So I stopped for lunch at a little liiiiittle town.

This little puppy was watching me go in.  I bent over to try and pet him but she was SUPER skittish and back away but at the same time kept coming back like she really DID want to be petted.  After 5 minutes I gave up and went inside.  Half an hour later when I came out I had forgotten all about her.  I put on my helmet and turned around to put on my backpack and she was standing RIGHT behind me wagging her tail so hard, clearly VERY pleased to see me.  As SOON as I bent down she ran to me for petting.  I sat on the ground and crawled into me lap and flipped over on her back for a belly rub!  I sat with her for another 20 minutes because she was just so sweet and tremlby like ..I don’t know if she was so used to getting love.  When I stood up I picked her up and she cuddle right in and tucked her head in the crook of my neck and I WAS SMITTEN.  I moed us to the sunlight and we cuddled for another ten minutes before I had to HAD to leave.  She kept jumping up and begging me not to leave and it was SO HARD, but she had a collar and a nice little layer of fat so I know she did have a home somewhere.  I needed some hugs and cuddles though especially after being chased by 4 separate dogs today.  ❤

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Austin – Waco, It’s warm, it’s hot, it’s hilly, it’s gorgeous, it’s freezing. Take Your Pick

Well hi there! It’s been like 6 days! I have a lot to tell you about!! Let’s start with Saturday morning.

So Saturday morning I woke up and showered and Courtney made me a delicious breakfast of oatmeal with nuts and fruit etc and eggs with tea. (Yay thanks!) I had pretty much organized the night before as best as I could so the morning wouldn’t be too difficult but it still wasn’t easy that’s for damn sure.

I had done a few practice tours but if you will remember my front rack came only one day before I had to turn over my bike for shipping so I was only able to totally load the bike ONE time prior to my trip. Let’s just say that having EVERYTHING on my bike was waaay heavier than I thought it would be. At one point the bike tipped over and it took some tugging and a lot of huffing and puffing to get it back up again (and as we do so Courtney goes ”you’ve done HOW many practice tours with your bike full loaded?” …er …fully loaded you say? lol) As we rolled Evelyn (poor poor loaded down Evelyn) out the door I was getting more and more terrified because bike home from the bike shop had given me a little taste of what the hills were going to be like that day and I wasn’t wrong. As I said to Kerry later that day, if my bike falls over with me on it I will not get up again as I will have been crushed.
Within a few miles I was noticing that every time I was trying to switch my bike into the lowest gear it was jumping off the rear dérailleur. I pulled over and kept fixing it block after block and then finally I noticed that across the street was a bike shop. I crossed the street and rolled in and the guy actually picked up my bike entirely (insane) and put it on the rack. He was kind enough to do a gear adjustment and send me on my way free of charge. ( Thanks for that!! )

The next issue I was running into was the fact that because I was using the GPS to guide me since I was using the bike route given by google maps I was draining my battery on my phone fast and an issue I hadn’t calculated was that my charging cord was too short to use WHILE biking and watching the map! When I stopped for lunch (and to collapse with exhaustion) I let it just sit in the blazing sun and it STIll wasn’t charging fast enough.. I’ll be honest with you I had initially intended to stop and adjust the phone cord but it turned into Maria’s Fallen and Can’t Get Up Let’s Make This Lunch Time and charge time. I totally fell asleep on the side of the road despite trying to stay awake.

