photo credits @ Gruber Images
RIDING HOME. Chasing Fall from Pennsylvania to Georgia
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE…
We spend a lot of time roaming Europe. We spend very little time at home – in the US. Europe is great. The mountains are unbelievable, the countryside is the place of my photographic dreams. Europe is not home though. It will never be home. The more time we spend away, the more I realize the most obvious of things: I’m American, and I love my home. So we’re going to celebrate all things home, and we’re going to ride our bikes from Emmaus, Pennsylvania straight into the place our hearts will always call home: Athens, Georgia. Yes, I just wrote HOME six times.
I also believe that America is an amazing place to ride bikes, and we rarely get the chance to showcase it in our work. We take hundreds of thousands of pictures in Europe, but when we come home, we blissfully hide out in Athens and leave the picture taking to the foreign lands across the Atlantic. We’re going to change that in a couple weeks, and I can’t wait.
How did this really happen though? I have a lot of ideas, but most of them just get confined to my ridewithgps.com account and never make it any further than that – nor should they. Sometimes, they get out though. Ashley will hear my idea, get excited about it, and won’t let it get lost in the hundreds of routes I’ve plotted. Ashley jumped on the idea of chasing fall from way up north back home to Georgia. She jumped at the idea of inviting friends and strangers alike to join us. She then went another step and pitched it to Bicycling Magazine.
That wasn’t enough though. I’m not looking to go on a big bike ride with just the two of us though. I love Ashley more than anything, but 1100 miles of just the two of us isn’t a millionth as much fun as getting the Horde™ together and laughing our way south.
More importantly, I needed Thomas Brown. Thomas is the small, dark, quiet, hairy, hilarious brother I never had. This type of ride needs Thomas. More importantly, I need Thomas. I think I could ride to Antarctica with Thomas (I don’t think Thomas could ride to Antarctica with me though). You know Lewis and Clark? How about Brown and Gruber? If you don’t know about that pair, you will soon. Thomas was arguably the most important piece of the making it work puzzle – a van and a driver followed as second and third most important. Thomas said yes, and he brought the van AND a driver.
On top of Thomas, we got Brendan. I haven’t introduced the wider world to Brendan in words yet. It will happen soon. Brendan makes everything happier. If you ever want some fun, head on over to his Instagram page.
So now, we’re four. We couldn’t get the entire Horde™ together for this one (something about work and real life), but they’ll be joining us for chunks – I’ll take what I can get.
And now, we’re doing it.
We’re going to start the ride October 22nd and finish it in Athens on November 2nd at my favorite restaurant, Cali n Titos. Between the start and finish, we’ll chase fall’s amazing colors along the best roads we can find with a stop over on Halloween to take part in the Bookwalter Binge, because why wouldn’t we find another excuse to go play with friends on the way home?
On a sidenote – I say WE in relation to the route, because I’m inviting you to suggest alterations to our rough draft plan of crazy. I’m pretty good with Google Street View at this point, but a LOT of roads in Virginia and North Carolina are missing, and there’s no way for me to know how awesome, how awful, and/or how wild that dirt/paved road might be.
I’m also inviting you to join us. It’s going to be complicated and probably pretty annoying to jump in on a point to point ride, but if you’re game, we’d love to have you as part of our adventure.
Chasing Fall/Riding Home Goals:
1. Raise hell
2. Laugh lots
3. Ride tons of amazing roads
4. Eat lots and tons
5. Take pictures of all of the above
6. Make it from Emmaus to Athens in one piece
THE TENTATIVE SCHEDULE.
Like I’ve said a bunch of times already – this is not set in stone. Well, except for the start and finishing points – those are pretty solid. The big map is above, the RideWithGPS file is here through Asheville, and here for the final two days.
Day 1: 110 miles. Emmaus, PA to Shrewsbury, PA.
Day 2: 110 miles. Shrewsbury, PA to Charlestown, WV.
Day 3: 95 miles. Charlestown, WV to New Market, VA.
Day 4: 130 miles. New Market, VA to Covington, VA.
Day 5: 50 miles. Covington, VA to Roanoke, VA.
Day 6: 100 miles. Roanoke, VA to Fancy Gap, VA.
Day 7: 90 miles. Fancy Gap, VA to Blowing Rock, NC.
Day 8: 90 miles. Blowing Rock, NC to Asheville, NC.
Day 9: rest (this is our bonus weather day – just in case)
Day 10: 90 miles. Bookwalter Binge!
If you’re anywhere near Asheville, NC – you should really consider giving
Brent and Jamie Bookwalter’s ride a try. It sounds amazing!
Day 11: 95 miles. Asheville, NC to Highlands, NC
(I just made this change 5min ago)
Day 12: 105 miles. Highlands, NC to Athens, GA
Total-ish: 1100 miles
Food is very important to my bike riding. It’s also very important to the four of us looking to do this ride from end to end: me, Ashley, Thomas, and Brendan.
I love eating in America, and I’m especially happy that I get so many options over so many ‘meals’ per day:
Breakfast, mid-ride Lunch, Ride Snacks, Post-Ride Meal, Dinner, and Dessert.
We take our food seriously, and I don’t mean that in the – we eat healthy, and we want to make sure to mind all of our dietary restrictions. NO. I mean: I want to eat ALL the food that makes me go YUM. I want to eat all the donuts, bbq, hamburgers, cereal, sandwiches, fried chicken, chicken biscuits, pancakes/waffles, breakfast sandwiches, and all the other things I can’t remember (because I’m going into a pre-ingestion gluten psychosis at the moment).
We’ll drink and eat lots of Skratch Labs products as well, but that’s just to pretend like we’re performance-minded ‘athletes’. We really love Skratch, because it tastes GOOOOOD.
Why else do you think we’re riding a hundred miles per day?
We could use any advice and tips you might have to find the best route through Virginia and North Carolina, or any of. I know there are incredible roads there – I just don’t know where exactly.
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