mexico.
We’ve been in Mexico for almost two and half months. I’m happy to report the experience has been extremely rewarding!
Hi Debbie – There is only one thing I will ask? I hope you are going to turn this into a book!!!!!
All I can say is, my journal and photos overflow. I wish for more time to write as I go. This journey is a mind boggling experience; a sea of thoughts crash around in my mind; and I love writing. We shall see.
Thanks for a boost!
George & Marybeth
Hello from Southport NC where the ferry captain brought you home for the night. You are an inspiration and we wish you then best in your travels. Next week we visit Maine and on the way back to NC we will see Robert Matson in NYC and pick up a new HP Grasshopper. If it works well then we will order another one. Looking forward to future postings.
Hello George and Marybeth, I’m so glad you found us. I hope your Grasshopper is treating you well. Lothar and I just did 8 miles or so of the roughest road we’ve done yet on our Street Machines, and we’re so happy with how they held up. We’re still loving the bikes and feeling positive that we picked the right ones for us and this trip. We just left Antigua, Guatemala today. Next stop El Salvador. I’ve been working on some blog posts so hopefully some will be rolling out soon over the next few weeks. Take care! Deb
I just had the pleasure of meeting you guys at the Peru / Bolivia border. I had to search for you online because I forgot the notebook at the restaurant we had lunch together!!! – you guys are amazing!!! … ; )
way to go you two
more work = more fun and less hypocrisy!
I’m so happy I got a little curious to see how you were doing…
Hi Stefan, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond! I remember responding your comment from somewhere in Central America. But obviously, it didn’t get through. I super thrilled to be home. I have lots of stories to tell and I want to get some conversations going about some of the challenges humanity is facing with climate change and loss of biodiversity. I hope you’ll join the conversation.
All the best to you and Eva.
Bon Courage! Deb
I’m finally home and working on my blog again. Lothar is still riding north. He should be home in a few weeks. We have lots of stories to tell! We met so many wonderful people out there. Now, it’s time to catch up with them all. All the best, Deb