Returning home – It’s the journey, not “The Plan”

Due to the shear number of disaster occurring around the country, David and I felt that it was important to get back to our jobs with the American Red Cross Disaster Services.  So we were not able to visit with Janice and Jim in San Fransisco or arrange to ride in a few additional states on our way back to the Cleveland, Ohio area.  We headed back, driving straight through, non-stop. 
Brown Subaru in Amarillo, TX

  • Well, except for that one stop in Amarillo, TX… at Brown Subaru dealership.  We met, Jerry, Assistant Manager and Jose, Mechanic Extraordinaire, talk about exceeding the customer’s expectations… What might have taken a week to complete, Jerry and Jose were able to complete in about 4-hours.

Jose, Mechanic Extraordinaire
So we are now back in Cleveland and David is heading for Alabama and I will probably be leaving soon for another disaster site.
Some have asked if I would do this again… my answer, YES!  In a minute -- going WEST to EAST…  I would rather ride another route TransAmerica Trail or Northern Tier just to have a different experience.  This ride has been a wonderful experience, confirming my belief that the world is full of “good” people, doing “good” things, and now realize there are a lot more “crazy” people out there, like me, who love the pace of cycling long distances.
First and foremost I thank David for being so supportive, and for believing in me, even when I did not believe in myself – My most wonderful husband and prince.
My parents (Jim and Ruby) for their role in creating the person I am today, for the experiences and opportunities that their love and sacrifices made possible.
David’s parents (Roy and Eleanor) for their support both in the details and in spirit.  And for their role in creating the person David is today!
Ariel and Amber, thank you for the motivation to create this blog, as a way to inspire you both to create and follow your own dreams -- dream big!
Friends, family, co-workers, followers and total strangers, each one of you played a role in the success and enjoyment of this ride.
Life Lessons:
1) God is good in all he does.  And God has been good to me! 
All of nature, the earth, the universe… is singing God’s praises.  There is a symphony being performed in ever moment and we each have our part.
2) Everything is perfect, whole and complete; even when I don’t see it that way.
3) In every day, and every moment I have a choice and if I choose not to choose, it’s still a choice.
This is “my ride” and it is my choice on where I go, how I get there and what I experience.  Other people have their own rides and make their own choices – and those are “not my ride” and yet they are perfect for that person.
4) Live in “what is so” – Reality vs. what should be, ought to be, etc.
There is an optical illusion that occurred for me several times while riding in the hills and mountains especially out west.  It would appear that the road I was cycling on was going downhill and yet when I geared my bike to go downhill it was a struggle to peddle… I would rant “it should not be this hard,” and I would tough my way through this, peddling harder, working harder…  “What was so” is the road was going uphill.
What I learned was to work with “what is so,” whether I thought it was right or true or not. I learned to adjust to what worked.  I learned to trust the feeling in my muscles and the speed on my speedometer, rather than view the optical illusion as real and exerting energy and time complaining about how this looks and thus should be and why isn’t this easier and what’s wrong.
5) Nothing is significant and everything is significant… Live to the fullest!  And enjoy “Your ride”…



Day 71 MAY 10, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,901 Today: 60 miles

Oak Spring, CA to San Diego, CA  California is complete and I've reached the end of the route!

Pacific Ocean, San Dieago
Switched back to cycling to the west.  It was 39oF in the mountains again, but no rain this time.
Yucca Plant

Yard Art in Pine Valley, CA

I did not see the ocean until I was within a mile or two.

Mission Trail Park, San Diago, CA

Salt Marsh at the mouth of the San Diego River; looking toward the Pacific Ocean

Skateboard Park near the beach

The end of the Southern Teir Route is at a Dog beach! 

Dog Beach

Beach Dog

The Dogs win in the end!

It was 65 degrees on the beach, sunny and windy...
After nearly 3000 miles, check the size of those thighs

 Stayed in San Diago overnight.

