Brrrr

After Linda showed me to a nice beach, took some pictures, she dropped me back off on the same highway. What an awesome person. :) gave me raspberry cupcakes she made and fresh veggies to go. Also 2 large power aids. Today I felt like I was bicycling on air. I don’t remember even when the bike was new everything working so smoothly. Maybe it’s just been a while? Lol. It was actually pretty chilly today, I put on my bright green jacket which kept me a bit warmer. Still it was nice when the sun came out to warm my weary little bones. Lol. It’s like there are days I like the sun and days I don’t want it. Made it to the Ohio border, it’s only like 60 miles through PA. I did about 50 today. Tomorrow I’m aiming on Cleveland to see my good childhood best friend Jason Blossom. So I’m really trying to get to bed early and get an early start. I sent like 6 couch requests to a town that has plenty of people, figured I would get ONE reply. Nothing. Even as I pulled over when coming into the town, nothing. Then it started to sprinkle! Nooo, I pulled out my vinyl waterproof table cloth and laid it over my sleeping bag and tent as I kept searching for a place to stay. I checked warm showers and there happens to be 2 people 15 miles from where I was. I didn’t feel like I had time to send them an email and reply back, so I just called one. Surprisingly he said sure, I won’t be home for a while but the back door is open. Lol cool! :) it’s supposed to rain tonight, so ANY place inside is amazing. There isn’t enough service out here for anything besides my blog and texting. Have some pics, but they will have to wait. As I pulled in, Rick and his brother Dave had JUST pulled in before me. Waved me to come around back. They are out here a little ways. 2-3 bedroom, really old house. So I met then both and he showed me around the house and to the shower and everything then left with his brother and said make yourself at home. Also an awesome trusting person. I see pictures on his fridge of some of his cycling tours. He is an older retired guy, but seems to like to stay in shape. He was in the Navy for 20 years and has 2 kids. One lives in Denver CO and I didn’t catch where the other was. When he wasn’t here I was trying to close a window in my room because it was getting cold quick.. The windows are really old wooden windows with glass panes in them. Welllll I pushed it down and it basically dropped and a piece of the glass in the middle busted and came out. Ahhh crud. Later on when he came back, I had to tell him. So I said Rick can you come in here a minute? He said yea, and I explained and showed him the glass piece, he said ah don’t worry about it. It already had a crack in it and he is surprised that they even open at all! I guess panes have came out before? I was prepared to pay him for it. Well that’s good then..? We sat and talked over dinner. He is the only one that lives here, but his brother lives next door and another family member nearby. He said nothing has ever seriously been wrong with him, so he has just taken his health for granted. He needed to get to the grocery, so he made us hot dogs, pickles, cheese, and baked beans. Skids like the kind of thing I would make myself at home!
So I put my clothes in the dryer and get ready for bed. He goes to bed at 10 and gets up at 5. Geeze that’s early. Well ill aim to sleep till 7:30 and start getting ready. I wish it wouldn’t rain on me tomorrow!
Falling asleep. Not a lot of crazy things today besides my bike workin like a well oiled machine!
Early to bed, early to rise!

