Joe had a decisive breakfast victory, let me explain; 1 French toast, 4 pancakes, 1 bowl of cereal, 2 yogurts, 2 omelets, 1 banana, 2 sausage patties, 1 handful of bacon, 1 muffin, 1 cinnamon roll, 1 orange juice, 1 cranberry juice, and pause, wait for it... from Joe, "I wasn't even that full."
In other news we thought for a second we might lose Paul to a rest day but then he realized it was way too efficient to just stick with us so luckily he is still here. He may also make an appearance in Fairfield which would be exciting for all you readers.
We left Salamanca and ran into a dense bank of fog that blocked out the sun, for the next few miles it alternated between this and brilliant sun, these transitions were so abrupt they pained your eyes. We stopped for a midmorning snack at the cider mill (Joe insisted) for donuts and hot cider. Lunch also happened later but was generally uninteresting.
Following lunch it had clouded over and was quite cold, luckily we headed into the hills and warmed up, unluckily we were headed in the wrong direction. By the time we realized this we were too far off course to bother with backtracking so we forged our way through some unnecessary hills, by this point the sun was out and we were enjoying ourselves. We were rewarded with a surprise 5 mile downhill to town and reconvened with New York bicycle route 17. We also are camping on a spectacular lake and currently enjoying a campfire. We covered 82 miles and are just north of Almond , NY.-Lucas

Somehow we missed the brunt of the storm again. We got just a few sprinkles at the end of the day, but considering the radar we were lucky it was just that. Paul is still riding with us and it's almost like it's been three of us all along. We woke up this morning and all of our tents were soaked from the overnight rain. We had breakfast down at the restaurant, who's owners were kind enough to let us camp out back. After breakfast we packed up and took off with only a 65 mile day ahead of us. We are really getting into some hills now, and it was a pretty tiring morning. New York had is maybe one of the prettier places we have been and it doesn't hurt that all the leaves are starting to change. We got into Jamestown for lunch and picked up our new maps at the post office, then we were back on the road. A short 30 miles through some more beautiful country and we were done for the day. It's going to pour again tonight so we are in a hotel again. We really needed to dry out our tents and a hotel room works perfectly for 3.
- Joe

As we attempted to devour the entire continental breakfast the rain tapered off and the roads were nearly dry by the time we were ready, excellent timing. Beginning the day on a bike path is always great and even better was that this one led us right to the shore of Lake Erie!
Water to the horizon was a very nice sight after 52 days of being land locked. We rode along the lake for the next thirty miles or so with grape fields to our right. The grapes turned out to be Concords (a family favorite from the Haney grandparents) these are the kind where you discard the skin and swallow the insides. Naturally we took a respite and ate a few pounds of these. Soon we crossed into Pennsylvania and had lunch on the lake in the city of Erie. Overall Erie was not astoundingly exciting so onward it was. We quickly found ourselves climbing out of the great lakes basin and back into the hills. It was nice to use some different muscles and the landscape was picturesque. Before we knew it we crossed into New York state, which I personally am thrilled about. It makes me feel quite close to home and riding through upstate New York with some Autumn foliage doesn't sound bad either. Rather then riding the two miles off route to our camp site Joe worked his Joe magic on the girl at a local restaurant so of course we are camping behind her parents house on our own private pond/ bonfire area. - Lucas

What a great day! We woke up and had a great breakfast, thanks again to Mike and Nancy. Then we started the day on a great bike path, an old tow path, for a few miles through the woods following a river. We were not really looking forward to today because the forecast had been for heavy rain and the radar showed a huge system off to our west, but we hadn't seen rain yet, so we just hoped it would come later. At our first stop, we were lucky enough to bump into a fellow cyclist (Paul) heading the same route as us, to NY city. So after coffee we all took off together. The day couldn't be nicer, nice temperature and party sunny, for a forecasted "soaker". We had lunch at about 45 miles in Burton, Ohio and were pleasantly surprised when the waitress informed us the group sitting next to us that just left had paid our tab! This is a good day! We got back on the road and went through a few Amish communities. Pretty interesting, tried to sneak a shot of one of the buggies on the road, as seen above. Soon we found ourselves on another bike path that cut straight through some really beautiful forests and over small rivers. Along the path the storm was always looming over our shoulder and at one point we were convinced it was just about to rain, so we decided to sprint the remaining 4 miles. We made it! No rain! The three of us are staying in a hotel tonight in Austinburg tonight, and just as we checked it it started absolutely pouring. What a good day. -Joe

