Saturday, October 31, 2009


So with 1 thousand 6 hundred 6ty and Six miles ridden thus far, we are locked into the city home of the U of F and No Idea Records for the next few days. The ride into town was punctuated and surrounded by a dense humid fog that coated the body and made any hope of evaporation disappear into pools of sweat running into our clothing and onto the road. I imagine that the feeling is not unlike dipping yourself into that magic chocolate sauce they put on ice cream, except a whole lot saltier. Water, chips and frozen beverages lined our route and our stomachs bringing us into our big planned stop of the trip.

With over 300 bands, the fest is certainly a sight to be seen. In addition to the bands, members, road crew, organizers and volunteers, there are thousands of people here in town to see the shows take part in the reverie. This leaves the majority of the fest looking like one absolutely huge line. However it is a fast moving line if sometimes confusing. For example: Jon and I went to the No Idea headquarters today for a barbecue lunch they were having, we pulled up out front to see a line wrapped around the house. Deciding no BBQ was worth that kind of wait we opted to head to another location, opting to ride around the house and see how big the line was. Coming around the corner, there were 6 tents, about 100 boxes of stuff with random folks digging in for their share of the No Idea bounty, a guitar raffle, a dude in a skin tight green suit and another line of about 10 people in front of a grill, score one for going around back.

If you haven't been to Gainesville, come and check it out, there's friendly people, tons of bike shops, lanes and a few paths, excellent food a few beautiful lakes and absolutely gorgeous weather. Big thanks to the folks in Battle, a local hardcore band who will make you love the pit, yell along with pride and let you camp in their back yard.

Thats the update, more pictures when I remember my camera or get a hold of Jon's thanks for reading and if you are in Gainesville come on by the Civic Media Center space on Sunday at 8pm for AtticaAttica!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Made it to gainesville, fest registration and pre-show madness

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Georgia welcomed us with rain, kept us sailing along with cloudy skies and intermittent showers, but pushed us on into our final state with glorious sunshine. During our stay we visited Gordonia Althamaha State Park which was simply fantastic, traveled on some dirt roads and dreamed of sunshine and eagerly anticipated our trip into Gainesville. We will get there tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited. Enjoy the photos and thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Southern Hospitality, Statesboro and Beyond

As of right now we have 5 more riding days to arrive in Gainesville, hard to believe that we have ridden almost 1400 miles already. Very cool for us to think about at this point when we look back on that first night in Massachusetts, cold, wet and with a leaking tent. The transition from North Carolina to South Carolina could not have been more stark. We we were waved out of the Tar heel state with a single finger and a large soda cup, both presented to us from a fast moving pickup truck and welcomed into South Carolina with clean roads, blue skies and some of the friendliest folks we have met. Outside of the transition day, North Carolina was a gem, so do not be deterred by our experience, I for one will certainly be back.

We enjoyed some beautiful beach side state parks and a glorious fire, with some wood donated by previous campers to keep us warm until Pajama time, beautiful side roads and a wonderful dinner at the Hendersonville Methodist church.

My Girlfriend Laurel's Mom Lois is a Methodist Reverend and set up a talk, and show for us at her parish. Even on short notice, there was a room full of people who came out to support us with their love and generosity. To be in a new place and be welcomed in so heartily is a great feeling and we could not have asked for more. We were also introduced to Pastor Mike Lack who let us stay in his church the following night, definitely a new experience for me and the luxury of not having to set up camp was as appreciated as the time we spent talking with one another and the hospitality that was more generous than we ever expected.

My penchant for cookies has also followed us south of the Mason-Dixon as we were able to polish off almost 4 dozen delicious oatmeal raisin cookies, that Lois made for us, in about 2 days.

We are into Georgia until Gainesville and the internet will be sparse, but expect a full update come Gainesville and a whole lot of crazieness as the Fest Kicks into high gear. Check out or the Fest site for Aaron's showtimes and thanks for reading.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Spending the night at Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina. We can hear the ocean from our campsite. Its chilly but we have a big fire to keep us warm.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Into Wilmington and on our way

We rode for only our second day in the rain, albeit a full one this time, our spirits were kept up by our singing, relentless jokes and thoughts of our day off in Wilmington in one more day. It was originally scheduled as a 30 mile day, but when you are already wet and its cold, might as well ride some more and stay warm rather than put your self in a tent for the afternoon eh? Spent the evening with our tents set up under a picnic hut at cedar riverside campground which was the absolute best place to be, thanks to the owner Joyce for being so cool with a little unorthodox camping. Spent the evening next door at Dales Pub owning high scores on the magic touch teamstyle and myself and aaron practicing our aim on the dart board. The locals were happy to chat and the morning brought dry skies and dry clothes thanks to the campsites drier.

