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Steve and Ruth Ride Across America
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
He's still at it
Hi Everyone,  This is an ego email.  I am somewhere in the air probably over Ohio because
 I am an hour and 30 minutes out of Philadelphia on an US Airways Airbus
 310 airplane.  They offer wifi on the airplane but I had to pay for the 
Internet access.  I am on a different flight than I made reservations because of President
Obama.  My plane from Bangor to Philadelphia could not land because the
 airport was closed because Obama made a speech at a school near
 Philadelphia and the airport was closed when he landed and and he 
took off.  Thus I missed my connection and got placed on a later flight. 
I am complaining because this was the flight I wanted originality but 
Expedia dropped it off the list when I waited until I had shipped off my 
bike and stuff via UPS.  I also got a seat at the emergency door so I 
have lots of legroom and there are only two of us so we have an 
empty middle seat.  In fact the plane has lots of empty middle seats.  Bangor gave me a fine farewell.  It rained this morning.   Steve    Sent from my iPad

Posted by steveruthrar at 5:00 PM PDT
Monday, 13 September 2010
Well, this may be the final post
Hi Everyone,  There was nothing to report yesterday.  I spent a lot of my time
 watching football.  I sorted my stuff in preparation for my visit to UPS.  This morning I visited UPS and shipped my bike and stuff.  I kep
t my rear panniers for the airplane.  One rear pannier will be
 checked in as baggage and one rear pannier will be a carry-on
 to carry my iPad and glasses and cell phone, etc.  I will be flying home tomorrow (Tuesday).    Steve in Bangor, Maine, USA   Sent from my iPad

Posted by steveruthrar at 2:25 PM PDT
Saturday, 11 September 2010

Hi  Everyone,  This morning I was in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada and tonight I am = in Bangor, Maine in the good old USA.  This morning I had plenty of time to surf the Internet because the bus = for Bangor did not leave until 2:20 pm.  I checked hotels in Bangor and = found out that the best candidate near the bus station in downtown was = the Charles Inn (later confirmed by the bus driver as a good hotel) but = it was a "call for availability" for tonight but available tomorrow = night.  Then I checked another downtown hotel and it was $189 for = tonight and about $100 tomorrow night.  It should have triggered a = warning bell.  I decided to stay by the airport because the UPS store is closer out = here and there is a street here that has at least six motels all = together.  I thought that it was like a freeway interchange where motels = all congregate.  I lucked out that the first taxi cab available at the = bus station was a small van but the driver could not lower both back = seats.  He said that he could not take my bike box.  I took one look at = the car and told him that if we remove the headrests from both back = seats, we could put the bike box on top of the seats.  Problem solved = and we left for the airport motel street.  We got to the Howard Johnson and I told him to wait until I checked to = make sure that a room was available.  All full.  We went across the = street to Econolodge.  Full.  Fairfield did have a few rooms available = earlier.  Yes the Fairfield Inn did have a room for me.  $135 for = tonight and lower tomorrow night (back to the normal price).  There is a = concert tonight - an acoustic guitarist.  Sunday is my preparation day.  Sort my stuff and carry one pannier as = luggage and one pannier as a carry on.  All the other stuff will be sent = via UPS including my bike box.=20  Monday I will go visit the UPS store and ship everything. =20  Tuesday is my preferred flight day.  I do not have a reservation and = will make it tomorrow.  Delta wants an obscene price for an one way = ticket and Expedia wants one-third of that for an US Air flight.  US Air = wants $100 for a bike so that makes UPS the obvious choice.  Plus it = makes it easier at the airport and for whoever picks me up at the = airport.  I was surprised yesterday at Fredericton bus terminal where more than = half of the taxis that showed (dropped off a lot of passengers) were = vans or station wagons.  Maybe Fredericton being a college town makes it = a necessity.  My T-Mobile cell phone works great here - five bars.  Also my AT&T (3G?) = is available here. The reason that I put the ? on the 3G is that it = worked in the lobby but not in the room.  My wifi was super high speed = in the lobby and the elevator but spotty in the room.  Wifi connects in = the room but I don't have an Internet connection at the desk but it = works by the door and in the bathroom.  There were only five passengers in the bus for Bangor.  It was sunny and = warm as soon as we entered the USA.  Another reason why the motels are full:  there are at least two Canadian = football teams here to play an exhibition.  The team from the University = of New Brunswick at St John is here at my motel.  There is also a bunch = of women for a bingo game.  A reminder for whoever picks me up, my cell phone number is  408-598-7382  I'll let you know my flight schedule as soon as I make a reservation. Steve in Bangor, Maine, USA 

