8/25/2016 SchuylKill to Gettysburg Pen.


It rains during the night and I toss and turn and try to keep the sleeping bag from getting too wet. But after a grey start the sun breaks through and I enjoy riding. That is my singular focus- to wake up and get going on the bike. Anything else is just an interruption. I am trying to plan more comfortable nights, but I need wifi access to do that. I find a McDonalds inside a Wal Mart yesterday but the wifi is too slow to be useful.

The terrain still has it’s challenging moments. This is the steepest long grade I have ever ridden up. I should say walked up. Thankfully touring on an electric bike means that I don’t have to push the bike up the hill. Sherpa burns 350 watts just pushing himself up the hill.

SAM 2033

The Pennsylvania neighborhoods are very pleasing.

SAM 2031

My arrythmia is acting up making me dizzy from the exertion so I find a motel. The Indian woman wants $65 cash, and I empty my wallet on the counter. Fourty eight dollars and thirty two cents. She takes it, giving be back the two cents.

I’m thankful that I just restocked some traveling food at Wal Mart as the hotel is in the sticks. Dinner is bananas with peanut butter rolled up in tortillas. That’ll be breakfast too. Can’t wait to get back home and really eat.

8/24/2015 Delaware Water Gap to SchuylKill Penn


I have turned up the boost. I am tired of going slowly up all these hills.

SAM 2027

When I am going through the rollie pollies I climb over the smaller grades by boosting with the throttle. It’s not the way you would do it if touring, where you just keep on downshifting, but oh well. It will get me home.

The countryside is lovely, the rolling hills and small farms make for a very scenic ride today:

SAM 2029

For the most part the hills are not as steep.

SAM 2030

Still, I only make it 85 miles. Actually this is a long way in this kind of country. And I am not exhausted. I work plenty hard when ebike touring, today especially because I feel good, but I can always back off and lay on the motor more. I end the day tired but not wiped out.

I stop around 4pm when I find a park with a pavillion with a working outlet. The park closes at dark, so I lay Sherpa down so he is hidden. I make a camp 50 feet away behind a drop in the land. I swim in the river 100 ft away to bath and wash my clothes. It is a 5 star campsite, but dinner comes from a gas station convenience store. I won’t tell you what I had, so as not to ruin your appetite, but it was discounted.

8/23/2015 Poughkeepsi to the Delaware Water Gap campground.


After a nice chat with Lorraine my host I head for a bicycle store with the promising name of Bicycle Warehouse. They open at 10:00 so I am planning on a low mileage day. Despite their name they don’t sell bicycle wheels or even carry rims. They have no used wheels. The owner explains “When I get a wheel I cut the spokes out and throw it away”. But they are busy!

So I ride on to the next bicycle store. I get there at 10:30, and it doesn’t open till 12:00. I ride on.

Bicycle trail:

SAM 2025

I get to cross the Delaware River on this wonderful pedestrian bridge. I remember stealth camping on the other side of it on my previous Maine to Key West cycle trip.

SAM 2022

Million mile view from the pedestrian bridge.

SAM 2024

I ride on looking for the next bicycle store. I ride quickly knowing that stores close early on Sunday. I have disconnected Sherpa’s front brakes as they are rubbing and knocking against the bulging rim.

I am told there is another one about 25 miles south. It’s there that I buy a used wheel and mount the tube and tire. The owner of the store tells me of good camping at the Delaware Water Gap Campground, it is only another 20 miles or so south. So I set off again.

My Cycle Analyst odometer is reading erratically. It began acting up at abut 8500 miles. So I reset my Bafang trip meter to 0, and will continue recording distance on it..

The countryside is really lovely:

SAM 2026

I find the campground but am stunned at the price, $38 for a campsite with no water or power or wifi or even cell phone reception and reverberating with freeway noise. But it is 5:30PM so I decide to take it anyway.

The shower and toilets are grody and there is simply no way to charge Sherpa. I pack up and head out to get my money back- and ride on to who knows where. But the office has closed and the clerk is sitting in her car. She apologizes for the camp conditions and suggests I move to a site within the camp with power. So I do.

Sherpa is thankful he doesn’t need to take a shower as he slurps up electricity.

8/22/2015 Windsor Conecticut to Poughkeepsie New York


The hotel turns out to be populated with children who do what children do, running up and down and screaming in play untill late at night. I’ll do better next time.

The roads continue to be very rollie pollie, but Sherpa with a fully charged battery is able to make it up every grade. The payback is the lovely wooded countryside, buzzing with insects and flowers and greenery.

SAM 2013

Sherpa gets a flat. I repair it behind a building but must walk a mile to a local bike store- thank goodness it was that close- to get a rear wheel skewer, as I have stripped the threads of mine by overtightening it.

Fishing in the bridge shadow.

SAM 2016

Then 10 miles down the road the rear tire blows out. The tube explodes through a 1″ rip in the center of the tire! I repair this and continue, but it means a trip to buy a new tire tomorrow.

