Sunday, September 11, 2011

photos from the road

While y'all have seen a bunch of photos taken with my phone, I thought I'd share the many shots - 375, to be exact - from my little point n' shoot camera. A link to my Flickr set is here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

for those battling bike blog withdrawl

If you're looking to keep reading about a cross country cycling trip, consider checking out the New York Times' Bruce Weber's blog, "Life Is a Wheel," which is about his west-to-east journey, the second he's undertaken in his life. I first came upon Weber's blog via my daily NYTimes email, the day we left Twin Falls, Idaho and rode into Nevada. I'd been rehearsing a blog post commentary on Weber's piece about hitting a wall at 500 miles (it went something like "500 miles, wah, wah, wah?! Get it together, dude. Talk to me when you're at 3000 miles."), but I never got around to writing the piece because I had to write about another of my spokes breaking and the disgusting glory that was Jackpot, Nevada. The truth is, of course, that I'm jealous that Weber's blog gets to be on the Times' website while mine resides here on ol' And I bet if we scrolled back to how I was feeling on days 6 and 7-ish of my trip, I wasn't in the best of spirits either (although I hope I wasn't quite as whiny as this guy can seem at times.) But there were some truly laughable facts about Weber's stuggle: for instance, he was complaining about not feeling well while biking, then later mentioned he'd been loving the 2 milkshakes a day diet. Um, wild guess, but maybe the lactose overload is gettin' you down, sir. But there are also moments that have me oozing with camaraderie, as when Weber muses about the mind games the wind plays on the long-distance cyclist, and with admiration - Weber is biking alone without a ton of knowledge about bikes and touring, despite his having made a trip like this before. He has to worry about a lot of things that I had the luxury of leaving to Aaron. And I had Aaron to leave things to in the first place.

So, snark aside, I bet I'll be following this blog regularly from now on. That is, until my monthly allotment of free Times articles runs out.


Today is our fifth day back in Philadelphia. Tomorrow I head back to work at the Writers House, Thursday will be the first day of the Literary Representations of the Holocaust class I'm assisting in this semester and on Monday, my Creating Characters in Literary Journalism and Memoir class (or whatever I'm calling it) will meet for the first time. In other words: the bike trip -- and summer -- are over. Aaron has been back at work since Friday, having put in hours each day of the long weekend, as he's got a big trial starting this week. I keep trying to help him write his opening argument with suggestions like, "Start with: 'Ladies and gentlemen, let's be real. Real real.'" and, "'Ladies and gentlemen, let me ask you a question. We've all, at one time in our lives, been accused of [insert staggering details about the alleged crimes]. Am I right?'" He doesn't seem to find this helpful.

I've spent the last few days getting our house organized and washing every article of clothing I own twice - first in white vinegar, then in detergent. Our basement encountered some mold issues due to all that rain and my clothes were stored there since we had subletters. As I type, I can hear my maroon Converse (purchased in Paris back in '03) and my purple Pumas (purchased in '05 or '06, since discontinued) banging around in the dryer. Some of you will chuckle at the idea of taking such care of 5 to 8 year-old sneakers. Others empathize.

It hasn't been all laundry and vinegar though. We had a welcome home gathering at our place on Friday night which was well-attended, especially given the short notice and holiday weekend. It was great to see so many pals. We hung up Alex's banner and wore Jocelyn's medals. When my friend Arielle said, "Congratulations again!" as she was leaving and I tried to humbly brush her off, I paused and said, "Well, I am wearing a medal in my own home. I guess that's asking for congratulations, isn't it?" Inspired by the Writers House Fellows class I've been involved with each spring since 2004, in which our students present each visiting writer with a snack made up of foods from his/her body of literary work, I served food and drinks from our trip: Keebler peanut butter cracker sandwiches (cheese and peanut butter - Aaron's preference and toasty and peanut butter - mine), trail mix (an actual leftover from the trip itself), mini grilled chicken sandwiches, mini fish sandwiches, Reese's cups, Skittles, Whoppers, Chex Mix (regular and Sweet n'Salty), Lagunitas beer (Lil Sumpin' Wild Ale and Hairy Eyeball Ale), and, of course, Gatorade, infused with tequila for the occasion. "Infused" is too mild a term. Many were here well past midnight. A group of us held strong on our back patio til about four.

