Yearly Archives: 2015


The Most Important Post 4

Its Thanksgiving, so I suppose that it is fitting for us to finally role the credits. I think this is the most important blog post we have written yet, mostly because of recent world events. It is easy to forget that there is still good in this world, and that there are still people out there who would go out on a limb to help a complete strangers. This is one of the lessons that the two of us gals have learned this year. In the six months that Lizzy and I were traveling on our self-supported bicycle tour in around this country, we were never robbed, harassed, harmed, or hurt. Instead, we were welcomed into strangers’ homes, fed, prayed for, were adopted into families, and were loved. This is a shaggy list of all the people that came to mind. Of course, there are hundreds of others who deserve thankyou’s from us. To anyone who didn’t make it on this list, but deserve a thank you, well, thank you!

 

Thank you to:

Tommy’s Bike Shop for giving us helmets and some bike parts before we left.

Heather and Cody for letting us crash at their place our first night. And to Moriah and Jeremy who came and cut Lizzy’s hair. And also for Cody’s graphic design skills. He vectorized our logo for us.

Sears Ludwig for performing spoken word for our entertainment at the PDX Waterfront.

The stranger in a sweet VW bus who stopped and tried to help us cross the bridge in Hood River, OR.

The stranger who was able to give us a ride across the bridge at Hood River (he actually lifted each bike over the side of his truck by himself, a feat we are still amazed by)

The Mary Hill winery–though we were stinky, sweaty, and altogether a mess—graciously allowed us to fill our water bottles.

The elderly woman I met on the train to Bellingham who offered her home to us in the Dalles. We didn’t end up staying with her, but I would have loved to.

Dan in Touchett, who, though he had recently lost his job, insisted we take his last fifty dollars for Watsi.

Bob and Emma in Walla Walla, WA, who let us have complete reign over their home—including their kitchen, chocolate almond milk supply, and grape juice. Bob also made Lizzy vegan hot dogs. It was raining quite hard outside and Bob gave us the option of staying with them another night. We didn’t take them up on it, but were grateful nonetheless.

Jean and Wayne, the sculptors, for giving us a quick history of the Waitsburg Library History, which is actually quite interesting.

John (who actually lived in McMinnville at one point) and his cat Cougar who operate the Waitsburg Mercantile. John also runs the town cat adoption program and gave me a maple bar and a postcard.

John’s coffee clutch. This is a group of WWII and Korea veterans who have coffee together every morning at John’s Mercantile. They chatted with us for a good while outside the mercantile, shared stories with us about the town and invited us to the Waitsburg Sesquintenial Celebration parade.

The Forest Fire Fighter who gave us directions and permission to camp at the Pomeroy City Park.

Melinda and David, previous rat owners from California who met us at the top of Lolo Pass. Melinda saw Beefy and wanted to talk with us about the trip. She suggested that we go to the hot springs at the bottom of the mountain. We explained that we probably wouldn’t because we were on a tight budget. We went for a quick walk, when we came back to the bikes, Melinda and David had left money for the hot springs and an encouraging note. We ran into them later that night and had a good chat.

Steve from Beaverton who we met at the hot spring. His son is currently touring Europe. Steve bought us dinner and made a generous donation to Watsi.

The Babon’s who let us stay at their home in Missoula. Cindy set up Skype so that we could talk with my parents for the first time in a week. We had an exceptional time.

The folks at Adventure Cyclin HQ, especially Greg Siple who took us on a personal tour through the building and gave us cupcakes and ice cream! He was also a personal friend of my hero Ian Hibbel.

Mercy outside of Missoula, who bought us drinks at the place we’d stopped at to use the restroom. Her dad had died that morning.

The man who owned a little grocery store on the side of the road in Drummond, MO who purposefully undercharged us for our grapefruit and coffee.

Jim in Phillipsburg, MO who has an amazing accent and invited us to campout in the frame of the house he is building. He has biked on “the most dangerous road in the world” (which is the name of an actual road in South America) and had toured through Ireland. He showed up the next morning with hot coffee.

All of the wonderful people at the Brewery in Philipsburg including a lady named Lydia who is also a skull collector, Sonny and Meg who were working for the CDT Trail Alliance, another guy named Jim who has a sweet dog named Hoss, and the lady who owns/operates Friday Night Pizza at the Laundry Mat. She makes a mean pie. She’s also a former lady bike tourist.

The Corvette Club who met us at the top of a mountain somewhere in Montana. They were very encouraging.

The heartening Wisconsin Bible Quizzer family we met at the McDonald’s in Butte, MO. They were very friendly and made a donation to Watsi.

M. Rich, who flagged us down on the side of the road and gave us cold drinks and cookies.

Ken and his mom in Ennis, MO. I had forgot my wallet at our campsite and realized it after we’d ridden over a mountain. We stopped to eat breakfast in Ennis. I asked the lady running the joint if she knew of anyone who’d be willing to give me a ride to Virginia City and back. She called her son and he drove me. We had a wonderful conversation and he would not accept any gas money.

Andrew and Tammy, fellow cyclotourists from Utah, who we met in Ennis and who gave us a really expensive National Geographic map of Yellowstone.

Donna the rat lady from Oklahoma! We have so many thankyous for her and her family, but we met her in Yellowstone and were touched by her kindness and encouragement there. She kept in touch with us the entire tour and opened her home to us when we needed it most. We happened to be in OKC when Denali really needed some medical attention. Donna graciously brought us to her rat doctor and helped with Denali’s treatment. She and her family adopted us and let us stay with them for three nights and took us on field trips around the City. We met a ‘famous’ didgeridoo, tree climbing, yoga man together. He should also get a thank you because he let us play with his adorable puppy and gave us the BEST private didgeridoo concert ever. Donna rode with us for many miles when we left to ensure that we wouldn’t get lost on the way back to Route 66.

The ranger at the state park outside of Cody, who gave us a discounted camping fee and free firewood.

The folks at the Cody Dam who opened the gates to the super-special-secret tunnel so that we wouldn’t have to ride with traffic, but could speed through the canyon on the old access road. Once in a lifetime.

Blaise in Cody, who let us stay at his house. He left a key hidden for us so that we could show up at any time while he was at work (he is an ER nurse). He also had opened up his home to two other tourists, Bob and Andrew the Roosta’. We had quite the adventurer pizza party that night. In the morning, Blaise said Lizzy and I could stay as long as we wanted, so we did.

The gal at the market in Greybull, WY, who said that we looked strange but that she wanted us to feel comfortable getting water there. She meant it quite well and we talked with her for a good while.

Megan and John in Tensleep, WY who told us about a pig roast that was going on down the street. Lizzy told them she was vegan and we all laughed because Meg is vegetarian and John is Jewish. They are good people.

The lady who yelled while I was riding over Powder River Pass. She wanted to buy us breakfast.

Britt and Shannon, retired teachers from Oklahoma, who ran into us on top of Powder River Pass. They gave us pistachios and gum.

Deb, the retired PE teacher in Buffalo, WY, who invited us into her home to take showers. She too is a cyclotourist. She gave me a piece of petrified wood and let us make oatmeal in her kitchen. She also gave me a plastic garbage bag so that I could cover my sleeping bag in the rain. I used that bag the entire tour. She also let us ride her Eliptigo and looked exactly like my grandma.

Grant and Tim, the nice newspaper fellas in Gillette, WY, who printed one of the most accurate articles published. Not every interviewer got the facts right.

