Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wild and Wonderful

West Virginia hasnt been too bad of a ride so far but I have a day or two until I hit the Apalachians. Coincidently, I have two days until I hit another riding break.

Yesterday was a cool day. On my way to Charleston I met a tourist going the opposite direction. He was a cool guy and we talked for a while. His name was Max and he was on a summer trip across the midwest.

The second tourist I have met.

Once I arrived in Charleston I was greeted by a Soldier's Angel and a reporter she had arranged to be there. After the interview and pictures, I put my bike in the room and we ate Indian food and walked around a bit. Unfortunately, I arrived too late in the day to visit the local museums. It was a bit of a hassel getting my bike into the elevator of the hotel too. I actually had to stand it upright on one wheel.

Kim and Me. If you would prefer I not use the picture, let me know. This is also one of the first pictures of my bike with the traditional tourist set up. I miss the tri-bag setup but I had to change it out. One of the brackets was bending. More on that on a separate blog.

The Eyes are the window to the soul

To be honest I dont know the day or date most of the time. I think I have been riding for three weeks. All I know is I cant wait to reach Grover's Mill, New Jersey. I would say I am more excited about that than any other destination




Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Indiana has the nicest group of people I have met so far. Don't get me wrong, all the people I have met and who are hosting me are nice but Indiana has raised the bar.

When I got into Evansville (it was an 8 hour run by the way, I was tired and not thinking straight when I made the last blog) I was greeted by a few people that welcomed me into town. We had dinner and they paid for my my nights lodging. Im just waiting to receive the pictures we took.

The next day I rode out to Lincoln State Park, where I was given a personal tour of the facilities. That place was a lot of fun. There you will find a bicentennial memorial to commemorate Lincoln, the gravesites of his mother and sister, a beautiful visitor's center and a working historical farm. They also have a play that runs seasonally and sounds very cool. From what I understand, it takes place from the time Lincoln was shot to the time of his death and has flashbacks of various times in his life.

If you are wondering aout Lincoln's time in Indiana, he lived there from the ages of 7-21. It was his experiences here that formed who he was as a person.

I stayed there for the night and rolled out the next morning right into Santa Claus, Indiana. Interesting town, very cool sights to see but I had little time to spare.

If anyone is interested, a great weekend can be had by visiting Lincoln City one day and Santa Claus the next. The nation's very first amusement park is located there.

Bicentennial Memorial

Historical Farm

Lincoln Bust

Santa Claus

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Exit the Land of Lincoln, enter Indiana

Well, yesterday I left St. Louis and treked out to Mount Vernon, Il. Upon entering the town I was able to find an rv campsite and was able to spend the night. There I met a man named Steve who let me cook both dinner and breakfast in his RV

Breakfast was very big. Lots of oatmeal, bread, 3 waffles. Very filling. I did get a late start in the day, didnt leave the site until 10:20 and had to make a 95 mile ride to Evansville, In. I believe I made record time. 6 hours including a near half hour lunch.

My View

A few Soldiers Angels welcomed me here and were great. They took me out to dinner and showed me some of the sights here. Beautiful areas here and some great history. They were also kind enough to pay for my night's lodging at a local Drury Inn.

Firespinners in Evansville

I keep hearing that I am about to enter some harsh territory for cycling. With the grades in the northeast I am a bit concerned that I will have to push my bike. Once again I am relying on my iron will and ignorant bliss to get me through the ride and stay on schedule. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks unfold.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


So I was finally able to upload that video onto youtube. I would have just deleted it and made a new one since it was 4 or 5 days old but I really wanted that one up. you can see it on Youtube.

Heidi made a bostonandback Facebook Fanpage. It will condense the information I upload and post it there for people that dare not venture off of FB. Here is the link.

And of course if you want to donate click here.

Instead of a regular blog I will do a photoblog.

Entering Missouri

Tan lines. They were darker two days ago.

Cleaning my bike

At Lake Wappapello

The Monkey on my bike

Tornado Damage in Arkansas. This was weeks before I arrived.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Small update

I have been trying to upload a video for a couple of days now but have yet to find a wifi connection that is fast enough.

I should be crossing over into Missouri today. I will try to find a KOA so I can let the video upload overnight.

I should be in St Louis to close the first leg of my ride by Wednesday night. So far, it isn't as hard as people make it out to be.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Yesterday I made a 120 mile push from Texarkana to Hot Springs, Arkansas. The reason for that was because I now have a two day break. I was initially planning on staying at Lake Catherine both days but have since decided to ride the 50 miles to Little Rock. Yes, 50 miles is still considered a day off since it is about 25 miles short of my average.

I managed to reach a KOA just before nightfall and was able to sleep in until 7:30 It has been very relaxing but now I must check out and find a bike store for some lube, tubes, a lighter lock, and a headlight to replace the one I lost on the second day.

Just wanted to extend a special thanks to the Calvin family for all their hospitality last night an for fixing my laptop. Now I should be able to blog and vlog a bit more frequently. I wish you the safest travels and the best memories on your roadtrip.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Today is the end of my first riding block. By nightfall I will have logged a litte over 600 miles. In 6 days. Yes, I have been riding aggressively so I could get out of Texas as soon as possible. Don't get me wrong, I like Texas, but the point of this trip is to visit other states.

Im still trying to work out the electronics side of things but everything else is working fairly smoothly. I need to buy more tubes though. I think I will buy several of them to have, just in case. It seems the size I need isn't widely available. I figured that but I dont know.

As far as riding goes. Im right on schedule and get two days off. I think I will visit Little Rock the second day, but Im really looking forward to Lake Catherine.

