Day 11: Bonjour and Bienvenue!

By: Jack Messerly and Emily Sturtevant

Many of our trips are saying, ‘Welcome!’ today, whether it be to their trip, to the blog, to a new state, or even a new country!

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE): Hello MCCE, and welcome to the blog! These guys spent the afternoon getting to know each other and familiarizing themselves with their home for the next eight days out on Orr’s Island! We look forward to hearing about their adventures in the beautiful Maine wilderness, as well as their literary adventures as the week continues!

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Some of our MCCEer’s en route from the airport with Izzy!

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The crew – clean plates from a pasta & red sauce dinner!

New England Mountains and Coast (NEMC): Today we also welcome our NEMC trip to the blog! Leaders Isa and Aaron (aka Pom) traveled down to Boston today to pick up their students and get them ready for their adventure! The group spent the afternoon getting to know each other as they drove up to York, ME. Tomorrow they’ll spend their first full day together working on some fun team-building activities and flying through the air (properly harnessed, of course) on an aerial-adventure course!

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI): Scene: The roar of a Red Sox home run is heard from Fenway Park, a picnic lunch is set on the lush green grass of the Common, a bustling Faneuil Hall and Quincey Markey, and, what’s that smell? Baked beans. This can only mean one thing: our Capers have made it to Boston! What an amazing trip it’s been for this group, capped by a full day tomorrow in Boston to explore. We’re so proud of these guys for all the work they’ve put in these last 11 days!

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Vermont to Montreal (VM): Bonjour et bienvenue à Montréal! It wasn’t easy, but Freddy and Anna’s VM group was more than up for the challenge. They powered through 37 miles (or should I say 60 kilometers?) today to their hostel, and are eagerly anticipating their day off tomorrow to explore the city together. What a huge accomplishment for this entire group; great work, VM! Here’s a few pictures from the last couple of days, which include a border crossing, a bike ferry, and one heck of a sunset!

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California Mountains & Coast (CMC): We’re waxing down our surfboards, we can’t wait for [July], we’ll all be gone for the summer, we’re on a surfari to stay, tell the teacher we’re surfin’, surfin’ U.S.A. After hearing the great stories from CMC’s surfing day today in Santa Cruz, all of us here in the office certainly wish we were surfin’ like Californi-a. These beach boys (and girls!) had an awesome morning on the water and an afternoon exploring Santa Cruz.

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Hang loose!

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA): Our CSAer’s put in another huge day of service today cleaning up some beaches in Vieques. While they were there they had the chance to meet Vieques’ Mayor; what an honor! They had another beautiful day today, and we received reports of high spirits and some serious excitement for tonight, when they hit the water for their moon-lit kayaking adventure in one of the brightest bio-luminescent bays in the world. If you weren’t jealous before, you really should be now. We can’t wait to hear stories!

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Coast to Quebec A (CQA): For their last day on American soil, CQA hit the white water of the Kennebec River for an epic day of rafting. They thoroughly enjoyed giving their legs a day off after their 55 mile ride yesterday. A full day of paddling was sure to remind them that their quads weren’t the only muscles getting stronger this trip…

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Coast to Quebeb B (CQB): Our CQBers are truly making a name for themselves in terms of style points, as illustrated by the picture below. They aren’t doing too shabby in terms of mileage, either – 55 big ones today as they move closer and closer to the Canadian border. They crushed their big day today and will be rewarded with an early bed time tonight in Jackman, ME, as well as a rest day tomorrow to white water raft! Great work, CQB, you guys rule!

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Maine’s Downeast Explorer A (DEX A): Today our DEXA friends conquered the 5,270 foot monster that is Mount Katahdin, which means, “The Greatest Mountain.” If that’s not epic, I don’t know what is. Katahdin is the tallest mountain in Maine, as well as the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which this group was hiking just a few days ago. They had a beautiful day to accomplish this feat, and we have the pictures to prove it!