On the way to Wilmington, we passed the Lejune Marines base where the fences on the side of the highway were covered with banners welcoming folks home from their military tours abroad. Some were family appropriate, but for the most part, I would say that there are some mighty aggressive women around the base, Yow. Ask us about that later.
Wilmington itself brought our first encounter with fellow tourists. In a totally unbelievable coincidence, they are also riding for charity, also going to Florida and just like us are outstanding individuals. The difference is that they are riding from Pittsburgh to Orlando with backbacks and brakeless BMX bikes. Lets make sure that's clear, these dudes Bryce and Jeff are riding about 1500 miles with BRAKELESS BMX BIKES AND BACKPACKS! Outstanding, especially after I have spent a lifetime riding BMX, poorly, and always getting asked when I am giving my little brother his bike back. Just goes to show that the runwhatyoubrung philosophy holds true for bike touring as well, you just have to have a lot of heart. All of our hat's are off to these fellow warriors of two wheeled travel, please go to their blog and check them out, they are raising money for a memorial skatepark in Pittsburgh and they can be found at . See you in Florida guys!

Wilmington also brought excellent hang out sessions with our hosts KC and Trever, some great bike path rides, good bike shop[ experiences and our first case of conflict between rock and roll and bike tour lifestyle. Nothing big, but lets just say that going out and then watching movies until 3:30am does not lend itself well to an early start to the day. Fortunately we had a short ride to the gorgeous Carolina Beach State Park. We will be on the Ferry tomorrow morning to continue or trek, I hope to see you along the way.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Outer Banks

Today is our last day on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The skies have darkened, but the wind will be at our backs pushing us along towards ferries and terraferma. It has been a great time to ride by the ocean for the last few days, there are even some large bike friendly sidewalk paths and separated areas to ride! There was also the longest bridge we have ridden across from Kittyhawk to Hatteras Island, almost 2 miles! I can't wait to see how it feels to ride the bridges between the Key's in a month. We stayed a night in Kitty Hawk at Adventure Bound Campground where we had Peacocks for site mates. People here have been helpful and friendly, it has definitely been a highlight of the trip.

So far we have ridden 827 miles and have 1418 miles to go. I remember driving to Florida with my family when I was young and my brother, sister and I being so excited when we got to Florida, even when my dad told us we still had a long way to go. I will definitely be excited to get to Florida again and I don't think we will mind the extra days along the coast to get to Key West.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Norfolk to Belle Island

Reached Belle Island, NC under sunny skies and on flat roads. Setting up camp on the waters edge and watching the boats troll around the bay. Thanks to Chris and Colin for making our visit to Norfolk so great. Big thanks also to the Boot, who hosted the show and gave us some of the best italian food I have ever eaten. If you are touring through the area definitely give them a call.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Tour Diaries

As Blake posts some of our daily adventures, I've been keeping a couple tour diaries documenting some of the other aspects of bike tour. My newest entries are at and the Willamette Weekly. Enjoy!
- Aaron

Nuts to you

We took 2 days and a few more miles than originally thought to get from Richmond to Norfolk. I think that when you come to a gated and closed road in the morning and a bridge that is closed, and on a naval base, in the afternoon, it becomes clear that sometimes the GPS is more of a handy reference tool than a Sherpa guide. Both days were beautiful, with just a short bit of rain on the ride into Norfolk.

Both days were ridden on roads surrounded by green and yellow plants which we figured out were Peanuts not quite ready for our energy bars or g.o.r.p. I have never spent time in this part of the country and it was incredible to see all of the plants and spend some riding time guessing about what they were before figuring it out. This weeks food goal, boiled peanuts, I have heard mixed reviews, but a local vegan food staple? I'm in for a taste.

Oh, and the Richmond show? Full of energy and good people, an un-advertised house show, due to the possibility if shut down, had 4 bands rocking Carl's living room and singing loudly into the night. Harris, brought smooth acoustic style to get the crowd warmed up with originals, good humor and an occasional Boss reference before Aaron and Pedals On Our Pirate Ships took over. When you see someone singing at full volume, and well, in a living room it is an impressive sight. Aaron was playing his heart out and from the faces and reactions of the crowd he touched quite a few of them. POOPS took over and continued the full bore vocal vibe with singer/guitarista Matt, Adrianne on Melodica and vocals, and Louis on the coctail kit and yells. If you want to see a band with great songs and chemistry to match, do your self a favor and check them out. Matt is also a total doppelganger for my friend Knobbe, also Matt, from Santa Cruz. I don't know if Richmond Matt is handy with a saw, but the two should get together and build a rock house and make it live up to the billing.