After about another 3 hours of biking through hills that killed me and imagining in my head my Future Legs of America I realized that there was no way I was going to make the 30 mile goal I had set for myself. I started to panic as it was clear that I was still in Austin and my phone was about to die. I had just happened by a community center which luckily had outlets on the outside. I plugged in and sat down to panic and plot. I called the Austin REI, the Round Rock REI and googled the closest churches. Since I didn’t really know the territory I wasn’t sure how fast they would be from me so I stopped a couple walking to ask if they knew. They helped me google and found one just down the hill I had come up. I rolled down there and to my dismay the parking lot didn’t have a single car. I walked up to the door and tried just in case but nope, it was locked (I don’t know what I expected on a Saturday afternoon). Just then I noticed that a Sheriff up the road was having a ”conversation” with someone (I haven’t a clue what it was for so I’m just going to say a conversation lol). I ran up to them and practically threw myself on their mercy and to my horror I almost cried…I was SO tired. They were so gracious and kind and called the library up the street (yes the same hill haha) and the library agreed to let me sleep in their parking lot. I bid the sheriff’s department goodbye and trembled my way up the hill. The manager, Britney (Brittany?) was VERY nice and showed me where I could camp, told me I could use the library for facilities until it closed and that the library didn’t open the next day until 1 so it wasn’t a rush situation to leave. After locking up my bike I collapsed inside and texted with Kerry about what was happening.
As I was setting up my tent a guy who introduced himself as Horus walked up to me to chat about the tent and my trip and I told him about the dillema with my phone cord. I got my whole tent set up and cozy which was perfectly timed as it was getting dark out and I was particularly happy that I had internet from the library to video chat with Kerry and Caitlin. After the long day I had had it was fantastic to see faces I love. As I was cozying up I heard the sound of a dog collar and ears being shook ( I love that sound because Phoenix always did that at night) and discovered that Horus had returned with A LONGER PHONE CORD FOR ME. (THANK YOU SO SO MUCH) We chit chatted a little longer and went our ways. I slept like a rock until 7am. Woke up, broke camp, and off I went.

DAY TWO
In the morning when I woke up I realized my phone was still low on battery so after about an hour I stopped at a little taco place called Los Jaliscienses (512.252.8389) to charge my I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up button that my dad bought for me. They were very very nice bringing me cup after cup of coffee. Once I was charged up like 50% I set back out for the day. There were still hills but overall it wasn’t bad and I got to go through some cool parks and bike trails. At about 1pm my phone was still dying faster than it was charging (I think because the GPS just plain kills the battery) so I stopped at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Round Rock (which had been my goal the night before) to charge and get some coffee. As soon as I walked in the door everyone there was so nice to me! The bartender let me bring my bike it, the manager came and chatted with me about my trip and then told me lunch was on him (Thanks it was sooooo yummy and made a delicious dinner too). I talked with him, the hostess and bartender for about an hour while I charged and ate and just plain enjoyed myself. Upon consulting the map and Chris (the bartender) I decided I would be aiming to get to a truck and rest stop where people can shower and sleep if they’re exhausted. It was apparently only like 10 miles or so up the road.
From there I headed on to go through more bike trails including oe called San Gabriel Trail which was just beautiful with ducks and lots of people with their dogs.

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Lots of big hills but flying down them was wonderful. I passed a few cows who stared at me as I called ”HELLOO COWS!!!” and then, finally, I encountered the interstate! I was greatly relieved to see that there was a service road on the side of the interstate so I could ride on that instead of the straight up interstate. I also met my first unfriendly dog. I didn’t even notice it until it was practically right at my heels and let me tell you it wasn’t happy at all. It chased me for a bout 200 feet before it gave up and I was biking as fast as I could.

Suddenly it was about 5:30 and this truck stop was nowhere to be found and I was exhausted! My phone had long since died and I hadn’t minded thinking that the truck stop would be coming shortly and I knew I was going up the interstate for quite a ways anyway. I know that sunset is at 6:13 and I was starting to worry. It got to the point where I almost used my emergency button to ask them to look up the truck stop, but I wasn’t sure if my dad had to pay per emergency (lol) or what so I decided better not risk it over directions. I finally came to terms with the fact that I was not going to find the truck stop that night. I pulled over to a gate where I could see a house waaaay off in the distance and called a little feebly (lol I’m not joking I was so so tired) and upon not getting any response and being nervous about dogs again I turned to go on. I know I had panic tears happening and I allowed myself literally one sob before pedaling on. Half a mile down the road there was a huge gravel driveway with an enormous sign announcing OPEN ROAD BIKER CHURCH. Fate much? I walked my bike up the driveway because I was too tired to pedal even one more time. I knocked on the door and discovered it was open, but there wasn’t anyone there. I used the restroom and then walked to the back of the property where I could see houses and hoped it was attached so I could ask there if I might camp. I had to walk through bushes and trees but I made it to the house area. There were two houses to choose from and the one on the right had a huge dog outside and I couldn’t see if it was on a leash or not. After my escapade with the first dog chasing me I decided to try my luck with the house on the left. I walked up calling ‘HellooOOOo” and hearing what sounded like a very vicious little dog inside. No one was home. I walked nervously towards the second house as the dog was watching me watch it. I called out ‘Hiii puppy!” trying for a friendly sounding voice. Immediately the dog jumped up (I could see the lead that he was on) and started wagging his tail, doing the play pose and generally begging me to come play with him. I was in love immediately, he had gold eyes and was a half white half brindle pittie. So while I petted him with one hand and held up the bike with the other I hoped the owners of the house would hear me and come out so I could ask about the church. A woman came walking down the the road with her baby stroller heading towards the Chihuaha House and I asked her about the church. She said she was sure it was fine but that she would call and ask. I bid farewell to the sweet puppy and headed back to the churchyard.

