6/13-6/25-7/12 -7/22

August 5, 2001

Hello from beautiful Vermont,
It�s pretty amazing how quick you can get from Ohio to Vermont. And of course, it�s even more amazing how much can happen.

Before I left Fremont, I got treated to the biggest breakfast of the trip at Whitey�s Diner. With a full belly it wasn�t hard to make some miles. As I drew closer to Sandusky and Cedar Point, I decided I�d make one last ditch effort to get a free pass to the park. With some help from Michele and her friend Tom, I was able to enjoy the tallest, fastest, and craziest coaster in the country. You�ve all seen the picture by now.

Sunset from the Brown Barn The following day I went for Cleveland. On the way there, I stopped to check my email to see if I had any replies to my request for possible floors to sleep on. I found out my friend Carrie was in Cleveland and asked her if she wanted to go to a baseball game that night. As I continued to ride along, something felt weird. I realized after riding twelve miles down the road that I left my drivers license at the library. After adding another 25 miles to my day I made it to Carrie�s in time to catch the game. The following day I tried to arrange meetings with various breast cancer groups in town. After dozens of calls I called it quits and headed to downtown and the Rock �n Roll Hall of Fame. I only had three hours to view everything and I barely scratched the surface. Too much stuff to mention here.

Carrie and I enjoy a baseball game Not far from Cleveland was Pennsylvania. While in Erie, I treated myself to one Yuengling and then started to make my way out of town. On the outskirts, I saw a really cool old green bike for sale. Of course, I had to turn around and check it out. It was a BF Goodrich model made by Schwinn. I had been looking for an old cruiser for a while and found out the price had recently been reduced to $25. After a quick spin I was sold. Well, sorta. My only problem was what to do with it. After a couple hours of thinking I got it to a bike shop to send home. So, my $25 bike ended up costing almost $100. I�m definitely my moms son.

Next time across I�ll ride this Determined to make it from Ohio to New York in one day, I pressed on and ended up camping a few hundred feet over the border. Now, to try to make it from Pennsylvania, which was only a few feet away, to Niagra Falls in one day. Everything was going smoothly til I passed The Graycliff Estate which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. After receiving a tour from the director, I continued my architectural sidetrips by visiting the Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna. Beyond words. With a final brief moment of urban assault, I passed through downtown Buffalo and made it to Canada. Arriving at Niagra Falls on a Saturday in the middle of summer probably wasn�t the best time to enjoy the sights. The next morning I fulfilled my donut fix and sampled some of Canada�s best. Then I crossed back into the US and started down the Erie Canal.

Just a quick stop to check out a Frank Lloyd Wright house It�s nice that the trail travels about ninety miles along the Erie Canal. Although most of it isn�t paved, it�s a nice break from our sworn enemy, the motorized vehicle. As I puddered along, I came across the holy grail. Also known as a rope swing. But this wasn�t just a rope swing, it was the mother of all rope swing. It swung out off a cliff about twenty feet above a rock quarry turned lake. After a few screams and hollers I returned to my bike with a huge smile and a changed outlook for the day. Next stop, Rochester.

The best rope swing yet Upon arriving into town, I thought I was just going to have a brief meeting with the manager of the breast cancer support group at the Wilmot Cancer Center. I was taken back a bit when I saw TV cameras and about a dozen people at the entrance. I managed to hold everything together long enough to earn a grade of B+. After the interviews I spent a couple hours touring the cancer center and talking with the J.E. and Leslie about the different services they offers. I was surprised at how comprehesive the center was. They have genentic testing, counseling, a patient - family library, and many other services. They also are using a new technique which I read about in Mamm magazine called ductal lavage. I won't go into details but they are hoping after more research that it could aid in detection and possibly become an alternative to a mammogram. To find out for about the breast cancer center click here. I was treated to a huge lunch then back to the canal.

J.E. Giarrizzo, Leslie White, and I North of the Canal I hit Lake Ontario. I followed it around to Port Ontario where I was treated to a super discount motel room and a couple yummy BLT sandwiches. I had heard rumors of a chocolate factory in Fulton a few miles up the road so I got an early start the next day so I could try to get a tour. Entering the town I could smell the chocolate. Come to find out they don�t give tours or have a gift shop or anything. Just the smell of a chocolate city.