In addition to reuniting with people at the party, I've gotten to spend some time with pals over the weekend as well. Beers with Mingo and Cheryl, time with Janine who's in town from London, plus Jocelyn and her boyfriend Alex stayed over following the party. Jocelyn, of course, was also in San Francisco last weekend and emphatically asked, "So, where are we going next weekend?!" before heading off to the Jersey shore on Saturday morning. Despite all the work, Aaron also got some extra time with his buddies at Steve's bachelor party last night. And we had a nice brunch yesterday with Aaron's mom yesterday morning at Mi-Lah, a vegetarian - wait: vegan! - restaurant whose cuisine in no way resembles the greasy diner food we've been eating, thank goodness. I've wandered the city a bit: two trips to La Colombe, one to Betty's Speakeasy (both favorite coffee shops), a visit to DiBruno Brothers', where I couldn't help but purchase olives, cheese, and a baguette, some time reading in Rittenhouse Square, and various window shopping around the neighborhood. Philly-cliche, yes. Lovely too.

Have I been back on a bike yet? Heck no. Our bikes from the trip, those dear Surly Long-Haul Truckers, should be arriving at Aaron's mom's house out in the suburbs tomorrow, but we won't have the chance to pick them up for a few days at least. My helmet is with the bikes, as is Aaron's lock. He has since been riding another of his bikes, is borrowing my lock and is using an extra helmet. I don't mind waiting. Not at all.

And, of course, there's the cats. It wasn't exactly an ecstatic reunion, but what cat encounters are, really? When we came in on Thursday morning, Alfie was in his usual spot on the couch. I sat next to him, crouched over him and, not surprisingly, cried. Aaron picked Bones up for awhile. After the long trip home, being back in the house cuddling the kitties was a moment of overwhelmed relief. And disbelief: we made it. Since then, Alfie has been his aloof self, which I love, and Bones has made sure we're as close as possible each night, plopping himself right against one of us, or sharing my pillow with me (even when I used my tiny camping pillow the night Janine, Jocelyn and Alex stayed over), or licking my arm repeatedly as I was about to fall asleep. He greets us in the morning with his loud purring (so loud the vet has had a hard time hearing his heartbeat) and gentle pokes to the nose and forehead with his paw, his way of saying, "Wake up! Let's cuddle!" It's hard to even pretend to be annoyed though.

Before this turns into a cat-cooing blog, if it hasn't already, I will make it a meta-blog, at least for a second. I've heard lovely remarks from a number of people about their experience checking in on us here for the last two months. Some of y'all were hooked! The link was passed around to friends of friends, friends of family, students, and even some people who missed reading along with us in real time have started reading from back to front. A few of you have told me you're a little sad we're home: "What will I read every morning now?!" I'm humbled and thrilled - and also smart enough to know that to continue to blog my day to day life would be a huge disappointment, with the exception of the Best and Worst of Mootis, which is always hilarious. (This, however, I've been forbidden to do.) In many ways, our friends and families, whether here in Philly or elsewhere, knew more about what was going on with us because of this blog than they would have if we'd been home the whole time. People don't generally take the time to narrate, understandably. But I know I'll miss it. There's no doubt that this blog was essential for my enjoyment, my sanity, and my writerly tendencies during our trip. I won't say, "I couldn't have done it without you, readers," because I suppose I could have. And I probably would have. But it was great knowing you were there as I listened to the gears turn each day, considering what to report and how to report it, then as I sat up late each night, crouched over a picnic table or curled up in my sleeping bag, tapping away on the screen of my phone.