Posted by steveruthrar at 8:21 PM PDT
Friday, 10 September 2010

Hi Everyone,

Today's travel was much easier than yesterday even though it was not simple. The convenience store / bus terminal had a different clerk who knew why she was doing and processed my ticket and luggage tags promptly. I was supposed to have two changes of buses but it turned out to be only one change of bus and the same bus with a change of drivers. Then too, the Howard Johnson drove me to the bus terminal.

The route was a change of buses at Miramichi and a change of drivers at Fredericton. At Fredericton I sat in the front seat and talked to the driver. I asked him about the bus terminal at Saint John and where the hotels are. He told me and pointed out the nearest ones as we approached the bus terminal. The Holiday Day Inn Express is just one parking lot and one block away.

However what the driver did that was more important was the storing of my bike and luggage overnight at the bus terminal. I went in to the counter and the clerks said that I had to talk to the guy with the push cart getting the packages out of the bus. I got my luggage and placed them in the lobby and went back to get my bike. The guy with the push cart had left the bus and going toward the baggage and package entrance. The driver helped me with the bike box and said we had to follow the other guy and took the bike box into the luggage storage area. He spoke to the guy directly about the bike box storage for the night and that I would be taking the bus to Bangor tomorrow. I mentioned that I had some other stuff to store overnight also and brought them from the lobby to the counter and the driver took them to the back also. The guy mentioned something about luggage tags and I said that they all had luggage tags.

The weather was on and off rain. I saw one bike tourist today riding on the limited access highway in the rain. Yesterday I saw one bike tourist riding on a regular two lane highway in the rain pulling a trailer.

New Brunswick does not have many motels in the small towns that the bus goes through. The terrain is fairly flat but on the last leg, there were a few good hills, maybe because we were going across the province versus going with more north - south.

Steve in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Sent from my iPad

Posted by steveruthrar at 7:27 PM PDT
Thursday, 9 September 2010

Hi Everyone,

I am in Campbellton, New Brunswick, just over the border from Quebec.

This morning it was raining hard and and the weather forecast was terrible.
A couple of days of rain, one day of sun, and then a few more days of rain.
 It is no use doing a bike trip if I get to ride only one day out of three.

The motel that I stayed at is the bus terminal for Orleans Bus so they had
 a bike box and the tape, etc. I had to take off the front wheel, the front
 fender, and the front rack. I took off the pedals also but I'm not so sure
 that had to.

They also gave me a big plastic bag for the sleeping bag, tent, helmet,
and handlebar bag. I have to send back a lot of stuff by UPS or US Mail
 to make it easier to fly. First of all, all of my tools and spare parts
 will go by US Mail on the fixed price for anything that fits in the box.
I wonder if I can get 30 pounds in there. Then I have to ship my bike.
It is already boxed so I'll try UPS first in Bangor. I hope that the
bus terminal and hotel is near an UPS facility. Otherwise I have to find
 a taxi cab company with a van or station wagon. Or I can just pay the
airlines a bike fee. It may end up the same price. I'll check once I get to Maine.

Riding the bus distorts my sense of hills. It seemed like that the road
along the coast was fairly flat but there were a few hills and I saw
several downhill signs showing 10, 12, and even 17%.

There periods of heavy rain and heavy winds and periods of dry. Still,
I am glad that I did not have to ride under those conditions.

The bus company does a large package delivery business. It seems that
 in every town there is a gas station that is a bus stop and the driver
 gets out and drops off boxes and picks up boxes. A few times passengers
got off and on. Since I have to change from Orleans Bus to Acadia Bus, I
expected the bus terminal in Campbellton to be a hotel or a separate building.
 Wrong! The bus arrived at a large convenience store and the driver said in
 effect "Here you are". I asked him "Is this Campbellton?" not believing
 that this was where I was supposed to get off in a nodesceipt parking lot
 with a group of "punks" hanging around. Now this is at 8:30 pm in the dark.

