My Route, More or Less (Red line, but starting in NY)

My Route, More or Less (Red line, but starting in NY)
NY NJ PA MD VA KY IL MO KS CO UT NV CA

Make a Difference

I'm pedaling for many reasons, the most important of which is to raise awareness and funds for Pedals For Progress. P4P is a non-profit that collects used bicycles and sewing machines in the US and donates them to poor people overseas. P4P combines my love of bicycling with my growing concern for those deprived of life's most basic necessities - sparked by a visit to the slums of Kibera in June '09 (pictures). P4P improves mobility and economic options for destitute people, opening pathways to greater dignity and opportunity.

Please make a donation, if you can (please write "TSQ2USQ" in the '...honor of' field). Remember, a bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. :)

My Game Plan

I'm following portions or all of three routes mapped out by the Adventure Cycling Association: the Atlantic, TransAm, & Western Express. I'll cycle through thirteen states: NY, NJ, PA, MD, VA, KY, IL, MO, KS, CO, UT, NV & CA! I'm leaving on 4/17/10, and expect to return to New Jersey by mid June - back to my family, friends, & neighbors. I plan on cycling 5 - 6 hours per day, 6 days/week, usually starting in the early AM. My laptop and phone will allow me to work remotely most days, but I won't pass up opportunities to smell the roses along the way!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 11

Today's Route: GPS Tracks

I didn't really think I was going to die, but this admittedly far fetched thought did cross my mind today. First off, there were the dogs. I sprinted away from no fewer than three surely rabid mongrels. The Appalachia mountain people apparently aren't shooting at strangers any longer, or dropping stones on them from bridges, but a remarkable number of them leave their dogs untethered. Serendipitously, rear panniers turn out to be excellent protection against dogs trying to sink their teeth into one's leg. Dog ownership rates appear to be at least as high as in Hoboken - by this I mean seemingly every household has a dog - except that mountain people tend to have several dogs. Then there was the cold and the heavy rain. I'm prepared for rain. I'm prepared for cold. But for the sole reason my gloves aren't waterproof, I'm not prepared for both. I can ride w/ wet warm hands, but cold wet hands = fingers that don't work well. It got so bad I couldn't switch gears w/o using my entire hand, and when I finally found a place to stop for lunch (read: warm up and figure out how to get to my hotel), I literally couldn't hold my sandwich. In addition to the dogs, and the cold, and the rain, there was the unexpected three mile dirt road into unknown mountains, the GPS that indicated I was not on a road, the iphone with no reception when I needed it most, the unfamiliar rural poverty, and the general sense that green minded bicyclists pedaling from NYC to San Francisco are not embraced in the heart of coal country. All these factors contributed to a heightened level of anxiety.

Yet, when I did stop for lunch, I met and spoke with two very amicable coal miners. I even admitted to being in the renewable energy business. They politely and somewhat jokingly suggested I keep that info close to the chest. Coal drives this region. Hazard, where I stayed the night, has an annual Black Gold festival featuring prizes for best coal truck. The pizza place I went to for dinner had dozens of pictures on the wall, featuring generations of family and friends working in the mines. Mangled mountains, their tops sheered off to cheaply extract coal, are abundant. Coal dropped from overloaded trucks litters the streets, and falls from exposed seams alongside the road. Coal mining is not just a livelihood for people in this area, it's central to the region's culture.



Please donate to Pedals for Progress: https://payments.auctionpay.com/ver3/?id=w043522

5 comments:

Joan said...

Oh, Steve! I'm glad you found a place to stay in Berea and you'll have plenty of time to select some excellent works. That will be a great R&R for you. I'm thinking of you and the hunting and gathering excitement at the craft festival. Love, MOM

Denise said...

Steve,
MOM and I want to know if you got us anything at the craft festival! lol

Denise said...

that is the worst, being chased by rabid mongrels! i can't wait to see if i can fly out to san fran...let me know asap when you think you'll get there
D

Steve Fahmie said...

Hey mom & Denise! It's fun out running the dogs when you know you've got them beat. No fun at all on a 10% grade w/ Achilles that will tear if u pedal too hard. I'm gonna check my panniers for bite marks when I get back to my somewhat seedy hotel. I certainly purchased myself plenty in the craft shops. LOL! I'll let you both know when I expect to be in SF. It's very much up in the air now. Waiting for a call back from a sports doctor re: what to do to prevent long term Achilles damage.

Steve Fahmie said...

Hey mom & Denise! It's fun out running the dogs when you know you've got them beat. No fun at all on a 10% grade w/ Achilles that will tear if u pedal too hard. I'm gonna check my panniers for bite marks when I get back to my somewhat seedy hotel. I certainly purchased myself plenty in the craft shops. LOL! I'll let you both know when I expect to be in SF. It's very much up in the air now. Waiting for a call back from a sports doctor re: what to do to prevent long term Achilles damage.