Oreo Cows.

SAM 2021

Then the front rim develops a bulge. It will blow out soon unless replaced. I have had this happen before in Morocco. Braking becomes very j j j j j j jerky.

Despite these setbacks and the rollie terrain I make it 95 miles to Lorraine’s home. I could not have done this without an ebike. Her home is a large two story on a pretty and quiet street. This is my first stay at an Air Bed and Breakfast. The keys are in the front flowerpot, Lorraine and her husband are not home. I unlock the door and go in. Ahhh, the home is lovely and instructions are marked on tiny chalkboards. I bath and cook and sleep in a real comfort for just $32. What a deal. I’ll do this again!

I plan to have more comfort on the final leg home.

8/21 Morey Pond to Windsor Conn


Sherpa is running well, and I am thankful, because resting makes me realize how deeply tired I am. I feel different inside, but I can’t name what it is. I wonder if it is permenant.

I ride only 35 miles today and check into a hotel to rest. But my mind is buzzing with ideas and so I use the time to do research. I promise myself to try to take better care of myself. So-

I am going to try my first Air BnB tonight. They can be found costing half what a hotel costs. I have decided to try and be as comfortable as possible on this my final leg and to cover about 80 to 120 miles a day. Let ‘er rip! I never liked to have a destination that had to get to when push bike riding, because I wanted to stop when I was tired. But with an ebike it is easier to go those extra miles.

No pictures because my mind has lost it’s freshness. I don’t see anything worth stopping for. It is just me, because the small towns are just as picturesque, and the scenery just as woody and creeky.

8/19 and 8/20 Kittery Maine to Boston MA to Morey Pond Connecticut


A lot of miles under the spokes.

Amongst the emails of congratlations for reaching the east coast I get this one from Marsy.

“Gratulations, Shawn and Sherpa, you have arrived at the coastal east, there on your inner hemisphere. Here, on the outer, all H2O lies below ground: pockets, streams, geysers, the great sea of  caves. Voices At Sea (LLf entry 015VS in ebike2mars.com) was written near R.I.  Isn’t that where your CP is leading you?   Spin safely,   Marsy and  Botta.”

I go to her website, www.ebike2mars.com What a trip! It’s like Timothy Leary, Lewis Carrol and Dr. Seuss on a road trip. 

Of course the coast of Maine along A1A is lovely. I heave great sigs of relief to be seeing boats and water not corn and tractors.

SAM 2004

Blondie (my GPS) takes me through downtown Boston today. I have never cycled through a major metropolitan area and find it fascinating- it’s good to do something new. Everyone seems very out for themselves- you know, cut in front, honk at you to get out of the way, etc. It is ironical, because you would think that with a all those people crammed into a small space everyone would be more courteous… But I know nothing about cities..

SAM 2012

Community gardens sprout in the burbs.

SAM 2008

I plan on camping at a Walmart just south of Boston. When I get there, I see that camping is impossible. It is too congested, the area is rough. Google maps satellite shows me a wooded area close and I head for it. I end up camping on asphalt 25 feet from the train tracks. I sleep in my clothes, sticky from the long hot days ride. Later that night I discover that the homeless people know about it too as they move in and want to talk to me.. Sherpa does not get charged up. A local Motel 6 is $115 a night, and I can’t bring myself to spend that much for that hotel.

I wake and pack and get out early. Ii am headed for Windsor Conn. which is 115 miles away. That is a long ride especially considering my fatigue and Sherpa’s state of charge. I am glad to leave the Boston megapolis and get back into the country. Boy, what hilly country. It is severe rolly pollies. A number of the grades are marked 10%! Sherpa cannot make it up those grades carrying me, so I walk alongside. There is only a very small shoulder and I am very cautious with the curvy roads and trucks.

It is getting dark and I am walking up a long 10% grade. Sherpa’s motor controller is cutting out due to low voltage, meaning that I have to push Sherpa up the hills. My legs are aching. I turn on the lights when I hear approaching motorists. I feel desperate, I may have to put out my thumb, I don’t want to get hit. But as I crest the hill there is a downhill and the shoulder widens. I hop on and ride, and after a few miles find a bait store with an outlet! They are closing, but tell me of a close hotel! So I ride another mile and check in. Comfort heaven!

Despair to bliss in 45 minutes… The emotional roller coaster.

8/18/2015 Kittery, Maine


Yahoo, I am in Maine at Micky D’s having breakfast and WiFi in Kittery, Maine. It is now time to exercise my right arm and make another turn and head south towards home on the final leg of my journey..

I rode to Portsmouth last night thinking it was in Maine. Leslie let me know of my error, so I rode a dozen miles north to Kittery, Maine.

Google maps tells me I am only 1600 miles from Venice if I take the most direct bicycle route. It takes me through New York and Philadelphia but there are probably bicycle friendly roads, right?

