2023 Bike Tour Itinerary and Worries


I sat down a few days ago and worked through an itinerary for my bike tour. Each day ends at a campground or motel. The only exceptions are on my first day when I will stay at my friend Mark’s house outside Baltimore and a couple of weeks later when I stay with my daughter Lily in West Harford, Connecticut. The itinerary does not factor in staying with Warmshowers hosts. (Warmshowers is a program in which people provide shelter to bicycle and other active tourists, like Couchsurfing with wheels.) I did a bit of browsing on the Warmshowers website this week and was pleased to see hosts pretty much all along the route. As I travel I’ll seek out Warmshowers hosts each day.

I appreciate well-meaning friends and readers who offer shelter or suggestions for things to check out near the route. If you are so inclined, please keep in mind that “we’re only 30 minutes away” translates to a half day of riding. It’s one of the shortcomings of bike touring that you have to make difficult decisions about what to exclude from the tour. A good example is the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. A couple of people urged me to check it out and I’d have loved to see it during my 2018 ride, but it would have added over 60 miles to my tour which ended up being 4,300 miles as it was.

The 2023 tour as planned involves 2,537 miles over 47 days, an average of 54 miles per day. There are five rest days which make the riding days average 59 miles. That’s a lot considering how hilly this ride is sure to be. Also, the actual mileage will probably be over 2,600 miles because of wrong turns, food and shelter searches, and such.

I learned a couple of days ago that a friend lives close to the route in New Hampshire. Katie Fignewton (not her real name) was a college student back in 2017 when she rode the first Cider Ride, an event held that December near Washington, DC. She was hurting with about five miles to go on a cold, wet day so Chris Mamone (who was flagging when I scooped him up five miles earlier) and I gave her a two-middle-aged-men escort to the finish where we fed her recovery food (pizza). Katie and I have been in touch online ever since. (Chris, sadly, passed away a few years ago.) I hope to connect with her somewhere on the legendary Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire.

BeginEndEnd StateDay MilesTour MilesLodgingDate
HomeMark’s HouseMD6060Mark’sMay 23
Mark’s HouseFreelandMD80140CampMay 24
FreelandLancasterPA55195Camp or hotelMay 25
LancasterNorristownPA62257HotelMay 26
NorristownMilfordPA60317CampMay 27
MilfordDel Water GapPA57374CampMay 28
Del Water GapCuddebackvilleNY47421CampMay 29
CuddebackvillePoughkeepseeNY50471HotelMay 30
PoughkeepseeEast CanaanCT62533CampMay 31
East CanaanWest HartfordCT63596Lily’sJune 1
West HartfordWest HartfordCT0596Lily’sJune 2
West HartfordStaffordvilleCT47643Bike only CampingJune 3
StaffordvilleWestboroughMA65708HotelJune 4
WestboroughEast DerryNH65773CampJune 5
East DerryYork BeachME55828CampJune 6
York BeachPortlandME65893HotelJune 7
PortlandNewcastleME63956HotelJune 8
NewcastleBelfastME641020Bike only CampingJune 9
BelfastBar HarborME601080CampJune 10
Bar HarborBar HarborME01080HotelJune 11
Bar HarborBelfastME601140BIke only CampingJune 12
BelfastNewcastleME641204HotelJune 13
NewcastleLewistonME601264HotelJune 14
LewistonWest FryeburgME601324CampJune 15
West FryeburgNotth WoodstockNH531377Camp or HotelJune 16
Notth WoodstockSharonVT601437HotelJune 17
SharonEast MiddleburyVT521489Camp or HotelJune 18
East MiddleburyEast MiddleburyVT01489Camp or HotelJune 19
East MiddleburyNorth HudsonNY481537CampJune 20
North HudsonBlue Mountain LakeNY351572Camp or HotelJune 21
Blue Mountain LakeBoonvilleNY621634Camp or HotelJune 22
BoonvillePort OntarioNY521686Camp or HotelJune 23
Port OntarioSodus PointNY621748Camp or HotelJune 24
Sodus PointBrockportNY701818Bike only CampingJune 25
BrockportLewistonNY601878HotelJune 26
LewistonHamburgNY501928HotelJune 27
HamburgBarcelonaNY541982CampJune 28
BarcelonaPresque Isle SPPA452027CampJune 29
Presque Isle SPPresque Isle SPPA02027CampJune 30
Presque Isle SPMeadvillePA392066Camp or HotelJuly 1
MeadvilleEllwood CityPA762142HotelJuly 2
Ellwood CityPittsburghPA452187HostelJuly 3
PittsburghConnellsvillePA602247CampJuly 4
ConnellsvilleFrostburgMD752322Bunkhouse or CampJuly 5
FrostburgHancockMD762398Camp or HotelJuly 6
HancockHarpers FerryMD632461Camp or HostelJuly 7
Harpers FerryHomeVA762537HomeJuly 8


This routing is contingent on my son not coming home from overseas until August. If he changes his plans and comes home earlier, the itinerary goes in the trash. (I have contingency plans so this is not a big deal.)

