Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ups & Downs

If the first few days our trip are any indication of what's to come, then Adam and I are in for some fantastic adventures.

The Ups:

I swear this really is an Up, but air planes losing luggage is not fun. Maybe it was karma for wearing our helmets on the plane just to see the reaction we'd get from the other passengers.. But we waited and waited until the baggage belt stopped before we finally gave up and went to the counter and gave them all of our info. They assured us the baggage would show up soon. So as we left the airport, another plane's luggage was coming on the same belt and what do you know, our bag comes out. That was huge... How do you pack for a year-long journey without your gear? Thank god we don't have the answer for that.

It's always fun figuring out new cities! We had a big task ahead of us figuring out our way around the vastness of San Diego. It's huge! And there is no easy transportation. We bummed rides from my cousin Shannon and my Aunt Julie, rode trains and buses, and rode our bikes after we picked them up at B+L Bike & Sports where we shipped them there earlier this week. We were blown away at the helpfulness of Hubert and other staff there, from setting up our bikes and even fitting us, to installing new accessories like a new aero bar (courtesy of Uncle Bob) and new front racks that didn't fit. Thank goodness for the motorcycle shop next door who was able to grind down some of the metal on the rack in order to fit it into place.

A big Up was the time we spent with family!
Our cousin Malena met us at the bike shop with her beach cruiser and we rode around to lunch and found some fun biking paths in San Diego. We got to spend time with my Aunt Julie and her boyfriend Chris, and with my cousin Shannon and her boyfriend Nick. We even got to celebrate Nick's birthday with him! (why do we not have any photos of this???)

San Diego was full of good times not only for us, but for our friends, too. We spent a great evening with our newly engaged friends, Robby and Susan! Felt really special that we got to be the first ones to see them after their engagement! Look how happy they are!

On our last day in San Diego, my cousin Shannon and her boyfriend Nick made us a yummy breakfast of fresh veggie juice, eggs, and home fries then brought us to my Aunt Julie's to pack our bikes. Since we couldn't figure out any other way to get us and our bikes to The Blind Lady Ale House for the townie ride and meet & greet, we rode there, really getting to test our bikes for the first time in San Diego. We got to see some pretty sights on the townie ride...

..and the night was a huge success! We had about 40 people there throughout the afternoon/evening and The Blind Lady donated 15% (about $450 in total) of the proceeds from anyone who came into the restaurant to our charities. Very very cool people- thank you Jeff, Clea, Lee, and Jennifer! And a huge thanks to Hubert for setting it all up for us!

Saying goodbye that night and the next morning was bittersweet. We left with some homemade waffles in our tummies and caught a bus to the San Diego Living station where we had our first live T.V. interview of the trip! Talk about nerve-racking. We set ourselves a goal for the plane ride. I'm sure a few of you may have seen the mini video interview on the new haven register site. We apologize.. It was pretty bad. For San Diego Living, we had to be better. So we wrote out answers to all of the questions and practiced on the plane ride. The poor guy sitting next to us could probably have done the interview himself by the end of the plane ride. We offered him one of our friend, Mickey's, cookies she made us for the journey as a peace offering which he gladly accepted.

After the interview, we were off... The moment we had been planning for. It felt so good to start the journey. One of my favorite moments of the trip so far.

Now for the real Ups...the uphills.

Whoa.. We spent the last hour or two of the day climbing and had another hour to go when we passed another cyclist finishing a ride for the day. Kevin invited us to camp on his lawn, take showers(although we declined this.. Why???), gave us an electrical cord to charge our stuff, and brought us to a Thai restaurant where we all had dinner together. It was more than we could have asked for and a good way to spend the night, prepping us for what was to come today.

It turns out, yesterday was only a taste of the uphills. We climbed all day long and laughed as we passed the 3,000 foot elevation sign and kept going up for a few hours after that. In the last hour of daylight, we finally put on warm gear for a nice long ride down and found our camp site for the night- Adam had to do a little monkeying around first!

Thought this was a pretty cool photo below. Adam caught me scurrying away from the border fence. You can see it in the background! This was right outside of Jacumba, CA.

With each new experience, we learn a little more. One of the things we've learned so far is a little patience. Only 1.2 miles from our destination tonight, warm showers host, Brian, and Adam gets a flat. We fix it(we're getting good at fixing flats) and we pedal maybe five feet when I get a flat. Ugh. Ok. Fix it, blow the tire back up, and oops... There were really two holes in my tire, not just one. Patch that on and pump it up. All good until the valve breaks and all the air we've just pumped in gushes out. So we stick on a brand new tire and all in all 40 minutes later and we're off. When we finally made it to Brian's, the other couple who was staying the night made us extra dinner and it was waiting for us as we came in... Pretty awesome! We don't have a picture of the flats... Sorry.

The Downs

12 miles, 6% grade, downhill! Can't get a better down than that, huh?

And on we go....


  1. This just made my day - I'll be looking forward to every one of these you post!

  2. Sounds awesome so far. As for the flats...not sure if you've been warned about the goat head throns that are abundant in the western deserts. Bryan and I didn't learn about them til we got 4 flats on the same ride! As you go through CA, AZ, and NM, it might be worth getting some pre-slimed tires. They're heavier, but much better than constant flats :-) (Apparently they're such a problem in NM that the Albuquerque REI has the highest sales of slime and slimed tires than any other REI in the country by a long shot!)

  3. What a great read with fantastic photos. We have been following your progress on the map too. Glad you are getting some use out of those jerseys! Boys say hi, they were very impressed seeing you on TV. :-)

  4. I'm just enthralled!!! Tearing up, laughing, you guys are my heroes!!!

  5. Great post, and so glad I got to meet you guys at the BLAH and townie ride! PubQuest Julie

  6. Great start! Enjoyed all of your post! Wishing you warm tail winds.

  7. Can I come too! You make all your travels seem like so much fun. Now doing it for others & sharing it with us, you guys rock! love you

  8. What a great post! I wish I was there! So glad you are meeting such nice people along the way.

  9. Hey, guys! Awesome start!

    So, my broken (and repaired) teeth are my constant reminder to always clean out the inside of the tire when fixing a flat. Be sure to do that or whatever popped your tube the first time, will just do it again. I agree with ChefSara about the "slime" tires, too. I know in mt biking there's tubeless sealants (Stan's Sealant) that work amazing well at instantly sealing punctures, so I be the slimed road tires are similar.

  10. Wow cool pictures....... i want to see that interview!!!

  11. It's amazing to see everything you have done in such a short time. Enjoy every minute of your adventure. I love the documentation through stories and pictures - it feels like you are taking us all on your journey too. I am glad so many people are so open to providing you guys with some things you need. Be safe and have fun! Sending some California sunshine your way!