Another day in the right direction

When Geoff dropped me off yesterday at the pier, I attached all the things to my bike and rode to the entrance to the pier where I had a huge breakfast to get ready for the day. It also took a bit upload those 50 some pictures of his awesome place. When I had finished, it started raining. Basically it rained on me 85% of the day. Not a ton of rain, but just enough to make it miserable. Figured I would keep dry if I had my rain jacket on. Well I was at first, but then as I got hot, I started sweating. Tip: raincoats keep the water out but the heat in. So my dry jersey was now getting wet with sweat anyway. Tried unzipping a bit, the rolling the sleeves up a bit. Lol I needed up with rolled up sleeves and totally unzipped. Not very effective. Also, because I couldn’t get my rear tire pressure up all the way, most of the day I felt like I was using my muscles to ride through mud. Not slippery but just harder in general. I’m thinking I HAVE to fix this at some point tonight. I stop to take a longer break at a gas station and get out my fruit and I buy peanut butter crackers, some, drinks, and a blueberry ice cream pop! Being hot makes you want all sorts of cold things to drink. I had shot a bunch of couch surfing requests out before I left the pier so I figured I would check. I’m about 10 miles to the PA line. I have one reply from 55 year old Linda. She herself has done a ton of traveling in the past 3 years and had dug in and read quite a bit about me. In the message she even asked if I have been on Semester At Sea, which I did a little over a year ago. She also said she had all sorts of plans but the rain cancelled them all and that she was planning on going to a bible study, if I was into that kind of thing. Haha so I give her a call and we talk for a bit, and she brings up the bible study and I tell her one of the main goals of this ride is to just fully rely on God and for him to show me what he can do, and I would love to go the the bible study. Well it’s at 6:15pm which isn’t very long from then, might have been 4:30 or 5? She says she will come get me and my bike, take me back to her place so I can very quickly shower and eat then we would head to the bible study. I finally make it to the state line and snap a picture and it hasn’t rained for a little bit but I’m still dripping with sweat from my long sleeved shirt. Ill tell you what, riding in the rain sucks. I can’t even listen to any music, and I once again I have to go slower than usual. Just not a fun time..at all! So she has a Honda Element and pulls up as I’m sitting on a railing in front of the PA line.. (There is a space of like 50ft between the Welcome to PA and looking back, welcome to NY. What state am I in??)
Anyway we some what easily roll my bike in her car and off we go. I had planned on going another 15 miles, but I know that this would be what The Lord wants me to do. Not as many miles, but I’m being taken to a bible study, awesome? Yess. In the car as we are riding, Linda is very spiritual and totally says this is a God thing. She had plans to go places and to be out of town, but she felt uneasy about leaving and the rain ruined those place, so she could be there for me. She said she drove through rain to get me, so the rain would have been making me wet and miserable if not for her coming to get me. She spent the last year traveling the world also by ship at times. Her husband died unexpectedly 3 years ago of unknown causes after 35 years of marriage. She has several children which are now other places. She went on a Sebaticome? Of Unexpected Length. S.O.U.L. She went looking to find out about life, God, and to really just find herself out there. She had couch surfed all over the world and in the beginning drive around the US couch surfing. She is a leader of several organizations, including one in Haiti to help children and I think one in Africa too. Very well traveled, she has/had her own building or company and now lives about on top of it I believe. She has. Very large house with many rooms which she used for couch surfers or visitors.
So we get to her place and unload my bike and I grab what I need to take a shower. I feel just gross. I have been in wet clothes all day and am still wet. Se shows me to the bathroom and says while I shower she is going to make something quick to eat. Getting out of those wet clothes and into something dry felt Uh-mazing! I had also worn my wet gloves all day so my hands were already pruny. Lol
I finish showering and come out to find that she made salad/streaks/grilled onion/ and squash? Lol quick meal? She went all out in 20 minutes!
Ate as quickly as we could, but couldn’t finish due to being late already. So she drives us to a house for the bible study. I didn’t ask questions, but I guess Ray used to be a preacher and has been going to Ernie’s place and they just have a small group of people to do bible studies with. They have been doing it for about 4 months now. I come in and pass out my cards and they are very welcoming! Asking questions about my Cancer and my ride. It’s really nice to hear people say, wow you have come a long way rather than, you have so much further! There are 8 people there. 2 are kids of the household not in the picture I took, also 2 left quickly after. Ray started off asking, what we would say to Jesus of he walked in the door right then. Lol he even went outside (the rain had picked up again) and yelled, Lord you’re welcome here, come on in!! He asked what healing we need in our own lives. I had already told them I was in Remission and said we will pray that you are no longer in remission, that you be healed and in Jesus name it won’t come back. So they all held hands and Linda placed her hand on my head and they prayed for me. :) I jotted down some notes in the about hour long study and here is what I have:
-Compared himself saving a life in a pond and how the person would be automatically grateful to how Jesus died to save our lives and we should just be automatically grateful.
-He will test you!! To see when it comes to hard times, will you really rely on him?
-Theist = God. Athiest = No God
-What do you have in your life that you struggle with that you have not turned to The Lord for?
-The squeaky wheel needs the grease! ( mom says this all the time)
-You can’t force people to trust you and God can’t force you to trust him.

