Day 35 – September 20th: Hartville, MO to Springfield, MO – 86 km

In Springfield I have my second warmshower experience.

A lovely couple that make me feel right at home, incredibly nice and welcoming.

So much so, that I have a hard time finding the resolve to get going again.

But the road is still long, and Springfield itself too big to be my kind of city.

So I finally to set out again…

Day 34 – September 19th: Summersville, MO to Hartville, MO – 97 km

Several times I passed Harley Crews on the road (mainly Saturday and Sundays, so not the fierce kind I presume)…

Sometimes they would stretch out a hand, like cyclists do when turning, which I thought was pretty uncool for hardcore bikers. Took me a while to figure out that given that they weren’t turning anywhere, they were acknowleding me and my mount.

So I must have dissed quite a few bikers, which is not cool…

Especially after having watched the whole 6 Seasons of “Sons of Anarchy”, I’m not too proud of myself…

Now I reply with a casual half-raising of a couple of fingers, after ignoring them, I’m giving them the fingers…

 

Me and the Sons of Anarchy…

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Day 32 – September 17th: Farmington, MO to Ellington, MO- 125 km

This is supposed to be the most difficult stretch of my itinerary. But when you can start your day well-rested, get up before sunrise, don’t need to pack up all your stuff and have a quick shower, things move along much easier…And so it is that I set my personal record…

Now I get how some people can do 100 miles per day…

Which is not my goal, but I get a great early start and at the end of the day it’s my personal record…

Note that even well-rested, I can’t remember where I am 😉

Day 31 – September 16th: Chester, IL to Farmington, MO- 80 km

People tell me about a place in Farmington, specially designed for cyclists, where you can spend the night and give what you want.

When I arrive I get the keys at the Police Station and enter the place, which is quite amazing.

Though I don’t care much for the TV and the AC, it’s immaculate, you can do your laundry, take a shower, cook a meal…

In the end the donation is not so casually asked for as people told me and I grudgingly leave the 20$, but only cause I’m a tight-fisted bastard, in all honesty, the place is great and I get a good night’s sleep…

 

Day 30 – September 15th: Carbondale, IL to Chester, MO- 104 km

The next day, I get a little too comfortable…

I start messing about, changing the songs on my I-pod, transferring videos and downloading podcasts…

On top of a massive breakfast and another shower, this means at mid-day I still haven’t left…

I still manage to make it to Chester, Popeye’s hometown…

Everything, from the Town Hall, to official buildings and statues is about the sailor, Olive and the others…

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Day 29 – September 14th: Goreville, IL to Carbondale, IL- 80 km

After a month on the road, I finally manage to set up a warmshower (the couchsurfing for cyclists thing)…

The couple of times I tried before didn’t work out, but this time everything works smoothly.

I take my first shower in a month, and after rivers and late night rain falls, I do admit it’s quite a feeling. Jack then invites me to a great organic restaurant and I even get to do the Dylan Cover in the Bar:

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For the “real” version, click here: Like a Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan Cover)

Fourth Week – Keep calm and carry on

A quiet week in sum, where I pick up my habits, find a routine and continue to explore the different aspects of this extreme country.

I’m getting better at handling my bike, effort and orientation. In short, I’m starting to really enjoy myself without second thoughts.

 

 

The song of the week:

Satyagraha

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It’s no finished yet, and I’m not usually up for putting unfinished stuff out there, but you have been waiting and asking for this one for quite some time…so it’s up to you whether you want to indulge it or wait for the finished product…

Day 28 – September 13th: Herod, IL to Goreville, IL- 80 km

Things I thought I wouldn’t need and realized are indispensable:

My Ortlieb Panniers: Because though everything else is disintegrating, wearing thin and breaking eventually, these are indestructible and watertight.