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Once I was back into the church area I sat down, watched the sunset and after plugging in my phone I explored a little.

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I found a business card with the phone number for the pastor (Pastor Butch) so I called and left him a voicemail. After about an hour I decided to hope he said yes and set up my tent. I had just finished setting up and getting all situated when he returned my call confirming what the neighbor had said, that it was totally fine. He said that he and his wife, Karen, were coming up to turn off the lights and lock up so I would get to meet them which I was glad for. They arrived about half an hour later telling me that there was supposed to be a storm and that I could sleep in the church if I could lock up before I left. I was extremely grateful that they would trust me with staying in their church with their belongings inside. I brought my stuff (left my tent outside) in and ate my dinner (passstttaaaa and tortillas with peanut butter and a clif bar). I video chatted with Caitlin and Rick for a few minutes, routed out my map for the next day (easy, up the interstate) and read a pamphlet that Pastor Butch had given me. I then fell promptly asleep until 8:30 the next morning. I had decided that the next stop was Waco, TX where I had a host waiting or me and while I could technically make it there in two days it would be pushing myself too hard so I decided to try to make it for three days.

DAY THREE
The next morning I packed up camp and headed out later than I wanted to but feeling good because my phone and spare battery where all charged up AND i didn’t even need the GPS because I knew I was going up the interstate. I had told myself no more long lunches like the day before because I was on a deadline, dammit!
It was cold.
It was SO cold.
I bundled up rolled off! I knew I had a tough day ahead of me with nothing but interstate, with 34 degree weather AND with a wind from the NW blowing me the whole entire time and let me tell you it was not easy. It wasn’t particularly fun that day either. I couldn’t even muster up the energy to say hello to cows as I passed them. I did find that rest stop about 3 hours down the road so I am VERY glad I didn’t continue trying to find it the night before. I decided to stop there for lunch around 115 and met several interesting and nice people, a newlywed couple heading home to Michigan, a woman who hugged me as soon as I turned to her which made me SO happy because you guys know how I love hugs and to be almost a week with no hugs was a bummer and a man who chatted with me about a VERY cool sounding ride/walk that you do in Europe that sounds fascinating and of course I can’t remember the name of. (If I ever mention you in a story and don’t name you please don’t be insulted I’m TERRIBLE with names). After indulging in a little bag of chips along with my clif bar I was off! Only about 2.5 hours later I realized that I was done for the day and that it was going to rain. I pulled up to a gate with a videocamera in front of it and waved as obviously unthreateningly as possible in hopes that they would open the gate for me. When that didn’t work I called out in case any dogs were on the property to come and attack The Intruder. When THAT didn’t work I went into the gate and walked down the road to the house in the distance calling out helllloooo the whole time. I ended up going up and knocking on the door and a very adorable little bulldog came barrelling out to say hello. The guy said that yes, I could pop up my tent on the edge of the property. As I was walking back to where I had left my bike just by the gate another truck pulled up. A guy jumped out and said that if I walked along the property past where the road ends the fence would also end and I would be safe in the trees where no one could see me. It was a little interesting to do that as to my right was the fence and to my left was the incline straight down to the interstate (and lots of construction). Once I was in the trees and on the property I was utterly invisible. I set up my tent juuust as it started to rain, and also at this point it was FREEZING cold. Like the weather said it was 30 degrees ‘felt like 23’. I could see my breath and was shivering despite all my layers. In my tent I pulled out my winter coat and put on, basically, all the clothes I had with me. Once I was IN my sleeping bag for awhile I warmed up nice and toasty (but it did take awhile) I also stuffed my face with two clif bars and two tortillas with PB not just beCAUSE I was hungry but because I knew I was colder because I was hungry. Once in my bag I was warm, I was cozy and I had a full phone battery so I was happy. I called my Dad, Mom, Kerry’s Mama and my sister. I read a book on kindle for an hour and then fell asleep and slept all night, even sweating a little because I was too hot (lol imagine!). The weather forecast for the next day called for freezing rain and light snow! I knew I wasn’t going to be biking in that so I texted Andy my host for the next night and asked if he could pick me up the next day. He was so gracious and said of course, that he could even come that night but I was snugged up already so it was okay for the next day.

