Posts Tagged With: Maelle

On to Richmond!

Some people say DC has some of the worst traffic in the country. Well if you’re a bike, that’s nothing compared to Northern Virginia. For cars, it might actually be quite nice! High speeds, practically no shoulders and no back roads to hide on!

After leaving Alexandria early in the morning (which is quite a feat for us) and taking a nice trail to Mount Vernon (George Washington’s mansion), we had a long and noisy day getting out of the Suburbs and Exurbs (yeah, we just learned a new word so we needed to post it somewhere).

But things have been rolling after that! We enjoyed the hospitality of Tom and Liz, had nice country roads and beautiful (although increasingly cold) weather!

One of the notable sights throughout Virginia is the innumerable battlefields and historical landmarks of the Civil War. The whole stretch between DC and Richmond (former capital of the Confederacy, in Virginia) is scattered with plaques telling you how many people were killed and who won which gruesome battle right below your feet. Fredericksburg, in particular, apart from being a quaint town, gave us a lot of those bloody facts and figures.

“On to Richmond” is one of the cries that inspired the Union troops to try (often unsuccessfully) to capture the capital of the Confederation during the war. Now we sure didn’t capture the city, but our ride through it was wonderful! It’s one of those cities we rode through and said “wow, we could live here!”. A bike friendly community, beautiful landcape, a strategic position right on the Fall line, at the intersection of very different regions, beautiful houses and friendly and outgoing neighbors!

We spent 2 great days in the city, riding around its quaint streets, enjoying the food, and enjoying time with our host family, Glen, Laetitia, and their 4 adorable boys Logan, Miles, Mason and Taylor! We weren’t the only bikers in the house either! We met Ernest, from South Africa, who’s been touring the world on his bike for 6.5 years!
Anyway, it was really lots of fun to pack on some good “family time” we’ve been missing since we started our trip!

Categories: Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Ride on Washington

Visiting DC while the Government is shut down is quite an experience. Then again, seeing the stuff when it’s actually open is even more fun. So how lucky we are to have done both!
We got to stay over a few nights at Pam and Victor’s so we could have some good time with them. Then we extended the visit to the capital by staying 2 more nights at Scott’s in Alexandria, an old town on the South side of the city!

What we most remember from our visit…

  • Going in the Capitol and visiting the gallery of the House of Representation, with more visitors than congressmen inside!
  • After spending 20 years apart, saying hi to Lincoln again from behind a fence! (Then again the next day from close by)
  • Spending the most intellectual time since the start of our visit (and probably for a long time!): Going through memorials, and museums of all kind! (National Geographic, American Indian, Air & Space -just long enough to touch a moon rock- and American History!)
  • Working our way through another city by another shared bike system (and having a hard time finding a place to park our bikes!)
  • Good meals and good times with Pam and Victor in Silver Spring, then with Scott in Alexandria! At the same time as getting a good crash course to American politis and institutions!
Categories: Washington DC | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


As the day was coming to an end in southern Pennsylvania, we started scouting for a place to stay. At the top of a hill, on the end of a hilly day, we could make out a Fire house. The idea started budding… should we try? would they let us in?

Good thing we did ask them because we had an incredible night and got to learn so much!

In small towns, fire fighting is done by volunteers, offering this kind of service to their communities. They do it out of passion for the job and as a way to give back to the people!

Not only did they not mind us staying over for the night, they actually offered us quite an evening! They were having a drill for the junior firefighters, so they took the time to show us how it all works! After sharing a pizza, they showed us all their gear and the basics of the job. We were really impressed! Not only choosing to do this as volunteers for their communities, but also doing a risky job, with heavy and hot uniforms, and going into the fires to save people!

We were also so thankful for their trust, letting us stay over in the station for the night, offering us a great bed and a good night’s rest before seizing the next day! So thank you!!!