Kobo Reader: Because after a day’s worth of effort it’s good to unwind and have something to look forward to…
It also serves as dictionary, translator, can store cartloads of books, weighs 500 grams, has one hell of a battery and I don’t need a headlight to read in my tent.
I was skeptic, I’m converted…

My camel bag: Because if I had to stop every time I wanted to drink, I’d still be in Washington.

Extra Charger: Cause otherwise I would spend my days in Fast Foods and Libraries charging my appliances…

My I-pod: c.f my Listening Routine

And all the little things like: my comfy pants (thanks Kamel), my woolen socks (thanks Godmother), my knife (thanks dad) etc…

Day 24 – September 9th: Bardstown, KY to Sonora, KY – 100 km

My reading Routine:

Lunch break: Portuguese Books on my E-reader (I’ll come back to that particular item)

Night: I started off reading Sylvain Tesson’s In the Siberian Forrest. Perfect adventure read, a lot of thoughts on loneliness, the need for movement, the leaving behind of “society”.
Then I started reading a fantasy series, Mistborn, which is less intellectually stimulating but a great read and very entertaining (kind of what you need after 90 kilometers of daily cycling)
I took some Mark Twain (Roughing it), John Muir (My first summer in the sierra) and Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire: A season in the Wilderness)
Don’t know if I get round to reading them (I’m waiting to cross the “mighty Mississippi” for Twain and California for John Muir) but it’s good to have something to look forward to…

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Day 23 – September 8th: Lancaster, KY to Bardstown, KY- 100 km

My Listening Routine:

Early morning: Classical Music. Relaxing and not too aggressive a music, but still covers the noise of traffic.
In order of preference: Vivaldi, Bach and Schubert…

Morning: Portuguese Lessons. I figured I might as well use the time on the road to teach myself a new language. The course is not great, but good to get started.

Early Afternoon: Portuguese Audiobooks. So far, The Little Prince, Harry Potter 6, The Alchemist and Capitaes da Area. The Little Prince because I know it well and used it on other languages, Harry Potter cause it’s easy, The Alchemist because I have to shamefully admit that here was the only Brazilian author I knew off the top of my head. The last one, found after much searching, is a sort of brazilian Oliver Twist…

Afternoon: Shuffle music. Albums I discovered: Casadega (Bright Eyes), The Suburbs (Arcade Fire), Whispers (Passenger)

Late Afternoon: A podcast. Either France Culture (if I feel homesick), Ted Talks or Wait, wait don’t tell me…

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Third Week – A peek behind the summit

And so the most challenging of weeks ends…

To give you an idea, of the sheer vastness of my idiocy, even after the few days of pain and excrutiating hardships, I find myself hesitating whether to go back to the Adventure Cycling Association’s mapped out itinerary or continue the very unsuccessful mapping out on my own device.

Because Nashville is close and Memphis is beckoning, I find myself contemplating doing the detour. But after much googling and calculating, weighing the cons (no cycle lanes, no GPS, crossing the Appalachians again) and pros (bellowing out Paul Simon’s Graceland in the “cradle of the civil war”) I decide not to push my luck….To paraphrase Albert:

“Only a fool repeats the same action and expects a different outcome…and I know something about foolishness, actions and their outcome”…

 

 

Let’s hope my musical career will not follow the same pattern, in any case, here’s the song of the week.

Cassiopea (A fine Balance)
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Whereas Song for a newborn can be listened to as a universal welcoming song for all newborns, this song is addressed more personally to a certain little girl…

Day 20 – September 5th: Jeff, KY to Manchester KY- 70 km (+ 40 km hitchhiking)

So I am out of the worst, and back to relatively flat roads, but my GPS is still giving me trouble. And so it is that I find myself in front of a Higway entrance, with a sign saying “No bicycles”…I hesitate, but the idea of having to turn back, find internet, map out an alternate itinerary and go the extra mile is not very appealing. And cause it is a Sunday and there’s close to no traffic, I go for it. Barely half an hour later, a couple stops in their Pick-up truck and offers a ride. I hesitate but wisely choose to cut the crap and get off the Highway. Which is a sound choice as there is a police car a couple of miles down the road. And in truth it is one hell of an ugly, hot, climbing stretch that I am spared. Thanks Eddy and Suze…