Cruisin� down the Erie Canal After a couple thousand miles of flat lands, I returned to the mountains. And the Adirondacks welcomed me with beautiful hazy views of seemingly endless, forest covered, ranges. Before the first big climb, I stopped for some ice cream. Little did I know that bicycling tourist, like myself, got a free cone. Fun, fun fun. New York and the mountains were nice but it was now time to get to Vermont to fill up my cookie temple (belly). I found out I don�t actually get to ride all the way cross-country because I had to take a ferry across Lake Champlain.

I had heard Vermont and New Hampshire were the toughest states but didn�t think much of it til I rode twenty miles into Middlebury. Ouch, everything is straight up and down. I already had to walk my bike up one hill. While in town I was standing by the payphone trying to contact my saviors in Burlington. After about a minute into a conversation with this nice lady, I was invited to dinner. Perfect. Better to get some real food in my stomach before I stuff it with baked goods. With a phone call and some good karma, Woodchuck arrived to take me to Burlington. Whoooppppeee. Picked up about half a dozen cookie packages on the way to the house. Finished almost a dozen in the first hour. Unfortunetly, Woodchuck skipped dinner and tried to consume just cookies and beer. Needless to say, he ended up pale white and in bed early.

Our Lady of Victory The following morning Woodchuck and I headed to Killington to visit our old hiking buddy Creeper. Found out we missed Carolina Kid at the Inn at the Long Trail by two days. From there we went into the backwoods behind Killington peak where Creeper had just moved too. Creeper thought we should take a little hike and that sounded great to us. Little did I know that it would turn into a ten mile trek, past the Appalachian Trail, to the top of Killington Peak. Whew. Nothing better than taking a day off from biking cross country to seriously work some muscles that haven�t seen use for a few months. And to boot, the only footwear I had was my flip-flops. The next day we ran into a few bears and took a quick picture. I like Vermont, or as the bumper stickers say I LOVERMONT!

So now I�m on my way, Monday morning from Middlebury. I know there will be some cookie packages arriving in Burlington but I have to meet with the New Hampshire Breast Cancer Coalition either Tuesday night or Wednesday. I�m having all goodies forwarded so don�t worry, they will make there way to the cookie temple. I should be finishing on the 14th of August then flying home the 16th. Yes, I would rather bike home, or take a train, or something but I can�t miss my friends, Jeff & Cathy�s, wedding. You can expect to hear from me a few more times, the next entry should be the 17th.

Creeper, Woodchuck, and Caboose have a picnic with our friends I keep typing more because I don�t want the thank you list to be longer than the journal entry. Big thanks on the last leg of the journey to: Cookie People, ones I�ve eaten and ones soon to arrive, The Davidsons, Lula, Rhubarb and Jilebi (whose choco choco melt in your mouth cookies hold the early lead), my mom (always - the only box that was invaded by furry friends was yours so maybe it was the best), Jennie (Logan) Locati, Carrie Zoubal for the wonderful time in Cleveland, JP and Jones Bikes in LB for helping me get my chain fixed a while back, Mark at Whiteys for the HUGE breakfast (at least a dozen slices of bacon), Michele Utt and Nancy Otto at Cedar Point, Dan Waggoner and family, Justin at the bike shop in Middlebury, Woodchuck and Pepper (thanks for the perfect weekend in Vermont), Dooley and Holly, Leslie and J.E. at Wilmot, Bonnie for the free Panda Paws ice cream, the guy who bought me two breakfasts at Sodus Point, Creeper, Keith, Nancy, and Grace at The Port Lodge, Cliff and everyone at Graycliff, Greg Parkin (PARM) and Andrea, all the nice people that email me, the radio and TV stations in Rochester, Dino, Mac and Kirsten in Middlebury for the BBQ dinner, Carmella at Specialized bike for sending a new helmet, all the sponsors and supporters, you for making it through this long list, and as always, all the people I forgot.

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We�ll meet again some sunny day,
Matt Allen