the way home

When you ride your bike across the country and you fly home, there's a sense of undoing. You sit with your forehead against the window of the plane and your throat tightens as you look down. A retrospective moment of fear at the cracks and crinkles of mountains as you think of what could have gone wrong, but didn't. From here the vastness and the void are greater. For a month now, this Wallace Stevens line has danced in your head: "the nothing that is." On the road you knew it from your maps and from the miles that passed between things, but you could only see so much. From above, there is the occasional cluster of a town between roads you can barely see that thread themselves through the fissures, across the flatness, and that wind up the hills. On the road, towns in the east and midwest announced themselves with a water tower on the horizon. Out west, riding the interstate, you would do your best to estimate when the next exit sign would appear according to mileage signs and your vague sense of speed. There was never a promise that a western town would have anything to offer, making the anticipation less, noncommittal. Mile markers ticked away and you would hope for an underpass to lend some shade. The plane feels like cheating. You wonder if you'll ever feel so grounded, so in the thick of something again.

Sunday, September 4, 2011



Above are closer-up images of the medals and trophies Aaron and I were presented at the end of our trek. Jocelyn conceived of all of this and Mo helped with execution. This might not need explaining, but my medal says "the masher" because of my tendency to bike in harder gears and Aaron's says "Smells Like Team Spirit" because he was our team's fearless leader (maybe not fearless - I think he was weary of me a time or two) and I mentioned his aroma from time to time. And of course, Alfie, who along with Bones was our reward for coming home, is lurking in the background.

Mo also presented us with Silly Bandz, the little fun-shaped bracelets that the kids just love - or loved a year ago - in the shape of the Golden Gate Bridge. Between this and the bike-themed wine given to us by my bud Arielle, the nailpolish called "bikeride" given to me by blog devotee Monica, and the whiskey given to us by my pal Seth, we've been well received, to say the least. The celebrations haven't quite stopped yet. Fine by us.
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photos of the golden gate arrival (take 2) - thanks to ada!

I had a big ol' zip file waiting for me when I got home - and to a real computer - from Bennington pal Ada. Below are some photos from our big arrival.

Jocelyn and Alex prepare for our (second) arrival

Here they come! 58 days, 3811 miles, and an extra 200 or so feet going back up the bridge.

the fistpump of victory

holding the trophy presented to us by Jocelyn & co.

Aaron gets champagned.

Yuo-Chen smug with his weapon.

Mo(ira) and Yuo(-Chen)

we are the champions, my friend.

the strut of victory

I wonder if he'll wear these shorts at home sometimes.
cupcakes and egg tarts, courtesy of Jill.

group shot: the welcome wagon

alex's pal amy with the banner alex had made for us in our celebratory karaoke room.

Did I mention the room was Crown Royal-themed? Complete with throne.

Alex serenades (and lapdances) Aaron.

I believe we're singing the Barbra Streisand/Neil Diamond smash hit, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." Naturally.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

chicago-midway, 3:19 a.m.

Not quite the grand finale we were hoping for.

Can't help but compare the complete lack of concern from Southwest Airlines to all the fantastic kindness we received in the last two months. Guess we're back to being mere mortals.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

o captain, my captain: floyd

This blog would not be complete without a proper shout out to Floyd, the lil purple Uglydoll who was clipped to my right pannier since we left our front door in Philly on July 1. We named Floyd that same morning as we rode toward Valley Forge on the bike path. He's named after Floyd Landis, the professional American cyclist who was caught juicing at one time or another. Aaron had suggested Lance for a name, but I rejected it. Too easy. Floyd would remind us that sometimes, you've just got to cheat. His other duties included yelling at trucks that came too close to my bike and making sure nothing was stolen from my bag when I went inside gas stations and restaurants.

Floyd's here with me now at the San Francisco airport. We've been here for over seven hours due to our flight being canceled and Southwest doing a piss poor job of rescheduling us. Much more could be said about the infuriating and convoluted details, but the bottom line is that we leave here in an hour and will have to spend the night either in Chicago Midway's airport or possibly in a hotel if we can twist the right arm when we arrive. Flight to Philly departs at 6:55 a.m. Another catless (and perhaps sleepless) night is ahead.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

backpeddling: the arrival

Don't you worry, dear readers, while the journey has ended, there's still blogging left to do. As I've promised, our arrival in San Francisco over the Golden Gate is worth accounting.