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The next morning a crow woke me up by banging on the roof of my tent screaming at me because I was in his tree apparently or something like that. I’m not even joking, I could see him sitting on my rainfly and poking the tent with his beak, I was genuinely worried he would puncture it because I know their beaks are weapons. Once I had camp down and my bike packed, Andy and I agreed to meet at a hospital just up the hill from me. He scooped me up and we were off to his and his family’s home which is where I am writing you this blog. I just ate legit four slices of pizza and can’t wait for dinner haha. I had a beautiful BEAUTIFUL shower in and am greatly enjoying my company and being clean. =)

In conclusion:

I am really enjoying meeting all the friendly people that I am meeting. I was saying to Andy that it makes a great difference meeting people who encourage you than grumpies who bring you down. I like having my iPod with me because if I find internet I can facetime with my friends and see their faces. I can’t wait to meet more people!! Until next time!!

Hello Austin!

HI!!! I made it to Austin alive!! (I don’t know why I wouldn’t?) Allow me to tell you about my day!
I started my day off with Kerry dropping me off at the LaGuardia Airport for my flight. We had our horribly heartbreaking goodbye and I was off. There was literally no line for the security, which I was worried about because I was actually supposed to fly yesterday and my flight was cancelled for today because of the weather we’re having. But so yes there was no line and I was two hours early and settled in for the wait. The first flight was a few minutes behind and I made it to my second flight just in time to board. It was a snowy snowy flight down from Chicago to Austin. see look:

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Snowy plains!!

Upon arriving at the airport I went down to the baggage area to collect my suitcases. You remember…the one large one that rolls, the one large one that is enormous and doesn’t roll and the carry-on that I ended up checking because the plane was full. As the carry-on rolling suitcase comes around the bend I’m staring at it strangely because the handles look like they’ve come off. No wait… that’s not even the top…that’s the BOTTOM. THREE of the four wheels have snapped off the bottom of the suitcase and are long gone. LOOOONG gone. So as I’m stunned and pondering just how the fuck I’m going to be able to roll this suitcase plus the other two down the streets of Austin, TX the large rolling bag comes around. IT ALSO IS MISSING IT’S WHEELS. ALL it’s wheels. ALL IT’S WHEELS! Can I scream that loud enough? Yeah, no I can’t. So my setup was this and I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a photo but I was too busy wondering what to do. Picture a regular sized carry on rolling suitcase. On top of that picture a large rectangular old fashioned suitcase the kind that doesn’t roll that you have to carry yourself. That was the only way I could fathom traveling carrying all the bags. I thought you myself, I’ll just drag these bags, sure why not? …I made it as far as the seats that people sit on who are waiting for their loved ones to arrive on planes. Not only was I dying for air, in pain from gripping my heavy bags but I am dragging dead weight and screeching with every step I take. OBviously the bus idea is not going to work out. I decide to take a cab, all I have to do now is get myself out to where cabs are picking people up. Off I go with all my suitcases dragging and screeching and people watching me. The first street to cross wasn’t SO bad (and by that I mean I didn’t drop anything). The second street I cross to where all the cabs with lights were parked only to be told they can’t pick me up there I have to cross back over and walk to the official ”taxi pick -up” sign. So I turn around and begin crossing again and I could FEEL the bags slipping and the next thing I know the large suitcase has fallen off the carry one and the large rolling one has just fallen and can’t get up. Finally a cabbie gets out to help me out and thank crap for that because I was dying already, can you imagine me trying to bus it and then hoof to Courtney’s house? I cannot. Into the cab I go and then I’m at the hosts house! On my way there I saw CACTUS AFTER CACTUS! It was very cool to see all these things that I know are there but I’ve never actually seen. For example in the airport there was a ton of music stages and giant guitars etc… anyways…
She wasn’t home, which I was prepared for but I knew her roommates were although I wasn’t exactly sure of the layout of her home. I had to walk around the side of the house (several trips as I progressed with my suitcases) . Courtney told me that she had two dogs and that they were friendly but would probably bark a little at me and she was right. They were snarling through the door. I walked in the side door to her bedroom and they were beyond another door which I believed was the living room where she’d said to make myself at home. I cracked the door open and they went crazy soooo I shut it again. I wasn’t about to test the friendliness of these puppies who clearly thought I was an intruder. Her roommates eventually came out and opened the door and introduced me to the dogs who after seeing I was not a threat were very friendly.
Next I unpacked the Suitcases From Hell, organized my bags and shit and plugged in the things that need to charge. I am now currently sitting on her couch typing this out to you guys here. All in all I am very lucky that I was financially ABLE to take a cab so I cannot even complain one bit. Plus I kind of am glad it took 15 minutes to get here and 45 by bus. I’m pretty tired and have a big day ahead of me so wish me luck on picking up my bike tomorrow!! ❤ ❤
Item to buy: hand lotion. I've totally forgotten that and my hands are super chapped. And Advil Migraine. And peanut butter and bread. =)
Remind me if I forget. I'm just waiting for Courtney to get home from work and we can chat! I can't wait to learn all about her stories of bike touring on HER own!