Once they let me off, I get lost, adding about 20 kilometers to get to Manchester…where I have three flat tires in a row…call that poetic justice…

 

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Day 19 – September 4th: Pound, VA to Jeff, KY – 91 km

So, it turns out, I had been indavertently crossing the Appalachians. By all accounts not a route you’re supposed to take with a bicycle and far worse than the most difficult stretches on the mapped-out route (Missouri mountains and Rockys included)…

Turns out I’d been more or less following the Old crooked road, a Virginia Musical Heritage Trail, so let’s just say that musically, it made sense…

 

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Day 18 – September 3rd: Cleveland, VA to Pound, VA- 81 km

I have to admit, that today I nearly gave up. Faced with an ever-climbing and seemingly endless highway, I got off my bike and tried to hitch a ride. I’m not proud, but luckily for the integrity of everyone involved, no one stopped (which also means I didn’t try too hard)…
And so I had no choice, but to get back into the saddle, and ride it out…

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Day 16 – September 1st: Whyteville, VA to Damascus, VA – 94 km

And thus I find myself unexpectedly spending hours climbing atrocious steep hills, on endless Highways blistering in the Summer heat. According to the radio in one of the rare gas-stations along the way, the kids are off school a couple hours early because of the heat. I’m very happy for them. A little less happy not knowing what is happening, how long it will be happening and how steep the price will be I will have to pay for being reckless.

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Day 15 – August 31st: Christianburg, VA to Whyteville, VA – 86 km

As I mentioned before, I wasn’t to happy with the Adventure Cycling itinerary and the extra miles it added, while I still felt like being on precious little proprer “bicycle lane”. It is a habit of mine to challenge autority, even well-intentioned and better-informed one. So after Washington I decide to try my luck and deviate a bit. Unfortunately this is also the exact moment my internet and thus my GPS go down.

And the so the towns become smaller, the distances between them become greater and the climbing becomes steeper, as I make my way forward…

 

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Second Week – Habit of calm and quiet

This second week went rather smoothly. Ok, I’m not tearing it up either, but it’s not easy to go beyond a 100 km a day, being loaded like a Vietnamese rice-carrying pousse-pousse, with repeated flat tires and the time-consuming process of camping…

In any case, my goal is not to be quick, it’s to be constant, do less per day but without too many breaks…

And trust me to find a remedy when things are going too well, I’ll promptly rectify and spice things up…As week number three will show…

Musically, the song of the week is the first off the new Album, for which I am crossing the United States:

Song for a nweborn

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Written for my beautiful nice, this can be taken as a welcoming tune for all the new souls that enter this world, that soon will be theirs…

 

Day 14 – August 30th: Daleville, VA – Christianburg, VA – 104 km

I still haven’t gotten used to the Fast-Food clientele, obese and huffing, served gigantic menus by equally overweight employees.

But I’ll soon get used to it and won’t notice anymore, and in any case, they would be equally shocked to see us huddled on the streets and puffing away at our cigarettes…

Everyone has their own poison…

 

 

 

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Day 12 – August 28th: Charlottesville, VA – Lexington, VA – 96km

Despite my natural aversion against Fast-Food and mass-consumption there is an interesting, schizophrenic thing happening as the journey wears on. I tell myself the Fast- Foods are non negotiable, where else can you cool down, eat, charge your appliances, do your laundry and get the internet for 1$70? Public Libraries come more and more into contention as the journey goes on, but I can’t eat in them, hardly wash myself in their restrooms. But beyond that, somehow I come to look forward to the big cup of iced Subway Tea. And the same goes for the Walmarts, Walgreens and co. An eyesore they are, contemptible, but after a whole day of fuck-all small-town desert, I can’t help but feel the relief. Because if you want to eat halfway decent food (organic and such) and not Gas-Station Char-coaled beef…