Have to get going, have a lot of ground to cover today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Still in Texas

Im here at a public library and there are quite a few things I cant do. I can't get onto the facbook everyone says I have to have but dont want, youtube, flickr, or twitter. This is the only thing I am able to update.

Four days riding and Im still in Texas. It's aggravating. I want to be in a different state already but no matter how many hours I ride or how many miles I cover, Im still in Texas. I think I have two more days here, then Arkansas.

It is interesting out here. Im finding out what I am capable of and the mental strength needed almost outweighs the physical. My discipline has been tested as I rode past many chances for ice-cream, pizza, hot wings, burgers, donuts, and even a few Chinese buffets. What Im really craving is pineapple juice. I dont even know why. I never drink it at home but right now I crave it.

Camping has been nerve-rackingly fun. This morning rusting grass jostled me up so I surged out of my tent with blade in hand to find nothing. While packing up, I heard the sound again and found out it was a armadillo. I need to buy some eating utensils as soon as possible. I forgot mine back in San Antonio and it is a bit irritating eating noodles with a slotted spoon or oatmeal with a spatula.

I have been fortunate enough to reach every destination in a timely fashion and keep to my schedule.

Since I cant update anything else, I suppose this will have to do for now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Finally online.

It is day two and I am trying to upload some blogs stuff since my internet access will be spotty until St. Louis.

Here is a rundown of what yesterday was like. Woke up at 5:30, a time I am usually just getting to sleep. Started pedaling my way to Fisher House, got there at 8 and left shortly thereafter. 1 flat in New Braunfels. Got lost in San Marcos on the back roads so I lost two hours but gained nearly 30 miles. I decided after that to stick to the access road. Surprisingly, it felt safer than the back roads at times. I dont plan to ride every access road though, I just needed to yesterday. 1 lost watch that is really awesome because it controls my IPOD. I will have to replace that when I get home. Final count was 124 miles and 13 bottles of water.

Today, my spirits are high but my legs are weak. I think I would be faring better had I slept properly the first night. I did yesterday's run with 3.5 hours sleep. If you watch the youtube video you can see the sleep in my eyes, and that was 90 minutes after waking up.

Today I leave Austin and continue northeast. I will be glad to leave Austin. As fun as it is, it has way to many hills for anyone cycling through with a loaded bike.

Oh, the first person I met that inquired about the ride was a military officer who's first question was, "What's your facebook page called?" I have been holding out but I have finally decided to set one up. Actually I already had one but I finally decided to start using it. I haven't decided a url yet but you can find me by searching for John Reyes in San Antonio, TX.

Will post an update as soon as I can.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What moves me?

It is my belief that the true measure of a life well lived is not in material possession and accumulated wealth but in experience and joy. That belief is one of the factors compelling me to do this trip. Below, in no particular order, is a short but strong list of movies and one graphic novel that inspires me to push myself beyond my limits and experience life beyond the confines of society.

Bucketlist - If you haven't seen this movie, you need to. It is the incredibly powerful story of two men who concurrently find out they have months left to live. With their deaths ever-approaching, they make a list of things they want to do before they die and set out to cross the items off that list.
This movie makes the viewer ask themselves, "What do I want to do before I die?" A select few viewers will ask themselves, "What do I need to do to accomplish this?" I am proud to say that I have answered both those questions and will be able to cross an item off my personal list this summer.
Instead of including a trailer, I will include the John Mayer music video, "Say," a song that is essentially about living with no regrets and is just as poignant.

Into The Wild - I first heard about Chris McCandless in grade school. It wasn't until 13-15 years later that I heard about him again via the movie Into The Wild. This is a docudrama inspired by the writings in his diary as well as interviews. Chris McCandless abandoned his conventional lifestyle in order to realize his dreams and discover who he is.
The reason this movie touches me so much is because it captures the spirit of desire. No matter what anyone says to dissuade you, if you want something, you have to do everything in your power to make it happen. McCandless realized that and he did something so many are afraid to do. He acted upon it.
Even now, when I watch this movie a fervent envy consumes me. Until I reach the end, that is. I envy everything but the end. This movie shows us the beauty of all that is around us if we would just be willing to venture outside of our comfort zone.

Hidalgo - I saw this movie in theaters and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a great story about a man and his horse competing in a race with the odds stacked against them. In the end it becomes not just a race, but a test of endurance and self-discovery.
As my riders in spin class and fellow cabbers can attest, I am all about testing endurance. For me, there is no greater feeling than putting oneself into a truly arduous task and emerging victorious. That is why I have the distance and timeframe set on this trip. It is not just about the experience but the test of physical prowess. It's not just about traveling by bike and seeing lots of sights, it's about seeing what I am capable of.

The clip below is the first 4 minutes of the movie but only the first 2.5 are applicable to what I wanted to convey. Natural beauty and test of strength.

Midnight Nation - Many who know me personally know that I am a nerd. Particularly, a sci-fi/comic book nerd. Midnight Nation is a graphic novel (a snazzy way of saying "long comic book") that follows one man as he walks across America's shadowlands in an effort to reclaim his soul. Below is a link to a very powerful scene in the novel and below that is an explanation of why it affected me so greatly. If you plan to read the comic, you should skip to the last paragraph.

Midnight Nation

The reason this scene is so awesome is because it talks about what I have been talking about all along. People don't do what they want to do because they are afraid of what may or may not happen. Instead they huddle inside their safe zone, with a content regret of what never was. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked, "Aren't you afraid to go?" which is followed by, "I would be to scared to do anything like that."
If we let fear dictate our every move, we would merely exist. I want to LIVE.

I suppose the only thing left to post is a couple of questions to you, the reader. What do YOU want to do before you die? What do YOU need to do to accomplish this?