It took me a while to get the convenience store / bus terminal to agree to
 store my bike overnight. However, as soon as the clerk saw my bike box
with a Orleans luggage tag on it, he said that he was obligated to store
the bike overnight as a package. He had thought that I arrived with a bike
 off the street. He probably didn't realize that I had arrived with luggage
 from an Orleans bus.

The bus for Maine leaves tomorrow about 10:45 am and I will be there early.
 This time I may take a cab for the three blocks because I carried my front
and rear panniers to the Howard Johnson Hotel. The clerk here called a cab
company to get an estimate and it was $6.30 and it is worth $6.30 not to have
 to lug all that weight again, even for three blocks.

Looking at the map, I estimate that it will take me two days to get to Bangor,
 Maine. I can't take care of shipping until Monday, so I probably can't leav
e until Tuesday.

By the way, New Brunswick is on a different time zone. It is one hour ahead
of Eastern Time.

Steve in Campbellton, New Brunswick

Posted by steveruthrar at 8:09 PM PDT
It's Over

> Hi Everyone,
> I give up. I satisfied what my original intent of the trip was.
> That was to go across the country and I am east of Maine and only a
> few miles from the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. I don' t know where
> the St Lawrence River meets the Atlantic Ocean, but I am close
> enough to it.
> I am waiting for the Orleans bus to take me ton the base of the
> Gaspe Peninsula where the New Brunswick border is and I wil probably
> stay overnight there and then take the Acadian Bus to the US border
> with Maine and then take another bus (maybe the same bus, who knows)
> to Bangor or Bar Harbor or Portland. I have the bike in a box
> already so I can ship it home by UPS and half of my stuff so I need
> to go where there is an airport and an UPS office. That I can
> decide tomorrow.
> I may need to call one of you for a ride home from the airport. I
> don't plan to have my bike with me but I may. It depends on the
> circumstances after I get to Maine.
> Steve still in Rivere du Renard
> Sent from my iPad

Posted by steveruthrar at 1:29 PM PDT
Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday's email was name Day 69. It should have been Day
 68. Today is the real Day 69.

Yesterday I looked all the weather reports and decided that
 the one I believed was cloudy in the morning and rain in
 the afternoon starting as early as 12:00. So I considered
my options including staying in Grande Vallee. Taking the
short cut across the peninsula would cut about 30 km off the
distance to Gaspe but that would leave me exposed if it rained.
 Going toward the lighthouse at Cap de Rosiers was a favorite
option because of the location but it was 93 km. The only good
 thing about it was that I could stop short at several different
 towns along the way.

As I left Grande Vallee this morning I coiled feel that my legs
 didn't have it it did yesterday morning. The hills seem steeper
 but I made my way up them in lower gears and at an easier pace.
 But I found out that all the bailout towns have steep hills
before and after the towns. I hated going down to a town but
 there was no alternative.

It was hard to predict the weather. It was clear over the
water and overcast over me but there were threatening clouds
 to my right over the hills. Later the clouds ahead of me
( coming from the hills) were crossing in front of me some
distance away but that was where I was going.

Finally the hill out of Petit Cap got to me. I had to stop
 a couple of times to rest going up the 10 - 11% ( average)
hill and when I got to Riviere du Renard I looked at the
motel options. It was my intension to ask about the short
cut versus going around the lighthouse here because this is
where the junction is. The clouds ahead looked more menacing
 and they were coming from the hills on the right where the
short cut is.

I saw the Auberge Caribou as I entered the main part of town
and it looked busy with the lunch crowd leaving the restaurant
 and the motel rooms had just one car parked there so I decided
 to ask about the rates and the wifi situation. I got a nice
room with a sofa and a kitchenette so it will be comfortable
if it rains tomorrow and I have to stay another day.

The Statistics: 4.68 miles and 3541 feet of climbing with a max of 15%

Steve in Riviere du Renard, Quebec, Canada

I made a mistake. I actually went 41.68 miles.

It is raining now so all I have to do is to figure the weather for
 tomorrow. This trip has become a matter of watching the weatherman.

When I get to Gaspe, I have the option of

1. Riding on to Nova Scotia and taking the ferry to from Digby
 to St Johns, NB and the bus to Portland or Bar Harbor, Maine

2. Riding to St Johns, New Brunswick and taking the bus to
Portland or Bar Harbor, Maine

3. I can take the train from Gaspe to Quebec.

My problem with flying home from Canada is shipping excess
luggage goes through customs. Flying from the US makes it
easier to ship excess luggage via UPS.