So it’s off to Boston today! Spppppirits are high. Sherp is running well. Skys are clear.

8/17/2015 Waterford NY to Keene NH.


“And every strangers face I see
reminds me that I long to be
homeward bound”

Paul Simon.

Every face I see is that of a stranger, a face I have never seen before and will never see again.

How nice it would be to wake up in the same place twice in a row. As I awake I must orient myself “OK, where am I?”

How nice it would be to know where I am going to sleep, what I am going to eat.

How nice it would be to have a toilet, a bed, and a kitchen in the same space! Now that’s exciting! I have a small sense of the lives of the very poor who like me, must start all over each day.

Soon all that will be mine again, hahah. I am 112 miles from Portsmouth, Maine, at which point I hang another right turn and start the final leg of this adventure.

Morning reflections on the Hudson river.

SAM 1980

And then it’s into Vermont:

SAM 1987

I find a spot to go skinny dipping in the Hudson river, which feels great. It’s 95 degrees and humid and hilly and I am soaked with sweat.

SAM 1994

Diamond in the rough: 32 Bedroom Fixer Upper waiting for Mr. Super Handyman.

SAM 1990

And New Hampshire:

SAM 1997

8/15 and 8/16 Syracruse to Waterford NY


Upper New York feels like a decaying industrial giant in a made-in-China world. Slumbering factories make rust. A large discontented underclass shelters in unmaintained two stories. Upper class professionals hang on in their own enclaved neighborhoods. The countryside has smaller farms and lovely rolling wooded hills. The vacation houses of the wealthy spot the farmland.

I am following the New York bike route 5. Many limestone paved miles look like this. I’m eating a lot of crabapples, they are good.

SAM 1962

The bike route jumps to the road often too, but the shoulder is usually great.

SAM 1963

I have left the Erie canal, and am riding upstream along the mighty Hudson River.

SAM 1969

An old dam and lock.

SAM 1965

I am headed towards Waterford NY at the advice of another cyclist. He told me about the hot showers and the free camping at the first lock in the system. I also find electricity, making it a perfect camp site. A solid 5 points. Waterford is a pleasant town without being touristy.

SAM 1973

Tomorrow I cross into Vermont! I am pushing myself to cover miles to get home. I am excited that in a few days the third leg of my journey will be complete. I look forward to making that last right turn in Maine and heading south.

I feel competent at doing this. The bike is runnng well. I have become more flexible in my routines. I checked the balance of the batteries this evening and they were good, I didn’t need to balance them. I can set up or break camp in 15 minutes. I’m more confident and don’t carry as much food. I can cover more ground on less power. Often when I stop a little crowd gathers around. I have met and befriended a number of wonderful interesting people whom I never would of met otherwise.

8/14/2015 Rochester to Syracruse Area- Green Lake


The new wheel is working well. Time will tell how durable the components are, but at least they will be cheap and easy to replace if they break.

This Erie Canal trail is a treat. The Erie Canal is still used in places, and in other places it is filled in with swamp, other places made into park space, and it keeps changing. It is a very long trail, running for hundreds of miles. For your first bicycle touring experinece, it would be a decent choice. Camping is permitted all along the trail, and there are enough villages to feed at.

A small town along the Erie in the AM.

SAM 1935

There are not many boats ususally. This is exceptional. Early AM.

SAM 1936

Here is a sailboat going through one of the locks.

SAM 1945

OK, look closely, this is unique. This is a river bridge. It was constructed to allow users of the canal to cross the creek underneath. It was in shambles and was rebuilt recently. It is the only working water bridge on the Erie canal. Last night another cyclist pointed out that the Romans had been building water bridges that still stood. I explained they were actually aquaducts, used for transporting water- then realized he was right- he just had a very flexible mind.

SAM 1950

I ride over 100 miles to get to Green Lake which has a state campgrounds. I arrive about 7pm. They are full, but allow me in to take a shower. After the shower I ride back to the Canal Trail and find a grassy spot to camp. A cycling couple stops to talk. I pitch my tent in the dark, as it starts to rain. Later, the cycling couple shows up in their car with a little care dinner!

I was also escorted a nice distance around a busy shopping mall by a man retiring in a month who wants to go touring. I also meet a 67 year old touring cyclist who is trim and clean cut and fit as a fiddle. He is riding to Arizona. We swap advice on stealth camping, eating, relaxing, etc. He almost lives on his bicycle and is an inspiration.

Not to mention a touring couple Heidi and Marcus who are on a round the world tour from Austria. They have been cycling for over year and fly over the road together. We swap stories about gear and countries. Marcus is especially interested in my experiences in Tanzania. He says I am the only cyclist he has met who enjoyed Tanzania!

Finally the (former) world record holder for longest electric bike tour Troy contacts me. I am thrilled. He knows so much more than I do about battery and motor technology. He offers to help me in any way he can.

So many good people, so little time!