The Route So Far - Google Maps

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We are doing this ride to raise money for Research Autism. We are aiming to raise £20,000.
We are supporting Research Autism because my cousin Jamie is severely affected by the disease, and I have seen its effects not only on him but on the whole family." He is 13yrs old, but cannot yet talk.
Just take a moment to imagine not being able to talk.
Imagine understanding everything going on around you, but not being able to comment.
Imagine having to be dressed every morning in clothes you don't choose, and then hurting your parents as you try to tell them you wanted the blue shirt today.
Imagine being swamped by having to hear everything that everyone is saying around you, and not being able to listen to just one thing at once. Jamie loves being in a swimming pool, just floating, legs held motionless by the weight of the water, while he keeps his ears underwater to just relax, hearing nothing.
He understands everything - he appears to have a photographic memory - but can’t get his thoughts out.
Frustration leads to despair, and anger, which is just one of the many things that his family has to deal with.
He has extremely specific eating requirements and requires round the clock supervision. Jamie is at the severe end of the autistic spectrum, but given that one in 100 people suffer from the disease (with varying severity), and that everyone has some autistic traits, it is shocking that so little is known about it'.
Click here to support our cause and donate to Research Autism.
Read the "Meet Jamie" post - the only post in February, for more information about Jamie, and a poem - painstakingly slow for Jamie to type, but ultimately incredible.

Photo Video - New York to St Louis

April 24, 2010

The Day Before...

...We leave tomorrow morning, early. We have done a lot today, we now have a "Patsy" tent - the 2 man MSR Hubba Bubba, weighing in at 2.3kgs. It is named "Patsy" after its generous benefactor. There was a lot of thought that went into buying the tent, which is why we ended up buying it the day before we left - procrastination of the hardest tasks seems necessary. We are thankful to EMS for their generous donation.

We had to choose between 2 man and 3 man tents - 2 man tents fit just that, and 3 men tents could fit our kit as well. We went for the lighter option of a large 2 man tent with large vestibules on the outside for kit storage, resulting in 1kg less pain for each of the 5000kms.

This is the last night staying with my cousin's in New York, and we are very thankful to both Jamie and Nicky for putting up with us for such a long time. It has been crucial to have a base in New York, without which we would have spent half of our budget already.

We also had our bikes fitted, which was very useful for me - less useful for Alex - his bike fits him well already. My fitting was more difficult - the Large bike I went for is not Large enough, but the Xtra-Large was too big, so Kurt from Bicycle Habitat did well to make the large bike feel bigger. We flipped the handlebars (ask if confused!) and moved the seat up and forwards as well as other more minor adjustments.

We tried to get sim cards for our iPhone's, but failed on this front - America is remarkably backwards in the phone markets, and the only options were $80 a month for unlimited text, calls and internet (which they weren't sure would work). This seemed a bit excessive - we would only be using them for sporadic texting and maps, so we will instead use one cheap phone sparingly (supplied with the help of Nicky and Jamie), and old fashioned but dependable paper maps.

SIGHT-SEEING: We went to the "Top of the Rock" as well as the Brooklyn Bridge, for Alex to have a whistle-stop tour of New York, and to take some photographs. The "Top of the Rock" is 70 stories high, at the top of the Rockefeller Centre - offering great views of Manhattan Island. We will put up pictures to the picasa site as soon as we can.

Tomorrow, to Princeton, the next day to Philadelphia.

Setting off into the unknown is unnerving, but we've been looking forward to it for a long while - so off we go!

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