That was a brief overview of what we discussed. So here I am.. I met a random stranger who came and picked me up before the rain hit again. She fed me and allowed me to get into dry clothes. She takes me to a group of strangers were they pray over me and on yea they fed me too. Hahaha, there are no coincidences!
There is a song that I listen to and love. And there is a line in it, which I really like.. “I know you don’t understand, but this is all a part of God’s greater plan”
This trip has grown my faith in leaps and bounds!
So we leave there and come back, I need to work on my bike. She has a huge two car garage, so I have a nice dry place to work on it. I end up taking everything off and starting from scratch. Deflate the tire to figure out why there is a part more flat on my tire and how to get it to maximum inflation, if you will. I mess with it, for over an hour and I’m just out of idea, the beading on one side of the tire needs to come out more and I try and try to pull / roll it around to get it out. Anyway she has a nice tire pump that I can stand and push down on. Finally I’m just like, God help me!! I’m frustrated and tired and I don’t know how to fix this. Immediately a thought comes to my head. What if I inflate it to the proper pressure and maybe it will expand and push that side of the tire up? Anyway the pump has a pressure gauge on it and its supposed to be at 110 and it’s only at 60. Several more pumps to get to 110 on my very LAST pump of air, I hear the tire crackle and pop. First thought, uh oh, I don’t know if that was a bad sound?? Wait a minute, I spun the tire where I used to be able to see a lump, it’s fixed!! Thank you Lord!! I was so ‘pumped’ that I also glued my Life is Good sticker on better and lubed up the chain and anything that moved! It will ride like bran new again! The front tire had lost some pressure over time, so I put more air in it as well.
I was looking at the weather for today last night and it says rain all day. :( this morning I get up and I check again. Yea, it’s sunny out and not supposed to rain again! Everything happens for a reason. :) Linda made me an awesome breakfast of leftover steak and made eggs and toast. Ill have to be on my way soon!

Today. On this sunny Sunday I’m dedicating to my Mom and Step dad and my brother Steve. Thanks for always supporting me, even if you don’t agree or feel comfortable with it. I love you guys! Thank you..

Tree house!!