Jim and Cindi-Sue from Moorcroft, WY, who saved our lives and bicycles. We got caught on the plains in a severe storm and had to evacuate. The storm was so bad that we had to use a flashlight to flag down a car. Without thinking, we left everything we had on the side of the road and hopped in. Fortunately, Jim and Cindi-Sue are the most wonderful, kind, and honest folks you’d ever meet. They gave us dry clothes to wear, and then Jim took Lizzy back to the bikes to drive them home. I learned a lot talking with Cindi-Sue, who is a town famous chef.

The guy at the Family Dollar in Deadwood who ate two cheese sticks while talking with us. His dad is a huge Boy Scouts fan. They were really encouraging and gave us some tips about the George Mikelson Trail. Also in Deadwood, we met a wonderful older couple who were traveling around America (by car). We received a letter from her months later in Oklahoma.

The gal in Olrichs, SD, who warned us that the road to Nebraska might flood over in the night. I’m not really sure whether this was necessary, but it got us to church on time the next morning, and without that we probably wouldn’t have met Juanita and Donny.

Juanita and Donny Whittecar from Chadron, NE. These are two of the sweetest, most hospitable, and generous people you’ll ever meet. To put it this way, they took us out to lunch and when we were half way through  eating we realized we didn’t know each other’s names—we’d just been chatting so much. Juanita invited us to stay the night and we took her up on it. We have decided to call Juanita and Donny our adopted grandparents, they have kept in touch with us through the whole trip.

The guy we met at a diner in Murdo, SD. We never got his name, but we ran into him three times. Once at a diner, once on the side of the road–we were cooking up some beans literally on the side of the road and he pulled up and threw us some high end granola bars—and finally in the McDonald’s in Pierre, SD. He was leaving town but offered us the key to his hotel room so that we could shower if we got there before checkout. We didn’t end up taking him up on his offer, but it was really kind.

The gnarly biker dude at the Sinclair Station before Pierre who was blown away by our trip and took a picture of us with a disposable camera. He was great.

The elderly hostess at the McDonald’s in Pierre who made up for the most extremely rude woman I have every met who happened to be working the front counter. The hostess came to us and filled our coffee several times.

Bruce, Mary and their friend Jim who let us stay with them in Pierre. They also fed us, let us do laundry, collect eggs, and pet their cute pair of ginger piglets. Bruce gave Denali a small sack of raw sunflower seeds.

The American Legion in Pierre, SD. These guys were great. They gave us snacks and encouragement and let us completely blow up their picnic area while we were preparing to mail back our winter gear. They also let us store a couple of boxes of things in their building so that we wouldn’t have to bike around town with them.

The stranger lady outside the Post Office in Pierre who recognized us from our newspaper interview and insisted she give us 40$ to buy ‘steaks’ when we got to Wisconsin.

The stranger at the gas station in the middle of nowhere who prayed over us.

The man and his wife in Faulkner who unlocked his woodshop so that we could get out of the raging thunderstorm. They were on their way to church and said that we could stay as long as we needed. They came back right as we were packing up. He offered to let us come to their home and take showers and do laundry, we didn’t take him up on it, but it was very kind.

The lady that picked me up when I was hitch-hiking back to Aberdeen where I had accidentally left my cell phone at a Starbucks. When I got there my phone hadn’t been moved though it had been sitting there unattended for four hours.

The homeschool family that picked me up hitch-hiking from Aberdeen. These folks were so fun, and absolutely fantastic people. We drove around and did errands, then they took me back to the gas station where Lizzy and Denali had been waiting for me with the bikes. They took us across the street for ice cream.

LaDarious and Isabella, Ethan, Jeron, the kiddos in Britton, SD who were very curious about what we were doing. We talked with them for a good while and tried to fix their bikes. Eventually, they called their mom, Kristen, and told her that we needed showers. We took them up on their offer. These kids are absolutely wonderful.

The lady running the gas station in Britton, SD, who gave me one of her world famous brownies.

The Librarian at the little library in Foreman, ND, who brought us hot coffee.

Rita and Co. in Milnor, ND. It had been freezing and raining all day. When we made it to Milnor, the entire town was closed except for the tavern. We went in to get French fries, use the bathroom, and change into dry (more like less wet) clothes. We met Rita and Charlie there and ended up going home with them. They are so much fun and quite interesting. Rita is an electrician, Charlie works at a cement plant. In the morning, Rita arranged an interview for us.

The fella working at McDonald’s at the Minnesota border who gave me a chocolate milkshake.

Steven and Jessica  who followed our entire trip on Instagram and even made us some cool custom jewelry. Can’t cind the picture, but its on insta.

The man in Hoffman who gave us a bag of produce and chocolate. YAY! The man who ran the gas station in Hoffman who gave us an entire sack of granola bars and offered to make us a big breakfast.

Mary from the Philippians, who gave us orange juice when we stopped at her garage sale, and all the ladies at the Lady of the Ruin Stone rummage sale who tried, without success, to find us the perfect Minnesota Souvenir.

Betty the gardener, who  stopped us outside of a grocery store and wanted to hear all about our trip. She too is an adventurer and used to live on a sailboat in the Caribbean. She insisted on giving us snack money.

The generous folks at the Paynesville baseball complex, which doubles as the town storm shelter. They gave us TONS of food and then arranged things so that we could stay inside the storm shelter during the night because a huge storm system was moving in. We were very glad they let us stay indoors because there was a major storm that hit at 2 am. It was raining so hard that Lizzy took a shower outside.

The man who owned the Mexican Restaurant in Hutchinson, MN. He was very kind to us and interested in our adventure. He also can make a mean quesadilla. Also in Hutchinson, the wonderful lady who runs the little movie theater downtown. She let us leave our bikes inside the lobby while we watched a movie. Tickets were only three dollars.

The cop that didn’t bother us when we were sleeping behind the library in New Prauge. He could have made us leave, but he didn’t.

Mat de St. Huber, who survived three tours in Vietnam and being trampled by a team of draft horses and 48 strokes. He wasn’t lying either. He used to ride a Gitane bicycle.

The YMCA that gave us free showers.

The lady that interviewed us in W Concord who was very kind. Also in W Concord, the police officers that couldn’t allow us to camp in the city park because of city ordinance, but showed us a place we could stay. They were very polite about everything, and impressed that we had made it so far.

Our interviewer outside of Rochester who was very encouraging and has kept in contact with us through the whole trip.

James Rogers, who approached us when it was obvious we needed help.  We were looking a little road worn and ragged, but he tried very hard to find someone we could stay with for the night. He couldn’t, but he gave us his card in case we had an emergency. When we looked at his card we saw that he was a chairman for the Mayo Clinic.

Michael Jackson, who installed a new chain and freewheel on Lizzy’s bike, and then helped us again after work. Lizzy’s rear quick release snapped in half, but he had one that he gave us. He also gave us permission to tent camp behind the bike shop, gave us access to his car in case we needed to leave at some point in the night, and gave me a hatchet. We got beverages together and had a wonderful chat. We can’t forget Michael Jackson.

The owner operator of the bike shop in Decorah, IO, who gave us very detailed directions to Wisconsin. We followed his route and it turned out to be one of the most magical rides we had the entire trip. We also didn’t have to ride on any major highways.

All of the people we met in Monroe, including the dairy farmer bike tourist who would wake up at four and wait for hours for his tent to dry. We thought about that a lot. We also met a great woman at the McDonald’s who wrote us often. We were stopped by the police when we tried to camp in the city park. They were extremely polite and understanding and showed us another place we could go.

The reporter in Woodstock, who brought us Swiss Maid cinnamon bread and other snacks.