There is something about camping that makes waking up harder, today was particularly tough. The cold air did not make me want to leave my sleeping bag nor did the prospect of packing up my tent that was absolutely soaked by dew. While beautiful the riding was slow at first, I was looking forward to the first town and the inherent promise of a cup of coffee. My hopes were dashed as the town did not even have a bathroom let alone coffee. Some days it is hard to wrap your head around riding 80+ miles, today was one of them. In this case your only option is to push on, and it always gets better. Before we knew it the sun was out and we had a slight tail wind. More exciting still was passing the town of Lucas! As it was a few miles off route we did not stop but I am sure it is a great town. We lunched at mile 55 and realized we only had 25 miles to go which made the afternoon all the more enjoyable. We also lucked out and found a warm showers in Medina Ohio so we will once again be sleeping under a roof, so much for getting back into camping. -Lucas

It couldn't have been a nicer day. Started out a bit chilly and with some fog, but the day cleared into blue skies and perfect riding temperatures. The days riding began on the bike path, and then we rode through some really nice parts of Ohio, probably some of the nicest houses/neighborhoods we have seen. After stopping for lunch and picking up a new chain at the local bike shop, the route took us through some beautiful farm lands populated by horses and llama. We ended up riding 98 miles total and stopping at a camp ground right aside a small river in Butler. Good to be back on the road and camping again. - Joe.

We awoke to pouring rain but thankfully were quite cozy in the comfort of our beds. The day was mostly consumed by last minute recuperation and re organizing our gear. Paul drove us back to where we had left off and after saying our goodbyes we were back on the road.
By this point the rain had ended and the sun was just beginning to show itself. We had a very leisurely but surprisingly quick paced ride through some amazing farmland. After sitting around for the past day it felt great to be back on a bike with cool fresh air rushing by your face. The last stage of this trip should be very enjoyable as we will pass through upstate New York below the finger-lakes and will hopefully be treated to some prime foliage. On that topic it is the first official day of fall and I am quite excited about the prospect of crisp mornings! - Lucas
It's been great having our final day off. We have been staying with some of Lucas' family and they have been great hosts. We spent yesterday mainly lounging and trying to do as little as possible, but we did finally route out the last part of our trip. We have exactly 860 miles left, and will be riding up to Eire and then across upstate NY and then down into CT. Last night Paul cooked us a great meal, with every meat and side dish we could possibly ask for. I was so full by the end of the night, I went straight to bed and forgot to blog. We will get back on the road later today, unfortunately it's raining again. It will be good to get back on the road, now fully rested and ready for our final leg. Thanks again Paul and Missy for having us at your house and for all the great food. - Joe
After the misery of yesterday's congestion meeting up with a bike path feels like vacation. In fact this bike path runs all the way from Cincinnati to Columbus and we will savor every minute of it. Even more exciting is that this bike path brought us to our third and final rest day. It seems crazy that we have not taken a break since Colorado but it was well worth the wait as we will appreciate it more then ever.   We are In the company of Paul and Missy and they could not be better hosts. This also means that we are next to the town of Piqua Oh, where my aunt Kim (who introduced me to cycling) grew up! All very exciting! More tomorrow as we are exhausted and trying to appreciate every moment of rest we can. -Lucas 

7 days without sleeping in a tent, and soon to be 9 after tomorrow's break day. It's really great how many people are nice enough to put us up, and tonight we stopped in at my cousin Ashley's house in Cincinnati. Today was a really nice day, glad to be out of the rain. The mornings riding was great on almost empty roads. We ran into one detour which we decided to ignore and ended up walking across a small landslide. Getting into the city made the riding a little more interesting and the afternoon was a bit stressful with all the traffic. Good to be in Ohio. Great to have another place to stay and get a chance to catch up with some family. 88 miles today. A short day tomorrow and then a much needed break. - Joe.

