• Kathy Brouse


I recently returned from a month long cycle and hiking tour in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. My aim since retiring, 2.5 years ago, is to cycle in or across every state in the US. Cycling in the states is great for many reasons: the scenery is always in your face awesome, the state parks are organized in such a way to preserve a sense of wilderness while providing the necessary amenities - showering and electric to recharge my Garmin, phone, etc. and the weather makes cycling accessible all year round. In the winter and early spring, while we still have snow up here on the Peninsula, I can head south to the southern states - Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, which I have done the last three years. I still need to fill in the gaps in some of those states and plan to cycle central Florida to the Keys in 2020. My first solo tour post retirement, Mar 2017, started in central FL, north through Georgia and South Carolina and back to New Smyrna Beach.

Highlights of that trip: The alligators at the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. Sightseeing in Charleston, NC. Visiting with Dave and Sandy in New Smyrna Beach.

Not good memory: Jessop, Georgia and being chased by two aggressive Jack Russels. They chased and snarled and tried to bite my ankles. I had to keep kicking them away as I shouted and furiously pedaled away. Ended up with one of them in the air hanging off my cycling shoe! The little ***tard bit me but did not break the skin.

Last year, in the fall, I rode from Nashville, Tennessee through Alabama and Mississippi on the 443 mile Nachez Trace Parkway. Nashville to Natchez and then back to where I had left my car outside Nashville.

Highlights of the trip: I had set up my tent in the rain and was preparing to hunker down for the night. A man approached my tent and asked me if I hungry because his wife had prepared a take out for me - delicious jambalaya with dessert and a drink and cutlery. It was delicious and I ate the leftovers for breakfast! He said they travel on the Trace every year and like to feed solo cyclists travelling on the Natchez Trace! Now that's a trail angel:)

Not such a good experience: Last night on the Trace, end of Oct. Spending the night curled up in a ball trying to keep warm while the temperature dropped and the wind howled. When I exited the tent at first light there was frost on the ground and my fingers were frozen as I tried to make coffee and pack up my gear.

This September, having closed the B&B for the season, I headed off with my teardrop trailer for some northern states - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont. Spent three lovely days with Geeta and grandkids in Oakville and headed to my campsite in Acadia National Park in Maine. After settling in and preparing my touring bike, I left the teardrop in Mount Desert and headed west. The fall colours were awesome and despite some rainy days I enjoyed the adventure, crossing ME and NH. On the fifth day, as I climbed Kancamagus Pass, the temperature dropped to just above freezing and, despite wearing every layer of clothing I had with me, I totally froze at the summit and on the descent. When I arrived at Kancamagus Lodge in Lincoln I sat silently inside the building, waiting to thaw out before I could speak with anyone to check in! I plan is to return there on a warmer day and enjoy the Kancamagus climb and descent when it is not a sufferfest.

Owen met me in Lincoln, NH and drove me back to my teardrop at the Mount Desert Camground in ME. The plan was to hike together for some days in the National Park and then I would drive to VT and continue my cycle across that state, he would head to Newfoundland. The hiking in Acadia National Park is unbelievably awesome, especially in early to mid Oct, outside peak tourist season. It is now one of my favourite destinations and I will return to cycle on the carriage roads and hike in Acadia NP.

Highlights of the trip: Acadia National Park. Lobster roll, chowder, dip!

Not such good memories: 0

#grambocycles #cycletouring #cyclinginthestates #nationalparksus #retirementgoals #lifeisbetteronabike #hikersheronbedandbreakfast #northernbrucepeninsula

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