Tom and Karen, who opened their gorgeous home to us in Lake Forest, IL. We had been looking for a place to stay when we ran into Tom and Karen and a couple of their friends. We were all watching the sunset together over Lake Michigan. They were gracious hosts and genuinely wonderful people.

Cory, Laura, and baby Bayland who let us stay with them in their new house in Chicago.

The elderly man who gave me my Yellowstone hat when we stopped at his garage sale. I didn’t get his name, but he is a former adventurer and has backpacked in most of the National Parks.

Sasha and Even, who let us stay with them in their super hit apartment in Cleveland.

The man who told Lizzy a detailed account of his dream in which Coby Bryant stole his dog. Sometimes it is just good to talk to people

Mary who pulled over on the side of the road and invited us to her house for dinner. She made us oatmeal and tacos and we got to hang with her and her cool son Tom. They were so much fun! Little Beef did his rat ambassador thing. Great people.

Leo, Bonnie, and Bud the dog who let us stay the night in Erie, PA. Leo drove us to the Post Office and surprised my with a birthday cake and even let us wash our sleeping bags.

Colvert Arms Fife and Drum Corps, who let us camp out with them in Fredonia, NY. This is one kickn’ fife and drum corps! Thank you Jeff, Dave, Mary, Mark, Markus, Cody, and Rosamond. And thanks also to Mary Deas who gave us a jar of exceptional, pure, raw honey. We treated that honey like pure gold—“How do you know its pure honey if you don’t know the beekeeper?” This was definitely one of my favorite moments on the tour. I had Battle Cry of Freedom stuck in my head for three weeks.

The man in Hamburg, NY, who gave us permission to camp out behind the gas station on a night when we really had no place to go.

Leslie King, and Dwight, who let us stay in their home in Buffalo. Leslie gave me clear and accurate directions to Niagara Falls, which is noteworthy—not everyone gives perfect directions. These people are wonderful, so hospitable. Leslie invited us to stay as long as four days. If we didn’t have a schedule to keep we might just have taken her up on it. She also helped Lizzy convert the Beef box.

The good people who organized the Erie Canal Trail ride, and invited us to take advantage of the wonderful lunch bar—fruits and granolas and peanutbutters . . . They must not have realized how much we can eat. The Erie Canal Trail is absolutely magical and we had the great opportunity to share Watsi with many fellow cyclists. We also met some friends who offered us dinner in NYC. We took them up on it!

The elderly woman in Saratoga who checked on me to make sure I was ok when I fell asleep on the table at St. Arbucks. We had a long talk about race horses. She has been teaching for over 33 years.

Adam and Emily, fellow tourists who rode with us through Vermont, though not by their choice. Even though Lizzy and I were being extremely obnoxious and in the troughs of a lively Harry Potter debate and offered them dumpster doughnuts, they treated us with nothing shy of respect and grace. We even semi-accidentally ended up staying the night with them at a Warm Showers host in New Hampshire. I could write a whole page about their kindness, and the kindness of our host, Scott.

Timmy and Mia, fellow PNWers, who camped with us in Massachusetts with a huge salad, hugs, and Oreos! Great folks, great times. Also, the woman named Dylan and her granddaughter who offered to let us sleep in their yurt that night.

Miss Esther Hunt a friend from school who is a math genius and still life polar bear artist who let us stay with her in Providence. She also gave us a real live tour of the math think tank at Brown University.

The great guys at the Methodist Church on Long Island who gave me a really cool bowl, Lizzy a rabbit magnet, and the both of us water.

Kevin Motel, a long time instagrub pal, who let us stay with him in his apartment. He let us run though his old tour pics and let us use the air conditioning. In the morning he rode with us to the train station and let us use his and his girlfriend’s train pass so that we wouldn’t have to pay for the bikes.

The wonderful folks we met on the Erie Canal Trail, who cooked us a super nice dinner, complete with tofu steaks and salmon. It was great to be there and have long conversations about bikes, New York, and life.

Lizzy’s uncles Macario and Kirk, who generously let us stay in their beautiful apartment in Harlem for two nights so that we could enjoy the city. They are really great guys and have a wonderful dong named Scout.

The man in Edison, NJ, who tried so hard to line up a place for us to stay. There were so many strangers we met all through Appalachia and the Eastern Seaboard  and I wish I could remember their names, but I do remember their faces . Many offered housing or showers, most an encouraging word, some snack money. Several churches let us camp out in the back of their property. Some even left the doors unlocked so that we could use the bathroom and kitchen, and get water. Talk about trust.

Frasier, the cool cop who stopped us from literally camping in the playground equipment at the city park, but gave us permission to sleep at the church parking lot. He was fantastic, extremely helpful, and funny all the while maintaining his professionalism.

The man who builds cabinets who stopped and gave us (and our bikes, no small feet) a ride over the scary bay bridge in Maryland. We were just about to give up hope making it over that bridge when he showed up. If you’re reading this: go on that tour you’ve always dreamed of.

Richard, the most gracious host ever! We love Richard! He let us stay with him two nights in Washington DC and we learned sooooooo much from him about politics, Germany, the Syrian Refugee Crisis and so on. Richard wants to someday become a professor, now he works with the German party embassy and participates in think tanks (like the Rand Corporation!) All the while he treated us with respect, even when I broke a picture frame, and he shared his wonderful, imported German jams and jellies with us. He is simply one of the most unexpectedly fabulous people ever.

How could we forget bluegrass musician and tire salesman Mr. Randy Carr (seriously) who pulled over on the side of the road in Virginia at exactly the time that we needed it, and offered us one of his cabins for the night. We had absolutely no place to go when he offered. Again, a whole page could be written here about him. He gave me a neon safety vest and some cookies, and his grandson gave us a tour around the property. Good times in Virginias.

The pastor of the First Pentecostal Church in Hot Springs, Virginia who, when we asked permission to camp in the parking lot, flipped us the keys to the building. There was a torrential downpour that night.

Tim and Min missionaries in Bluewells. A whole page here. These are the kindest people ever, they brought us home for two nights, gave us access to the internet, trusted us with funds to go school supply shopping for their ministry, brought them to their ministry headquarters to use the office, treated us like family, gave us a driving tour of the area, gave us directions that we desperately needed, and were just—well—really nice. We love the Swingles and will always cherish those days.

Gordon who saved us from Hob Nob’s Gob, the WORST and steepest road in America I’m sure. He let us stay with him and his dogs and gave us directions that let us go around the super steep death road.

The pastors at the Pound, Virginia, who let us stay in their circuit preacher’s apartment when we asked for permission to sleep in the parking lot. The next day, one of the pastor’s mother-in-law saw us on the top of a neighboring mountain and bought us lunch.

Kin, owner of the Thrift Way in the Pound, who saw us out front his store and brought us bananas, granola, and Gatorade. I thought he was going to ask us to leave because we’d been there a while and were looking rough, but instead he wanted to hear about Watsi and introduced us to his customers, by name, as they entered his store. He had done medical missions work in Africa.

Kendall, the man who went out of his way (literally miles) to find us in the parking lot of a McDonald’s and bring us inner tubes—not once but TWICE. He refused to take money too. There is a whole page worth of story on this one, but it goes without saying that he is a generous and selfless man.

The folks at the bike shop in Asheville who replaced my rear derailleur. I’ve never before had anyone work on my bike in my life, but I was so frustrated I decided to pay the 30 bucks labor and get coffee. They did exceptional work. I wish I could remember the shop name, Epic I think was.

The lady in the parking lot of the church who we asked to sleep at. Somehow she found us online within the week and sent us a postcard. She’s awesome!