I won't say I expected the ride over the bridge to be completely idyllic and free of fog and tourists. But I didn't expect the pedestrian and bike path to be a wall of families and couples on rented mountain bikes wobbling along toward Sausalito, nor did I think the fog would be so thick we wouldn't be able to see most of the bridge nor the city we'd been questing toward for fifty-eight days. But there we were, quickly getting chilly in our usual bike gear as the wind picked up. We rode slowly, stopped for photo ops, then walked the bikes a bit. We were savoring the moment and killing time as well. We'd told our welcoming crew we would arrive at around 4:00. We were a few minutes early, so we jumped back on the bikes at 4:01 or so and wove through the throngs toward the other side of the bay. I had a goofy grin the whole time, and wanted to tell everyone just what the moment was encapsulating: 3800 miles (3811 on Aaron's bike computer when all was said and done), nountains, a heat wave, all the kindness of strangers, all those Gatorades, my meltdowns, Aaron's, the flat tires, broken spokes, broken spirits, and the repairs. But I didn't. Just kept grinning and pedaling.

I wasn't exactly sure where everyone would be and the ramp off the bridge was bottlenecked with walkers and bikers in both directions, so we made our way through and hoped to hear a shout or a cheer. Nothing. We rode around the gift shop. Nobody. We stood in front of the shop facing the bridge where i'd expected the gathering. Slowly, our fans arrived. First Moira and Yuo-Chen, Writers House pals now living in San Francisco, who saw us ride over even though we missed them. Then Jocelyn, my ol' college pal and roomie, who freaking flew here from New York, and her buddy Ethan. Then Ada, my Bennington classmate, who made the trip from Los Angeles, and her friend whose name I keep forgetting. Then Alex, Aaron's friend and mentor from college, who trekked from San Diego. Then Richard and Jill, also of Writers House fame, now living in Oakland, who even brought cupcakes and egg tarts. Of course people were apologetic about missing the arrival itself. Then Jocelyn had a brilliant thought: a redo. We rode back about 200 feet onto the bridge, into the fog, then turned around. The crowd was assembled with their cameras, cheering and whooping. I fist pumped. We slowed our bikes and Yuo-Chen emerged from the crowd wielding a bottle of Korbel. He popped it and sprayed us. It was freezing. And glorious.

We were presented with a trophy and medals which Jocelyn wnd Mo had coordinated over, the champagne was poured and Jill's treats distributed. We moved to the less windy and frigid side of the gift shop. Later in the evening, after we'd showered, Jocelyn, Alex, Richard and Jill went to sushi with us, then Ada and some other of Alex's pals surprised us in a private karaoke room, complete with a triumphant Jamootis banner that Alex had made. We sang a whole bunch. Naturally, Aaron and I closed out the night with a rendition of "We Are the Champions."
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Monday, August 29, 2011

bye, bye love

It's been real. Real real.
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the coolest thing on Aaron's bike

Did I mention we had a flask to get us through those particularly trying moments? This was my birthday gift to Aaron.
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day 60: (does it count as day 60?) ship those bikes

The plan for today is to take a brief break from hedonism and gluttony (alas) and to.ship our bikes back to Philly. Running into some logistical problems right now, i.e. the bike store we were planning to visit just threw away all its boxes. Like 15 minutes ago. Whoops.

Time for me to begin the full court press for my alternative idea: throw the bikes in the bay! Wooooo!
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

the victory lap continues: City View dim sum

More soon on our grand arrival. You know, as soon as I stop eating. Above: my little friends, pork dumplings.
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

day 58: we rode our bikes here

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day 58: is that salt water i smell?