The whole paradox of our times…

What I learnt from it all: I shouldn’t let myself get consumed by guilt…

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

 

Day 11 – August 27th: Stubbs, VA – Charlottesville, VA – 88km

I’ve realized that despite the daily exertion and attention to healthy nutrition, I’m succumbing to the sweet temptations of the American Dream. My Body is literally going apeshit, screaming out for the sugary teas and bars and snacks that I’ve never had any longing for. After a cup of Subway tea I need a couple of hours and dozens of kilometers to get over the sugar-induced excitement.
Now I get the whole diabetes, obesity thing….Welcome to Hell, Sugar.

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Day 9 – August 25th: Alexandria, VA – Fredericksburg, VA – 70km

A typical good day: (Businessy):

Get up at 7. Take an hour to get my stuff packed up and myself ready. Have a small breakfast. Cycle for 40 or 50 kilometers. Find a Starbucks, Subway or McDonalds (in that order of preference). Wash my Laundry in their restroom and hang it out to dry. Charge my appliances. Plan out my itinerary. Do social media for you faithful folks. Have Lunch. Cycle some more. Find a nice place. Pitch my tent. Have Dinner. Read a bit. Sleep.

 

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

First Week – Amish-on impossible?

So this first week didn’t exactly go smoothly.

Despite the excellent conditions I found myself in in New York (thanks to Kamel and warmshowers) I did have quite a few obstacles to overcome.

Not helped by my natural tendency to go and get myself into difficult situations (toll roads, floods, shitty bikes) I do think with hindsight that things could have gone much worse.

All in all I cannot complain, I can keep up physically, and should be able to adjust the details (GPS, gear, personal idiocy)

Now we’ll have to see for the musical side of things, because it is also and foremost a musical project. It turns out to be quite difficult to fit in collaborations when cycling an average of 90 kilometers a day, and the few I have done, as well as some musical goodies I prepared, will have to be edited before you can see them.

But, luckily I was a little ahead musically before leaving, so every week there will be a musical score. The first one is here:

Like a Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan Cover)

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It is not like me to read too much into covers, except if it’s “With a Little help from my Friends” by Joe Cocker, “Your Song” by Billy Paul or “Candy Says” by Anthony and the Johnsons. (Yes, I am aware I left out “Hallellujah”, “My Way”, “Hurt” and quite a few more, we can discuss it if you feel like it) 🙂

Despite it being a cover, this song means a lot to me. The lyrics of course and because it is the first Dylan song I ever heard (talk about a musical right hook to the left ear followed by an uppercut to the other side…wtf is this organ intro? this voice? the randomness of phrasing? I needed to listen to it three times to get anything of what was happening)

But foremost, this cover means a lot because when I recorded it at AndromiDen studio in L.A, I’d just been through an emotional roller-coaster, hit rock-bottom more times than I can think and had just gotten over myself for the sake of the recordings. And after a tiresome day of recording vocals, knackered and emotionally wired, I just stumbled across this particular interpretation. We decided straight away to record it, with just a joint, two mics and three takes.

I don’t think I have ever reached such a degree of honesty in a studio. When we tried to re-record it a couple of days later, better rested, well-equipped etc, I couldn’t summon any of the emotion I had felt and was unable to replicate the state of complete self-abandonment that I felt while recording this version.

Day 7 – August 23rd: Manchester, MD-Germantown, MD – 70km

And it’s on with the spokes. The first one I’m lucky, the guy in the bike-shop fixes me up with a new tire and a complete check-up, free of charge. The second one as well, and though the third one follows suit, I decide to stop tempting fate and get the equipment to fix them, though it’s a really complicated procedure, and I’m not sure I can do it (they basically “tune” the spokes). In the end I will have to buy a new, heavy-duty wheel anyway, three days later.

