Apple Capital to Big Apple 2008

Tour of Hope

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Hello,

We are Maren and Peter Helm from Hamburg, Germany, in our early sixties. We have done cycle touring for more than 25 years. Since our early retirement in 2001, we had planned to do one extended trip every year.

 

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It started with the TransAm Bicycle Trail in May 2001 in Virginia. It was during this trip in Bardstown, KY that we ran into another couple on bikes. It was Mike & Marilyn from Wenatchee, WA, also on their way across the US (see their TransAm journal and our meeting in Kentucky). We rode with them for 4 days and stayed at some very memorable places. When Maren broke her ankle on a rest day in Colorado, we had to interrupt our bike trip, rented a car and toured in the Northwest.

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The friendship from the road developed and when we returned to the US in May 2002 to continue the TransAm ride, Mike & Marilyn arrived also in St. Louis, MO, to accompany us on our re-start. We rode together on the Katy Trail (see journal) , then joined the TransAm Trail again in Eastern Kansas. This time we made it to the Pacific Coast without any injuries. 

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Due to the international political turbulences in 2003, Maren and I opted to stay in Germany that summer. So in June we started a trip - right from our doorsteps - to the town of Konstanz (by Lake Bodensee) in the very south of Germany. During this tour (1,200 km / 3 weeks) we mostly traveled on signed bike trails layed out along the many German rivers and stayed for the majority of the nights in Youth Hostels.

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Also in 2003, Mike & Marilyn  traveled abroad and visited us in Hamburg for a three weeks long bike vacation in Northern Germany and parts of Denmark (including a very close encounter with the Danish Queen Margarete herself!). 

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In December 2003 to February 2004 we traveled to New Zealand. We started on the Northern Island, cycled around the Coromandel Peninsula and around the East Cape, the latter a pretty isolated and beautiful region. At Christmas we shipped to Picton on the South Island. We traveled clockwise down the eastern coast (Kaikoura, Christchurch), then across the more mountainous inland stretches (Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Lake Wakatipu) to the southernmost point of our tour in Te Anau. Then a two day cross country trip via Mavora Lakes to Queenstown, over Crown Range and Haast Pass up the West Coast and over Arthur's Pass back to Christchurch, where our trip ended after some 2,800 km and app. 9 weeks of riding.

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In 2005, back to the USA. In mid March we started in New Orleans (at that time still undestroyed by Katrina), and headed north-northwest, first along the Natchez Trace and later along the track of Lewis and Clark (the Missouri River) until we made it by the end of July to the Pacific Coast. Click here for our journal. 

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Celebrating the completion of our second trip across America, July 2005

 
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For the winter of 2006-7, we had great plans. We wanted to ride a circle in Southeast Asia (Bangkok to Bangkok via Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia). This promised to be a real adventure. The trip had to be cancelled a few days before the departure due to Maren's health conditions. But in the summer of that year, we did a nice training tour right from our house in Hamburg up North along the North Sea coast to Skagen, the northern most tip of Denmark, then back along the shore of the Baltic Sea. The month long camping trip made for 1000 miles and many new impressions. 

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We had hoped to make the postponed Southeast Asia trip in the Winter of 2007/08, but we learned early in the year that Maren's health would be too fragile to ride in a region with such climatic and health challenges. Instead we cycled in the summer of 2007 from our home eastward to the Polish border and back. We crossed a wonderful countryside with many lakes and forests in the region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (McPomm). Again, it was a camping tour with some 800 miles and many new impressions.

 

 

Our 2008 plans to bicycle from Washington state to New York City

 

After Maren's doctors declared her health condition stable last winter, plans were made. We will fly into Seattle June 2, 2008, stay a few days with our friends Mike and Marilyn in Wenatchee, and then hit the road. This time we will ride west to east, hoping for the predominantly westerly winds to push us across the northern prairies. We will follow US Highway 2 and the Northern Tier for most of the first third of the trip. In Minnesota we will follow Adventure Cycling's North Lakes Route across Wisconsin and upper Michigan, the Lake Erie Connector across the thumb of Michigan through Ontario to Niagara Falls, then the Erie Canal to Albany, and the Hudson River to the "Big Apple', New York.

 

 

This roughly 3,800 mile trip will keep us busy for about 4 months. During this time I will try to fill this journal with some interesting reports and photos from the road to help friends and family imagine what we do. 

 

Apple Capital to Big Apple 2008

JOURNAL

 

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JUNE 2 - 5 - Arrival in Washington 

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June 6-10 - On to Montana

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June 11 - 24 - On to North Dakota

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June 26 - July 3 - Across North Dakota

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July 3 - July 9 - On into Minnesota

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July 12 - 22 , 2008 - Minnesota to Michigan

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July 23 - 29 -  Michigan

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July 30 - August 8 -  Ontario

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Aug 8 - 15 -  New York

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Aug 16 - 22 - New York/New Jersey