I plan to do one more posting to summarize my final thoughts in the next few days... then the trip and the blog will be compelte.


Day 70 MAY 9, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,841 Today: 68 miles

Switched things up today… Cycled from Oak Spring, CA to El Centro, CA
With a wind advisory in effect (25-35 mph winds, WSW); I thought of taking the day off – being so close to the end, David was not in for that idea; so I started at the West end of today’s route.  Sounded good to me, gave me a great big down hill vs. up hill (2500 ft elevation drop in a very short distance)! 

Cold weather gear required in California?

Well, of course there’s a story…  The temperature in the mountains was 39oF, and the gray clouds concealed the mountaintops; when we left El Centro it was a brisk 65oF.  On the ride down, there was freezing rain off and on, just enough to soak through my clothes. While the rain was taking a break a coyote crossed the road just in front of me.  Reminding me of a dream/nightmare I had a couple of nights ago… a pack of coyotes chasing me on my bike – glad that did not happen. 

Not a lot of tree, but yucca &sage

Amazing, boulders in piles,  like pebbles on the beach!

2nd highest point on Olde Hwy 80

The route required that I ride down I-8 for a while, and warned of high winds for the next 18-miles.  I have never, ever experienced anything like this ride… I was going 41-mph before I passed the sign warning trucks of the steep grade and truck speed limit of 35 mph!  Moments later I came to a near stop because the wind had shifted to in front of me.  I was riding sideways, leaning into the wind… until it shifted or a bus/RV passed, then I’d get sucked toward their lane.  When there was a cut/gap in the mountains I had to stop riding and just hold on (to my bike, thinking heavy thoughts).  There were many times I felt as if I would be pushed over the edge or out into traffic or when standing/walking - lifted off my feet.  David followed me as much as he could, gave me a break once or twice by using the car to block some wind.  (Sorry, no pictures, survivial was the top thing on our minds)

The road ahead

Once I reached the bottom and the desert open up around, I was able to ride nearly 20-miles without peddling… the wind was blowing me down the road – Bike sailing!  This cycling East is way easier!  There’s no way I could have ridden west today.  The wind is predicted to be blowing again tomorrow.

Hay Barn in California
 Stayed in the El Centro again tonight, same hotel, same room.

Day 69 MAY 8, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,773 Today: 54 miles

Cycled from Ogilby Rd & SR 78, CA to El Centro, CA

Who forgot I had a flat tire yesterday?  When I found the back tire flat again this morning, I took off on David’s bike.  Cycled through 7-miles of sand dunes, then down into the Yuha desert floor. Irrigation has made this area a valuable farming area.

The road ahead

North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area

Dogs that  like chasing bikes
Spent the night in a hotel in El Centro, CA


Day 68 May 7, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,719 Today: 50 miles

Cycled from Blythe, CA to Ogilby Rd & SR 78, CA.

Starting Point

I survived the “Dips” Palo Verde Mountain Range… the rolling hills up and down were not so bad, no edge with lots of trucks was just scary!

Chocolate Mountains  Ummm!

A flat tire … after all the junk and broken glass that I have ridden over on the edge of the road; a staple punctured my tire.  So I traded out for David’s bike and finished the 1.5 miles to the day’s end.

Spent the night (in a motel) in El Centro, CA

Lunch Break

Shane on his way Phoenix, AZ


Day 67 May 6, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,669 Today: 63 miles

Cycled from Wenden, AZ to Blythe, California.  Done with Arizona, on to California. 

Bye, Bye Arizona

Arizona - California State Line
Wow, was it hot today… 103oF.  The only way I made it was to play "The air conditioning game", ride from one McDonald to the next...  David and I had lunch and a break at the McDonald's in Quartsite, AZ (home of the largest belt buckle - no pictures).  After cooling down some, I decided I could ride to the next McDonald's in Blythe, CA (approximately 25).