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Maine’s Downeast Explorer B (DEX B): It looks like Jonathan and Jessi’s DEXers had another perfect weather day on the waters of Isle au Haut Bay. But it wasn’t all play and no work – this crew also put in some volunteering hours with the Maine Island Trail Association, helping to remove trash and debris off of nearby islands. An email update from our leaders was full of exclamation points, and it sounds like the whole group had an absolute blast today; probably related to the pancake breakfast we heard whispers of this morning…

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Montana Service Adventure (MSA): Hooray MSA! This crew just finished up another big day of biking and the first half of their trip. The group had the pleasure of riding beside the wild horses of Montana through today’s portion of the trip. We are also excited to report that Apogee veteran Garth Franklin (DEX ’12, NEMC ’12, NWX ’13, MSA ’13, ECC Support ’14) met the group and will be joining them until they reach Glacier National Park on Thursday! Tomorrow they will be doing another day of service in the town of Browning before they continue up the road towards the highly anticipated park.

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Don’t forget a special birthday surprise!

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Northwest Explorer (NWX): Our NWX crew is now two full days into the backcountry and had a six and a half mile hike into their campsite tonight. Though already half way through their trip, this group has so much more to look forward to in their remaining 10 days together, including their next four days enjoying the gorgeous North Cascades National Park. Fortunately for the group, but unfortunately for the blog, one reason that the backcountry is such an enjoyable experience is the fact that they can disconnect from the outside world – which means no blog pictures until they complete their hike. However, Izzy (NWX ’14) describes their campsite tonight as the most beautiful place she’s ever been. So we can expect some amazing pictures in a few days!

Pacific Coast A (PCA): Abby and West’s group took a break from major riding today and spent their halfway-day doing service at Food for People, a non-profit that is working to eliminate hunger and improve the health and well-being of the local community. Today also served as a rest day for the group before they do one of their longest rides tomorrow, a whopping 60 miles!

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A casual ride through the redwoods… [Ed. note – from yesterday]

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Pacific Coast B (PCB): Eureka! This crew crossed into this well named town in California earlier today where they will be staying the next two nights. The leaders reported that they had a “Beautiful ride through the park [this morning] with lots of elk spottings.” The group is already halfway to their Golden Gate destination, and will celebrate with a rest and service day tomorrow before they hop back in the saddles to San Fran. Keep on truckin’, PCers!

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Alps Explorer A (AXA): Noah and Emma’s group had a day off of hiking today where they enjoyed a few extra well-deserved hours of sleep and spent the morning exploring Chamonix. This afternoon these explorers headed to Courmeuyer for the evening and will spend the next couple days hiking some of the most epic sections of the TMB in Italy.

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Alps Explorer B (AXB): The AXBer’s left Courmeuyer this morning and completed a tough, but rewarding, hike to a picturesque mountain hut where they’ll enjoy some chocolat chaud and a four-course meal. We also have a few pictures from yesterday when the the group enjoyed an amazing gondola ride and a picnic lunch in the shadows of some snowy peaks.

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Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA): Bonjour et bienvenue en France! These travelers have crossed back into France and are on their final stretch to Paris and a well deserved rest day. Until then, this crew will be cycling through the North of France and enjoying the pleasures it brings – baguettes and beautiful views!

Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB): These world travelers have completed another border crossing (which for them means another dance party…) and are now enjoying their time in back in Belgium! Postyn seems to be taking advantage of the local specialties for their break, acquiring all then necessities for a “Big Snack” (AKA getting as many baguettes as he can hold). These rockstars crushed their milage, getting into camp today at 1:30 PM, thereby allowing them plenty of time to explore the city.

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Someone send me there ASAP!

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America Coast to Coast (ACC): 99 miles of road on the ground, 99 miles of road! Take one down and peddle around, 98 miles of road on the ground! Today the group will do the second longest ride of the entire trip, just one mile short of a century. On this long ride, Mia, Chris, and the crew will say farewell to Arkansas and hello to Mississippi, which means they are now one state closer to their destination! Congrats, team – you’re inspirations to us all!

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What a happy looking group!

Day 10: Keeping It Real!

By: Most people in the office today!