Welllll this morning didnt really go as planned. I got all my things together and started pushing my bike out the door when I felt like something to dragging or rubbing or something was wrong. I thought it was my new brakes that they were just rubbing the tire. Ended up being my first flat tire. Ironically enough the guy showed me how to flip my pump to the right side the day before and somehow I didn’t notice as I rode to his place? It seemed to just go flat overnight. Lol. Anyway, best place I can get a flat tire. Still inside his enclosed patio. Besides taking all the stuff off and putting it back on it took me an hour and ten minutes to change my tube. All seemed good until a few miles in to my ride. There is a small depression in my tire in one spot. Not much to easily notice, but feels like a small bump with each rotation of the tire. Small enough that I didn’t notice it till I knew I was riding on totally flat ground and could feel it. Ah well. I also noticed that one of the small screws that holds the bottom of the back rack was loose. Thought maybe that was the noise I kept hearing from the back. So I tightened in making sure I didn’t strip the screw. Well obviously I wasn’t making sure well enough, the screw broke right off. At least over half was still in there. Lol. Soo I grabbed two tie straps and strapped the back rack to the frame just to make sure it wouldn’t go anywhere. Lol.
So I’m finally leaving and it’s like 3pm. Ugh. And I’m hungry. Ugh x2. End up stopping at a gas station for an hour and buying a frozen hot pocket, Doritos, a blueberry muffin, and some peanut butter crackers. They had a microwave that I used. They had a car shop connected to the building too, and the lady said they just always used the blue paper towels to microwave. So yea I say outside on the ground and ate. Then I was trying to figure out where i was going to be staying that night and how many miles I could get in. I had initially sent couch requests/warm showers to people just over the New York border, 2 people replied and I had to apologize to say I wouldn’t be making it that far due to my flat. I send out requests and surprisingly there are two warm showers people about 30 miles down the road that I message. I bike a little ways further and check my phone on breaks. They both have replied back. One said, I hope a tent and a shower is ok? And the other says he is 15 miles south of the town ill be in at basically his summer home. But he could come pick me up from the pier if I wanted? Said to give him a call. He also said you could bike it, but it’s basically 15 miles uphill. Haha ummm no thanks. I end up calling him about the ride because I’m not really in a tent mood believe it or not and he says there is a pier in Dunkirk and he could meet me there in a little over an hour. I have 15 miles to get there. Sure sounds good to me! This highway 5 goes right along the coast, with of course a little bit of hills but I at least get to see small beaches along the way and really nice scenery. (Later found out they import sand for the summer time because its usually filled with dead fish and seaweed.) I was seeing houses right along the coast and was thinking this would be a really nice place to come back and visit. Right on Lake Erie. Except there are hoards of very tiny lake flies that are in clouds as im biking. When you hit the cloud you feel like someone tossed sand in your facd, but lighter and more gross. Anyway I get to the pier and ride to the end. Very nice place. Take some pics and Geoff (tells me to call him Jeff because everyone else does) pulls up in his cool bright orange sporty VW car, not even 5 minutes after I get there. Thin, tan, in shape guy, about 26-27 years old. Surprisingly I just take off my saddle bags and my bike will fit in the car. He has a bike rack on top as well. So we are driving and he is asking me if this is my first tour and how many he has done with his brother Jeremy. It’s nice to be able to do these tours with someone the same fitness level you are, so you don’t have one person always waiting on the other. So we are driving, and I’m sure glad I didn’t bike it! Some of these hills we are racing up and down feel like I’m on a roller coaster! He is telling me about this place that him and his brother usually go to (where we are headed) that him, his brother and mainly their dad built. He describes it as a log cabin type place with no running water, but they have electricity. Sounds good, I told him any place inside is better than outside! So we finally arrive and he pulls in between trees right before a wooden post and it’s just grass. Not even really a driveway. Lol mmkay? He said because they built it, they don’t even have