Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ok, so I cheated.

I wanted to announce I have made it back to my parents house in Flint. I know I haven't posted in a week. Perhaps you may have been wondering what I have been up to and where I was at. The long and short of it is I was on a mass exodus from Canada.

When I last spoke with you, I was on Prince Edward Island. The day after my last post, I went and toured all of the L. M. Montgomery sights, (author of Anne of Green Gables) touring Green Gables and her birthplace. After visiting these sights, I was ready to start heading west, back home.

I spent one more night on Prince Edward Island. Waking up the next morning, I rode to the bridge which connects the Island to New Brunswick and the mainland. From here, it was 60 miles to Moncton, where planned to take the bus across part of the way across New Brunswick to cut off some days of the trip. However, being done with all my sight seeing, I realized I just wanted to get home. I was really tired, and being on my own was making things harder. It takes more energy to travel alone, because beside having to be responsible for everything on my own, I also felt like I had to be "on" all the time. I had to be constantly aware of what was going on around me. I didn't have the energy for any more traveling. I didn't want to hang out in new cities, I didn't want to talk to anyone for any reason. I just wanted to get back to the U.S., I wanted to get back to the Midwest, to where things were familiar.

I got to Moncton around 4 and went over to the bus station to find out the bus schedule. The buses in the direction I wanted to go leave twice a day. One had already left earlier on in the day, and the second was to leave in an hour. Without really thinking about it, I bought a ticket on the later bus. Once on the bus, I kept extending my destinations. Originally I was going to get off in Fredericton, which was half way across New Brunswick. However, I decided while we were riding, that the landscape was pretty hilly and I was tired. I would take the bus all the way across New Brunswick to Edmonston. I would get off the bus there, ride a nice 80 mile bike trail I had heard of across Quebec, where I would get the train to either Montreal or Toronto. By taking the late bus, I wouldn't get to Edmonston until 11:30 at night. I had no where to stay, my bike was partially disassembled in a box and I was alone. The closer we got to Edmonston, the more I realized this wasn't a good idea. I found out the bus I was on went all the way to Montreal. When we got to Edomonston, I went in the bus station and bought a ticket to Montreal and got back on the bus. I arrived at Montreal at 6 a.m. the next morning. I was having so much fun on the bus, I figured, what the hell and bought a ticket to Toronto. So 36 hours after leaving Prince Edward Island, and $165.00 later, I had skipped ahead 850 miles or so.

I arrived in Toronto around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and immediately started biking. For the next two and a half days, I biked as hard and as fast as I could to get back to Michigan. I had horrible head winds which made every peddle stroke agonizingly hard. The wind was helping me to feel more and more satisfied in my decision to take the bus. I was wondering why I didn't just take it all the way.

My last days, I was riding like a madwoman to get home. The day after I left Toronto, I biked 80 miles into 20 mph head winds. I was averaging 8 mph. I usually go around 12mph. It took me 12 hours with a couple of breaks included to achieve this. My last riding day in Canada wins the record for the most miles ridden on this trip. I left Stratford at 6:30 a.m. My goal for the day was Sarnia, which is on the Canadian side of the border, Port Huron, MI being on the US side. Despite another headwind, my aching butt (my boils were back in effect and stinging like no body's business) and a total lack of food (I ran out of food and paper money. None of the stores and gas stations I went to accepted credit cards and the atm's wouldn't accept my American card. I was reduced to drinking some whiskey I had with my as my only source of sustenance for 40 miles.) I arrived at Sarnia around 4. I had already ridden 90 miles that day, but I couldn't stop when I was so close to being back in the USA.

I crossed the bridge, with the help of the bridge authority and made my way back into Michigan. I was going to find a place to camp and then ride the 30 miles north along Lake Huron to my Grandmothers cottage the next morning. When I started to ride north, I realized, the wind had shifted and was not coming from the south giving me a nice tail wind. I had so much adrenaline pumping in my veins, I decided, what was another 30 miles. So I didn't stop and camp, but rode north, ending the day at my Grandma's cottage. From Stratford to Port Sanillac, I rode 128 miles in one day, loaded with head winds. I was really tired.

I rested there for two days and then yesterday I hitched a ride back to Port Huron, where I finished my trip by riding 70 miles to my parents house in Flint.

So, 9216 miles of actual riding and this trip is over for me. I have completed the line. When Ira and I left Chicago, we rode to my parents house. So by riding back here, I have closed that gap. I rode a little over 600 miles on my own.

I was feeling a little bad about cheating and taking the bus, feeling like I wasn't being tough enough to stick with it. I know I will never look back and regret taking the bus though. I was so exhausted, I just wanted to get home. I wanted the experience of traveling alone, but at the same time I wasn't making the best decisions. When complaining of fatigue in emails, all my friends kept encouraging me to just come home. I knew emotionally, the trip was over for me. The last week was incredibly hard, and the trials and tribulations where more then I have described above.

I am glad to be done, and I am ready to move on. I am looking forward to reestablishing my life in Chicago, and having a home which doesn't move around. I am looking forward to waking up in the same place everyday and not having pack up all my belongings every day. Thank you all for coming along this journey with me, and please stay tuned. I have pictures to post that I never got a chance to do of this past week as well as previous days. Plus, I may be done traveling, but the trip isn't really over yet. All of the post trip details have yet to be ironed out. So if anyone knows of any good 2 bedrooms in Humboldt Park or any good paying interesting jobs, let me know. When I get things set up, I'll be keeping you posted.

8 comments:

john mark said...

you know, i'm starting to think that maybe there's something to floyd landis's "shots of whiskey beget superhuman efforts" defense. congrats and cheers. i don't know you guys, but i've really enjoyed reading your blog...

Dave said...

Congratulations Andrea, I'm glad to see you made it home safe & sound. I believe the last part of your journey was more inspiring than all the rest. Speaking of rest, go get lots & lots of it, you deserve it. Love to see the new pics, until then take care. :-)

Anonymous said...

wow...is this real?

LaFemmeAnkita said...

hmmm... my definition of "cheating" doesn't involve riding a bike over a few hundred miles, many in strong headwinds and only fueled on whiskey and awesomeness...

yay for you. congrats!!!

Marcus said...

I'm glad you're safe at home. I was a little worried about you, there. And to the person who said "is this real?", Andrea and Ira and definitely the REAL DEAL!

Anonymous said...

YEEEAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

brent said...

good one Andrea! 128 is my longest bike ride. cool.

Andrea said...

thanks for all your support!!! In response to this being real...Ira and I have never actually left Chicago once. With the help of a truck driving friend, we just got really good at photoshop.