Surprise, surprise, today was another magnificent day on Apogee turf all over the globe. We had a day of big descents, long miles, big waves, endless games and more. This is the royal “we” of course…

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI): Our crew on the Cape had their big challenge day today – 24 miles! These troopers were up to the challenge, and are currently resting their (probably very sore) legs at camp in Provincetown. They should be very proud of themselves after such a big day, and tomorrow, Kevin and Alyssa’s team is going to enjoy a roof over their heads in Boston. It seems hard to believe that these CIer’s only have one more day of riding! Check out some of their gnarly surf pictures from yesterday:

Surf’s up! Or is it hang loose? Whatever, they had a gnarlicious time!

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Taking a dip in the chilly cape water yesterday!

Vermont to Montreal (VM): Over 50 miles from the US border already, our Vermonsters are one step closer to their Canadian destination. After a short, but beautiful day of riding, they got into camp early and are busy putting the final tune ups into their bikes and cooking up a delicious meal before their biggest day of the trip tomorrow. They’re so close they can almost taste the poutine… We’ll get pictures from Montreal tomorrow!

California Mountains & Coast (CMC): After a long drought of pictures (pun fully intended), Matt and Midge’s Californians are out of the stunning Yosemite back country and back into civilization – and showers. But it was not without a trip to the world-famous Yosemite Valley early this morning. They described their experience as “stunning,” among other adjectives that will make us all jealous. But without further adieu, a plevy of pictures of our CMCer’s in Yosemite National Park!

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Even way out in Yosemite, they brought their American pride for the fourth!

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Truly not sure what’s going on here….

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Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA):

Emily and Thomas’s group are planting and cleaning with the Reach for Success organization working on a local fort to help make a park! In the afternoon the group enjoyed some splendid beach time and is resting up for another big day of work tomorrow!

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Coast to Quebec A (CQA):

Rosa and Kyle report that the group finished 40 miles before lunch! Apparently the group was so excited about this spectacular rock skipping spot that they enjoyed their lunch here and relaxed along the water.

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Coast to Quebeb B (CQB):

The group had a hot day on the road today but they stayed fueled and hydrated and were ready to crank out the last ten miles towards Greenville after lunch. No problem!

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We know you all wanted to see Zack up close and personal… Who are we to keep that from you??

Maine’s Downeast Explorer A (DEX A):

Out of the backcountry! Looks like Katahdin is next, off to get some well-earned pizza and check out the waterfalls around Katahdin before the big day tomorrow! Everyone is very excited and feeling great!

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Maine’s Downeast Explorer B (DEX B):

Today is the groups first day of kayaking and island camping! Below we have some pictures of the crew before Katahdin and also the crew getting ready to head out on the water. The next few days will be full of beautiful, serene paddling and also helping keep some of Maine’s finest islands clean and clear through community service.

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getting ready for their first day of island paradise!

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Our fearless leaders…

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Montana Service Adventure (MSA):

According to Annika the group had a great day on the bikes! Unfortunately they have been in a tough cell service zone and have tried repeatedly to get their apparently beautiful, pictures through to us but to no avail. We have confirmation that all is well, parents should expect calls home tonight and the group will continue tomorrow to cruise North up the front range of the Rockies. Epic!

Northwest Explorer (NWX):

This group was loaded up with sweet treats after picking up their mail today. They had plenty of fun snacks and entertainment to keep them busy on their ride to their trail head. Today the group hiked into the North Cascades, beginning their first day of 6 in the back country. This beautiful trail will show them fantastic views, wild flowers and hopefully even some wildlife! IMG_4108

Pacific Coast A (PCA):

A beautiful ride for PCA today! The crushed a significant chunk of their mileage before lunch and had an exciting arrival in Eureka! They’re excited to have not only a day off tomorrow but also apparently a pool and a hot tub at their campsite! Ooh, yeah! Pictures tomorrow – even more ooh, yeah!

Pacific Coast B (PCB):

Below is the group this morning getting ready for a hilly day in the Redwoods! The group had a seriously beautiful ride today and confronted some beastly hills. The group is in great spirits and made great time today!

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Alps Explorer A (AXA):

AXA is on schedule and made it to Les Houches. Today included some more epic views and also the biggest descent of the entire Tour, down into the world famous, quaint skit town of Chamonix. Another unbelievable day to be in the Alps.

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axa11.Seriously! Is this even real?!

