Sunday, January 2, 2011

July 22nd. The Final Day of Our Journey Across America by Bicycle.

July 22nd. The Final Day of Our Journey Across America by Bicycle. Manchester to Portsmouth NH. Elevation: 210 ft. to sea level. 53.8miles. At the banquet, Audrey made a suggestion, a very well deserved request, for Surghe to be at the front and lead all the cyclist into the beach for the dipping of front wheel ceremony at Wallis State Beach in Portsmouth,NH. During the dinner it cross my mind that maybe, just maybe the support crew would ask me to be one of the cyclist leading the group to the wheel dipping ceremony because I was the oldest in the group. I had a light breakfast and loaded the luggage at 7: 30 a.m., right at 7:35 we started on our final ride to the beach. I rode with several groups, but actually on this last day all the groups stayed together; we even visited Exeter Preparatory School together. During the ride I had a pensive moment where three Archangels were hovering over all the cyclist as they rode into Wallis State Beach. I was amongst the second group that arrived at Rye Junior High School, designated place for all cyclists to fall in formation to ride as single group into Wallis State Beach. To my surprise just as I had thought during the banquet about the support crew asking me to be one of the cyclists leading the group---Andy asked me, John Douglas, Steve Foley (from Tasmania) to accompany Surghe to lead the group. It was really a true pleasure and honor to be one of the four to lead the main group of cyclists. For four miles Surghe(Trindad/Tobago), John Douglas(Seattle, Washington), Myself and Steve Foley (Tasmania) lead the whole group of cyclist to Wallis State Beach, NH. As we approached the beach I could see my dear Jelica (what a joy to see her) Bane and Daka; they were taking photos and movies of the ceremonial ride to the beach. Once we reached the sandy beach there was complete extacy, jubilation-everyone (guest, cyclists, relatives and bystanders congratulating and hugging each other. Some, like Skip jumped into the water, others took pictures of the dipping of the front wheel into the water. My dear Jelica and I embraced and kissed and proceeded to take photos of the different riders. Somewhere from the beach amongst the many people, I heard someone calling my name; it was a person I didn't recognize, but I could tell he was a very friendly person --it was Sister Maria's friend from Ireland, Michael Ryan, principal or retired principal from Providence School also intimate friend of Richard Walsh (from Ireland) another cyclist. Michael Ryan recognize me from the description Sister Maria had given him. !What a journey! God delivered me safely and in good health. Thank you dear Lord for reminding me everyday that this endeavor was for the well-being of the least of your children, the Mayans of the Highlands of Guatemala. This constant reminder gave me the energy and the impetus to ride, climb and enjoy the long distances. ! Thanks be to God! (2951)Manchester,NH. final loading time and departure time, (2952)same as previous, (2953)group of cyclists with AB B jersey, (2954)Kingston Village Market SAG stop all with AB B Gary, Carey, Wayne, Fred, Skip, John(El Rancho H. S.), Don, Steve Quin(Australia), Gary(Chicago), Forest (Maryland), (2955) same as previous, (2956) Richard Walsh(Ireland), and Allen (England), (2957) Racking Crew-Gary from Calif.,Al from Germany, Wayne from Wales, Steve Quin from Australia, John from Calif.-El Rancho H.S., (2959) Group picture at Rye Elementary School - Richard from Virginia, John from Buffalo,NY., Don Chism, Skip King, Tom Montville professor at Rutgers, Myself, John(Kip) and C. J., Audrey, Susan, Amy, John's wife from Buffalo,NY., (2960)same as previous, (2961) Group picture Rye Junior H.S., (2962) Christina, Michelle and Gerard at Wallis State Beach, NH.

July 21st. Brattleboro VT. to Manchester, NH.