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day 57: lagunitas lagunitas lagunitas

It is the last night on the road, barring unforseen circumstances. We rode into Petaluma today not knowing where we'd stay, learning that the one campground in town charged $51 plus tax a night (only possible in the Bay Area, we hear), our only destination being Lagunitas Brewing Co. on the north end of town. It turns out that was all we needed, by a long shot.

A series of fortunate events:

We went on an awesome tour led by a dude named Lewis. When Aaron told him we'd ridden 3700 miles to get here, he said, "No way you did," which is a response I respected. Eventually, we convinced him. We got to talking and within a few minutes he was calling his wife and offering to let us stay in his motor home. That's where I am now.

High on our good fortune, we settled back into the beer sanctuary to get some dinner. Aaron went to check on the bikes. I never check on the bikes because I not so secretly hope they got stolen. A visitor bearing the wonderful gifts pictured above had been by. Yes, soneone tucked big bottles of beer into our bags. We fawned over this for some time. I headed back to our bikes a bit later to fetch another layer. A woman, Cheryl, was leaving the administrative building. She told me the bottle bearer had been Leon, the brewery's CFO and an avid cyclist. He'd told everyone we would either be thrilled about the beer or pissed about the weight. I assured her it was the former. We got to talking, then she was making sure I had a cold six pack to bring to Lewis's, then she was outfitting us in complimentary Lagunitas t-shirts. I told her I would never drink another beer again.
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sorry sonoma: how plans changed

Before I move on to talking about the events of our final days on the road, it's worth going back to explain how things went in wine country. Our original plan had been to stay in Napa our first night, then to bike to Sonoma our second day, stopping at wineries along the way, then spending the evening there. On our first day in Napa, it became clear that traveling around would be less than ideal. It's one thing to bike all day, but what became clear to me was that it would be impossible to be in both Bike Mode and Vacation Mode. It was well into the 90's in the Napa valley, the roads heading into the region had been terrible - we'd ridden on tiny shoulders and had even gotten off our bikes to lift them over barriers at one point - and it was hard to forget that the cars whizzing by were being driven by people who'd spent the better part of the day drinking wine. I may or may not have had a meltdown. Or series of meltdowns. This was not the carefree victory lap we'd been envisioning. Plans changed. We would spend two nights in Napa, in the town of St. Helena where we could walk to many wineries and bike 4 or so miles to others, and we'd forego Sonoma. It's good to have reason to come back though, right?

As I mentioned, that first day in Napa was tough for me. It was the problem of feeling like it was time time to celebrate but having to slog along on the heavy bike in the heat as usual. And for the first time I was self-conscious about being sweaty, having slimy hair, all that. Things got better once we decided to stay in one place, but we still had miles to ride, and, well, wines to taste. As we made our way up the Silverado Trail along the east edge of the valley, a few other cyclists passed us headed south. The last guy in the group shouted with no thought of concern. "YOU'RE DOIN' IT!" he said. Aaron said he thought it was weird. I, however, was brought to tears. More tears. Yup. We're doin' it.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

day 57: lagunitas brewing co. - beer sanctuary

The indulgences continue.
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day 57: chicken and waffles, boon fly cafe, napa, ca

They also have piping hot mini doughnuts which changed my life.
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day 56: not so subtle self portrait at VeloVino

A winery run by the Clif Bar folks. Full circle, indeed.
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day 56: velo vino - yes, bikes and wine

I fell asleep on my phone again last night. Seems that while I'm well trained for biking, I've lost capacity to enjoy wine and stay awake.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

day 56: another day, another winery

I was going to update y'all last night, but I fell asleep on my phone. Physical and mental fatigue have been key players these last few days. I was going to update y'all now, but Aaron says, "Let's go! The tastin's a'wastin'!" So, til soon, pals.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