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Alps Explorer B (AXB):

Today our AXBers were held up by some administrative wrinkles on the TMB. They are currently residing in Les Houches. Everyone is happy, in great spirits, and enjoying each others company. AXB parents should expect an email from Chad tomorrow regarding some slight itinerary changes. Again, all happy and healthy, just back in Les Houches for the moment!

Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA):

As you can see below ECCA enjoyed a some indoor fun and recreation as well as a beautiful sunset. The group made great time on their 65 km in the saddle today and are now happily snoozing under the castle walls in Chimay, Belgium!

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Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB):

The group is in the vicinity of the Tour de France route this evening around Le Quesnoy, France- exciting for them! Their plan is to wait for their moment and just hop right on course and try to keep up- just kidding! The group completed 83 km today with ease and are soundly sleeping as we speak. Unfortunately no pictures today, but hopefully plenty tomorrow!

America Coast to Coast (ACC): 

Today ACC cruised 70 miles on to Aliceville, Alabama. Tonight they have a cozy indoor spot that includes a notoriously well-stocked game room. Twister? Monopoly? Who knows what they’ll get up to!

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Day 9: Always an Adventure!

By: Emily Sturtevant & Izzy Janzen

Today was another fabulous day in the Apogee world. Even though the festive 4th was yesterday, there sure was a lot of excitement going on today!

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI):

Our Capers caught some serious wave action during their morning surf lesson. The remainder of their day consisted of time at the beach and prepping for their Challenge Ride tomorrow – their highest mileage ride of the trip! Also below are some pictures of yesterday’s mini golf excursion, a great way to celebrate the holiday!

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On the beach, ready for a surf lesson

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Yesterday’s mini-golf excursion – if you look closely, the clubs spell USA

Vermont to Montreal (VM):

Get ready Canada, because here come our Vermonsters! Today this crew did their border crossing, and are now on their home stretch to Montréal, where they will enjoy a day of exploration and relaxation before they head back home. The sense of accomplishment after crossing over into Canada is huge for this group. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a picture of their excitement but hope to have one tomorrow. Stay tuned!

California Mountains and Coast (CMC):

Welcome back to the front country, CMC! The group had a short hike out for their last day of backpacking, and was planning on enjoying all the amenities the front country has to offer – including hot showers and tasty, grilled meals! We chatted with Matt and Midge earlier today, and they report that spirits were high and their group is “stupendous!” Unfortunately, their cell service was not strong enough to get any pictures to us. Expect a photo bonanza once they find dependable service tomorrow.

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA):

Our tropical do-gooders took a ferry to the island of Vieques today, where they will spend their next two days volunteering with Reach for Success – a community non-profit that provides local youth with resources and opportunities to achieve educational, professional and economic success. From there, it’s a short step on to San Juan, final dinners, and flights home.

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Coast to Quebec A (CQA):

Another big day for our CQA trip! These guys had a long – and hilly – ride into Greenville, where they will rest up for their biggest ride yet, a 55 miler to Jackman. A big dinner and an early bedtime are in order for CQA as they contemplate their upcoming ride into the North Woods of Maine.

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Coast to Quebec B (CQB):

After a night spent cozily inside at Unity College, this crew is inside again tonight – the lucky ducks! Not only will they have the comforts of a roof, but word on the street is that they had a big dinner planned and time to do laundry!

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Maine’s Downeast Explorer A (DEXA):

Our DEX-sters are starting their backpacking section Northern Maine today. They’ll spend the next two nights on the Appalachian Trail, where they will hone their LNT (leave no trace) and backcountry cooking skills. Here are some pictures from yesterdays Fourth of July celebrations. Lots of red, white and blue!

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 Yesterday’s Fourth celebrations!

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Maine’s Downeast Explorer B (DEXB):

PICTURES GALORE! DEXB sent us lots of photos from yesterdays hiking excursion and Independence Day celebrations. Tonight they find themselves in Stonington, Maine, preparing for tomorrow’s overnight kayaking adventure and service.

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Mid-transit lunch in Bangor

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Fourth of July summit shot!

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Montana Service Adventure (MSA):

The group enjoyed a beautiful high plains ride today as they moved from Augusta to Choteau. They powered through both rain and shine with smiles on their faces, and were into camp early enough for an afternoon nap. That’s a textbook Apogee Napogee, folks, and a well-deserved one at that!

