So here I am at Cherry Hill Park campground, Maryland. That's close enough to Washington to get there by bus and metro quickly. The European velomobiles are crated and put in two containers, so it's walking and public transport until I fly home on Thursday September 1st. All kind of little aches are all of a sudden kicking in to body. It seems that it simply didn't have time to complaint while we were doing the Tour, HA. For instance my calves felt very hard yesterday and a twisted nerve in my hip makes walking a bit awkward. Today, after the storm we could go out and walk some and I feel much better already.
|a tired but very happy H@rry, cruising through DC|
Because of the bad weather (hurricane Irene gave us a huge amount of rain) we stayed indoors most of the day. Stop, I forget to mention the fact that "we" has now come down to Wilfred and me. The rest of the party has already gone home. Well, as far as possible, because trains and planes were cancelled or delayed because of Irene. So they might be sleeping in a hotel lobby or at the airport.
The staying indoors, seated in chairs is not very good for a body that is used to daily exercise, but it did give me a chance to upload many videoclips that I made during ROAM. My original plan was to make a little film every day. This is making me smile as I write it, since it has proven totally impossible to fit in the tight schedule of cycling, eating and camping. Let alone the fact that editing in iMovie and uploading hundreds of Megabytes to YouTube through sometimes non-existing or slowly functioning wifi on the campgrounds is, to put it mildly, very positive thinking.
I have come up with a new saying for this: "ROAM comes and Internet goes". Many ROAMers want to check e-mail, blog, Skype, upload pictures and movie clips at the same time, which caused the Internet on the campgrounds to crash constantly. You could almost hear sighs of frustration going between the tents when this happened, if it weren't for the millions of locusts in the trees that made a deafening cricket-like sound every evening.
Because I really wanted to upload clips while DOING the tour, I have shifted my "uploading schedule" to the middle of the night or early morning. This worked pretty good actually, because I had the whole band-width to myself, but in the end it was to tiring to do next to the average daily 125miles of cycling. In Minneapolis I stayed at a coffee-joint for hours, because it had such a good connection and subsequently had to rush to the campground for the "short" track of that day. I was with Benji that day. He was sort of forced to stay with me, because he didn't have a track and I did. Ben is a fun guy from Austria with a very playful and creative mind. Good company and not at all impatience because of my race for Internet access and the campground rush later.
|Benji makes this sign complete with a velomobile|
As we came close to the campground, I thought it would be a nice idea to compensate him with an ice-cream which surely would be to have at the rather big Icecream Truck I saw across the intersection. Of course it wasn't what it seemed to be, instead it turned out to be the transport of a wedding party. Of course bride and groom had to sit and our vehicles and lots of Photos were taken by the Wedding Photographer at hand.
Thinking of this, the huge amount of locusts in the Mid-West immediately jump to my mind. They sure jumped all right, right into our velomobiles. They would typically come in through the footholes, jump or climb to a high spot, which usually was my shoulder and eventually jump out again. Some riders didn't like it, but I found they were harmless and funny to watch. I'll endure 6 locusts over a single wasp anytime. Why the number 6? Well, obviously there are always 6 (or none) of them inside a velomobiles at all time. It's no use trying to remove them before they are ready to jump out by themselves, because another one will immediately jump in.
These are things you cannot plan, but sure makes the whole undertaking a lot more fun. A have many examples like these that made the whole undertaking very enjoyable. Of course the SAG-people, other riders and the people on route played a major role.
|SAG was indespensible, I had a mechanical problem that could not be fixed on the road quickly enough|
I have seen the people in the USA now for real. That was one of the major reasons actually to do this. I knew that infrastructure would not be the best to do such a tour. Might as well have done this in Europe for that matter. The fact that the USA has such a huge (and often in a negative way to European eyes) influence in the world and in this era, made me want to meet the people who live there. My conclusion? Most of them are very kind. I didn't encounter hefty political or religious debate and although they usually thought our mission was a strange one, they were totally open to listen to what we had to say. Of course we also met the occasional total jerk, like the ones that produce huge amounts of exhaust fumes from their oversized trucks at the moment they pass us or like the man that called our velomobiles with dismay "Obama bikes". These were the exceptions to the rule. We have seen so many people taking pictures from us while smiling, even sitting in chairs next to the road to see our small groups pass.
|you click me, I click you. attention in Washington DC|
Cars that gave us plenty of room and stayed patient when we boldly took priority on intersections (to keep the group together). Police officers that were mainly worried about our safety instead of giving us a ticket for impeding the traffic. Restaurant waitresses that never failed to supply us with ice and water for free and so on and so forth.
A good deal of the ROAM story is told by moving images. Because I have done almost no editing, I mostly uploaded short clips to YouTube and am still uploading as I write this. You can find them on My YouTube Channel
More movies from other ROAM riders can be found by searching "ROAM2011". Enjoy.