Last month I was diagnosed with hemorrhaging in my left eye, the one that has had two retinal detachments. I swear that Roseanne Rosannadana is my medical muse because with my body it’s always something. I go back to the eye doctor next week to see if it has resolved. (It doesn’t affect my vision in any way so it goes on my list of latent medical concerns with funny looking moles on my back.)

My age is always a concern. It wasn’t an issue last year when I was riding all over the Rockies and the Northwest.Then again, I was a chipper 66 year old. I am well aware that I am beyond the age when most people throw in the camp towel on unsupported bicycle touring. Last year as with most of my tours I grew stronger and stronger with each passing day. I climbed out of Ennis, Montana like a champ. There were two climbs in Idaho (near Grangeville) that put hair on my chest but the rest were surprisingly doable. Alas, I won’t have a month of riding at altitude on my side this year.

Weather may pose some challenges. Rain and the combination of heat and humidity will play a much bigger factor than my 2018 and 2022 tours. I managed to make it through non-stop rain, massive floods, and two tornado warnings in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas during the first month of my 2019 tour so I doubt the Northeast will dish out anything worse. Riding down steep hills in the rain with rim brakes will require some caution.

Speaking of hills, there are several whoppers on this tour. The eastern US features short and steep climbs as opposed to the long, gradual uphill slogs of the western states. It’s hard to imaging that the climbs will be any worse than those in Utah, Nevada, and California during my 2019 tour. I managed them, albeit with some walking, on a bum knee and a very painful hip so I suppose I can take on the Berkshires, White, Green, and Adirondack Mountains with some persistence and shattered pride.

Narrow roads, traffic, and crumbling pavement are additional concerns. Bombing downhill will require heightened attention to things like potholes and nptoriously wikkid Massachusetts drivahs, known throughout northern New England as Massholes.

Another challenge will be language. Depending on where I am I’ll be calling a sandwich a hoagie, hero (gyro), sub, or grinder. Milk shakes are called frappes and cabinets in eastern New England. Places to buying alcohol (not that I intend to) will vary from state stores to supermarkets to package stores to liquor stores. Accents will be changing by the week.

Physical Preparation

I’ve ridden over 3,000 miles already this year. I recently have started dialing in longer rides as my departure date approaches. I did 63 flat miles on Little Nellie last week, Yesterday I rode 52 on The Mule, after which I mowed the lawn. I was trashed but I’m still standing.

Thankfully, today is a rainy day. Rest is important. The couch awaits…

9 thoughts on “2023 Bike Tour Itinerary and Worries

  1. Have fun! Sounds like a good plan, though I know those are not always worth the paper they’re printed on. A wise choice to avoid Grand Coulee Dam – it is down a nasty hill which would be no fun on a loaded bike and even less fun going back up. If you come to my neck of the woods, instead of a milkshake or a frappe, you’ll order a malt. (A milkshake is a pale imitation to those of us from near Racine, home of the Horlick brothers, who invented malt powder for malted milk.) Watch out for horrible pavement in MA. Will you be carrying coals to Newcastle? I look forward to your chronicles.

    1. I lived in Boston and Providence for over 10 years. I know what the roads are like. Spent a summer in Berkeley and couldn’t stop looking for potholes that didn’t exist.

  2. Wow, that’s quite an adventure tour!! Hope it goes well – won’t be long! I’ve been to some of the places in Maine that you mentioned. 🙂 Which bike are you using for the trip?

    I leave tomorrow night to fly to Frankfurt, Germany to do a 2-week 300 mile tour along the Weser River, from Hannoversch Munden to Cuxhaven, with 2 other lady cyclists. Stay tuned!

  3. As per usual, I am very excited to follow along on another installment of your bike tours. The meditative act of these types of days has to be rewarding beyond belief. Stressful at times I am sure, but knowing your only plans for the day are to bike, and eat, and sleep, take all the overthinking out of life. At least that’s how I felt on my singular week long walk thus far, I need to do another one soon.

    Your worries are valid, however 67 is not too old. You’re in better shape than a lot of people your age. Worst case you tap out and listen to your body.

    1. Your current romp through the Middle East and Europe puts me to shame! So jealous.

      I’ll try not to disappoint you. I’m getting nightmares over all the steep hills I’ll be dealing with.

      The reality is rarely as bad as my pre-ride jitters. Hell, if I can make it across the Western Express on a bum knee and a bum hip, I should be able to tackle New England, right?

      Haven’t decided whether I’m going to blog here or on CycleBlaze.com. Stay tuned.

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