Lots to Say

You know when you have so much that you want to talk about but it’s so much that it’s just pain in the ass to type it out because you can’t even SAY it fast enough?  That’s what I’m suffering from haha.  I have a lot to tell but I CAN’T TYPE FAST ENOUGH!

Y’all won’t believe all that has transpired since my terrified bear post.  Where the hell do I even begin, geez.

I traveled this weekend to Illinois by train for my cousin’s wedding.  I chose to take the train because I had the extra day and it was cheaper lol.  I take the Amtrak from NYC to Washington and then another train from Washington to Chicago.  The WA-CHI train is my favorite ride ever.  It goes through mountains and fields and streams and it’s just gorgeous and this trip was no different.  I’m sure I looked like a crazy person to the man sitting across from me because I would stare out the window at the trees whirring past me and random start smiling so big and joyously, and I’ll tell you why.

Usually when I take this train trip and I admire all the scenery I think to myself ”boy one day I’d love to travel through this area on foot or something that I can stop and enjoy”.  And then I start playing a game called ”if I was on my trip where would I sleep?” and start searching for places that I could have put a tent up if I were travelling.  This is the point where I get really excited and start smiling lol.  To make things even better at one point we were passing through a really beautiful clearing with a lake and next to the lake are BIKERS WITH THEIR TENT SET UP!  I gasped so happily I’m sure people were like what the hell is this woman’s problem??

So fast forward a little bit.  For my birthday my aunt gave me a book called Wild by Cheryl Strayed [http://tinyurl.com/lz77ko3].  It’s the true story of how she (Cheryl) hiked the Pacific Crest Trail alone!  ALONE!!  Her mother died when she was 22 and afterwards she kind of fell apart, her marriage, her relationships with her family and husband, everything fell apart.  She decides to do this grand journey with no training or anything.  I immediately connected with her while I was reading.  It was actually incredibly difficult for me to read every single sentence in the Chicago airport while she discussed being with her mother in her last days.  I was definitely reflecting back on the last days I spent with my grandmother and the discussions we had on her last day of coherency.  She basically chooses to go on this major journey as a kind of spirit journey, finding her happiness and center which I LOVE because that was what inspired me to do this trip.

So anyway during every part of this book I was totally enthralled and by the end I was so excited I couldn’t stand it!  I am so excited to find places I’ve never seen, to watch sun rises, and sleep with a full moon sky, to learn about shit that I never would expect to happen and have to deal with by experience.  I can’t wait to wake up and listen to the birds or fall asleep listening to the rain on my tent and be cozy [I hope haha] in my little home.  Most of all I hope to be happy.  I’m so ready to find a place where I can remember moments with my Grandmother and not dissolve into tears as I do now, not find myself unable to breathe with sorrow and I know that she would support me doing what I feel I need to be happy.

Everything that stresses me out in my daily life floats away easier because I have an actual dream that I’m looking forward to.  I know that I’m not in this endless job that I will never escape and if I’m having issues all I have to do is plan or research anything trip related and before I know it I’m high on happy feelings.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

John Muir

Say that again?

Say that again?

I just spent the past few hours reading up on what to do in the event of a bear/wolf/coyote/mountain lion attack and I’m officially scared out of my mind. I think the line that scared me the most was this:

“”If an attack is prolonged or the bear starts eating you, it is no longer being defensive and it is time to fight back”

…..if the bear starts EATING ME?!?! Have I lost my mind? What am I getting myself into?! Listen, if I freeze to death it’s one thing (lol I’m not taking that as trivially as it may sound) but to be EATEN BY A BEAR AND/OR other excruciating death is just …not…okay. Trying to keep my nerves level but I can’t lie, I’m officially terrified.v

Whew! Let’s Catch Up!!

Good Lord!  I’ve been MIA!  I have a lot to tell you and my updates.  I don’t even know where to start…

…Okay, I guess I’ll start with my bike.  I got my new bike!  Finally paid it all off!!  Wanna hear all about it?   Of course you do.  😉



This is my new bike!  It’s a Diamondback Vital 2 or as I call her, Evelyn.  She’s a hybrid bike so she’s built for comfort AND the road but her tires are treaded and wide enough to also function well if I choose to go off path for awhile (duh).  

