Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bicycle Tour Journal 1

total trip: 329 miles, 8 days by bicycle





total distance: 118 miles, 2 days

hi everyone! saturday may 9th, we began our bicycle tour embarking from portland maine through the coastal paths of route 1. on the eve and the hours leading up to our departure, rick and jenn joined eleni and i (kevin) in deering oaks park. we each had backpacks and i carried my guitar on my back. the weather on saturday was amazing, lots of sunshine. we began our walk up state street and the tour was on. our spirits were very joyful. we would greet and say our farewells to each town we passed through. the pace was moderate and we would always make sure each other were faring well and could stay together. in scarborough we found a buddhist house that had no persons home, so we took a break and performed meditation and yoga with each other in the shade of gorgeous trees. as this tour went on, a habit was developed, that of gas station-hopping, in which we were able to refuel our water bottles, bathroom break, and maybe get some grub out of the minimally healthy selection. likewise, we persisted on through the sunshine, through which our faces became reddened. we arrived in kennebunk at ate dinner together at a delightful tavern called duffy's. i had the veggie-cheese-free pizza and sweet potato fries which were delicious. as we were getting ready to leave, it was getting colder, so i went to change into my pants. i came out and it was a complete downpour outside, so i changed back into my shorts. that was the last time i saw my pants and was pant-less until cambridge.

we all had our waterproof-ish gear on and departed from duffy's with a reknowned spirit of being hit with "reality." we organized ourselves into a 2x2 formation through which people with the white head lights were in the front and those with rear red-light blinkers were in the back. the rain became fiercer but more refreshing as it got darker into the night. when you ride your bike on a long distance trip like this, you begin to realize how much trash and litter ends up in the sides of the roads, especially the broken glass that you have to avoid. in addition, you really begin to notice how many animals are killed by cars and lie decapitated on the sides of the road. it's quite eye-opening. we travelled through the rainstorm and after we passed ogunquit the road started getting darker and we were now engaged in a lightning storm. we were absolutely drenched in rain from the sky, but it was greatly refreshing. as we arrived in kittery, rick got a flat tire and we all pulled off to well-lit spot as the rain subsided. all of us tried to help replace the tire tube and the cold started settling in on some of us. soon enough, the bike was ready and we celebrated having come this far and perceiving that the clouds would be moving aside and allowing for the stars to be visible, which made us all very happy. rick's tire went flat again on a road in eliot and we decided to walk, and it turned out that jenn's friend's house was located just down the road. the victory of the first days travels made us more happy and we were welcomed into a beautiful home with pre-made veggie chili and corn muffins that were absolutely delicious. we were all so thankful for having a wonderful place to stay, as the soaked travelers we were. we each had a soft surface to sleep on, be it a bed or a mattress, which was awesome.

the next morning, we awoke to have a varied breakfast that was delicious, trail mix and fruit and muffins, all great! this sunday was mother's day and we all contacted our mothers at some point, mine was more than happy to hear that i was still alive. now it was time for us to depart in our separate ways, jenn and i would be travelling on to boston while rick and eleni would be heading back to portland via the bus system. we gathered for a farewell under another gorgeous sunny day. all of us felt as though we would be able to take on another 50+ mile bike trip when we woke up in the morning. the trip had drained very little out of us as a whole, which reinforced to me that anyone really can go on a very extended bike trip regardless of whether you feel you are in shape or that you will die.. (there are probably some exceptions of course).

we arrived in portsmouth shortly after leaving to see many people walking about and seeing groups protesting for peace, we stopped at a natural foods store to get some sun tan lotion, as we had been burned the previous day, and then we were again on our way along Route 1, which we had taken all the way from portland. feeling rejuvenated with the wonderful breakfast we had had, we rode straight through past hampton and arrived at an inviting park where we chose some rest and meditation and lunch. we left and arrived in massachusetts early in the afternoon. the land to the sides of us became more and more thicker as forests which helped to cool us off. we had long steep uphill climbs where we preferred to walk followed by long steep downhills where we must've reached 30+ mph at least, as we were going as fast as the cars that had been racing by us previously. we passed lots of beautiful swamps and wooded areas as well as a giant wind turbine. we also paused in a grass patch on the side of the road next to a lake where we did yoga and meditated again to lift our spirits.