an address. As soon as we go past the trees it opens up into a nice pond with a 10ft wooden platform to high dive from and a zip line that goes over head across the pond. That’s cool! As we go further there is a nice fire put with a fire and chairs around it and a wooden 2 person swing. There is a small house looking thing and I assume that is where we will be staying. Nope. It’s just where the power or whatever they need is stored in there. We end up walking down through an opening in the trees into this forest and down a path that has mulch on and I’m now walking on wooden boards as the space beneath the boards gets larger and larger. Basically as I walked I was getting higher off the ground because it takes a steep downturn. You really need to see pictures… This. Is the most AMAZING multi level tree house I have EVER seen! Not like a children’s tree house but adult tree house in size. I don’t even know how to describe it. They have hammocks, very thick wooden doors to this place. On the main door they have a rope that comes outside attached to a boat anchor to keep keep the door closed and a massive wooden handle. Inside is very tall and open. They have really done well in keeping this place very home like. They have a refrigerator and boatish things hanging from the walls. I get the full tour. Across the room is a wooden ladder that goes up to the next level. Up there is a bed that you can look over the railing and see the floor below and they have a full bed with blankets and there is always a light switch to every place. Laying in this bed which they said I could sleep in I’m facing a tv with a bunch of movies beside it. There is a walk way of boards on my level where you can look down and see the floor below. They made a stair case with a thick wooden log railing that takes you up to the next level. There is a hatch that you can close in this room. Let me remind you there are large widows everywhere you look so you can see outside. They have this room decked out too with a couch and a wall mounted telephone and a tv on the other side of the room there is also a ladder that goes up to yet another open level, basically a loft that had bedding in it overlooking the level below. The level below they call the crows best because its up so high in the trees. There is another wooden door that you can go out and there is a deck that goes all the way around the outside with multiple chairs to just sit in and stare out into the woods. I mean we are close to the tops of trees up here. There is no railing on anything and there are large trees that they cut holes in the wood that come up through. Anyway, I don’t think I could have imagined a better place in my mind. You NEED to see the pictures!
Anywho I meet his brother Jeremy when I walk in and he is about the same age and build as Jeff. Jeff brought a pizza back for them to eat and they have fresh watermelon too. They offer me some food and melon and we head outside to a picnic table to eat. Jeremy just got back from Alaska for 3 weeks, I guess he just went up there to work. 16 hour days for 2 weeks. Lol. A fish assembly line where he made 2 slices and the fish went on, 2 slices and the fish goes on. For 16 hours a dayyyyy. Geeze sounds like a nightmare to me. He did meet a lot of cool people though. We end up getting stuff for shmores and heading out to the fire they made. We just sit around and tell stories and they ask me about my time through cancer. Nice relaxing night. I guess they usually go out there every weekend… Just to do nothing? Jeff reads a lot and Jeremy… Well I don’t know. He relaxes. If people have their man caves, this is a man treehouse. I would have loved to just stay for a week. They even have an out house where you can go #2. It looks like a classic outhouse with a moon cut out in the side and they have the whole property lined solar powered lights. They even had a solar powered light for the out house.
Anywho we end up going to bed and in the morning I swear I took 30 pictures. Ill post those here in a bit. But they gave me sweats to put on and I give them back. I tell Jeff that he should take me back to the same place he got me so I don’t ‘cheat’. Jeremy is still sleeping when we leave so here I am blogging at the end of the pier. Speaking of, there were millions of these tiny clear green gnat sized flies just run me out of my bench by the water. I took a pic of how many there were on one of my saddle bags. They are on everything!
Forgot to add that Jeff took me to a farmers market so I could get some fruit. Got 3 bananas, a plum, a peach, and an apricot. Yummm
So my ride out of New York today is for my awesome Bro Andrew Sanders and he dedicated today fo me!! Love you bro!

