Here's the story of why I'm riding across america

Hello, I’m Dave Nowlan. I cycled from Encinitas, Calif., to Cape Cod, Mass. from April 22 through May 28, 2012 in an effort to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and to help fund research for a cure. My wife, Claire, and daughter, Julia, both have MS. I broke my back in a sledding accident almost three years ago; I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have recovered without being paralyzed and was able to ride this long cross continent adventure. Click on this link to “my story” for more information and why I continue riding. Here is a link to Information about MS

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 37 - Finish Line (May 28)

Today I completed the ride at Old Silver beach, in Falmouth MA.  My dear friends (two carloads, and a motor scooter) met us on Route 28 in Wareham. We stopped at a diner for coffee and received a round of applause from all the patrons.  Our dear friends Margee and Vinnie presented us with beautiful medals inscribed with "2012 Bike Across America for M.S.-  San Diego to Cape Cod".

We received a police escort from the Burne police department over the Bourne bridge. Patrolman Wallace J. Perry made it possible to ride over the bridge on the road, in grand style.  Rolling over the top and down to the rotary on Cape Cod was such a welcome sight.  We were home again after 7 weeks (5 weeks of riding).  There were several bicycle riders (friends and family) waiting for us and we rode the 11 miles together to Old Silver Beach.  This was one of the most beautiful parts of the entire ride.  The warm weather, springtime flowers, water views along Shore road, seeing friends along the way, and the group of riders all made this a very special 11 miles.

Arriving at Old Silver Beach was awesome, there were at least 75 cheering friends and family there as I rode down the final hill of this cross country journey.  I've never felt more welcome.  Lots of hugs and congratulations from all.  Then I removed my bike shoes for the last time, welcomed the feeling of the warm Cape Cod sand between my toes, carried my bike to the water's edge and dipped the front wheel in the Atlantic  (Buzzards Bay) while listening to the cheering crowd.  This officially completed the adventure.

Arlyn White, Steve Sookikian, and Liz Strawn from the New England Chapter of the MS Society came to Old Silver beach to support me as well.  Here's a link to their MS Society Facebook post with some great photos.  Thank you for your support!

This as been an awesome journey.  It was extremely challenging, difficult, fun, and a rewarding experience, which we will cherish for all time.

Thanks to my loving Claire, who has been incredible with her unending work and support, I could not have completed this ride without her, and I can't think of a better person to have by my side for this Journey and forever,  Also a special thanks to Mark Slomba, the "Ride Commissioner" who provided daily consultations, rulings, and offered many suggestions to problems encountered.   Also many thank to my family and friends who remained in touch with words for support, visits, and hospitality along the way.  You made this trip much more enjoyable, and provided much needed encouragement when the chips were down. Thank you! thank you!

I will be updating this blog with additional pictures, videos and information as it arrives.  Donations in support of this ride to cure MS may be made at the link to the right.

I leave you with this quote from Ghandhi:
"If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it,
even if I may not have it in the beginning"

Claire and Dave Arriving on the Cape

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 36 - Can Taste It

I rode from West Springfield, MA to Middleboro, MA. today and logged in 105 miles.  Here's the link to the map of today's ride.  Claire, the SAG manager deluxe, helped navigate today's route which brought us through Connecticut and Rhode Island and back into Massachusetts. We started out on US route 20 through Sturbridge MA then we switched to Rt 131 bringing us into Connecticut and we transitioned to Route 12 to Route 44 East, through Providence to Middleboro, MA.

While going through Sturbridge, MA we came upon some forest devastation from last year's tornado.  Seeing the extent of the devastation first hand amazed us.

In east Providence my daughter, Julia, and granddaughter, Sage, surprised me and drove along until the end of today's ride providing cheers and support.  This provided a real boost, as I lost 2 pounds to the Berkshires yesterday and I was dragging a little this afternoon. We then met up with Julia's girlfriend, Jenny and her kids and shared a meal together.  It was so nice to see family again and we celebrated my grandaughter, Jura's, birthday.

Today's ride set me up for a shorter mileage day tomorrow to enjoy.  Similarly to last day of the Tour de France,  I'll ride leisurely and savor the last day of this 5 week adventure.  We're still on schedule to arrive over the Bourne Bridge between 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM, then we will ride to Old Silver Beach in Falmouth with anyone who would like to ride with me for the last eleven miles together.  Here's a link to the route from the Bridge to Old Silver.

You may call Claire, the SAG manager at 508 274 8247 after 10:00 for an update of the time expected over the Bourne Bridge.


Julia's Decorated Car

Our Reunion With Sage

Family at End of Today's Ride
Post Ride Icing (Precautionary)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 35 - Massachusetts! (May 26)

My wonderful sister, Therese, drove up last night from Manhattan to support us and spend the evening in Albany.  She experienced our daily evening and morning routine, including meals, with us first hand. Thank you Therese for everything! We love you.

Some of the final milestones were achieved today.  Reaching our home state of Massachusetts was a great feeling. Climbing over the Berkshires was also completed and we reached the shores of the Connecticut River in West Springfield.  I rode 98 miles today, here's the link to the map of today's ride.

We took a couple of video's at the Lebanon Valley Speedway for my good frield Mark, the ride commissioner,  who is a racing fan. Claire is correct, we did have an old Pontiac Grand Prix.

I went over "Jacob's Ladder"  which was one of the first mountain roads ever built (1910), planned to cross the Berkshires.  The Berkshires were definately a challenge but I was able to climb over them and enjoy a many mile downhill on the east side.  The area is extremely beautiful.