July 21st. Brattleboro VT. to Manchester, NH. Elevation: 210 ft. 86 miles. Seven miles out of Brattleboro around Chesterfield, NH. we cross the New Hampshire State Line. I made a point to ride very cautious the last two days. The terrain was very hilly; we all felt that it was one of the most strenuous day. At the 23rd. mile Gilsum Road changed to Old Sullivan Road where we rode on a dirt road for a mile which was down hill and extremely bumpy. At some point this day, I started to become very pensive and sad due to the fact that the whole tour was coming to an end. The last day I was going to ride with the many fine friends I had ridden for 52 wonderful days. I also had mixed feelings on how to ride--part of me wanted to ride fast because Lou, Helen and Stephanie were going to be waiting for me in Manchester and another part of me wanted to prolong the ride because the whole tour was coming to an end. Second SAG stop was in Francestown,NH. by some stables and an important hall. Across the road was a church--the whole area was a historical site (Levi Woodbury) was born here. Somehow we got to the hotel very early, maybe we knew it was the day of the banquet and we wanted to relax and freshen-up for the banquet. Again, in the hotel my mind sank in gloom because it would be the last time I would be with this great group of friends. Jay and his wife shared with the group several pizzas and Tom Montville's friend brought Vermont Cheese, crackers and beer and we party in the lobby. Later in the early evening Lou, Helen and Stephanie join me in the lobby where I introduce them to the group gathered in the lobby. We all proceeded to the banquet room Lou, Helen and Stephanie set with me. (2937) Steve Foley from Tasmania at the NH. State Line, (2939) Myself by the NH. State Line, (2940) Welcome-Bienvenue to NH. sign, (2941) Francestown church on left side of road-Levi Woodbury historical sign, (2943) Comfort Inn Hotel Function Room-Helen, Stephanie, Lou and myself, (2944) Tom Montville-Rutgers University Professor and myself. Tom and I rode many days together. (2945) Jay Rohrer from Virginia, his wife, daughter and son in law at banquet, (2946) Richard Tangard also from Virginia and his wife (a Greek Lady).

July 20th. Latham,NY. to Brattleboro,VT.

July 20th. Latham,NY. to Brattleboro,VT. Elevation: 226 ft. 75.7 miles. I rode with several groups, but for the great part of the day I rode alone. Got to the Vermont State Border with Tom Montville and Don Chism and Skip King. Proceeded by myself and arrived at Bennington and visited the tower commemorating the Battle of Bennington. For some reason I believe I was here with Jelica, my wife when she was pregnant with Margarita and we traveled to my brother's wedding in 1976. After Bennington I enjoyed the company of Forrest, Gary and Debra for a while. Don, Skip and Audrey went to see a cover bridge unique to Vermont. Don caught up with us by Wilmington SAG stop and we stopped by the Hot Dog Stand. Don and I took some pictures at Hogback Mountain Summit. Eight miles before reaching the motel, I was caught in a heavy storm lightening, rain, thunder and hail, I arrived soaking wet.

July 19th. Little Falls to Lathem NY.

July 19th. Little Falls to Lathem NY. Elevation: 130 ft. 78.6 mile. I knew I had to ride sort of fast because I was going to meet Don Berens, Randy Evans' roommate,(whom he met on his ride across America). I started to ride with the racking crew up to Fort Klock, an English Fort built in 1750. As I was to commence, to my dissatisfaction I noticed a slow leak on the front tire. Forrest with Debra and Gary(The Neumayers) helped me change to a new tube. We rode along the Mohawk Valley, a very pretty countryside full of history. As I hurried to meet Don Berens, as previously planned I noticed the Shrine of Lilly of the Mohawk Valley, a shrine dedicated to Tetehewitha Kateri, an Indian maiden soon to be canonized a saint. Lilly of the Mohawk Valley Shrine is located somewhere between Fonda and Amsterdam, NY. A couple of miles ahead I stopped at an Indian Pow Wow. Soon after the Pow Wow I entered the bike path where I was suppose to meet Don around 12:00 p.m., at this point I was almost an hour and half late. Luckily Don was very patient and waited for me. From a distance I noticed a rider and I loudly called his name, Don immediately responded and stopped. We introduced each other and rode together the rest of the way to the hotel. Often when one rides with a new interesting friend one covers distances quickly so Don and I in no time got to Schenectady where we stopped at Jumpin-Jacks a favorite ice cream place for a milk shake. At Jumpin-Jacks we met with Joe Williams another rider. Don took me through the old Dutch section of Schenectady, NY. Upon our arrival to the hotel, Don accompanied me inside the hotel and kept a close watch to my joyful reaction to the sign in the front desk which read " Go Jose'- the guys from Mc Donald's are pulling for you! Randy suggested Don to write the sign. Don offered to take to church, around 4:20 p.m. Don his wife and children picked me up at the hotel to attend Mass. Don- What a kind and humble man! (2896) Fort Klock- built 1750, (2897) Fort Klock, (2898) Fort Klock- cooking fire place, (2899) Wide view of Fort Klock, (2901) Saint Kateri Shrine, (2902) Statue of Saint Kateri encircled by a huge Rosary, (2903) Sign of the National Kateri Shrine and Indian Museum, (2905) Saint Tetewitha Kateri Statue, (2906) Fonda Kateri Shrine- a little history about the site on the Mohawk Valley, NY., (2907) Native American Peace Grove- a prayer by the Iroquis Prophet, (2908) Pipe and Tomahawk, (2909) An Indian Poster Picture depicting Indian Emergence-birth, (2910) Early picture of Saint Kateri, (2912) Church /Chapel of Saint Kateri, (2914)Another early painting of Saint Kateri,(2915)Another view of the chapel, (2916) Kateri's last words, (2917) Freeway 5 by Schenectady, NY., (2918) Mohawk River Valley, (2919) Indian Pow-Wow in the Mohawk Valley, (2920) Pow-Wow, (2921) Joe and Don at Jumpin-Jack's Root Beer Stand, (2922) Don Berens and I at Jumpin-Jacks Root Beer Stand, in Schenectady,NY. , (2923) Saint John's the Apostle Church, (2924) Union University, (2925) Mohawk River, (2926) Dolly Parton Bridge, (2929 & 2930) GO JOSE' SIGN written by Don and requested by Calif. riding friend Randy Evans.