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Categories: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

The streets of Philadelphia

Well it only took 2 days from NYC to Philly! It’s amazing how close such big cities can be! … and how easily we can make believe we’re just normal non-crazy tourists visiting the city.
We started by arriving at Marc & Cécile’s, good friends of Maëlle’s family, who helped us get dry after our first big downpour and offered us a wonderful evening and place to stay!
We then toured the country’s former capital (not sure they got over losing that title), its monuments (now where IS that LOVE thingy hiding?), its neighborhoods, independance hall, the cracked Liberty Bell (well, all from the outside given the Government shutdown)… The thesis of a walking day being more tiring than a biking day still holds! But a great visit together in what seemed to us like a more European city!
We then had an evening out with Martin (good friend and son of Mark and Cécile) and Dannie and slept over at their place! Might have been our first evening with people our age since we started our trip! But I think we pulled it off OK! And thank you so much for the great time!!
After 2 days in Philly, we went off to Southern Pennsylvania for new adventures! More on those soon!

Categories: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cruisin’ through Suburbia

How could we go on an adventure through the Northeastern US without heading in to see New York City! So we took the quick spur from Lambertville into Maplewood (from which we could take a train to the city), crossing New Jersey. Riding out of the Delaware valley, we headed through a somewhat flatter landscape, through the suburbs of the Garden State! You can see Halloween is coming !!!

On our way, we got hosted by Reverend Vicki and her husband, who let us pitch our tent in their backyard!

It was an intense ride, but definitely worth it! In Maplewood, we got to stay at Denis’s house, we got to meet his family, and spent some really good time with him there! He let us leave our stuff at his house while we went to visit the city, and even took us on the NYC Highline to start off our day! We had a great time together in Maplewood too, playing frisbee in the park (by the way, Maplewood is supposedly the birthplace of Ultimate Frisbee!), walking through the collective vegetable gardens, trying out new ice cream flavors… and we even went to a reading of a book & debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! (see we can be serious sometimes)

In leaving New Jersey, Denis rode with us for the first 20 miles out of Maplewood, up to the Raritan canal. So now it’s bye bye New Jersey, off to Philly!



Categories: New Jersey | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Ready to roll!

It all started once upon a time… two high school kids started dating and were talking about their dreams. It probably sounded something like “One day, we’ll travel abroad on a great adventure, live by the day…”.

How do we want to travel, where, when… were all quite vague at first. Having been on a few bike overnight trips, we discovered bike touring as an amazing way to travel at a new pace, really “feel” the scenery, meet people and enjoy every moment of the trip! Now where do we want to go…

We both have dual citizenships (Belgian and American) but didn’t know that much about the US, we wanted to be able to have real conversations with the people we’d meet, see amazing landscapes, have good bike roads… and if it could be a chance to see our family abroad, it only made more sense! So off to the USA!

We mapped out a few locations we really wanted to see (family in the North-east, the indian summer, the national parks around the Rockies, the South, going from one coast to the other…), and our commitments at home (Maëlle following a training to become a psychotherapist, our appartment lease…) and it all fit into this big smile-shaped tour across the country, from September 2013 to July 2014!

So we were ready to hit the road! Well, after some preparations of course!

Here’s a look at some pictures from a soaking wet bike training week-end with some of our friends and from our goodbye party with friends and family!

Categories: Cross-cutting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cutting across the Ocean State!

It only took us 2 days to cut across the beautiful state of Rhode Island!  Oh all right… it’s smaller in size than Belgium. But still, there’s great pride in crossing so many state lines in such short time!

After leaving auntie Pauline and uncle Phil in Tiverton, we set off for our tour. Now on our own across the country! Well… not really on our own, if you count all the people who come say hi and ask questions each time we stop somewhere!

After a crossing of a couple of bridges with spectacular views, we followed a trail leading from Bristol to Providence. After a short pit stop in the city, we headed West and spent our first night camping in a suburb. Not the best sleep we ever had, but we’re getting into the rythm! We’re starting to live with the sun. So if it sets at 7pm, we’ll probably be asleep by.. 7:02!

The next day, we headed on to cross the border to Connecticut, passing by beautiful lakes and woodlands under perfect blue skies!

Categories: Rhode Island | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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