My friend, Don R.

I received an email from my friend, Don, (who said it was ok to share).  He is fighting a battle against cancer.  Don and I know each other from my former life in publishing, but we started to communicate more frequently when I began my life after publishing.  Don is one of my biggest supporters, always cheering me on from a far.

Don, I know you read my blog, so I want you to know, I am cheering for you, sending you strength and love to both you and June.  I am sending something in the mail soon, be on the look out in the upcoming weeks.

Below is a photo of us (Don, on the far right).  When I biked across the U.S. the first time, he drove 2+ hours from Cincinnati, Ohio, (also picking up another publishing friend, Carl L. along the way), to visit me as we biked through Kentucky.  Kentucky was the closest point to Ohio on our route.  Lisa B. (another publishing friend) was kind of enough to host us for dinner, shelter my team, and open her home to the team the next year. I vaguely remember she kicked out her kids for the night (they slept over at friends’ homes) so a few teammates and I could have a warm home and beds for the night.  I also remember Lisa, helped me with some mail (receiving and shipping) on my behalf.

In the photo, I am wearing a t-shirt from WCU (West Chester University) given to me from the bookstore manager from one of the schools I covered as a sales rep to remember them by, before I left for my bike trip.  This photo was a lovely summer night and it reminds me of the gratitude I have for everyone who has supported me and continues to support me through all my adventures.  Don, I hope you know how grateful I am for your support and friendship.  Your most recent Christmas card sat on my desk for these many months, until just recently when I sold the desk to prepare for my move to North Carolina.

The other photo is of Lisa B. who woke up early the next morning and cheered us on as we biked by her on route to our next destination.

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TransAm mini reunion

This type of shower at the town pool was a first for me. You pull a handle down above for water to release. It is the type of handle I have seen in movies, you pull it for the train engine whistle to sound. I think it might have been well water because each time I pulled the handle, the water would get colder. Effective way to save water and shower time.

Photo at the only town cafe – we are closed due to the flu. Flu is spelled incorrectly. Wind turbines, apparently they fuel for Chicago. Mini reunion TransAm (last summer’s bike ride) – Jennifer biked 45 miles to see us and drove our laundry home for us to wash. she is a superstar. If I should ever have the opportunity to be kind to others in the form of shelter or basic necessities, I hope to be able to share that wealth.

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A few more summer photos

Attached are a few more photos from this summer posted from friends.

Stretching in early morning Kansas

Hungry after climbing in Nevada.

Biking in Kansas

Me after a tough climb in California, saying my arms don’t work anymore.

Group photo at the pie shop, in Missouri before crossing Kansas state line.

Rest stop break, eating an apple with Don Fraser in Utah.

The matrix

I feel as if I am living a scene from the Matrix. I took the red pill and am forever changed. I went to lunch the other day with a friend and I saw all these people in their work outfits rushing to get lunch and then only to go back to their desks for the rest of the day. Who wants to live such an unfulfilled life? Trapped at your desk in an office job you don’t like or care about. I am looking for fun, something I can be invested and passionate about
for the days to come. I may not find it, but I suppose it’s about the journey.

Road rash update

I went to the doctor today to check on the condition of my road rash and he said looks ok, will just take some time to heal. If you were wondering he said its not necessary to put Neosporin on it. Best to keep open and not covered with band aids. Ok to get wet but not to put any lotion, or ointments on until later. He advised not to roll around in the dirt in Yosemite to avoid infection. I said that might be difficult but if I have to lie in the dirt I will wear a jacket.

Off to Yosemite tomorrow for the 10 day NOLS Wilderness First Responder course. Excited to get back in my tent or hammock.

I have enjoyed living inside for the last week, seeing friends, resting and eating real food but I very much miss the outdoors.

Attached is a photo someone took of me biking through Capital Reef in Utah. This is where I long to be – on the open road with my friends.

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Tattoo

In case I wake up forgetting what brought me to San Francisco, or what I did this summer, I only need to look at my hands or legs as a reminder. I think I won the contest for the most severe tan lines of the group. Who needs a tattoo when you have tan lines like these? My teammate, Alex says, “wear them proudly. You just biked the U.S.”.

Today I spent the day on my friends couch, adjusting to having all the comforts of home – electricity, running water, and a refrigerator. It’s surprisingly difficult to get adjusted back to city life. I know it’s only day 1 back, but I’m not sure I want to be a part of it. Looking forward to going to Yosemite in 6 days.

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New friends

It was bittersweet today, saying goodbye to my teammates and friends of the last two months. They have each touched part of my life and helped me accomplish something I did not think was possible. I, of all people, should not have been on this ride, having not trained and really having the least experience of all on the bike. I had the most mishaps on the trip out of everyone too, but I came away stronger and more confident. If you set your mind to a goal, you can accomplish anything. I will miss them all so much but I know our paths will cross again, hopefully sooner than later.

Northern Tier summer 2013, maybe?