Emma, who pulled over to the grocery store where we were loitering and tried so hard to find a way to bring us back to her family. They were only five miles away, and in retrospect we really should have just ridden there, but at the time we were so exhausted the thought of one extra mile was crushing. She bought us a great dinner at the food co-op across the street and we talked a lot about intentional community and adventuring.

Floyd,  dude with a son in Alaska and a fanny pack made out of a bear claw who drinks raw honey from a Gatorade bottle. We didn’t accept his invitation to stay with him and his wife that night, but he offered so we’re thankful for that.

The wonderful folks at the Baptist church in Hartwell, GA, who brought us into their bible study / dinner, and then sent us home with Cindy and David, some wonderfully and encouraging nice people with an ancient, blind Yorkie. Cindy took us out to breakfast the next day and we were able to help the church out with food distribution in the morning.

Aunt Jenny, for meeting us in Georgia (and getting us a hotel, and dinner) I don’t often get to see my Tennessee family so it was a huge encouragement to visit. Aunt Jenny also offered to send home a huge box of junk that had been accumulating on our bikes for the past two months. Bless her.

The church in Pascagoula, FL, that gave us the entire youth building for the night.

Rick and Kim, the artist family in Alabama that let us hang out for a while. It was fun to be around kids for a while. Lizzy went through the entire Katy Perry video discography with the little ones. . .

The folks who were obviously on meth who let us camp inside the air-conditioned community center in Mississippi. We locked the doors.

Dad, for meeting in the Ozarks and spoiling us rotten with campsites and milkshakes.

Wonderful Nancy, who brought us home to stay with her and cooked up the most fantastic feast  I have ever had. She is a gracious host and a hard worker. She also is the local pie lady !!!

The lady at the McDonald’s who walked outside with a hashbrown and a biscuit in a napkin. She had saved it for little Beefy.

Olivia of Transylvania, LA, who is a prime example of selflessness and generosity. She gave us food and water, then her son arranged for his church to get us a hotel room for the night. We were quite taken back by this. In the evening, Olivia drove to the hotel and brought us a yummy home cooked meal.

The folks at the first Baptist Church in Dumas, AR, who insisted on putting us up in a hotel room when we asked to camp out in their parking lot. Two ladies from the church, Velva and Jessie, drove out to the hotel to talk with us after the evening service, and in the morning took us out to a lunch.

Becky and Co., who we stayed with in Arkansas. She rode with us through the confusing bike paths to make sure that we were able to find our way.

The church in Miami Oklahoma that let us take showers, and who sent us away with an abundance of Gatorade, fruit salad, and doughnuts.

All of the Trickeys in Oklahoma. ‘nuff said.

Donna the Rat lady in Oklahoma City and Tod, and their daughters. I cannot say enough of how appreciative we are of these wonderful people, who we met in Yellowstone. They let us stay in their home for two nights while we nursed little Beef. Not only were they generous in opening up their home to us, they went above and beyond the call of hospitality to make sure that little Beef had his medical needs met. Donna rode with us a good 20 miles the morning we left so that we could get back to Route 66 without getting lost. We couldn’t have made it without the encouragement and grace of Tod and Donna.

The wonderful people who gave us a key and let us crash their cute house in downtown Santa Fe for a few nights. These are the parents of one of Lizzy’s friends and I cannot remember their name off the top of my head, but I am soooooooo grateful for that time of rest.

The elderly man running the gas station in the middle of nowhere New Mexico who gave me a coffee. (he made Lizzy pay. Hmmm.)

The folks who let us stay in their back yard in Durango. Sandhya and Joey. There is a long story here, but they are fellow cyclists, Joey runs the best bike shop in Durango. They let us stay with them without notice or introduction.

The folks at the church in Cameron, AZ. We had a great time pulling weeds and  talking about the US Space Program, the Dominican Republic, and ministry in the Navajo Reservation.

Momma, who brought Grandpa Hal to Arizona and treated us to a stay at the Grand Canyon. Fab.

Lizzy’s Aunt Lelli, who got us a hotel room when we were in Barstow and drove all the way from LA to meet us for dinner.

Paige and Adam, for letting us crash their place in Tracey and for cooking us a wonderful dinner.

The folks at Rivendell (especially Mr. Peterson), for hanging out with us, talking with us, and being nice.

 

 

The folks at Watsi for letting us come to the big city for a visit, for buying us sandwiches, and for letting us dedicate this tour to their work. Thanks Watsi, and all the donors who support Watsi so that people who need medical care can get it.

All of my Bay area family who hosted us for days and treated us like Queens—You rock.

And of course, all of you friends, family, and strangers who made this tour happen. There is no way we could have done what we did the last 6 months without the generous and continuing support from all of you. (I can think of all the phone calls Tessa put up with when I was highly emotional and utterly exhausted. She could have hung up, but she didn’t.) We are also grateful for the support of our parents, the continual prayer support from Carlton Community Church, all of the letters we received on our way, and all the friendly and supportive Instagram comments we received from you 1,050 followers. I’m sure that Lizzy has a lot of thankyous that didn’t get into this one, especially from her solo leg up the Pacific Coast.

We’re still not sure what we’re going to do with WBD, but I will say that there is talk of touring to Alaska and Hawaii sometime in the future. Now that we’re at 48, why not 50? Thanks again, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 


the end of the end, but also the beginning 3

 

Okay, so I left off a million days ago at the Starbucks in Fortuna, CA with my newly made friend, Andrew. We decided to head out towards Eureka together, then split off, me heading to my Warm Showers host and him heading to… somewhere; he’d find a place.

 

We scooted along with the Pacific ocean visible to our left (makes for super easy navigation) and eventually came to my exit. We exchanged numbers in case we might meet up again, then I headed off through town, up and over a series of increasingly steep hills, as always, to my Warm Showers house.

 

Can I add here that the steeper and frequenter the hills on route to a hosts house may or may not directly correlate with how freaking awesome the people there will be?

 

 As I huffed and puffed my way up, I kept this in mind, and once I reached the Lemmon’s house, my theory was proved correct. Barbie and their in-process-of-being-adopted-forever-and-ever son, Quaden, greeted me at the door and led me around to the backyard.

 

I met the dogs, the neighbor’s cat, and put up my tent under the careful observation of Quaden. He told me about some of the many other cyclists who had passed through, and then we looked at bugs and snails under an old board lying in the grass.

 

After my little home was situated, I went in, met CJ and Brian, the two adult foster guys living there as well, and took a nice warm shower, and Barbie let me wash a badly needed load of laundry in their sing-songy washer & dryer set. I had to put on a goofy outfit of cleanish clothes while those were in the wash; a nice dress shirt and long johns. Classy.

 

After a bit, Dal came home from making pizza with kids at Betty Chinn’s (a major helper of the homeless and underprivileged in the region, like Eureka’s own Mother Teresa). Dal does this every Thursday and the kids totally know they’re gunna have a treat when he walks in the door.

 

He makes the pizza dough using the twenty-year-old sourdough starter they have. It’s seriously like a family pet now. He made some more pizzas and bread for dinner, and Barbie whipped up this great quinoa casserole for us. Seriously yum.

 

We all sat around talking for a long time, found out we both have the same cell phone company (Republic Wireless, which rules, and yes, we were very excited when we found out we were both Republic members), and just generally basked in the glow of a warm kitchen filled with the smells of fresh baked bread.

 

Eventually though, my frequent yawns indicated that my body was ready for bed, so I slipped out to my cozy abode in the yard and zonkered out. In the morning, more delicious bread was made, and they even packaged up a little bit of the starter for me to attempt to make it home alive with.