As for Washington, DC, it’s express visit (White House, Capitol Hill, Lincoln Memorial) and express departure. I should really stay longer, but it’s too early for resting in the trip and I wanna get away from cities, although this one proves to be better than I expected.

What I learnt from this day: If you don’t learn the basics, life will keep putting a spoke into your wheel

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Day 6 – August 23: Bowmansville, PA – Manchester, MD

And it’s on with the flat tires. First one early in the morning. I get to the next building of that weird reserve in which I pitched my tent, despite the signs telling me not to trespass (but if I heeded those kind of signs, I wouldn’t pitch my tent much). In this case however, it turns out it’s a penitentiary facility for minors. A lot of rapists and murderers and such. They are happy to help me though (the staff, not the rapists). Couple of kilometers on and I’m flat again. Hitch a ride to the nearest gas station. Change the tube. So badly it explodes two kilometers onwards. Next one holds for the day.

What I’ve learnt from this day: When you get tired of wasting time you find yourself learning the essentials

 

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Day 5 – August 21st: Columbia, NJ – Bowmansville, PA -100km

As mentioned before, the itinerary has been quite disappointing so far…it’s a lot of highways and interstates and breathing in exhaust and the sweet-sickening smell of run-over animals’ carcasses that litter the side of the road (so many it is quite frightening…with vultures getting in on the fun and being run-over in turn…I spare you the pictures.

All of which doesn’t really add to your average bikers happiness, especially because this particular itinerary of supposed “bicycle lanes” (pretty much every lane that you can ride a bike on if you don’t mind near-death experiences involving 16-ton-trucks, noise and pollution) adds a couple of hundred miles, leading me down the Atlantic Coast (not the most straightforward way to go about crossing from East to West)…So although I subserviently do as instructed and stick to the plan, already the seed of discontent and rebellious divergence is planted in my mind and growing…I will act on it and divert from the road soon…and pay the price…

 

A video posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Day 4 – August 20th: Conshohocken – Columbia, 90km

A video posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Slowly I’m starting to get into the rhythm, I’m less apprehensive of my bike, though still worried and dreading the moment it starts to play up. I’m in Amish Country and though I don’t realize it at that point (preoccupied that I am about my bike and the moment it starts to play up), there is something Edenesque about some (admittedly small) sections of my itinerary. The produce stands are amazing, and I eat the best Tomato I’ve ever have tasted and a jar of Blueberry Jam that provides me with Breakfast happiness for two weeks and 2$50

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Day 3 – August 19th: Hopewell- Conshohocken, 60km

Terrible Day. It starts pouring in the afternoon and barely stops all day.
I make it a short day (after the Sourland exertion the day before I need it).
I settle down in a Park and because I’m unsure about my being allowed to camp I try to get away from he main road, close to the river. Somewhere an alarm bell rings in my head because I’ve had some misfortune happen to me in Uruguay that involved heavy rainfall and a lake that decided to go beyond its limitations like a newbie cyclist attempting a cross-country on a Chinese bike. But I’m tired and I choose to ignore. Until I wake up in the middle of the night and realize I’m inside the river with my tent. It’s barely believable because the rain and water stopped just short of infiltrating the tent itself, but when I step outside I’m to my shinbones in river. So I do a midnight rescue mission, nettles stinging my feet, dragging the stuff to safety, cursing myself and the heavens. My stuff smells of river, dirt and humidity for the next couple of days and I’m really happy with the way things are starting off.