Perhaps it was changing time zones or maybe just the incessant rain but regardless we were quite lethargic this morning. Joe in particular was struggling, halfway out the door he turned around and claimed he couldn't go any farther without a cup of coffee. After setting out we quickly crossed into Indiana, unfortunately it is just a foray as we will briefly be back in Kentucky tomorrow. Twenty miles later we found ourselves warming up with pastries and hot chocolate not going anywhere fast. At this point we began consulting our maps and realized we did not have any stellar lodging options due to the rain and a general lack of towns. We did notice that there was a family on warm-showers in Madison that housed cyclists. One phone call later and we had a goal, it looked like we would be spending another night under a roof. The one small issue being it was nearing noon and we still had 70 miles to go. This and some jelly belly sport beans gave us a surge of energy and we took off through the rain. We bypassed our lunch break and ate bananas on our bikes. When we finally arrived in Madison it was fully worth the extra effort. We are staying with an amazing family whom frequently go on family cycle touring trips. The mother and son hit a top speed of 63mph on a tandem in the white mountains up in Maine. Also I should probably mention that we had an amazing home cooked meal and got to enjoy a steam to rewarm our bodies. It turned out to be a very very good day. Got to go, banana bread coming out of the oven! - Lucas
We were lucky enough to meet two awesome people yesterday that ended up letting us stay at their house last night. We would have been perfectly happy with a lawn to sleep on but Gary and Debbie were kind enough to let us sleep inside and they even cooked us dinner and breakfast! They were just great people and we spent the night talking about biking, our trip, and the various triathlons Gary had competed in. By the end of the night we decided Gary would also ride with us out of town, so the next morning, after a delicious breakfast we headed out. It was really nice riding with someone new and also great to have someone else leading the pack. We had lunch and then we parted ways with our new riding partner. After lunch, we ended up making a wrong turn (my fault) and thankfully noticed it just in time to plot a new course and not have to ride any more mileage. Although we soon found out the new route was way more hilly. It did pass through some really cool tobacco farms and there was literally no one on the roads. We ended up doing 75 miles and crossing into the east coast time zone! Great to be on our home time zone! Want to say thanks again to Gary and Debbie for their great hospitality. We hope to see you guys on the east coast sometime soon. - Joe

Seriously how wide is this country? It had been my assumption that 3,000 miles would have placed us closer to home. The last two days have been a bit of a hiatus from our typical routine. We cut up from the TransAmerica route to the Underground Railroad and in the interim we were quite the novelty item. Along these roads the people are unaccustomed to observing traveling cyclists. Thus we received far more attention then usual, including an anonymous free lunch (thank you!) and free beer at the corn festival.
Kentucky is also very nice and so far generally charming. We rode through bean and corn fields for 55miles before lunch in Owensboro.
Upon reaching Owensboro Joe was intrigued by what he perceived to be a festival down some road. I told him no I think that's just a church tag sale, I was right but we met a guy who pointed us in the direction of a bistro. At the bistro we began talking with a lady who called her friend who is in charge of the local cycling club. Twenty minutes later we were eating lunch with him and are now sitting on his porch overlooking a lake and spending the night here. Isn't it amazing how things work out. When we thanked the lady she replied, "well how else are you going to make it across country without nice people to help you". I couldn't sum it up any better myself. -Lucas