What’s New with Me?…A Novel.

Can you visualize the insanity that has been happening in my brain these last few weeks as my departure date looms?  I have had so much to think about and straighten out and confirm and just DO that I feel like I’m losing it.  Want to hear all about it?  OF COUUURRSE you do!
Where can I start?  I think I’ll begin with my front rack.

So.  I biked over to Brand’s about three weeks ago to make sure that the front rack I wanted would be compatible to my bike and I am so glad that I did because GUESS WHAT?  MY BIKE (of course) needs a special rack!  Because Evelyn has a suspension front fork I needed to special order my front rack.  Can you imagine if I hadn’t checked about that that day?  It would take a week for my rack to arrive, IMAGINE if I hadn’t checked on that until shortly before I left!  I’m sure you can, so you can understand how that just notched up my panic that much more.  Byron (the manager) reassured me that it would be in within a week and I need not panic (although that didn’t stop me).  I had decided that I was going to keep my bike basket on the handlebars because with the rack I ordered I wouldn’t be using that space at all and anything extra to hold shit would be that much more helpful.  I’m trying to tell this post in chronological order so we’ll come back to the topic in a few minutes, stay with me here.

Next order of panic was all the last minute items I was making sure I had that were coming in the mail.  I was very intentional in not ordering anything less than 2 weeks before my departure date and I am so glad because I would have perhaps completely lost my marbles with worry.  The last thing I ordered was the trunk for my rear rack where I planned to keep my electronics.  I was super pumped about it until after I’d placed the order (in the last week of December) and read that it was shipping from Hong Kong and was estimated to arrive AFTER FEBRUARY 28TH.  FEBRUARY. 28TH.  I am leaving February 5.  THIS WOULD NOT DO, no it would not do at all!  I sent off an e-mail to the company pleading with them to let me pay for faster shipping or some alternative but I never received a reply so I was left to wring my hands until it arrived.  THANKFULLY (oh god so thankfully!) it arrived within about two and half weeks and I have never been so happy to see a package in the mailbox.  It fit everything SO perfectly!  Solar charger, camera, battery recharger, wireless keyboard (because I won’t be taking my laptop with me and will be blogging from my phone but could NOT picture myself posting blogs via touch pad lol), etc etc etc.  It’s just the right size plus has enormous side pockets that even fit my water bottles should I want to shove them there; this worked out perfectly because at that time I hadn’t decided yet to keep my bike basket and was wondering how exactly I would strap my water bottles to the contraption that is Evelyn the Bike.