So close, but so far

Yesterday was a good solid day of cycling! Prayers/Motivation/awesome weather/flat ground = I ride 72 miles!

The entire reason I hate using GPS is that yesterday it said I had 408miles to Fort Wayne. I get here and it says I have 375! Gahhhh I guess I’ll get there when I get there.. Until I get back on my map route, which has all the mileage posted, I can’t give an accurate mileage of how long till ill be anywhere. Booooo

So yesterday I rode and rode and usually ill have a headphone in. If everyday was like yesterday, I wouldn’t mind the distance so much. Today supposedly I have 60 miles till I get out of NY, so that will be cool! Yesterday I had dunkin doughnuts for breakfast, got a sandwich, a coffee and oatmeal. I couldn’t finish it all so I save the oatmeal till later. *Later* I stop in under an abandoned ATM drive up and eat my oatmeal. I notice, man my brakes are getting low! Kind of looks like they are grinding a bit into my rim! I’m googling bicycle shops and it says the only thing in town is a place called toys and bikes? Doesn’t sound like a legit bike shop. So I clip in and start peddling out of the parking lot and a red SUV comes up and stops beside me. Dan Schmidt. He asks me where I’m going and how far and a bunch of other cyclist questions. He said he is a pastor and loves to bike. He was telling me about this high protein drink that he makes and I just said I eat what’s at the gas stations because what he is explaining sounds too expensive. So oatmeal, beef jerky, granola bars, chocolate milk, dried fruit, are what get me through the day. He offers me a place to stay, but it’s midday so I definitely need to keep riding. He offers to pray over me! Haha wow, no one has done that so far, how cool?! Prays for my safety and that my bike doesn’t break down and that on this ride that I know I’m never alone. He is really fired up about this trip I’m on, and says he cant wait to get his bike out. After that I ask where a bike shop is in town and he gives me directions and I leave. End up finding the bike shop back tucked away behind a toy store, which it was connected to inside anyway. $40 and half an hour later I have new brakes!
I ask the guy how to use my bike pump, because just the day before Gary needed some more air in his tires and all I could do was deflate his tire with my pump! It looked like the head of the pump could twist, but it wasn’t budging. The guy said it should! So he grabs some pliers and it finally twists off. He flips some parts around inside and puts it back on. There. Just in case I get a flat I have on the right tip for my bike. Coool! Then he asked how many flats I have gotten so far. I said in 800 miles I haven’t gotten any! He said, boy you’re lucky. Lucky… Is that what that is..
So I sent out a group of couch surfing requests. I get one reply about 3pm. Asking my eta. Lol at least 3 hours? His name is Jeffrey. So I text him at every break to tell him my progress and at one point he said he will be in and out and the back down door will be unlocked. Then sends me a picture of the back of his house. Nice house! I make another turn onto a road that I’m supposed to travel 12 miles on. No shoulder, rush hour traffic. Looks like ill be riding on the bumpy, grass ridden sidewalks. I figure I had just packed my face with a mouthful of beef jerky I should be able to make it to his place in 12 miles without eating again. Yeaa I should have eaten again. But usually I like to shower and sometimes we go out to eat or whatever really. He texts me and says I hope you like wings! I like everything! There are like 2 miles till his place and I’m stopped waiting on roundabout traffic when an elderly couple start talking to me and asking questions. My intestines are killing meee at this point. I just have to make it another 2 miles! So we talk for about 7 minutes and they offer me a place to stay and I tell them I already have a place that’s 2 miles from here. The guy says that’s a shame because we and our son has a nice warm bed for you! I mean that would have been great any other time! So I take off again.
Finally getting to his nice house, and I cycle past everyone out walking or jogging or walking their dogs. Nice neighborhood! His car is in the driveway so I ring the front doorbell. No answer. Well he sent me a picture of the back of his house, so I figure ill compare. Walk around back and yep,looks the same! Knock on the back door and say hello?! 30 year old Jeffrey comes out, average build and invites me in. We talk for a bit and he tells me he works for immigration and that a friend is in town from..Maryland? And that he will only be around till 8:30 tonight. He has a NICE house and lives here by himself. He had looked at my website and said that he says in doing this for a good cause. Said he won’t be back till late but he leaves for work at 6ish in the morning, so in case he doesn’t see me again to have a great and safe trip! Crazy that he trusts me so much and doesn’t even know me! I guess if you dig in enough that I wish everyone were like that. I know you can’t trust a lot of people, but people can trust me. He has a 2 story house and it looks like he could have 4 bedrooms. 2 full bath. Fully finished basement with a stocked bar, very nice washer and drier, nice suede furniture in the living room and a flat screen tv. He is doing well for living here alone! So after I shower I finally get a chance to eat and he is leaving. He said he ordered buffalo wings since I’m basically in Buffalo! Lol so I start eating wings and organic strawberry juice. My stomach freaks out. I guess wings on my very empty stomach were not a good idea? Cramps and pain. I drink two glasses of milk hoping to coat the inside of my stomach. It eventually works but I’m already laying in bed, I had eaten 5 wings and in hopes it would stop the pain I ate a granola bar too. So I blog saying that I’m not up to it and fall asleep in my own room with an awesome bed. I put ear plugs in just so he doesn’t wake me when he gets home. His steps upstairs are super creaky. I am dreaming I’m still riding and when I am riding there is a metal click click clicking coming from the back of my bike. It’s the bottom hook from my saddle bag that the rubber has been scraped off and when the saddle bag moves it’s just a clicking. I wake up and I can still hear the clicking?! Still thinking I’m dreaming I sit up and and sit up and wait a bit. Yep still there. Lol. I stand up and try to find it, come to find out it was Jeff in the shower and the walls were making it? Lol crazy how through I ear plugs I could hear it and it probably got into my dreams! Any who I wake up the next morning and my stomach has settled. I come downstairs and there is a note from Jeff saying that I can have whatever I want in the fridge and he put out several bowls of cereal and there is yogurt and fresh fruit in the fridge! Awesome guy! So I put my clothes in the drier and have a bowl of Cheerios, when I get a FaceTime call from my bro Andy. Lol I look like junk but whatever. And we talked for a good 20 min about life and life back home and here on the road. I tell him all the things God has done for me on this trip and he agrees. God is in every moment of our lives, but we are so self sufficient that we either ignore him, or never let him show us anything. Sad really.

But I need to get ready to head out. Aiming to be out of NY by the end of today. Should be very nice weather again!

This amazing day I’m dedicating to one of the few people I actually look up to. Cody and Stacey Harting. I have never seen that guy angry! I’m sure Stacey has, but you guys are awesome, thanks for supporting me!