Overall a really good day. Not anything too exciting about the riding. Slight head wind, which was a bit annoying, and pretty much on one road all day so not super scenic. We did however, leave the Trans-America trail behind us today, for good, crossed The Ohio River, navigated our way without any planned maps for the first time, entered a new state (Kentucky), and attended a corn festival in the town we're staying in. We started the day realizing that if we took route 13 from Carbondale and continued on 56 to Owensboro we would shorten our route by 65 miles, and avoid having the follow some sketchy directions to link up to Owensboro. The road was a bit busy but had a huge shoulder which made the riding enjoyable. Crossing the Ohio was a but interesting though. There wasn't a side walk just a raised cat walk that was only suited to walk the bike across. I didn't think this was right so I sat on my bike and rode using my hand on the guardrail as a safety. Getting into the town we intended on staying in we realized there wasn't anywhere to camp (a disadvantage of not following a map) and our plan was to just hope someone offered to put us up. Lucky we ran into a cop who pointed us towards the YMCA and also let us know there was a corn festival going on in town to celebrate the harvest. We checked in with the YMCA and then walked down to the festival to enjoy what was probably the least healthy meal we have had yet. We also got to watch the local talent show which was quite entertaining. Did 77 miles today, 45 to Owensboro tomorrow and we start north on the underground railroad. - Joe.
We are finally on the right side of the Mississippi! Yesterday's rains ushered in some of the coldest air we have yet encountered. When we began riding this morning the temperature was in the low 40's and it was quite blustery. It was one of those mornings when your whole body was craving the first rays of sun to touch your skin. Once they did it was a glorious day for riding and other then light headwinds some of the most enjoyable conditions yet. We dropped down out of the hills and onto the floodplains and after a few miles of riding through some very fertile farmland we found ourselves suspended over the river. The sheer power of the murky water is truly amazing.
We had a quick lunch just on the other side and then followed a very rural road that was actually situated on top of the levee. We rode through quaint farmland that bordered the river for the next 30 miles. Once we realized the bike shop in Carbondale closed at 5 we raced the rest of the way, even though we walked in at 5:05 the owner was nice enough to go over our bikes. Apparently my light weight and riding style has allowed my bike to be in better shape then Joe's! It is quite comforting to finally have our bikes looked over. Having not slept that well and riding 100 miles we are both quite exhausted. -Lucas

We finally got rain. The fact that we have managed to miss every storm up till now still amazes me. The morning started out overcast and nice and cool. We rolled into our normal mid-morning snack break without feeling a drop, but as we snacked the clouds rolled in and soon it was pouring outside. We figured we would wait it out and try to follow a passing rain band. The rain soon stopped and we started towards Farmington, 25 miles away, and found that there was a short cut that made the route only 13 miles. This section we got rain, lots of rain. Surprisingly though I enjoyed it. I think for the same reason I enjoy what we call survival kiting. Its just fun being out in the weather. We got into Farmington and decided to call it a day. There is a really nice place to stay here and a bike shop (hopefully it will be open tomorrow), so we thought it would be nice to skip the rest of the rain day and take a break. Still we covered 50 miles. The break also gave us time to figure out the rest of our route. 1500 miles left. Should be home the 7th of October. - Joe

It's funny how much we look forward to little things. Five days ago a group of cyclists heading west told us we had to go to Hayes Cafe in Houston and order pancakes. I'm not even particularly fond of pancakes yet they have been on my mind ever since. So of course we started the morning with pancakes and they were well worth the anticipation, one pancake was almost more then I could eat.
Early morning rolling hills gave way to some more serious climbs as the day wore on. One hill in particular will forever be etched in my mind. Right at the moment I glimpsed it I heard the dogs barking. Joe was in the lead and four took off after him. I took a moment to compose myself and then charged towards them, this brave move was before another 12 burst out of the woods. I honestly have no idea what 16 of the most viscous dogs you can imagine are doing in the middle of nowhere, I am pretty sure they must just form packs and pass their days hunting cyclists. Needless to say I was terrified, luckily at some point during the 300ft climb they stopped snapping at my calves. When I reached the top I was trembling with adrenaline and more out of breath then at any other point in the trip. Looking back I surveyed a road strewn with dogs and had the satisfaction that we were better hill climbers then them. One other monster of a hill is worth mentioning, it rose just over 400 feet in .71 miles, very steep.
We ended the day by bathing in a perfectly cold river right outside of town and have just set up our tents on the court lawn. We rode 91 miles today for a total of just over 2,700 miles thus far and are currently in the town of Centerville, Mo.-Lucas