 

I figured out my route, said bye to my wonderful hosts, and soon was scooting out in the crisp autumn air, necessitating gloves to keep my fingers from breaking off like the little icicles they were.

 

 

Dal had told me that there was a Winco in town the night before, so I made it my mission to visit that old friend of mine; the first Winco we’d seen since May probably. I stopped in, got some bulk goodies, and hit the road again.

 

 

I zipped along 101 all day, and stopped for a lunch break at the Humbolt Lagoon State Park Visitor’s Center. I started chatting with the lady, Marna, who runs the kayak rental shop and keeps the visitor’s center up and running. I was telling her about my hosts last night, and brought in some leftover bread to share that Barbie had sent with me that morning. I asked Marna if she’d like any of the starter currently resting in my bag, and it turned out that that very morning she had been thinking of making bread for dinner but lamented not having any starter… Things just work out perfectly sometimes, and so when I left after lunching, it was with a smile on my face and a hug from a new friend.

 

 

 I continued on, taking the Newton B Drury scenic parkway off 101 north of Orick. On the Stinkel Tour of 2013, we were heading south on 101 and, not knowing the conditions ahead, opted to stay on 101. This was the biggest mistake as we found ourselves climbing up what we later deemed Death Mountain, the roads covered in centipedes, and finding a bloated dead deer wrapped up in a sleeping bag at the peak. On entering Orick after having spent the night on Death Mountain, a lady at the general store told us the scenic alternate was actually a lot less steep, a shorter distance, less trafficked, and just generally a lot more beautiful.

 

So, lesson well learned, I took the scenic route and found myself quietly rolling under the lofty branches of ageless giants. There was a state park campground on the route, but I had other plans for that night. I wanted to sleep IN a tree, and wouldn’t rest till I had found the perfect one.

 

As dusk approached, I would stop off at promising trees along the roadside and see if they would make a suitable home for the night. Eventually I did find one, and dragged my bike up and tucked it away, invisible to any passing cars.

 

I climbed in under the roots of this tree, like a fox burrowing in, and my nose was filled with the musty scent of damp and earth and the soil cradled me in its arms for the night. It was just the magic I was searching for.

note: it was not the tree pictured about, though that one would have been nice…

I woke early the next morning, and continued on my way. I stopped for bit in Crescent City to charge up, perhaps eat some pies, and impulse bought a pair of socks. I was excited to scoot across the Oregon border though, so I didn’t linger long.

 

I did stop at the casino just before the border to get my fill of free coffees, gamble away two of my hard earned dollars, and reminiscence our shenanigans from the previous tour, where we sneaky camped in the dog poo zone and drank lots of  coffee before bed. Such is the life.

 

 

But I had a home state to return to, so I continued on. No long after, I spotted the sign marking the entrance of my final (or first) state, and hustled on up. A car pulled up just as I did, three folks visiting Oregon from Humbolt State College, so we swapped photography skills and went on our way.

 

As I hopped back on my scoot, the rain began to fall. Thank you Oregon… knew I could count of you for that… It was a soggy ride through Brookings, and as I rode along, expecting a campground where there wasn’t one, it began to get darker and rain harder. I eventually had to just pull over to the side of the road, and throw up the tent in the pouring rain.

 

Everything, including myself, was completely soaked. I climbed in and threw on some semi dry clothes, bundled up best I could, and zonked out. I woke with the sun in the morning, and had spectacular views of the the Oregon coast shadowed by thick boiling clouds overhead. It was still raining on and off, but I had a good goal today to motivate me to scoot on; I had planned to meet up with my pal Steveo at Humbug Mountain State Park (Oregon has the best state parks, by the way).
So I sped along, stopping for just a bit at Gold Beach to munch some breakfast, and the thought of seeing my friend and having a big dry tent and cozy blankies spurred me on. I did see a big dead whale beached on my way along, people milling about it’s huge rotting spine, so that was interesting…

 

I arrived, having biked the 45 or so miles before 11, and quickly changed into the remaining semi-dry clothes I had squandered away for just this moment. Steveo showed up a bit after I did, and it was fantastic to see her again. It had been over a year and a half, as she had returned from her nine month trip to Chile just a week after we had left, but the great thing about great friends is that you can just pick up right where you left off.
So we did just that, and set up the big four person tent, piled in all the blankies and snacks, and I even convinced her to drive me up to Port Orford so I could toss my sodden sleeping bag and clothes in the dryer and get some extra munchies for our party tent.
When we got back to the campground, we took a walk on the beach, which is incredible, and Steveo said it made her feel like she was in some far away country, with the huge rocks and cliffs cragging up out of the sand.

 

We went back to the tent and lazed about, munching, drinking, and catching up for hours, listening to the rain pelting the tent, cozy in our nest. As soon as it started getting dark though, my yawns began, and we fell asleep before nine. Talk about a couple of party monsters.

 

In the morning the sun came out and we went for another walk on the beach, and packed up the tent. After that, we sat just sat around in the sun on the sidewalk, while I laid out my tarps and such to dry.
Just before three, we were talking with the camp host and I was thinking about about heading out to make the short trip to my warm shower host in Bandon. I had looked up the mileage a few day ago, and knew it wasn’t a full day of travel, but when the host told me it’d be about 35 miles I knew I needed to get my butt in gear.

 

I finished packing up, said bye to my pal, and put on a burst of speed, wanting to arrive before the ever earlier nightfall. I had messaged Brian, my host, a few days prior asking if I could stay, and he said, “sure, bring your stank ass on!” and that I’d need to cook him dinner as he relished turning vegetarians and vegans back to the carnivorous side, so I knew I was in for a fun night.

 

Just as I was pulling into Bandon, I stopped and picked up supplies to make a big spaghetti dinner, and the sun finished falling by the time I got back on my bike. So I biked the final mile or so in the dark, and luckily as I pulled onto the gravel road leading to my host’s house, his wife, Nicole, and little daughter Olivia were driving out for basketball practice and told me which house was theirs.

 

I arrived and met Brian, their son Raleigh, their dog Roxie, and another cyclist, Andie, a Brazilian gal who had been there for a few days. I felt at home immediately. Andie was been looking at getting a small dog at the pound in Coos Bay and asked if I thought she was crazy for it. I right away assured her that it was probably the best idea in the whole world.

 

When later she found out that I had been cycling with my little pal, she said oh course I didn’t think it was nuts of her to get a dog… I had had a rat with me!
Anyways, we all just hung out, talked, had a collaborative spaghetti cooking party, and enjoyed the meal together. Sitting with Brian and Nicole afterwards, we were talking about his childhood in upstate New York, and he told about how his parents had given him this wonderful malamute dog when he was like six and they were best pals. Once day a vacuum sales lady came by, and when she left, he saw that she had the dog jump up into the car with her before she drove off. He walked into the living room and asked his parents where the lady was taking the dog and they just said, “Oh, she really liked her so we gave her away.”

 

We were all laughing about this awful story, but then a bit later when I was loving on Roxie talking about how I really wanted a dog, Brian said to take her (she doesn’t bark, and he wants a better guard dog). Nicole and I were quick to point out that he was repeating the cycle and that I would just be the vacuum sales lady in this scenario! We were all laughing, but they really were serious that I could have Roxie if I wanted her… a trip down the coast may be in my future plans then…
In the morning, I said bye to everyone and scooted to Coos Bay to go to the post office and loiter. I’d be meeting my dad, aunt, and dad’s lady friend that evening at Sunset Bay State Park and I had all day to tool around. I ate pies, played on the internet, and got caught up on my letter writing.

