Some folks might take my continued presence in State College as a sign that I will never leave. Many people look at my spindly legs covered in peeling sunburn, poison ivy boils and bug bites and wonder how I would ever expect to cycle my way out of town. And some people shake their heads when they ask me "so what's your plan?" and receive a blank stare. (For those of you who don't know me, I typically walk around with a blank stare regardless to intimidate mimes and evangelists who might otherwise stop me on the street.)
Well have no fear, there actually is something resembling a plan rattling around in my void reserved for a brain! And I thought I would finally share it with those who might care to ruminate, elaborate, vacillate, or castigate about it. Lest anyone think that I have been sitting around getting fat and lazy in the meantime, rest assured that I have been biking, climbing and running as well as adjusting to my new diet of catfood and dandelions. Eric Durante and I did complete a successful excursion to Donation Rocks a week ago. Although we only managed to get one pitch of climbing in before it began to rain, I think it still counts as cycl-climbing (not to be confused with pyscho-climbing). I even managed to get my sorry self back up and over Pine Grove Mountain in the pouring, chilly rain. But I digress...
My good friends, Jeff Carlson and Eric Durante, devised an intruiging bike tour through southeastern PA that enchains many PA microbreweries. A map with the general route and waypoints can be viewed online. Personally, I thought that this would be a splendid introduction to bicycle touring because not only will there be excellent daily goals to acheive (aka. make it to the next brewery before it closes) but I will be in the company of good friends. Also, I can hopefully impart a bit more bicycle maintenance knowledge from Eric before we part ways. The schedule for this foray is May 20th-30th. We are still accepting applications for those who want to join. Please write your name, favorite color, and a poem about beer and bicycles on a sheet cake and drop it off at Jeff's house.
Assuming that 1) I live through ten days of continuous cycling and 2) I haven't decided to saw my bike in half and open a hotdog stand, then I will strike out on the open road towards the wild, wild West. The course that I am planning to take is PA, WV, OH, IN, IL, MO, NE, CO, and UT. Of course along the way I will try to stop by as many friends' and family's places and stop at a few climbing destinations as well. (If I don't manage to stop by your place, it isn't because I don't like you. It's more the fact that a deviation in course that would add an hour or two by car can easily add two whole days to my trip. You probably thought I was a jerk anyways...) Once I arrive in the land of sandstone, Mormons and weak beer, I plan to go to Salt Lake City to attend the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show. For those of you who don't know, OR is the biggest collection of outdoor gear manufacturers where retailers and sales reps join to look at new products. Somehow I will sneak into the show, try to weasel free sock and granola bar samples and act professional enough that someone might offer me a job in the future (I'm not holding my breath).
Again, assuming that I haven't 1) been eaten by a mountain lion or succumbed to another fate or 2) sawn my bike in half and opened a hotdog stand in Pinedale, WY, I will continue on my travels. My brother, Greg, is getting married in Columbus, OH on October 1st. Therefore, I could just laze about out West and catch a train or plane there to make it on time. But knowing how dumb I am, you wouldn't expect me to do that, right? If I'm still holding together in one piece and I can make it work timewise, I am going to bike to Columbus. The rough route is to ride WY, SD, IA, IL, IN, OH.
At that point, I will stop, saw my bike in half, open a hotdog stand, and get really, really, into collecting stamps.