My friend Caitlin gave me a blanket that is very thin physically but very sturdy warm material so I am bringing it with me.  As I posted earlier this month I was now needing to figure out how exactly to organize my rear seat up and after much fiddling and rearranging bungee cords I figured it out.  [For more details you can flip back through posts to see the photo]

Sam, the Guitar

I have two guitars that I have been trying to re-home because I couldn’t bring them with me much as I wanted to.  My very first guitar, Sam, was a very sentimental item close to my heart.  When I found out from Kerry that the local guitar shop was buying back guitars I was ecstatic and immediately brought it to them.  What I WASN’T prepared for was realizing how much Sam really meant to me as I was handing her over.  Sam was the first guitar I ever bought, I learned to play on her.  She is a Fender and not a great one but she was beautiful and had lovely sound.  She didn’t have a single scratch on her and was always shining, waiting, calling to me to come play with her.  Whenever I was lonely, whether it was in my studio apartment in Illinois (I got yelled at by my downstairs neighbor for this), whether it was playing guitar with my dad, writing songs at the local church in Long Island where I attended years ago, writing my own songs that would allow me to play in a bar in Urbana, IL (my hometown) before I moved to New York, playing in the front yard with the little girls I love during the summer making up songs about the family dog, or just me singing and strumming.  She has been with me through many heartbreaks of all kinds and played loyally while I cried through songs that meant a lot to me, even though I am kind of a shitty guitar player.  I understand that I’m rambling but what I’m trying to potray is quite simple: I loved her and she loved me.  So when I handed over her to the man behind the counter I was not prepared for the suddenly tears that burst upon me.  I cried as I signed paperwork, handed over identifications and accepted the cash for her.  I cried as I touched her strings and smooth wood one last time and I sobbed as I walked away.  The employee who helped me was actually choked up because I was crying so hard and he gave me a hug and told me how proud he was of me (he knew about my trip).  I will never forget sitting in the car and crying so hard for about 20 minutes after leaving the store.  All the way home I wondered if I had made a mistake, if I could have shipped her (I couldn’t it would have been over $100) or something else.  Should I turn around?  What to do, what to DO?  I eventually talked myself to logic, reminding myself the reason that I had had to sell her in the first place but it wasn’t easy.  One day in the future I will have a new guitar and it will also be lovely but I will always remember Sam, my first guitar love.

Two huge mental setbacks and potential actual setbacks:

I was informed about two weeks ago that it is illegal to use interstates by bike in Texas, California, Oregon, Washington and much of Arizona and New Mexico (unless there is no alternative way to get to where you’re going).  Needless to say this created an enormous panic in me.  Much of my plans were on the interstate in Texas as least until I could get to Route 66.  I went onto all of the social media pages that I was on that had to do with Bike touring and asked over and over again what I could do instead.  I was directed to a book called Bicycling the Pacific Coast, by Tom Kirkendall.  I promptly ordered it and paid for speed shipping hoping with all I had that it would arrive before I left.  When it finally came I’m reading it through and it says something along the lines of how terrible of an idea it is to bike UP the Pacific Coast due to the headwinds.  THE HEADWINDS?!  Something that I had stupidly not even considered!  I immediately entertained the idea of changing my route completely, like COMPLETELY.  Instead of heading up the coast I was like okay I’ll go east first then up the east coast!  …No, no, then I’ll be back in NY by May, what fun is that?  I’ll go up through the midwest!  …No, that’s too cold.  I tossed all these ideas eventually and headed to Facebook biking pages again asking about statistics concerning the West coast headwinds.  Finally someone told me that the headwinds begin blowing south around the end of April beginning of May (if I was lucky)  This means that I needed to bike my ass as fast as I could to get to Washington.  If I make good time I think I’ll make it to the Canada/U.S. border shortly after the headwinds start and will only have to endure them the last leg of the west coast.  Problem sort of kind of solved.

Remember the Bike Rack?

So I called Brands after a week to see if the bike rack had come in and halleluiah it had.  Here’s where a problem came in.  That was the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  It was the same week that my Advanced Bike Maintenance was scheduled there.  Day one of the class was putting together a mountain bike.  Day two was working on your own bike.  This was perfect because I was going to bring in my bike, learn how to put my front rack on and then leave it there after class to be shipped.  OF COURSE we had a blizzard that week so class was postponed to the following week!  So I brought in my bike that first week and they were gracious enough to put the front rack on for me and left my bike with them a few days later and just had to not know how to put on my front rack, hopefully it won’t be too difficult.  On the bright side Performance Bike just called me like an hour ago to tell me that my bike had arrived and that if I have any trouble putting on my rack they can help me for free.  SO THANKFUL FOR SMALL THINGS!!