 

As it got late, I headed out to bike the ten more miles to the park. It got dark and foggy on my way, so I had to make full use of my ultra-super-bright headlight. As I finally was arriving at the park, I could hear someone calling off in the distance, and realized they were looking for their dog in the pitch dark.

 

I scooted back, and into a empty parking lot, save one car, and found a gal with big curly red hair and thick clear framed glasses hollering for her pup. She had been calling for an about an hour, but was pretty confident that he’d be able to find his way back. She’d been out watching waves on the cliff side, and this one hadn’t come back to the car with her and her other dog.

 

I couldn’t bring myself to help call (I can’t yell, for some reason it’s really embarrassing for me… Sarah, the girl, totally called me out on that), but I beamed my flashlight around the woods and the darkness around us. I was all nervous that perhaps something happened like the dog fell into the ocean or got eaten by a mountain lion or another million different things, and  I offered to give her one of my lights, or to go retrace her steps on the trail, but she didn’t want me to have to go out of my way or have to leave my light there.

 

Then she remembered that she had a candle in her trunk and asked if I had a light, and like the good little boy scout I am, I produced. We got the candle lit and just laughed because, though it was a charming light in the darkness of the woods around us, it wasn’t very bright and surely wouldn’t aid much in the finding of the dog.

 

So we stood around more and we talked about the bike trip, punctuated by hollers of “here boy!” and “cooome on boy!” At one point though she calls out, “good boy! oh good boy!” and a fat little jack russel terrier comes trotting up and sniffs my scoot. She scooped him up in her arms, and it was just a really beautiful moment in the darkness, her face flooded with a smile, and them haloed in the night of the candle.
Mission accomplished, I scooted on, and found the yurt which was to be home fort he night, and had to scrounge around for a place with cell signal to find out what the code was to get inside.

 

I eventually got in, and blasted the heater, sitting at the table writing letters for hours. I left my bike on the porch and multiple times I’d go peek and find raccoons attempting to get into my panniers. After their third venture, I just brought cycle scoot inside with me, and tucked him behind the bunk bed.
As it got later and later I started to worry when they would get there, and when they finally showed up around 10:30 I was fighting sleep as they excitedly told me about hitting a huge owl on their way. I later deemed it a drive by hooting. Har-Har.

 

But we all managed to stay up till two a.m. playing games and catching up before I was too tired to stand it any longer and zonked out.

 

We got up early the next morning and hung about snacking before heading out to walk to the beach down the road. We each were absorbed with finding treasures, watching waves, sitting and talking now and then, and of course, petting all the dogs. After that beach was thoroughly explored, we hiked up and around and down a treacherous path to another little beachlet, and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring that one. The day was bright and sunny, there were hermit crabs and snails aplenty, and I sprawled out and took a nap in the sand.
We came back to the yurt later, and my dad and I made a cookie/wine run to the closest town, where a man in a fake beard and glasses came into the convenience store and the clerk just asked him to leave…

 

We didn’t stay up as late that night, and woke earlyish in the morning to pack. My dad was to be joining me for the last 180 or so miles, so we loaded up our bikes and hit the road around nine, where I had to make multiple stops to get groceries for dinner, drop letters off in the mail, and pick up a spare shifter cable.

 

We stopped at McDonald’s for pies and so I could plan our route ahead, and my Auntie Clair and Shery stopped by with coffee and to say a final goodbye. They were playing paper football and Adam (my dad) flicked it directly into this old lady’s head across the way. Can’t take him anywhere…
Once we got going again, we made another quick pitstop at a thrift store to try to find some sore of basket for Adam to put his water bottle and handy things in on his front rack. He got this perfect little bucket, we rigged it up, and scooted on.

 

On the bridge out of town, the bike lane was incredibly narrow and four or five different cars honked and/or flipped me off as they drove past. This was literally the rudest people had been on the entire trip, and it was right here in my supposedly bike-friendly state! Oh well…

 

We rode out to Honeyman State Park, and Adam did fantastic, in fact he was just scooting along ahead of me nearly the whole day, so when he asked how the hills compared to others on this trip, I had to act all boss and be like, “what hills? I didn’t even notice any hills…”

 

At the park, we scooted to the welcome center yurt, and ate our dinner of beans and played farkel (also called ten thousand, a dice game) till well after dark and the rain slowed down. We marched out to the hiker/biker spot and I set up the tent and we zonked.
I got up early the next day and packed and waiting for the old man to wake. We zipped up to Florence, about eight miles, and stopped at the McDonalds for pies, coffee, oatmeal breakfast, and more letter writing.
We scooted on, and had great views of the coast, stopping at one point for pb&j bagels. A few miles after that we rolled into Yachats where there was a restaurant my dad recommended, so we stopped for beers and a second lunch. Now that’s traveling in style!
But then it was getting late and we still had 25 more miles to go, so we zipped out. I saw a dead black bear on the side of the road, the first time I’d seen bear roadkill…

 

We stopped a bit earlier than anticipated because it was getting dark, and found a day use area to sneakily throw the tent up in. It was incredibly windy out, but thankfully it didn’t rain, and we fell asleep with the sound of the waves crashing just a few hundred feet away.

 

We got out of there early in the morning and headed into Newport. The McDonald’s in town had no outlets, so we did our morning loiter at the Starbucks in the Fred Meyer on the far side of town. After that, more scooting, and we entered Lincoln City, where we stopped for a quick beer at the Rusty Truck brewing co, and called my grandpa to wish him a happy birthday. The dude is 77 now!

 

When we left, Adam put plastic bags over his shoes, and thoroughly embarrassed me like the good father he is, and soon enough we were taking our exit of 101 and onto hwy 18 and heading inland and for home!
We crossed the coast range, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be (maybe just from perspective of crossing other mountainous regions), and made it to Spirit Mountain Casino for free coffee, a warm building, and perhaps just a bit of video poker (I had my did quit while he was ahead, and we earned six bucks while being entertained and dry).

 

Outside, we rolled behind to the employee break area and took over some picnic tables under some canopies to make ramen soupy dinner out of the rain. Security may have came by to ask why we were there, but I shrugged them off. There weren’t any signs saying we couldn’t be there.

 

We talked with some of the employees and we ate, then scooted out to check the situation with RV lot and see if we could pull off a sneaky camp there. But there were cameras and it was patrolled, so we decided not to push our luck. Adam knew of a park just up Hebo Lake Road, so I figured we ought to go give it a chance.

 

It was dark out, and a bit frustrating to only be 25 miles from home, but we scooted along to the Fort Yamhill Heritage Area and scoped the place out. There were a few pre-fabs that we figured we could crash on the porch of, but then, as we were walking around with flashlights, we found this huge coliseum thing and some wonderfully covered wooden porches. Despite this place being so close to home, neither of us had ever been before, but it did serve to be a wonderful sneaky camp spot.

 

Security came by a few times in the night, but miraculously, their bouncing flashlight beam skipped over our hut and afforded us a nice dry night of sleep.

 

In the morning, it was quite chill, and rainy, and we waited for it to settle a bit before heading out. We passed Sheridan and all the roads were intimately familiar, the miles counting down to the end of this journey for me.
We stopped at the coffee shop next to the DQ and got in one last good loiter, somewhat reluctant to go home, but also eager to finally be back.
Then we left, with just 14 or so miles to go… and took the exit for McMinnville… and rolled onto third street dressed in full autumn colors… and into the bike lane on Evans which has felt the soft spin of my tires for years upon years… and turned onto my street… and finally, to home.