day 55: here we are at last

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day 54: nearing napa

You know you're getting close to wine country when you start to see piles of squashed grapes along the side of the road. We had a 70 mile slog of it today. If you're generally familiar with this region of California, you might wonder how we rode 70 miles from Sacramento today and still remain 15 miles outside of Napa. If you're truly familiar with this neck of the woods, you know that in a freeway-centric culture like California's, it's very difficult to find secondary roads to, say, cross a river. That was tbe case with us and the moghty Sacramento today. Once we cut south to cross in Rio Vista, we were plagued with Highway 12, a road that was absolutely unbikeable - shoulderless and busy, with center barriers to prevent big vehicles from moving around us. Thanks to a stranger's help - he took Aaron for a drive to show him which country roads to take - we got back on track. In the morning, we'll ride the last 15, have a leisurely breakfast, and spend the rest of the day biking, walking and tasting around Napa. I have to say I'm a little reluctant to go into relaxation mode, as these last days have continued to present difficulties, but let's hope that at some point tomorrow, a surge of giddiness hits me. There's been a lot of " we rode our bikes here" lately.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

day 53: a visit to luke's

If you had told me ten years ago that in the summer of 2011 my gentleman friend and I would ride our bicycles across the country and spend a night in Sacramento, CA with Luke (one of my best buds from high school), his wife Chrissy, and his two lil boys Ian and Caleb, I would have had little to no reason to believe you. I would want to ride a bike that far? Luke - *married*? *Kids*? *Sacramento*? But here we are. And a good visit it's been, especially given the length of our day -- 111 miles, our second longest day after that craziness back in Defiance, OH.

We began our day in Lake Tahoe at 5 a.m., out the door to breakfast by 6, determined to beat as much Highway 50 traffic as we could. If I had been in a full disclosure sort of mood last night, I would have told you how nervous I was to get out of Tahoe on the busy and narrow Hwy. 50. The guys at the bike shop advised against it, but their only alternative was the longer and far more mountainous Rte. 88, affectionately known as the Death Ride. We opted for 50, hence the early start. There were some tense moments, but here we are. We were helped by a 7000+ foot drop in elevation, which sounds more fun to ride than it is.

But now: let's stop worrying about boring things like mountains, deserts, and road quality and start worrying about more important things: for instance, how many bottles of wine will I be able to strap to my rig?
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Monday, August 22, 2011

The Best and Worst of Mootis: the Fashion Edition

In a sense, the photos above speak for themselves. Over the weeks, you've all gotten an idea of the biking attire both Mootis and I have become accustomed to wearing. The focus today is on one garment of Mootis's. I believe it is technically called "bib shorts." Apparently, some male cyclists find the usual elastic waistbanded shorts uncomfortable. The alternative is a model like the one above, which has suspender-like straps that go under the cycling jersey. When Aaron prances about in this getup without his jersey, I refer to it as the "strongman" outfit, as it resembles an old timey weightlifter's ensemble. (I was not granted permission to take a photo of strongman Aaron, alas. My apologies. Instead, I had to sneak this photo in the Laundromat when he wasn't around.)

You can see from the first photo that Aaron's bib shorts are particularly noteworthy because they are "Powered by Chipotle." I've urged him to go into a Chipotle with these on to see if they'll give him free burritos (a.k.a. "power"). Hasn't happened yet, but the trip ain't over.

You can also see that Mootis has combined his strongman shorts with a pair of wool socks. This was on a chilly morning in Idaho. A spectacular sight. I called them his legwarmers.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

day 52: day off in Lake Tahoe

No bike is too big for Aaron Marcus.

We were going to do a short 20-ish mile day today to get over the mountain before tomorrow's trek into Sacramento, but consensus around town was that trying to ride Highway 50 out of here on a Sunday would be a risky endeavour. So, here I am in the Laundromat. Perhaps not the best way to take in the scenery here, but much needed nonetheless. Aaron is playing Lord of the Rings pinball. The fun never stops.
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

day 51: welcome to california

Knows how to party.
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day 51: bear xing

When you are riding your bike across the country, this is not what you want to see while peddling at 4.7 miles per hour up a 7100 foot mountain when you're carrying Clif Bars, Sports Beans, peanut butter and other tasty treats.

(But no bear xed. Worry not.)
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you've got a friend in silver springs who's moving to Washington tomorrow.