July 18th. Liverpool to Little Falls, NY.

July 18th. Liverpool to Little Falls, NY. Elevation: 370 ft. 78.6 miles. No pictures ! Finger lakes area of New York formed by the glacier period thousands of years ago.


July 17th. Canandaigua, NY. to Liverpool, NY.

July 17th. Canandaigua, NY. to Liverpool, NY. Elevation: 522ft. 69.3 miles. I don't remember taking pictures this day. My batteries were discharged. Rolling hills and lots of vineyards. Don Berens left me a message and his phone number.


July 16th. Hamburg to Canandiagua,NY.

July 16th. Hamburg to Canandiagua,NY. Elevation: 685 ft. 94.3miles Today, since I had to meet Gale and Nick Pitaris I was one of the first ones to depart the hotel-something unusual! C.J., Kip and I were riding in front and stopped by Lake Seneca (one of the finger lakes) in the city of Geneva,NY. Somewhere after Geneva, I left C.J. and Kip and rode ahead of them. The country side in this part of NY. is beautiful-many vineyards. Focused on meeting Nick and Gale, I was amongst the first ones to arrive at the hotel where Nick surprised me from behind. It was a great feeling to see Nick, Gale and their granddaughter (Alexandria). To my surprise the front desk presented me with a letter from Don Berens (Lathan,NY.), Randy Evan's friend. After cleaning up the Pitaris treated me to a nice lunch. (2886)Lakefront Park- City of Geneva,NY., (2888)Alexandria,Nick and Gale in front of Super 8 Motel, 4450 Eastern Blvd., Canandaigua,NY., (2889) Same as previous-Alexandria,Gale and I, (2890) Nick and I.

July 15 th. Erie, PA. to Hamburg, NY.

July 15 th. Erie, PA. to Hamburg, NY. Elevation: 680 ft. 81.4 miles. Left Erie around 7: 05 am; it was a beautiful day . We rode along Lake Erie, all along the road were vineyards. I understand this area of New York is developing fairly good wines. We saw several very pretty sites along the shoreline. The ride was to some degree similar to the day we rode in Lake Tahoe. At Westfield, NY. we stop to enjoy a picture perfect cove and a lighthouse. (1053) Lake Erie and part of cove, (1054) similar to previous, (1055) Lighthouse, (1056) all pictures were in Daniel Reed Memorial Pier in town of Westfield/ Barcelona.

July 14th. Rest Day in Erie, PA.

July 14th. Rest Day in Erie, PA. Visited several churches and had breakfast at McDonalds. Visited St. Peter's Cathedral, St. Stanislaus and St. Mary's Church. In St. Mary's Church I spoke to Father Girad (Jerry)Wright, an Oblate of Mary Priest. To my surprise he knew Father Larry and told me that he and Fr. Antollini had founded (or started ) St. Peter Channel in Hawaiian Gardens, CA. (2864) an angel holding an urn of holy water, (2866) Main altar of St. Peter's Cathedral, (2868) right stain glass window, (2869) the choir, (2870) left stain glass window, (2872) Peter's Cathedral Preparatory School, (2873) outside of St. Peter's Cathedral, (2874) same as previous, (2875) St. Mary's Church, (2876) Seawolves Baseball Park, (2877) same as previous, (2878) Home of the Erie Otters.