What I’ve learnt from this day: Sometimes you have to able to read the signs…(seen the next morning)
And: Ignoring the rising tides won’t keep your feet dry

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Day 2 – August 18th: Summit – Hopewell, 80km

Next stop is supposed to be Neshanic. The itinerary, loosely based on Adventure Cycling Association’s maps of the Atlantic Coast Trail, a bit of Google Maps and a lot of approximation, has been mapped out a couple of months before.
One “fellow” cyclist sends me in the wrong direction, blatantly on purpose. Add a couple kilometers. When I finally arrive in Neshanic, it’s not even a town, there’s nothing there. Add a bit of discouragement.
I get lost and have to cross Sourland Natural Reserve, with perversely steep climbing slopes for kilometers on end. Add bone-crunching exhaustion.
But then, while I am halting to take a picture of a very Dylanesque train-track sunset, a girl stops and puts me up with one of her friends, Jacob. Turns out he’s an avid cyclist (crossed the US, Europe, West Africa) and a splendid human being, organic farmer, conscientiously opposing the madness of industrial food production in the US (Personal Note 4 for more on that subject).
Add a sense of destiny (it was THAT minute, at THAT precise crossroad), add a delicious dinner, add a restful night.
But all hippy-di-hippy good sentiments aside I just added a day’s worth of cycling after only two days on the road. I let you do the math…

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Day 1- August 17th: New York – Summit – 70km

7 glorious days within walking distance of Central Park, the Empire State Building and Times Square, but I am itching to get going. After much hesitation, false hope and wavering I finally get the bike and am ready to set out. When I finish packing my stuff on it, it is so heavy I can barely lift it an inch and the first tentative pedal strokes feel like wading through solid apprehension. I won’t talk about the bike itself too much cause I feel there will come a day when I will rue my miserly tightfistedness and I want plausible deniability. Suffice it to say, I didn’t go for the high-end model, and whatever material woes will befall me I will have to bear with stoic resignation, you get what you pay for and pay for what you get yourself into.

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

So first destination Summit, New Jersey, a bare 30 kilometers and a ferry-ride away. Except I want to swing by the Gaslight before leaving (the Cafe where Dylan started off, remember Llewyn Davis). In the excitement of that and my finally leaving, I miss the Lincoln Bridge and the ferry and have to do a 40 kilometer detour to cross the Hudson River via Washington Bridge. The first climb I have to get off my bike, the steering wheel is wobbling like a religious fanatic from Kentucky.

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I’d like to say that crossing on such a massive bridge is something worth doing an extra 40k and romanticize the thing, but I have three other Bridges to cross to get to Newark. With a cycling lane so narrow it catches my panniers and sends me crashing to the ground, things are looking good. Especially since coming off the bridge I somehow manage to get myself on the tollway towards the Highway and an overwhelming sense of WTF. Riding in the wrong direction, lifting my bike over the railings at one point (apparently with the extra adrenaline coming from massive 16-ton trucks whizzing by, it can be lifted ) I manage to somehow get back on track. By that time it’s nightfall, and I’m still only in Newark, and Newark is not a very comforting place to be in at nightfall. But the summit has to be climbed, so climb I did till I came to it (Summit the town, I’m polysementizing here).

What I have learnt from this first day? That for this trip, if things go bad, there will be literally no shoulder left to cry on…

A photo posted by Phileas (@phileasmusic) on

Arrival

After much anxiety, cold sweat and sleepless nights, the day of departure arrives.
All my stuff is packed into my Ortlieb Panniers (thanks to www.probiking.com again for the sponsoring) and attached into a single big, massive, plastic-wrapped bundle I can barely lift.

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I skip the 1954 version of Around the world in 80 days in the video selection (that’s professionalism for you)…
Instead I watch a documentary about two guys who want to direct. in order to do so, they decide to help a Rock Band break through so they can shoot a movie about them. About as straightforward and crazy an approach as setting out on a 3800 miles bicycle trip across the US in order to make music. In the end the band turns out not to be too shabby (they are called the Who) and everything’s grand except one of the guys gets strung out on drugs, goes crazy and dies and the other never actually gets to take part in the movie that is eventually made (something called Tommy)
The other documentary I watch is called “Merchants of doubt”. A scary thing to watch, though it explains a lot. For my thoughts and opinions on this and other documentaries, go to the “Private Note” Section, TPN 3.