My pal Bear.
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california here we come

If all goes as we hope, we will cross into California tomorrow after we climb our way up to Lake Tahoe. Hard to say what's more exciting, getting out of Nevada or getting into California.

Is this the beginning of the end? We hope to reach Sacramento by Monday, where we'll see Luke, my dear pal from high school. Then, to Napa and Sonoma, where we have no set plan yet other than to indulge. We're looking to cross the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday the 27th. A small group of spectators might/will be gathered just over the SF side. There will be much rejoicing.
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day 50: this could be our silver springs

Nevada redeemed itself quite a bit tonight, friends. As we were about to leave the Jack in the Box in Fernley this afternoon for the last stretch of the day's ride into Silver Springs, we were approached by a woman and her high school-aged son. The usual chat ensued, but within a few minutes, we were being offered a lawn to camp on when we learned that there was no motel or campground in Silver Springs. What followed was an evening of great hospitality from Robin, her husband Don, Daniel, and Robin's mother Win. Not only do we have a shady spot on the lawn, we had showers, dinner, beer, and a relaxing night out in the backyard. Weiner (the dauchshund, of course) and Bear (the big lug) hung out too.

What's most amazing about this generosity is the timing of it. Not for us, but for this family. On Sunday, they're moving to northeastern Washington state, where they've bought 20 acres and are building a house. Robin and Don have been here in town for thirty years. There is a lot to do that does not include hosting a couple of bicycle riding fools. I'm not usually one to strike up chats with strangers, but if this trip has taught me anything, it's that I should. It has also taught me to always carry toilet paper and electrolyte supplements.
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a kitty condo emporium

If Aaron realy cared about Alfie and Bones, he's strap one of these to his bike for them.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

day 50: flat tire # it-doesn't-even-matter-anymore

Me again. Not a joke. Really happened.
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day 50: flat tire #8, lovelock, nv

I guess my front tire got jealous of all the attention my back tire got yesterday.

To recap: I have had four flat tires in four days. The "feel lucky?" caption I included with the photo of the Welcome to Nevada sign comes to mind. Nope. I don't.
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day 49: Lovelock: Where Your Love Remains Locked

When I first saw the town of Lovelock, Nevada on the map a week or so ago, I wondered if there was anything noteworthy about the place pertaining to its name. We came across a brochure in a travel plaza the other day that indeed, Lovelock wants to be known precisely as the place where Your Love Is Locked - redundancy be damned, I suppose. While we've gotten used to passing through towns that haven't yet celebrated a centennial, it was surprising to come to a place that has just begun to achieve its desired identity in the last few years, for better or worse.

As you can see above, Lovelock is real into, um, locks. Locks that represent love. Various locations around town sell Lovelock locks and people - couples, families, close friends - are encouraged to place a lock on one the many lock chains in the town park. As you can see from my photo, people also bring customized locks.

Aaron was astounded at how many locks wove their way around the small plaza. I was less surprised, and, as usual, somewhat jaded. "It doesn't take much to get a lot of people to do something stupid," I said. This might answer your next question - no, Aaron and I did not immortalize our affection for one another with a Lovelock lock. Since it was a bit after 7:00 when.we were strolling through town, most of the stores were closed so we didn't even have a chance to see how costly it would be to assimilate and declare our feelings. We didn't exactly go out of our way to find a lock either.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

day 49: cheap(est) motel, Lovelock, NV

Guys, we need your help. Here at the Super 10 Motel in Lovelock, our first $30 room of the trip, we found the above pictured sign by the sink. Aaron and I, as you all know, are rule-abiding folks and we'd hate to break any established policy due to a simple misunderstanding. Make sure you read the sign several times. There's a lot to parse. I'm going to go put my washing teeth in the toilet now.

(In truth, this sign gave us a welcomed long laugh after an annoying, tense, and hot day on the bikes. Team morale is slowly creeping back up. Also, the sign distracts us from other gems of the $30 motel room and keeps us from asking questions like, "Why would you even have anything that color near a box spring anyway?")
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