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Rain can’t hold our MSAers back, no way.

Northwest Explorer (NWX):

A big happy birthday to leader, Will! It looks like this group had an amazing time celebrating together on their rest and resupply day. Games, balloons, and backcountry prep – what better birthday celebrations?! Tomorrow begins one of the most exciting portions of their trip – five nights in the magnificent splendor of the North Cascades!
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NWX1- bdayThis, my friends, is the look of pure joy.

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Bonus – Patriotic rafting pic from yesterday!

Pacific Coast A (PCA):

I couldn’t imagine a better place to fix a flat tire! Post-flat, West and Abby’s crew grabbed a quick napogee (with dreams of San Francisco, I’m sure) before continuing on. They enjoyed views of both the coast and the redwoods today, a California dream!
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Pacific Coast B (PCB):

Blue skies and blue waters for PCB! Everyone is all smiles as they get out of the saddle and got ready to paddle today. The crew had a blast with their surf lesson today – see below for fun in the California sun. Another night of R&R before getting back on the bikes tomorrow!

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Alps Explorer A (AXA):

Another unbelievable day for AXA – after falling asleep with a four course meal settling happily into their tummies, they continued on this morning for their third day of the Tour du Mont Blanc! These pictures speak for themselves, so we’ll let the snowy peaks and huge grins do the talking…

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AX1A - bridgeRed rover, red rover, send some mountains right over!

Alps Explorer B (AXB):

AXB’s passed through a number of quaint French villages today, including a resupply stop in Les Contamines. Tim says things are wonderful and the group is enjoying every step. They were in bed early tonight, as tomorrow is one of the more challenging days of the Tour. It also promises to be one of the most beautiful, and surely one of the most fun as well!

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Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA):

ECCA booked a whopping 83 KM today, and crossed the border from Belgium to France. They crushed their mileage and arrived in Le Quesnoy with plenty of time to explore and enjoy!

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Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB):

ECCB cycled some 70+ KM to arrive in Kluisbergen, Belgium just after lunch. This speedy squad is making great time and spent the remainder of their afternoon exploring this beautiful “artist village,” full of glorious old architecture.

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America Coast to Coast (ACC):

This close crew is making it happen! They biked almost 80 miles today and are growing more and more comfortable with their mileage and each other as the days go on. Tomorrow night is their last night in Alabama! Next stop, Mississippi!

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Day 8: Happy Fourth of July – Apogee Style!

By: Izzy Janzen and Emily Sturtevant

Happy Birthday America! Today, Apogee trips all over the world are celebrating the Fourth. Some celebrate it by crossing new state lines, some by showing American pride in Europe, and others with plain ‘ol festive decor. Here in the office most of us are sporting some combination of red, white, and blue and we’re also blasting “Born in the U.S.A.” Let’s see what all of our trips were up to today and how they decided to celebrate. Happy Fourth of July!

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI):

Today CI has an short 13-mile ride and will spend the day exploring Wellfleet, Massachusetts together. They’re gearing up for an exciting day of surfing tomorrow. Here they are enjoying their Fourth of July lunch! Also, a sneak peak into their decorations for the holiday.

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Vermont to Montreal (VM):

Freddy and Anna and their VM team have truly inspired us today with their dedication to the Fourth. We received a steady stream of entertaining clips this morning of Anna and Freddy really getting hyped up for what the day had to hold. See below for some of the magic…

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vm1Our fearless leaders…..

California Mountains and Coast (CMC):

Today is CMC’s fourth and final day in the back country. As you know, no news is good news and we’re sure Matt and Midge’s crew has cooked up something special to celebrate the 4th. Pictures tomorrow!!

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA):

Today CSA enjoys a sweet morning of surfing- getting some on-land instruction first before hitting the waves- and will visit a beautiful Lighthouse after lunch. Today will be some of the most breathtaking beach vistas of the trip. What a gorgeous way to spend the 4th!

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Coast to Quebec A (CQA):

Today CQA bikes toward Greenville, proudly displaying American flags as they go. This day is sure to be a hilly one- and it’s a big 38 miles but we know they’re up for the challenge and they’ll be rewarded with the potential of a swimming hole this afternoon to revitalize themselves!