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In Philadelphia, secondary examination from customs, a couple of hours of waiting, the complete examination of all of my luggage (remember the carefully bundled Panniers?) and an hour-long interview.
Have to tell the lady repeatedly that I am not a homeless person (despite the tent) and that I am not planning anything dodgy (despite the beard). Feeling like I’m back where I left off, with America tossing me about and senseless, I spend a rather terrible night/morning in a shitty Brooklyn Youth Hostel.

But then it turns out that the person I contacted on Warmshowers (Couchsurfing for cyclists) is an incredible person, a very friendly human being, a composer, who puts me up in his 8th floor Manhattan apartment for seven days.

 

Manhattan Sunrise
#in80daysacrossthestates

Morning runs along the car-free Park Avenue and Central Park, relaxed shopping expeditions to purchase the last of my items and general carelessness almost make the cynic in me lose sight of the artificiality of it all.

 

Morning run along park avenue...

 

On the menu: Central Park, Times Square, Empire State Building and Central station, but also more personal: Chelsea Hotel, Dakota Building and Highline.

 

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Unfortunately Rob (Fraboni) had an accident, so we won’t be rerecording the cover version of Like a Rolling Stone“…

But I’m not sure I can better this version recorded at AnrdomiDen Studio, Passadena anyway, and Rob is well, so that’s the most important…

And with a SOFAR concert to top it all off, I can’t complain, that’s as good a start as I could hope for.

 

So far, so good

Preparation

Preparation:

So I have 3 months to prepare for 3 months of cycling
While I’m in Paris, preparing the administrative side of things, I clock up 150 kilometers of running the first month, the second month 200+.

Exit weed, cigarettes, alcohol, coffee etc…the list is more to vent my self-righteous and annoying self-satisfaction than a radical upheaval, it’ not like I lived like a rock’n’rolla before…

Then Cycling: 40 to 80k daily for two weeks before attempting my first challenge:

ViaRhona from Geneva to Lyon, 240 kilometers with three segments earmarked “expert” by the website.
Barely made it out of the lift with my overpacked bike.
After 10 kilometers the shift-cable breaks, I don’t have the right tools to fix it.
A very nice fellow gives me his Torx Keys and saves my day and week.

A video of the follow-up three-day preparation in Germany:

Second trip through the Bergische Land in Germany.

The new material (I will spare you an exhaustive list) all neatly stashed away in the Ortlieb Frontroller and Backroller Panniers, kindly sponsored by www.probiketouring.com, a huge thanks to Bertrand Scaramal.

150 kilometers in 3 days and enjoying the sceneries and lakes of Nordrhein Westfalen

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Across the States In 80 days – A journey for a song

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Just like Phileas Fogg, character of Jules Verne’s Around the world in 80 days, I want to set out on a journey.

With nothing but a bike, a couple of panniers and a guitar, start from New York City, down the Atlantic Coast Cycling Trail to Richmond, VA, from where I’d catch the TransAmerica Trail and follow it across the country to where it meets with the Bicycle Route 66, which will take me to LA.

There will be:
A SOFAR Concert
A Recording of the Bob Dylan Cover Like a Rolling Stone AndromiDen Recording with Rob Fraboni
The Recording of the second part of the album “Home-Grown” at AndromiDen Studio, Pasadena, Los Angeles

Here’s the Provisional Itinerary:
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There are many reasons that have convinced me to undertake this journey, but in short I think I went for it because it incorporates my three passions : Music, Adventure and Physical Challenge.

For those of you who like things concise, precise and to the point, you can stop here, watch, listen to and share this trailer :

Trailer
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For the others who like long-winded theoretical exposes and grandiloquent discourses, there is a section called “The Personal Note” on the website, where I can indulge my natural propensity to blabber on…So if you want a more detailed description of the reasons and motivations behind this crazy endeavour, go to TPN 1 and 2 …