It turns out our bikes were in need of some repair, or at least our tires. Just after leaving Walmart last night we stopped to ask for directions and realized Lucas' rear tire had blown out. I guess we have put quite a few miles on them. So no big deal, it was an easy repair since we had a spare. Then this morning I realize mine is also about to go. So I replace it. We decide it might be a good idea to pick up a couple more spares since they had gone so unexpectedly. Thankfully we were still by the Walmart. As we head over lucas' chain breaks! Due to a loose derailer we later found out. Also repairable at Walmart. So we finally got on the road around 10. Pretty uneventful day. And easy riding. Well I shouldn't say easy. Lots of hill climbs, up and down and up and down all day. But somehow this makes the day go by incredibly quick. All of a sudden we had 75 miles behind us. We ended up racing the last 15 miles, because we were told a sheriff could meet us and open up the showers in the park but only from 5:50-6:00. Glad we made it because we were in ruff shape. Also got some laundry done and set up camp I think our quickest yet. -Joe
The morning started shrouded in fog and had us reminiscing about our long ago start in San Francisco. This sentiment increased as we encountered the steepest hills since leaving the city. I found them to be quite hilarious as they are literally straight up and down. I was either riding at 35mph or 8mph there was no in-between. These are not the kind of hills that you can power through; rather they simply stop you in your tracks and when this occurs you hope you are in your lowest gear. In all honesty I can't think of any hill to compare them to, it is probably more akin to 8 hours of sledding. I should probably point out that this is not an unhappy post as it is quite satisfying climbing each hill, and there is something to time passing faster when you can't see more then a quarter mile ahead. Think of it as endless interval training, or perhaps a broken roller coaster. More of a nuisance are the dogs waiting for you atop each hill, although my most unnerving moment of the day was when a bird of prey with a wing span larger then my own was soaring 30 feet off my shoulder.
While on the topic of roller coasters my emotions experienced a similar swing of highs and lows. Unfortunately my kindle screen somehow cracked yesterday so when I spotted a Walmart I was ecstatic, by far the happiest I have ever been in such a circumstance. My plan was to purchase a book yet this was shattered when I realized they only carried "Walmart bestsellers", not exactly fine literature. I was choosing between the dictionary and a children's edition of Huckleberry Finn when I realized that they in fact sold kindles, all of a sudden everything was back on track.
We fell short of a 100 mile average and our 5 day average is now 99.5 miles (shucks). Every day we plan on taking it easier but we find we are no longer as fatigued at the end of the day and have an overwhelming urge to push on. - Lucas

Another 95 miles down. Keeping our average for the last 4 days just above 100. Never thought I'd be able to ride 100 miles a day. We even had a chance to stop short late in the day, but we both agreed we weren't tired and might as well do 95. The day went by pretty quick and very much routine. Had a great breakfast and got on the road. Slight tailwinds made the riding easy. Towns were pretty close together and we found what might be the deal of the trip at one. 25 cent granola bars, and 50 cent chocolate covered bars! Needless to say we bought the place out and left with two armfuls of snacks. Couple towns later and we were finally out of Kansas! I must say the last day in Kansas wasn't so bad though. The landscape has been slowly changing and we are now in consistently rolling hills, the beginnings of the Ozarks. We got a bit of rain on our last leg but it was really light. No big deal. And now we are staying in Golden City in a town park. Like Kansas, campings free in parks here too! - Joe