I allocated three months for the trip so I have until Oct 1
 to make up my mind. The weather may decide it for me.

A potential problem that Joe mentioned was the lack of motels
 in small towns and some of those motels may be small. I use
 Google Maps to look for motels in the towns ahead of me and
 I never depend on the towns that have one motel. I have been
 through too many towns that have closed up motels, closed for
 the season or abandoned or for sale. Some motels have only
10 to 20 units and some motels have hardly any customers although
they do get more customers about 6 to 7 whereas I try to get in
between 3 and 4.


Sent from my iPad

Posted by steveruthrar at 5:55 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 September 2010 5:57 PM PDT
Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday I kept getting conflicting weather forecasts. So what else is new?
 Most weather reports for the towns that I had already been through said
rain today. Gaspe was predicted to be sunny today and tomorrow, but it
 is on the southern tip of the peninsula so has different weather depending
 on which direction the rain clouds are coming from. Finally, on the tv
weather channel (in French of course) showed that the rain would stop in
the middle of the peninsula and the the far end of the peninsula (where I am)
 would not get rain.

I decided to go for it! This morning the computer weather forecasts were
the same as yesterday - rain but the tv weather radar showed no storm cells
coming my way and there were no rain drops so I left for Madeleine Centre
or Ste Madeleine de la Riviere Madeleine. It is where the Route Verte ends route 1.

Why is it that things happen at the start of the day? Just as I left the
 motel, a bunch of trucks appeared. The Lanor Day holiday is over and
trucks are back on the road. There are fewer cars as the tourists with
kids are back home and the kids are in school. There were fewer trucks
once I got a few miles down the road so maybe they had been stacked up
in town with traffic lights or maybe they all left the company parking
lots at the same time.

I met a local who knew the road to Gaspe and beyond who told me about the
 hills. I had heard this before about how the hills were past Matane.
However he knew where all the big hills all and how long they are. He
also told me that the Orleans bus runs all the way around the Gaspe
Peninsula and that they take bikes but may charge for bikes. One big
 hill is out of Madeleine and he also mentioned Grande Vallee.

I ran into a few rollers out of town but they were what I had the day
before. Then I got back to the coast and rode for 80 km on almost flat
 roads. I thought "I have it made!" Then I got to Madeleine. There
were two really good looking motels there and I was tempted to stop, but
 I still had two more hours of riding time left and I felt good so I
decided to push on to made it easier the next day when I was sure the
 hills would appear.

The minute I left Madeleine De la Riviere Madeleine on the coast, I
started climbing and I remembered that the local had mentioned a hill
 here. The hill looked like a 1.5 km long and a couple of hundred feet.
It went down a little and then another hill. It was series of uphill
 rollers where I climbed a hill and then went down a little only to climb
 another hill. This went on for 10 km and the hills were up to 14%
(speedometer had 15% max) and there was a highway sign that warned
about 14% downhill near the end.

All that talk about the hills were later on. Well that time had come!
I had visions of a narrow road with turns, etc similar to Page Mill
Road but this is a main highway (Hwy 132) so it has nice wide lanes
and good shoulders mostly. The uphills usually had a slow truck lane
 and a shoulder so I can't complain.

I got into Grande Vallee and found a motel on the way down. It was not
 the name I expected because there are two motels listed in Google and
I remembered the name of the other motel. However it is next to a Dixie
Lee restaurant (chicken and pizza place) and the motel has super fast
 wifi from the cable company. And the price is right.

Tomorrow I may get to Gaspe but if I don't make it, I will awful close.
Hwy 132 goes along the coast but I can take a short cut cutting across
 the tip of the peninsula, but you how that goes. The short cut goes
over the ridge and the coast is reasonable flat and longer. I'll have
 to ask the locals when I get close to the junction. But once I get
near the tip of the peninsula, there are numerous motels because that
 is the tourist area (southern side of the peninsula). The only reason
 I pushed today and I wanted to get close to Gaspe is because there is
 rain forecast for Thursday and Friday and I wanted to get to a place
 where I can do something if it rains.

The Statistics: 71.41 miles and 3141 feet of climb almost all in the
last 20 miles.