IMG_20151101_143842
so much love, and thanks to you all
-lizzy


California Dreamin 2

So, we had been in contact with Watsi as we got closer to San Francisco, and planned to have lunch there on Friday.

Stink looked up times and fare for the ferry the night before, and we had just enough people money to get us there and back. People money being cash that people give us on the side of the road and at gas stations, that we use for bike parts, mexican dinners, and ferries.

That morning, we got up early, hung about, and drank copious amounts of Aunt Sharon’s coffee. She has a 20 year old espresso machine that we made full use of.

Around ten or so, we hoped on our nakey bikes and zipped down to the ferry terminal. Minutes later, we were boarding and finding some seats with plenty of leg room, agreeing that this is how airplane travel should be done.

It was about an hour to SF, and we stepped off the boat and right into downtown. We had a quick zip over to Watsi HQ and were greeted by the growing team.

After we said hi to everyone, we all walked en masse to the food carts and Trader Joe’s down the road. Stink & I both got some dope wraps, and made our way back.

Everybody crowded around for lunch and asked questions and we told them about the ways in which we had been telling folks about Watsi for the past six months.

I was talking so much that when I started in on the second half of my wrap, I looked up and realized everyone else was already done eating. So I picked up the pace and horked down the rest of it, under the watchful eye of like, fifteen other people.

Grace hooked us up with some print materials, photography and stories from their most recent trip to Wuqu’ Kawoq, a clinic for indigenous peoples in Guatemala. Sara grabbed a couple shirts for us, so we could rep Watsi on the fly. And then, soon enough, we were saying bye, till next time, when we have the hankering for adventure and want to do some good along the way.

After Watsi, I insisted that we go to Chinatown for a final farewell goodbye hum bao run. Then, as I was sweating buckets just pushing my bike up one of a series of increasingly steep hills, I remembered why one does not take biking around San Francisco lightly.

But we made it there, the sights and smells familiar and reminiscent of all the previous Chinatowns we had scooted through. We did our usual hunt for odd produce, mochi treats, cell phone charm dangly thingys, and all the bakeries we could find. I’ll have to say, the best bao we’ve had still has to be from the shop in Cleveland, Ohio. Go figure.

And, after months of searching, I even found the most perfect cell phone dangly thing. I’d say we had a pretty successful final run.

We rolled, downhill, back to the ferry, bellies full of bao, off-brand mochi, and really strange drinks that taste like over sweet bread (a can of wintermelon tea… not sure I’ll ever go for one of those again).

The next day, Halloween, I had plans to meet up with my long lost Aunt Victoria (who was adopted away as a babe, and only recently came in contact with the rest of the crazy Trickey family tree).

I dressed up in my best pirate hat and rolled out to meet her at Starbucks in Vallejo. Her boyfriend, Doug, and dog Tilly (Tillamook) were there too, so it was a great family reunion/first meeting.

We hung out and talked for hours, finding many similarities between us, and sharing a love for adventure and animals. Eventually though, I had to get going to go pack up my bags and head to Napa, where I had arranged a Warm Showers host for the night.

We said our byes, and promised to meet up again. I’ve got a cool new Aunt. Anyways, I rolled back to Stink’s Aunt Sharon’s house and started getting my junk together. Her Aunt Becky had come by too, to deliver a letter from my friend Timmy, and to say bye.

Finally I was ready to go, and said bye to Sharon, Wes, Lillian, and little Nate (who would not come give me a hug, you stinker). Then, I said bye to the Stink herself, for the first time in six months! Crazy! But yeah, I’m sure I’ll be seeing her around once I’m home.

I scooted off, and pretty quickly found myself in Napa (I didn’t know how long or when I was going to meet New Aunt Victoria, so didn’t plan for a full day of riding). I got to my host, Lindy’s house and right away gave her a hug and fell in love with her dogs, Marty & Gidget.

We hung out, I showered and put on my pirate costume (I wouldn’t miss Halloween for nothing!) and Lindy’s friend, Linelle, came over to hand out candy with us. Linelle and I ended up walking over to a Tunnel of Terror a few blocks away, which was fun, but not at all scary. I’m such a party pooper.

Lindy made this great vegan meal of lentils, a fresh coleslaw, and avocado burritos. This lady can cook!

Around 8:30 or so, we gave out the last of the candy, another successful Halloween in the books, and then sat around and chatted about life and such.

I zonked out on the livingroom floor and was super cozy. The time changed that night, so I woke up early the next day and we had coffee and yummy breakfast (Lindy’s homemade muesli and jams and toast, yum). She even sent me off with a jar of her plum & pear jam, and took photos of me and her before I took off (she’s a graphic designer, so they look really nice, despite my goofy self being in them).

So, yup, that was a good day. I scooted out to Calistoga and ate lunch outside the library. I totally recognized the gas station in town from the previous tour (when Stink & her sister Heather & I rode up to Port Angeles, WA, then down the coast to Vallejo). I’m getting a lot of that deja vu now, heading north.

IMG_20151101_174445

I wore my pirate hat all morning and got laughs from the other cyclists scooting through the Napa valley. It was fun, but then I left it at a gas station for some other person to find & enjoy.

Towards evening, it started sprinkling and threatened to get worse, so when I saw a campable spot on the Alexander Valley Community  House porch, I took full advantage of it and pulled of the road.

It was nice and quiet and dark, and even had outlets to charge my phone and tablet. I stayed up for a bit reading, then fell asleep listening to the sound of the rain on the roof and in the gutters.

In the morning I rolled out to Geyser and got coffee at a shop there. I awkwardly tried to make friends with some of the locals, and did… okay. Haha.

On the road, I ran into a fellow tourist heading north, Andrew, who you’ll find out more about later. 🙂 At this point we just talked for a few minutes then passed each other by.

I arrived in Ukiah early afternoon. I had another Warm Showers host arranged, so had plenty of time to tool around and visit ALL of the grocery stores in town.

In the Safeway I had a funny conversation with an elderly lady who was checking in the mirror to make sure she didn’t have any tp stuck to her pants. She said it happened to her once and was so embarrassing that now she checks every time!

I also went to the bike shop in town, Dave’s Bikes, and restocked on patches. I ended up having to go back over there later to get a spare tube (the ones I had had too many holes in them to bother) and the owner, Dave I presume, gave me some extra patches for free. THANKS DAVE!

My host that night was Justus, a super cool dude who lived right downtown. We hung out and talked books, bikes, and everything in between. Eventually he had to go off rugby practice so I had the house to myself to eat dinner and watch Netflix like a proper human.

Later, his friend came over and we all sat around and had a good time, drinking some flat shocktop and some really good winter ale.

But then it was sleepytime, and I zonkered out. In the morning, Justus had to lead a bible study, then head off to work, teaching elementary students at a school nearby.

He brought by some bagels and just let me head out whenever I was ready.

Eventually I dragged myself away, and scooted out to Willits, and loitered around in a McDonald’s for a bit… and maybe ate like four pies.

I talked with this guy Mark who was just flabbergasted by the trip we’d accomplished, and said with that amount of energy I could have built a couple houses. Dang it. All this work and I don’t even get a house out of it!

I headed out again, and was in contact with Stink’s Ma, who was gunna meet up with me on her way down to pick up Stink. Unfortunately though, her road out to 101 ended up turning to gravel, then closing entirely, so we missed each other. Bumm.

I did get out to Laytonville, at a late lunch of ramen on the side of the road, which was nice because I was cold as well as hungry, then scooted farther up into the hills.