July 13th. Youngstown, OH. to Erie, PA.

July 13th. Youngstown, OH. to Erie, PA. Elevation: 710 ft. 97.1 miles. Rode with Skip and Don. We rode at a very constant speed and still had time to take pictures and enjoy a sandwich and a Root Beer Float at Richardson's Root Beer Stand. The ride was along Lake Erie with many magnificent vistas-many vineyards. Along the way about 10 miles before Erie, I saw a Greek Orthodox Church having a festival. I was tempted to stop because I visualize the great food they had to offer. Upon arrival in Erie we rode directly to the pier and enjoyed the view and fresh air of Lake Erie. Joined Skip and Don for a beer and some delicious french fries. (2844) Octagonal Barn, (2845,2846,2847,2848,2849) Richardson's Root Beer Stand-Ohio, (2852 & 2853) Pennsylvania State Line, (2854) Erie Pier, (2855) Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center, (2856) a local giving us directions, (2857) Sailboat on Lake Erie, (2858) Tower at end of pier.

July 12th. Wooster to Youngstown,OH.

July 12th. Wooster to Youngstown,OH. Elevation 882 ft. 93.3 miles. Sort of a lazy day for me. Rode with Richard (Ireland) part of the way. Somewhere around Orville they were setting up for a parade and the city was decorated with flags--they were celebrating "Canal Day." Went to church at Saint Joseph's Church with Greg (Dayton, OH.). The front desk lady at the hotel offered to drive Greg and I and our bicycles to church. She was one of the many wonderful people across the country to go out of their way to help us-cyclists. (2840) Richard (Ireland) taking pictures of horses at close range, (2841) Marshallville in preparation for "Canal Day" celebration, (2842) Tarsitano winery and cafe, (2843) Tarsitano Vineyard.

July 11th. Marysville to Wooster, OH.

July 11th. Marysville to Wooster, OH. Elevation: 912 ft. 103 miles. I did not take any pictures. The only eventful thing besides riding was seeing Bob Hough from Wooster. He look good, but said that he still could not hear from his right ear. It was great to see him and his wife.

July 10 th. Richmond IN. to Marysville,OH.

July 10 th. Richmond IN. to Marysville,OH. Elevation: 1050 ft. 105.4 miles. Rode with several groups, but ended up riding with Skip and Don. John took a picture of Amy's shadow and it motivated me to take several shadow pictures (John & Amy, Myself, and of John Douglas). Somewhere before Covington we stopped at a pond full of water lilies which had a cemetery as a background. To our suprise a father and his children had signs welcoming us. Father plans to do the across America Ride-- he is a teacher. How do you like to be served by the Mayor of St. Paris, Ohio? Joe Braden, the mayor of St. Paris has a restaurant and he had a sign welcoming the bikers. A very friendly person. (2828) Ohio state line, (2829) John and Amy's shadow, (2830 & 2831) my shadow, (2832) John Douglas's shadow, (2833) Lilly pond, (2834) an Ohio river, (2835) Joyce and Nathan? and Father welcoming us. (2836) Octagon barn and silo, (2837 & 2838) Susan and Tom waiting for train to go by, (2839) Mayor, Joe Braden's Restaurant welcoming bikers.

July 9th. Indianapolis to Richmond, IN.

July 9th. Indianapolis to Richmond, IN. Elevation 979 ft. 73.7 miles. The day started with a heavy fog, but glad it was not raining. Skip King, one of the cyclist was born and raised in Indianapolis, so he led a group of us to the house of his youth. Today we have one new rider, John Crone, from Calif. as a matter of fact he teaches at El Rancho High School- what a coincidence and a small world. We are also happy that John Douglas has rejoin ed us. Some of us stopped in the town of Knightstown where we visited the school gym where the movie "Hoosiers," with Gene Hackman was filmed. It was a beautiful ride into Richmond, (Glen Miller home town) with a flat terrain and a good tail wind. (2818) Skip in front of his childhood home, (2822) Inside view of the Hoosiers Gym, (2823) Foyer and ticket booth, (2824)Gene Hackman and players, (2825) Hoosiers Gym Records, (2826) Outside of Hoosier's gym, (2827) Greg (from Dayton, Ohio) and me.