Along with buying Evelyn, I replaced the pedals with Shimano PD-M424 SPD Pedals.  For those of you who were like me a month ago:  They’re pedals that on one side are like a regular pedal and on the other side have clips for your clipless shoes.  (Confused yet?)  Okay so, clipless shoes are biking shoes with a little cleat the bottom that looks like this:


(Thanks drivemybike.wordpress.com for the pic!) 

The way that they work is that little cleat in the bottom of the shoe clips to the cleat on your pedal!  (So why is it called clipless?) To get clipped IN you have to push down and your shoes snap to your pedal (meaning that you can’t just lift your foot off your pedal, you are stuck to your pedal) and to release you have to push down and then twist your foot out and you pop your shoe out. ) You don’t HAVE to use them with your shoes obviously BUT it makes biking a lot easier.  This of course is all hearsay as I haven’t seen the proof yet.  The bottom of MY shoes look like the center shoe.  

I was told I was going to fall a few times before I mastered using the clipless pedals and boy did I ever.  So imagine that you’re on your bike and your feet are like GLUED to your pedals.  What happens if you start to tip in a certain direction?  Yes, you are correct, you fall hard because there is LITERALLY nothing you can do to save yourself.  So this girl leaning up against the garage door managed to have one shoe unclipped and fall in the direction of the shoe that WAS clipped in.  Straight to the ground.  Hello scraped knee and elbow.  I’m just glad I didn’t bonk my head.  I had a concert to go to that night so I decided to not break a bone or two beforehand.  

Moving on… I am starting to face the horrible idea that I may have to push back my start date.  I was originally wanting to leave in January but I’m thinking that it’s not going to happen that early financially.  I’d rather work at my horrible job longer and have a little more food money saved up than starve sooner… sort of.  Some of the fears that I’ve managed to nail down so far go as follows:

  • Camping on public property and having to wonder who might approach my tent.  I know that this is going to just have to be something I get used to but I know that it’s a logical fear.  According to all the biker tour-ists I’ve spoken to this is a fear that gets pumped up a lot but in reality isn’t much of an issue.  I know how to prepare for it I just need to be ready.
  • Not having enough food and having to resort to eating meat.  This is a personal issue as a vegetarian that scares the daylight out of me.  I know that in terms of survival this is something I’m going to have to just be open to if it like literally comes down to me either dying or not but …still….

In the meantime of me worrying which isn’t going to help anything as much as preparation will, tomorrow is a day off (I refuse to say I’m celebrating Columbus Day which is utter bullshit)  and I’m determined to master these damn biking shoes so I can go on a nice long bike ride.  Until next time!  (Next time we’ll talk about bike saddles, helmets and lights)


Dry Run One

I’ll keep this short because I’m in a Starbucks but yesterday I did my first dry run. It was a 5 hour, 40 mile bike to Mastic Beach where I camped and return. It ended up being an 8 hour bike camped an am now making my way back. I have learned several things: I need to hustle up and get bike racks as this backache needs to die right now and my bike seat needs to be replaced ASAP as my ass doesn’t know what it did to deserve the level of torture it has received. I have approximately 25 miles left to home and it’s pouring rain so I’d better head out.

Ok, here’s an idea…

Ok, here's an idea...

Here we gooooo!!! Okay! I’ve mapped (ha) the beginning of the trip. I’m starting in Richmond, VA and taking the Interstate south to Jacksonville, the west to Baton Rouge (hopefully in time for a friend’s wedding) and then continuing on to Albuquerque and that’s where the REAL fun starts! It should take me a little less than 2 months if I’m biking 5 hours a day, less if I go more and push it but I don’t plan to do that as I don’t want to burn out early. According to a friend living in Richmond, their winters aren’t too terrible, definitely a little snow and the roads get icy at night but I’m hoping it’s not too bad during the day.


Just what I love!! Shoes!

Just what I love!!  Shoes!