I'm estimating that I'll be coming over the Bourne bridge in the early afternoon (1:00 to 2:00) on Monday, Memorial Day.  NOTE: This is an estimate and is subject to change based on how tomorrow's ride goes. I'll provide an updated estimate tomorrow evening

Albany Bike Rack - Very Cool

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 34 - Mohawk River

We're getting closer to Massachusetts.  I rode happily to Albany today, 90 miles. Here's a link to the map of today's ride.  I was rained on this morning for a while, but it stopped before I could get to the rain gear.  The remainder of the day was dry. 

This was the first rain since Arizona! We've experienced great weather on this journey.  The theory about taking advantage of prevailing south west winds held true for the first two weeks. For the remainder of the trip I experienced mostly easterly head winds.  I'll have to speak with a meteorologist about this after we get home.

Today's ride was much better than yesterday's as I traveled Route 5 and various side road options losely following the Mohawk River.  This route eliminated multiple long, steep climbs.  I also made use of the Erie Canal bike path for several miles, where a very large deer was foraging.

The Berkshires are ahead for tomorrow, should be a good challenge. I can't wait to see how they shape up. I'm found myself feeling sad this awesome adventure will over in a couple days. I must be going slightly mad.

New York has been a beautiful state to ride across, and challenging too from a climbing and navigational perspective.

Over the next couple of days I'll be leaving more information on the blog about our expected time of arrival on the Cape on Memorial Day.  I'll be coming over the Bourne bridge and then riding to Old Silver Beach in Falmouth for the wheel diping ceremony

Erie Canal Lock 16

Kateri Shrine

Day 33 May 24 - Bones

Today was a successful but difficult riding day.  We made it to Utica, NY riding 92.3 miles.  I decided to travel south from Weedsport in order to ride on US Route 20 as it is a fairly direct route toward Albany.

On the way to Route 20 we stopped to sync up.  Claire noticed some beautiful flox flowers off the road. She went over to take some pictures and noticed some bones among the flowers.  She wasn't sure if they were human or animal, so she took a few pictures.  When I got to Marcellus, NY I went to the police station and reported that Claire found some bones. Officer Len Richer helped us out and called the State Police to investigate.  The State Police called Claire back and informed her that these were deer bones, not human.  Case Closed.  Len has a few friends who have MS and was supportive of my ride and glad I was riding for MS. Thanks Len!

When I arrived at US Route 20 I was greeted by several long, steep climbs coming right behind each other.  It was very slow going so at lunch I conferred with a local, Betsy, who said I would do better to head north to Route 5 east, which happens to be the road I started on in Weedsport, before heading south to Route 20. I took Betsy's advice and rode back to Route 5 and had a much better ride to Utica to finish for the day.

Here's a link to the map of today's ride.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 32 - Weedsport NY

Every day brings its own flavor and today we had two appointments to squeeze into our day.  We met the folks at the Upstate NY Chapter of the National MS Society.   They tried to establish a meeting with the press. However, it wasn't meant to be.  We were fontunate enough to meet several of the chapter's staff and they even provided us with a nice magnetic sign for the SAG vehicle. Thank You all!

We also had lunch with our family, Mark and Margee, on the Erie canal.  This was very cool and it was a blessing to see them.  Mark has been my ride surgeon for the journey.  Thank you!

Mark also informed me that there was a bike path on the Erie Canal, which goes all the way to Albany.  So I tried it out for about 10 or 12 miles, but it wasn't paved and really slowed me down.  So I jumped on Route 31 and this turned out to be a very good cycling route. 

So today's ride was split because we started on US Route 20, then hopped in the car for the appointments, then continued the ride from our lunch spot on the canal. This added a few riding miles but made a nice variation vs. heading straight east on Route 20. Today's miles totaled 87 and was tracked in two sections, pre-appointments and post-appointments. Heres the map link for the first section, and here is the map link for the second leg.

Today was a varied, fun, and long day.  I rode until almost sunset this evening.

Nice Magnetic Sign for the SAG Vehicle

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 31 - Shuffle Off to Buffalo

Another great day, 95 miles to Alexander, NY.  With a bit of a tail wind I passed by Buffalo quickly taking US Route 20.  Here's the map of today's ride.

In Brocton, NY, this morning a courteous driver allowed me to pass before she made a right turn.  This is unusual as most drivers try to take the turn before the cyclist gets to the corner and many times the cyclist needs to brake.  We both ended up in the gas station store a few minutes later, and I thanked her for her courtesy.  Tina said she is also a cyclist so she understands.  When I told her I was riding for MS, she said this part of New York state has the highest MS rate in the country.  She also made a donation on the spot and will tell her friends who are living with MS I'm riding for them.  Thanks Tina!

A little later this morning in Spring Creek, NY while I was refueling in the SAG vehicle, Ivar Lupkin and his dad, Igor came by to meet us after reading the sign on the back of the car. They also were very supportive and then Dave Notaro, from the bank also stopped by. They all made donations to the MS Society, in support of my efforts.  Igor who was an opera singer in his younger days sang Carmen for us on the sidewalk.  Ivar, congratulations on celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary.  Thank you Igor, Ivar, and Dave!

My colleague from Buffalo,Vince Connors, reached out to meet us but I was moving too far, too fast.  I had already blew past Buffalo and was heading east at a good clip.  Sorry I missed you Vince, but thanks for reaching out.

Very Nice Pink Elephant
Throwback Ice Cream Parlor
The End Point for Today's Ride