One thing has been made clear to me over the past few weeks, there is a serious problem with house shows getting shut down by the police. Which while I understand might be a problem from time to time, certainly do not normally necessitate the need for authoritative intervention. If you live in a house, especially if you own one, do the music arts and artists a favor and organize a show. Tell the neighbors and invite them over, make up some rules you can live with and make it happen. You and all your new friends would appreciate it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hanging Out Over The James

We took a shortcut early this morning by way of the train into Richmond. Mainly due to route uncertainties, Aaron's knee pain which necessitated a trip to a bike shop for a fitting and the length of days back to back that would have to have been covered to get to the show on time. I won't say it was all easy though as we left the house at 5:30 to get to Union station in DC for a 7:30 train. The streets were nearly empty and the sky was dark, the air had a slight chill to it which made the ride even more enjoyable as it helped to wake us up from an evening spent having a bit too many libations and perhaps eating like it was the last meal(s) we would see for days.

The train ride was smooth and while there was a part missing from my bike it was only a rubber cover to my shifter and all of the bikes were re-assembled and functioning quickly. Once we arrived in Richmond at the house, we unloaded the gear, toppled a Jenga wall and headed out for some coffee and food at a local cafe. Our oversize balloon stomachs re-inflated Jon and I took a walk down to the river to visit Belle Island and do some exploring in the rock walls and tidal pools which make up the island. Belle Island served as a prison and a power station for many years, but is now vacant of residents and open to all who wish to enjoy some woods and adventure during the daylight hours. There are still ruins of the hydro electric station which used to power Richmond's streetcars, although they are quickly being taken over and becoming part of the foliage. Definitely a place worth visiting and it is made easy by a very convenient foot bridge under the highway. Back to the house for the show and off to Surry, VA tomorrow. I am looking forward to the long ride and relaxing by the bay in the State Park tomorrow. Thanks for reading and I'll see you in Norfolk.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 8: NYC-New Brunwick

We picked up the bikes at Matt and Claire's which took a little more time than thought, due to gear re-packing, my flat tire and the logistics of getting 3 bikes and a trailer full of gear down an upper west side elevator. We then tackled our first hill of the day which came in the form of a ramp from the basement level to the street. The effort required to push the bikes up this incline reminded me of why the gearing we have in such a necessity on the trip. After we made it up the ramp, we rolled down broadway for a quick bagel, and some for the road, before heading down to the ferry.

The ferry ride across the river was a quick jaunt that left us on the banks in Jersey City, which well past rush hour we had almost to ourselves. We headed through the city towards Newark on ever busier roads, which was not a problem until we had to cross the Newark Harbor. There are few bridges that cross, and right about 0 that are fun to cross on a bike. The part that had me laughing while the trucks rolled by on rt.1-9 at 55 was the sidewalk. There was so much overgrowth and glass that it would have been sure flat tires before the bridge if you could get on it, then when the bridge crosses the harbor, it is totally clear and clean, but you would have to climb over a jersey barrier wall to get there, not exactly feasible with a 80lb bike and a trailer. We screamed in our heads, rode as fast as we could and got it over and done with as quickly as possible.

We rolled into New Brunswick on some hilly and pleasant roads, found the house where the show was held and walked down to the farmers market for some pasta and vegetables. Jon cooked up a killer feast for us and the folks trickling in for the show while one of the residents was frying up some Chicken of the Woods. If you are not familiar with COTW, it is a forest mushroom that when breaded and fried, the only way I have had it, tastes like a chicken finger, and hence the name.

The show was excellent, with Teenage Cool Kids and local rockers The Measure, keeping the crowd going until noise violation time rolled around and it was time to shut things down. With city regulations keeping the amps off for the night PJ Bond stepped up with his acoustic to continue the party. PJ is currently living out of his car and playing shows as much as possible in order to write a book at the end of his experience called Year of a Thousand Roommates which is in homage to all of the folks who come out to shows and make it worth while. If you get a chance, definitely check him out, he is a great musician and a fine human being.

After the gear was re-packed, we headed out for a short night ride over to Fid (The Measure) and Nick's (seasick) house for some backyard camping, New Brunswick style.