Moving On and Out

I have been packing and unpacking my bags over and over and over again just so that I can document what I have, where it is, where it’s going and learn the speediest way to get to what I need.  So as the last items came in I needed to finalize the packing.  I also needed to make sure anything that smells like anything (toothpaste, soap, food, Clif bars etc) were all in odor proof bags because I WILL BE DAMNED IF A BEAR FINDS ME.  As you know bears are becoming my primary fear lol.  Part of this packing had had to wait until the very last days because of my clothes.  I had already gone through my belongings to donate what I didn’t need, shipped to my mom what I DID need to keep (sentimental items and the random clothes that I would keep) and thrown away what I didn’t but when it came to clothes I was waiting because I didn’t want to find my bags all packed and have no clothes to wear…which kind of happened anyway.  I packed all my clothes up and realized I had nothing to wear but the onesie pajamas I was wearing at the time.  I had to go back into my donation bags and pull out two outfits for Sunday-Wednesday lol.  I have a suitcase set, two large suitcases and a carry on.  My plan had been that my panniers would go in the large ones along with my tent, sleeping bag and extra supplies.  The carry on would carry my clif bars and bike basket.  So the first suitcase packed smoothly, perfect!  I’m searching through the house looking for the second one and IT IS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN.  Eventually it was discovered that it had been left somewhere on vacation and meant to be shipped back to me but that never happened!  Uh..okay but I need to have a second suitcase it was not an option to not have a second large bag.  I found a huge one in the basement that fit everything in it perfectly.  The only issue was that it’s one of those older ones with one hand on the side that you carry.  So I now have one large rolling suitcase, one small rolling carry on and one enormous 50 lb suitcase that I have to carry.  This won’t be a problem until I get to Austin.  Why?  Well because I’m taking the city bus to the first hosts house and will have to figure out how to get the suitcases on the bus with me.  I briefly considered taking a taxi but it was going to cost me $40 and that just can’t do.  But at least I have a suitcase, right?  When I get to Austin I will be donating the suitcases because I won’t need them anymore.

So my plans when I get to Austin are in theory, all planned out.  When I land I will be taking a bus to another bus and that will drop me off about a block from the host that I am staying with.  The following day my friend is coming from Houston and we will then go to the bike shop where my bike was shipped to from Brands Cycle here.  I will put my bike back together and do my damndest to put my front rack back on with the help of the bike shop down there.  I will then bring my bike back to the host’s house (her name is Courtney and she sounds amazing!  She’s bike toured the country solo as well which is why I’m super excited to meet her, whenever I hear about a woman doing what I’m doing I am desperate to get all the information I can) for the night.  I will set out on the road officially on Friday, February 7th, if all goes according to plan.  Right now we’re in the middle of a snow storm and we’re supposed to get more snow on Wednesday morning which is when I’m flying so …we shall see.  Fingers crossed for good flying weather.

Last night at Kerry’s Super Bowl party I met a woman named Emily who road tripped across the country recently and she told me about this App called Road Trippers.  I cannot rave enough about finding out about this app, like seriously.  It maps out where you want to go and you have the option to opt out of interstates (BINGOOOOO) which is the best news I’ve heard in forever (although I feel like I’m saying that a lot haha, I’m just being appreciative okay?) This will take a lot of stress off of me wondering how the hell I’m going to get from one place to another without getting lost because I can’t use an interstate.

Closing out this post a quick blurb about my going away party last week.  Kerry threw me a little going away party with the usual gang of friends in the area who go out to karaoke, including my friend Kathy who came out from the city.  It was so great to have one last night with friends who have been listening to me talk and talk and talk about this trip from the very beginning.  Kerry sang me a beautiful song called ”My Wish” by Rascal Flatts, that I had never heard before but will never forget.  I have since added it to my playlist and every time I hear it I think about Kerry who has been a significant constantly reassuring friend through this entire trip planning.  Without her support I think I might have talked myself out of it from the very beginning.

Kerry and I

Kerry and I

Just an idea of the song:

I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,

But more than anything, more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

If you’d like to hear it you can click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3TeskgpWvE

I think I’ve covered everything that I can as of right now!  I know that was a lot to read and bless you for making it to the end of that novel haha!  I’ll be updating hopefully once a week whenever I can get to a public library or coffee shop with internet to post a new blog and plan out that weeks journey!  It’s upon us friends!  The day I’ve been working towards for the past 7 months!!  WHOOHOO! See you out there!!