Nashville, USA - April 9, 2003
I finally arrived in the USA. Normally it's only about an hour or so away from Kitchener, but it took me more than three hours to make it to Fort Erie on the Niagara River. Instead of the highway, I took some backroads, because I couldn't drive faster because of the cold weather. I also stopped several times on my way. ON one of those stops I noticed some oil on the forks and thought that I had blown the fork seals, but that proved not to be the case. Maybe I drove through a puddle of oil and got sprayed on.
In Fort Erie I stopped briefly at the Old Fort, but it was still closed for visits, so I took the time to have lunch. I ate the excellent cake my aunt baked me for the road. It was very windy and cold and maybe I would find warmer weather south of the border.
|The peace bridge in Fort Erie, which marks the border between Canada and the USA.|
From the border I went straight to Pittsburgh to see my friend Sean, who has been living in Pittsburgh for almost three years now. In Pittsburgh it was very hot, maybe 25°C. Because of such nice weather I decided to stay another day. This would mean I would miss at least the first day of the orienteering meet in North Carolina. Well, I guess during this trip I'll be doing a lot of plan changes. Maybe I shouldn't have a plan at all. Just riding.
It was sunny and warm the next day and I went to have lunch with Sean. He works as a physicist at the University of Carnegie Mellon. Pretty much a lot of this city revolves around Carnegie Mellon. There's the Carnegie Mellon Natural History Museum, where I spend a few hours. The building also houses an art collection. I found the exhibit about the American Indian to be the most interesting. I learned that there is going to be a Pow Wow in Albuquerque at the end of April.
|Funny T-Rex in Pittsburgh, PA.|
|Sean and me at dinner in Pittsburgh.|
The next day, I was off to West Virgina. Sean told me about a campsite there and that's where I wanted to stay for the night. I guess I could have continued all the way to North Carolina, but that would have been too exhausting. On my way, it started to rain, but not menacing.
|Me on my way to West Virginia.|
Back at the campsite, the sky cleared and I saw the stars for the first time since leaving Toronto. I didn't set up the telescope, as I was just too tired. I did see Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon. During the night it rained heavily and the next morning I packed the tent wet. Up until now, this was the best campsite I stayed in. Cheap, quiet and clean.
The road to North Carolina is really interesting, specially Route 19 through West Virginia. Very twisty and not a lot of traffic. It reminded me of sceneries in the Alps. Through Virginia, I basically took the interstate, and the border to North Carolina is at the base of the Appalachian mountains. The view was stunning. A vast plain, all green and lush extended below the mountain base. And finally a break from the clouds and cold weather all morning.
|Flowering trees in North Carolina.|
|Pippi (my bike) and me about to leave the campsite.|
I intended to camp at Smoky Mountains National Park, but the weather worsened and it started to rain. On my way, I drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway and it's an amazing road, going up and down the montains. It was also quite cold in the late evening. I didn't want to get my tent all wet again and thus stayed in a motel for the night. This provided me a chance to upload my pictures onto the computer. I think I'm taking too many pictures and will run out of space on the website, but I'll find a workaround.
Previous chapter - Next chapter