If you want to find me on the map, Grande Vallee is on the northern
coast of the Gaspe Peninsula near the tip and at the northern most point.

Steve in Grande-Vallee, Quebec, Canada

Sent from my iPa

Posted by steveruthrar at 6:10 PM PDT
Monday, 6 September 2010

Hi Everyone,

I committed to the north coast of the Gaspe Peninsula today. Besides
that is how the wind blows. Going across the peninsula would have
 been a headwind.

Today is Labor Day in Canada as well as the US but I can't see any
 difference in traffic since I left Levis (across from Quebec) although
 I saw a lot of traffic going my way today instead of against me as I
 expected as not many people live out this way. But I justblooked at
the map and there is a cross peninsula road that goes out of
 Sainte-Anne-des-Monts so maybe they are all that way. I'll find out tomorrow.

When I left Sainte Flavie this morning, I felt a "rumble" as I pedaled.
I thought that it could be the chain or it could be the bottom bracket.
 It varied depending on the gear and the force that I put on the pedal.
At a gas station, I lubed the chain and the "rumble" went away.

I got into Matane so early that I decided to try for Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.
A few days ago, I looked at the map and though that Cap-Chats would be a
stretch and Sainte-Anne is pass Cap-Chat. Wonders of a tailwind. However
Matane is the dividing line between the flat coastal road and the hills,
although they are more the rolling type. A typical hill would be about a
 half mile long and 7 to 11% but I did get a max of 13%.

I have heard, however, that the hills are steeper and more often further on.

The views of the St Lawrence are better than what I saw of the Great Lakes.
With the hills, I am getting cliffs which is more dramatic than beaches,
in my opinion.

The Statistics: 96.98 miles and 2272 feet of climbing (only 360 feet before
 Matane - lunch) with a max of 13%.

Steve in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Quebec, Canada

Sent from my iPad

Posted by steveruthrar at 8:45 PM PDT
Sunday, 5 September 2010

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday it was obvious from the first time that I looked
out the window that I was not going to ride. It was pouring!

Last night the weatherman said it was going to ok today
and tomorrow and then maybe more rain or showers. This
 morning I looked out and it was fine. Then I checked
the weather report and it said 60% chance of rain. A
person I talked to said that he heard was chance of
rain this morning and sunny in the afternoon.

I decided to ride based on two key factors: it was not
raining and the wind was significant out of the southwest
 which meant a tailwind!

As I left the hotel, I felt a couple of drops but that
means nothing. As I got out of the bank (ATMs are in the
 lobby) there were more drops so I put on the new rain
covers. As I rode out of town, I debated whether to
return to the hotel or to keep on going. I decided to
keep on going it wasn't bad and it was probably going
to end soon.

It was 10 miles down the road that I decided it was time
to put on knee warmers, booties, and a rain jacket instead
of my windbreaker.

When I stopped, I could feel the rain, but when I rode, I
was going fast enough that I kept up with the rain.

I couldn't believe how fast I was going. I was twice as
fast as I rode into Riviere Loup but I was going real slow
 going into the headwind and today I had a good 10 mph tailwind
 with gusts up to 20 mph.

At noon, the sun came out but I kept everything on just in case.
My original goal was Rimouski but I decided that with the tailwind,
 I might go to Sainte Flavie so as I rode through Rimouski, I kept
 looking for a motel on the far end of town to make it easier to
 get out of town tomorrow. Then I was out of town and I decided
 to go for Sainte Flavie.

So here I am in Sainte Flavie, the junction to stay on the St
Lawrence and go on the north coast of the Gaspe Peninsula or to
 cross over to the southern coast of the Gaspe Peninsula. The
weatherman now says that tomorrow is cloudy with chance of showers
 and sun and a tailwind and then Tuesday and Wednesday is a 40 a
60% chance of rain so I have to go to a place where I am willing
to stay for a rain day / rest day which means a longer day. The
only thing that I don't know is where the north coast starts the
famous ups and downs.

The Statistics: 91.46 miles and guessing at 1000 feet of climb.
I don't believe the 6600 feet that the speedometer says because
there was a weather change that changed the atmospheric pressure.

The St Lawrence is so wide now that I can't see across it any more.

Steve in Sainte Flavie, Quebec, Canada on the Gaspe Peninsula

Sent from my iPad

Posted by steveruthrar at 4:22 PM PDT

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