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Nothing like a mid-day whipped cream pick-me-up on this lovely day!

Coast to Quebec B (CQB):

CQB started their Fourth of July out by watching the sunrise in Camden. They’re decked out today with some American Flags and bandannas to show their festivity as they ride towards Unity, Maine!

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The sun rises behind CQB as they get ready to leave Camden

Maine’s Downeast Explorer A (DEXA):

Today John and Erinn’s group says farewell to Acadia National Park and heads toward the Appalachian Trail where they will spend the next two nights in the back country! We won’t expect to get pictures from this group while they are backpacking. We will post all the ones they take these next couple days when they get back.

Maine’s Downeast Explorer B (DEXB):

Today is the big day for DEX1B-the big behemoth Katahdin! The bulk of today was spent climbing the mountain and tonight the group will just sit back and relax with tired legs and proud smiles. Tomorrow they will head towards Old Quarry and get excited for their sea kayaking portion! Due to lack of service in Northern Maine we didn’t get any photos today, but tomorrow we will have some summit pictures to share.

Montana Service Adventure (MSA):

Today is a long day of riding for MSA up to Augusta – but they’re staying hydrated and enjoying the challenge together! They may even stop at a local farm and try some locally grown gooseberries. MSA is enjoying the exhilarating feeling of having the plains to themselves and are enjoying the scenery as they go. They, too, are in a cell-phone vacuum – but we’re hoping to have pictures for you tomorrow, if not before.

Northwest Explorer (NWX):

Today our NWXers are spending a day off of their tired toesies and enjoying a little white water rafting on the Sauk River! No better way to start this fourth of July than with patriotic yogurt (topped with strawberries and blueberries, of course!) Today they’ll enjoy some aquatic fun and tomorrow they’ll start preparing for the North Cascades Back Country section.

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Yesterdays ferry ride

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Capturing the moment with a polaroid picture

Pacific Coast A (PCA):

Surfin’ USA! These bikers have turned in their wheels for a board and spent the fourth on the water. After a red, white & blue pancake breakfast at camp this group went down to Crescent City and learned how to ride the waves. They will now spend the night at the same campground as PCB and celebrate Independence day in Apogee style together with a BBQ!

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Gnarly wetsuits, dude!

Pacific Coast B (PCB):

Today our PCB did their big border crossing and are now in Cali where they will enjoy a surf lesson tomorrow! Today they will put up their feet, kick back, fire up the grill and relax while they relish in their accomplishments thus far with the PCA crew. Who knows, they just might get really crazy and wave around a sparkler or two!

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Alps Explorer A (AXA):

Noah and Emma’s crew had an amazing – and tough day – of hiking today. This group were champs as they endured the Fourth of July heat and sun that the French Alps had on offer. These guys enjoyed the amazing views and took advantage of them for a little photo shoot and then had a nice post-lunch snooze.

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Napogee: (n). the rewarding rest one takes after a morning of hiking or biking on trip, usually in beautiful places

Alps Explorer B (AXB):

No better way to celebrate Independence day than a snowball fight, right? Well that’s what Tim and Ally’s group did this morning during today’s portion of the Tour du Mont Blanc. Along with the snow celebration, this group used very appropriate duct tape to fashion hair and bow ties for the group – an ode to the good ol’ USA. This group relaxed after today’s journey with a nice swim and a four course meal!

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Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA):

What we’ve heard from ECCA today is that they did a lot of “America” chants and are enjoying some down time today. Currently they following Fourth of July tradition and are making burgers – in Belgium. They may not be in the US of A, but they sure are celebrating like they are!

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Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB):

Today ECCB enjoyed their day off of the bikes in Bruges, Belgium. They followed in the footsteps of their ECCA counterparts and indulged in some tried and true Belgian waffles. The gang looks thrilled to be there and to be together!

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America Coast to Coast (ACC):

Today ACC crossed over from Georgia into Alabama! This crew’s patriotism speaks for itself- they’re celebrating our great nation by,well, biking across it. Along the way they will get to experience nine different states (two down!) and do so in style in their red, white, and blue jerseys.

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