I stopped up at a big domed gravel hut building thing and crept into the bushes to set up the tent and hide my bike. It was getting pretty chilly out, and I was at a high elevation, so I got on all my cozy clothes before climbing into bed.

In the morning it was so cold I didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag. Eventually I dragged myself out and began to pack up. But the tent was covered in ice and my bike was frosted over. My fingers were burning with the chill, so it took me a good while to get all packed up.

I scooted on a quarter of a mile to a rest stop and took full advantage of the hand dryers in the bathroom. Ouch!

I talked with some folks there, one being this gal Sarah, who was admiring my scoot. She had biked the TransAm before and had just continued traveling after finishing that, falling in love with the road.

Further along the road, I met up with Andrew again, and we teamed up to bike to Gaberville together. He’s a fellow vegan/gay/biking enthusiast/person, so we had plenty to talk about.

In Gaberville, we stopped at the grocery store, where I asked if I could use the bathroom and/or fill my water bottle, but was given a very rude negative response… I think they’re sick of transients there…

We went a block further to the Subway and I showed Andrew the ropes for ordering a bomb vegan sandwich and we porked out.

Another cyclist, Kane, joined us for lunch. He’s heading north to south though, so we gave each other tips for the road ahead.

Andrew & I decided to scoot out to the Burlington campground in the redwoods, where Kane had stayed the night before. Back on the road, we soon took the exit for the Avenue of the Giants, and scooted along under the towering trees, centuries old, and impressively looming above us.

We found the campground and got a hiker/biker spot for five bucks a piece. I walked around and collected firewood from the fire pits at empty sites, and soon had a small blaze going.

Andrew rode off in search of a mythical grocery store a mile away, but came back empty handed. The myth remained just that.

We cooked up a nice pot on the fire of black beans thickened with mashed potatoes, and topped our burritos with bbq sauce, carrots, and nutritional yeast. Yum!

As we were cooking dinner, more cyclists started showing up. Everyone else was heading south, but it was all good. We talked with some and shared space by the fire.

In the morning, I woke before six and felt like getting up and starting the fire again. It was still dark as I fumbled around and got the small blaze going again.

It was worth it though, as it quickly warmed my chilled hands. I packed up my tent, made some tea, and was starting in on some oatmeal too, when one of the camp hosts came by, abruptly asked where I had found the log that was currently crackling in the flames, and when I told him I had just found it laying around in the campground, he told me to “immediately get some water and put it out”. Oops. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

After finishing my breakfast, writing a birthday card to my dad, and packing up my junk, I was cold, but ready to go.

Andrew knew of a Starbucks in the next town, 28 miles away, so we made it a goal to get there and get a fancy vegan frappucino (he totally had to show me the ropes… I’ve only ever just gotten the hot coffees there).

It was a nice ride, though I made us stop a bunchto do things like take a photo with the big corn, and get blackberry popsicles from the best honor system roadside produce stand in the world, as if I wasn’t frozen enough yet…

When we finally reached Starbucks, Andrew insisted he get my drink, using his green status gift card (which basically means you can free refills of hot or iced coffee), then we sat about, doing what cyclists do best, loiter, use wifi, and charge their gadgets. Good times indeed.

So, I’m gunna end this post there, and update y’all in a few day with more tales from the road.
Love love,
eLizzybeth


The Middle of the End 2

image

Well, I know that I was supposed have signed off for good, but I had recount the last few days before Lizzy hit the coast. We had made some very last minute plans to stay with some of my extended family about 50 miles from Rivendell. This was a good thing, not only because we had the opportunity to visit Paige and Adam, but also because we were completely disgusting. I’m talking over a week’s riding without showers or clean laundry. Fortunately, Paige and Adam are fantastic folks and didn’t mind having us even though we both resembled Pig Pen from the Peanuts. We had some time to kill at a St. Arbucks before Paige got out of school and we were able to squeeze in one last interview before heading home. Paige put her culinary skills to the test and whipped up some stuffed peppers for dinner, and then entertained us with stories from school, and an interesting revelation concerning her dad’s past mullet. Paige is on my extremely long list of favorite people. She’s spunky, good at math, plays cello and viola, and is generous. I really enjoyed our time with them (As always).

We had planned to pop in at Rivendell the following morning to visit with the folks that made my bicycle. Little did I know, but my mom had called all the Riv folks and insisted that she buy all of us lunch! She had initially planned to keep that on the DL, but she ended up and telling us so that we would plan on getting there during lunch. I was shocked to hear this! At first, maybe even a little embarrassed, but I soon got over that.

We got up fairly early the next morning to eat oatmeal and walk Paige to orchestra class (more so to embarrass her in front of all her cool friends but it didn’t really work). We had fifty miles to ride and four hours with a headwind before lunch, but we made it! It was perhaps a little awkward at first. The Rivs thought we were coming the next Wednesday, and well, let’s face it–Lizzy and I aren’t really social butterflies, but as always with Rivendell, it all worked out. Everyone was grateful for our delicious lunch and said mom was awesome. I agree. We had a genuine blast. There are few companies that I believe in as fully as Rivendell; they make a quality a product, that’s for sure, but they do much more than that. Grant Peterson, founder of RBW, is a great author and an all ’round good guy. He took the time to chat with us–and I mean hours–and give us an assignment to word associate with each state. He even rode my bike around the block, and didn’t bat an eye at the arrival of more of my family (two aunts and two pesky cousins) who had come to pick us up from Rivendell. Overall, it was another good experience at Riv. I was going to write more about them, but I think I’ll leave it that as I wouldn’t want this to become a shameless plug. But, if your looking for the last bike you will ever buy, check out their website www.rivbike.com

image

We left Walnut Creek in a real live automobile and watched the ‘hoods and city streets streak away, with it my last official tour miles. We took harbor at my family’s house (the Kenyon’s) and had a relaxing evening complete with Napolie’s pizza and a rare appearance from my cousin Will who is finishing his schooling at Cal Maritime. Since he’s always off working on calculations, running tugboats, or driving ships to Singapore–it is always a treat when he is able to carve out some time for his smelly bicycle cousin.

It was good to be there. The next day I woke up early and went with my cousin Lilly to the barns to meet her newly tamed mustang Dexter. I should mention here that Lillian is 13 and spent the summer with my mom where she participated in the Oregon Teens and Mustangs program in which teenagers train wild mustangs. She and Dexter took 5th place out of the whole shebang! Needless to say we are all quite proud. I headed back home and began to make plans to go to San Fransisco for out lunch date with Watsi. We also made a traditional run to the Value Center with Aunt Becky to pick up some great bargains. Lizzy was in the market for a pirate ensemble. You know, for Halloween.

It was so good to be back home, or at least with my family which I consider to be home. I did notice though that I kept getting nauseous. I think that it was mostly because I wasn’t used to being in cars, but it also had something to do with being inside. Strange. I remembered one of our touring friends from Bufflo who said that when she came home from her last long tour she couldn’t sleep inside and had to set up camp in her back yard for a good two weeks before she could. Fortunatly I’m not that bad, but it is interesting to think about. The little things are the biggest changes; like having clean clothes to wear every day, or having a constant supply of water and electricity so that we didn’t have to be concerned about plugging phones in at every store we went to or stop at every gas station to make sure our bottles were filled. The most strange to me, however, was that it didn’t seem strange. Even now that I am at home, I don’t feel like I have been gone longer than a week, and at the Kenyon’s and Aunt Becky’s I felt the same way. I tried to keep mental notes of these things.

I think Lizzy is going to pick up from here.
–Haley