we continued on with some almonds and assorted trail mix bars for energy. after these long hills, route 1 began to turn into a state highway. this was a very mentally challenging part of the entire journey. cars started travelling past us at faster speeds than the entire trip from portland and were starting to grow in number. the quieter pensiveness of the woodland ride had turned into the suburban noise-pit where we were only able to hear engines passing and had to yell louder to hear each other. however, we approached a traffic jam at one point where the 3 lane highway was all lined up with cars that were either stationary or moving slowly. at the same time, we were walking up the hill. 'soon, we're going to be going faster than all of these cars" we said. and this put a huge smile on our faces. as we reached the top of the hill, we climbed onto our bikes and raced along the downhill, passing many cars that had passed us slowly during our walk. we couldn't help looking at the people in the cars to see their expression, or to at least acknowledge each other's existence, as it had been so impossible just minutes before at the differing speeds we were travelling. soon enough the traffic jam subsided, and we were re-energized to continue along this highway.

we decided that we would wait to eat until we reached boston, as we were so excited for this whole experience. soon we reached route 99, from which we departed from the noisy barrage of traffic on route 1. while our minds were challenged from these mental attacks, we felt relieved to be once again on a city road, with boston not far at all away (we had been seeing airplanes leaving logan airport for a while already). after a trip to dunkin donuts for a rest, water and food break (nachos and nuts), the sky was getting darker and we continued on. we crossed over a drawbridge where we could see the ambience of the sunset and rode through several towns, one of which was everett. although we didn't stop here, this place felt like a very friendly and inviting place that intrigued us greatly. we soon saw the skyline of both boston and cambridge and were filled evermore with joy as we were arriving at our destination. after getting lost in cambridge for a bit, we met up with jenn's friend kc, who helped us find spots for our bikes and we ate at this fantastic mexican / cajun restaurant in harvard square. we had fajitas and veggie jambalaya and tons of water. it was always important to drink as much water as possible. i learned more about bahai and we went back to kc's dorm where we eat some leftover french toast that was going to be thrown out. sleep was awesome, and kc was wonderful for her hospitality.

the next morning, we parted ways with kc, and jenn and i rode through boston to the north station so she could catch a train back to portland. we walked through the city garden where there was an enormous swan who's majesty delighted all around the park. was this swan dependent on humans for her survival? i wonder if the dependence of animals on humans in cities becomes more ambiguous with time, that is, if we keep feeding them, then they die if they are separated from us. likewise, we arrived at the north station and we said our farewells.

jenn, rick, and eleni helped to affirm to me that the rest of my trip was going to be possible and wonderful. they left some equipment, i.e. lights, medical equipment with me to ensure that i could take care of any issues. i now felt more ready than ever to travel alone through cities and forests to see my brother in new haven.

i spent the rest of the day in boston roaming around. another gorgeous sunny day. i played music in boston common and did some more meditation and yoga. i ate at my thai, a vegan bakery in chinatown, and had a bangkok stir fry and some delicious soup. after biking through the city again i came across whole foods and ate my dinner and brought some chocolate chip and blueberry muffins to see my friend kate. it was awesome seeing her and had been a while. she showed me her art studio at massart which was awesome and we talked about her art which made us smile. she had a lot of work ahead for finals, so she stayed in her studio while a rested the night in her apartment. i met her roomates katie and erica, who is a songwriter and performs around a lot, very cool people.. we reaffirmed the question, is it necessary to give ourselves genres and describe ourselves? i slept wonderfully, and the next day it would be on to providence.


  1. This is amazing! I hope to do something like this in the future!!!