Well ladies and gentleman, I finally decided on a pair of shoes and ordered them tonight….with no small amount of apprehension. I have NEVER purchased shoes that cost more than $60 in. my. LIFE. So this was rather terrifying.

Their advertising boasts:

“Treat your feet to the ultra-versatile, super cute X-Alp Impact shoe from Pearl Izumi. The specially engineered mesh/synthetic upper means excellent breathability and comfort, while the carbon rubber lugged outsole means you won’t pay a price for walking too. With a combination closure system, the fit is always just right, and low cut uppers keep your pedaling fast and efficient. Lace up design with the added top hook and loop strap Low cut construction for a light, fast fit and feel Quick drying, highly breathable mesh/synthetic upper delivers comfort and breathability EVA foam run shoe midsole for off the bike cushioning and comfort Carbon rubber lugged outsole for superior traction and durability Combination closure system with premium buckle and forefoot Hook and Loop straps Flexible forefoot and a running shoe beveled heel SPD Compatible”

Basically, these shoes are pretty lightweight but durable, comfortable and good at whicking away sweat so your feet aren’t dying. They’re also super cute which wasn’t really a factor but just ended up working out that way. What I really love is the fact that when the clips aren’t on they look like regular sneakers so I can wear them off my bike too. They have wonderful traction because they’re mountain biking shoes and the reviews seem to be greatly in favor of them (I would know as I have spent hours upon hours upon hooouuurs going through review after review for multiple different pairs of shoes).

So here goes nothing!

Google Maps for the Road vs. Biking

Google Maps for the Road vs. Biking

Okay, my most recent frustration is mapping my journey. Google Maps Driving vs. Google Maps Biking vs. Looking up specific bike paths really has me frustrated.

It would appear that Google Maps Driving (GMD from now on) will take me on the fastest most direct route. However Google Maps Biking (GMB) takes me on the most random, out of the way paths that while I think they may have less traffic on them, are a real pain in my ass to figure out. (Take THIS path for 3 feet, turn left , turn right, turn left again and continue 5 feet… starting to see why I’m frustrated?)

When looking at the different bike paths online they don’t really let you zoom in to the point where you have enough details to know EXACTLY where you will be going. I don’t want to find myself lost in the wilderness between Memphis and Shreveport if my bike path ends suddenly.

Oh Mr. Sun

Oh Mr. Sun

After spending the last few hours researching the hell out of different types of solar chargers, reading reviews and deciding which one is optimal I have decided to purchase the Solio Bolt Solar Charger. This tiny little charger sounds pretty fabulous and perfect for why I need it. It has a micro USB port and a full sized USB. I will be using it to charge my iPod and cell phone so it’s simple and just what I need. Running at $70 it’s a little pricey but I decided I’d rather shell out the extra money for a product I know will work then have a shitty one crap out on me in the wilderness when I need my phone or GPS. It also has a special mode for charging apple products faster which is great since I’ll be using my iPod on my trip and want to charge my phone at night and my iPod in the evenings. Props to the power of the sun!!

For more information on the Solio Bolt Solar Charger you can go to their website:

Upon further research…

Well friends, it seems my carefully plotted out plans have been dramatically altered. As I talked about in my last post, I have spent the entire evening looking at every single line of the Amtrak and figuring out which trains DO allow carry on bikes and which lines require the bikes to be boxed up and checked. The results are not comforting.

Apparently the only line out of NYC that allows carry on bikes go up to Maine or down to North Carolina. So the decision has been made that I will be taking the train to Charlotte, NC and have to bike from there. I already know it’s going to be a real bitch trying to cross the Smoky Mountains in Jan/Feb but it’s the fastest way I can get out of the winter weather.

Luckily for me, living in New York I’ll have plenty of snow to practice biking in up until I leave. I already know I’m going to be using http://www.warmshowers.com to the EXTREME whilst there and I’m going to have to have at least 2 or 3 sleeping bag flannel liners. I refuse to be cold and the only way that’s going to happen is staying with people and being prepared to layer my little tent-home. =)

This is only a small set-back. Now that I know it’s happening I can plan accordingly! Better to have discovered this now than in January!