Let's first discuss the wildlife of kansas, the cows were fully expected and I enjoyed trading blanks stars with them (they refused to trade goofy smiles, trust me I tried). The herd of wild horses galloping beside us was more surprising and fully magnificent. Rescuing a turtle midmorning was also a shock as was avoiding a three inch tarantula.
Another welcome surprise for Joe S. T. Ruscito was a free bag of cinnamon buns, probably due to the fact that he told our waitress that he could eat cinnamon buns for every meal of the day. Less welcome was the fact that our rest day of 70 miles turned into a nice 105 when we were warned that if we stayed at a certain campsite we might end up in the news. Actually it wasn't that bad as Kansas is changing and I am throughly enjoying the rolling hills. It is quite exhilarating cresting hill after hill.
Another nice surprise was running into a group heading west, whenever we trade stories with other riders it stokes my enthusiasm for the rest of the trip. This group even promised impossible to finish $5 pancakes in the future and mountains in Missouri, all very exciting. Final surprise, 4 draft beers $2.50, not bad. -Lucas

Somehow it seems I always get the privilege of blogging on the days we had headwinds. So needless to say I had a ruff day, even though, somehow, Lucas says he had a great day, go figure. I don't want to be negative here, yesterday, I thought was great, so instead of tell you more about Kansas, in which there isn't much new, I figured I'd show you our diets (lunch seen in the picture above). Most days we wake up with oatmeal, with some sort of add in. Today it was our remaining dates and some granola. It's really nice to wake up to something warm. We stop usually for a mid morning snack and coffee. I had a cinnamon roll, followed by another because it was so good. Then for lunch we usually eat out and grab something local, sandwich, burrito, etc. Today we had all you can eat soup and bread. I ate way too much. I think this is a theme for both of us. I can't confirm if we have been losing or gaining weight, but I suspect gaining. The idea that we are burning calories like crazy makes it seem ok to eat what ever, and too much of what ever, hence the two cinnamon rolls. Tonight we will eat a bit light and just have ramon noodles. Although, we normally eat a pound of pasta, a whole jar of sauce, and a loaf of bread. So that's our normal diet. Actually Kansas has been looking up and changing a bit. There's more trees and rolling hills. I took a picture, above, of some trees ahead that were going to block the wind for a bit, a really welcome break. We even crossed paths with a sizable dust devil today, that was throwing dust and debris about 300 feet up. We stopped for a bit to watch the mini tornado. Today we did 88 miles. Makes it about a 100 mile average for the last two days, not so bad! - Joe
Today may have been just different enough that when I look back on the trip I will be able to distinguish it from that windy dry stretch of arid land following Pueblo. In all honesty I have no idea how many days have passed since our break as they all meld together, but let's talk about today.
Today began with our host preparing the best breakfast we have yet had, endless homemade cinnamon raisin bread and granola with fresh fruit and yogurt. We also witnessed a spectacular sunrise made possible by some surprising high clouds. At some point during today's ride the scenery did begin to change, I would be hard pressed to point out what exactly was different but I was aware of a change. It was the combination of many factors, slightly different shades of green, folds in the land, turns in the road, some humidity, regardless it made all the difference. At one point we even passed trees on either side of the road and I noticed myself slowing as I felt slightly uneasy being closed in. The most notable change was a general lack of wind! This factor had such a pronounced effect on our spirits that we were able to cover 117 miles! -Lucas
Not much new to say about the great state of Kansas, other than we saw a few more fields today. I want to say that I'm not over the state yet, but I totally am. All day I attempted to take pictures that might at least look slightly different from each other, but it's hard out here. Got a few however with at least some farm equipment or buildings in the foreground. We were faced again with quartering headwinds, and fought through them all day. We stopped for lunch in a nice town and eat sandwiches, pie, and cinnamon buns. This I think made my outlook on the day a bit better. The scenery in the last few miles might have started to change, a few more trees and a couple rolling hills, a very welcome surprise. We will see what tomorrow brings. Hope for tailwinds, or at least no wind at all. 71 miles down, breaking through 2000 total for the trip. - Joe