Small town of Hope, Az

A small town with humor

Dome Mountain Range

Looking forward

 So before you feel too sorry for me, you need to know that David is spending his days driving around in a car without air conditioning. He finds a shady place to hang out or hopefully finds a  fast food resturant with WiFi.  He's real trooper!


Day 66 May 5, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,636 Today: 50 miles

Cycled from Morristown, AZ to Wenden, AZ. 
Yard Art in Aguila, AZ
Morning Ride
Finished in the early afternoon at 95oF, I start off strong, thinking I’ll surely do 60-miles and then lose steam at 40-miles and struggle though to 50-miles, because “I said I would”.
"Mountains jutting out of the desert like the edge of a knife"

Break Time

Lichen that looks bright yellow
No motel tonight… guess it is making me soft.  We drove about 40-miles to Alamo Lake Arizona State Park and found a campsite with some trees and the breeze picked up, which made it bearable. (we did not pass a motel the entire way).

Camp 66 - Alamo Lake Az State Park


Day 65 May 4, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,586 Today: 50 miles

Cycled from Maryland Ave Phoenix, AZ to Morristown, AZ.  The temperature was in the 90’s again. Finished the day at 12:30 pm, and again David got a motel room!  My morning was spent on Arozina Canal  bike trail, so that was relaxing.
Ducks in the Canal

Amusement Park next to Canal BikeTrail
We had dinner at The Hog Trough in Wickenburg, AZ; it was good barbeque, but the sauce was not my favorite…  Wickenburg is an interesting town, seems to be doing fairly well as a tourist destination; it’s not too far from Phoenix.
Ariel, skateboarding?


Day 64 May 3, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,536 Today: 81 miles

On the Road Again... Cycled from west of Miami, AZ to somewhere in Phoenix, AZ. 
Today's starting point

Man, did I have a great day!  The wind was with me most of the day or at least never against me… well there was that one time when entering the Queen Creek Tunnel.  The wind was blowing through the tunnel so hard I did not think I was going to be able to peddle through, luckily it was down hill, so I had some momentum.  David drove behind me (Thanks Mark R for the heads up on this one). David said he could not see me for a while when we were in the middle of the tunnel. I had a difficult time see also, should have taken my sunglasses off… thank goodness it was not too long - about ¼ miles. 
Very shy gray cat at the hotel in Globe, AZ
I had gone 35-miles by the time David and I met for lunch at 10:00 am, so I figured I’d go for 60-miles for sure and I wanted to take advantage of my good fortune. Then at about 62 miles, I started a new (the last) map section and the miles just kept rolling along.  Of course I was off route most of the time I was in the city, but I found the Arizona Canal and just followed that to my end point.  I was exhausted when I finished or maybe I had  heat exhaustion, the temperature today was in the 90’s. I was light-headed when I stopped and actually plopped down in some shade at the end of the trail to call David to meet me.  My wonderful husband booked a motel room for tonight… where’s that beer??

Cactus in bloom

Between a rock and a hard place

Views from the road


Denver, Colorado - Vacation from my vacation

Day 58 April 27, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,455 Today: 0 miles – Hiked with Glen & Julie in the morning and drove to Las Vegas, New Mexico. 
Julie and Glen B. @Show Low, AZ

Stayed overnight in a Walmart parking lot… check that off our “bucket list”  Note to self: select a Walmart near a fast food restaurant so that we can change into night clothes without being suspected as shoplifters.
Day 59 April 28, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,455 Today: 0 miles – Got to the hotel in Denver, Colorado around 1:00 pm. I met Laurie, John, and Lynn, John’s wife.  Laurie and John are also instructors for the Red Cross class.  We went out to dinner together and celebrated my birthday. 
David, Jo Ann, Laurie, Lynn and John
Day 60 April 29, 2011 Total Mileage: 2,455 Today: 0 miles – J’s Spa Day.  When we got to the hotel David received a FedEx envelope with Birthday cards from his family for me! And a special gift card from all of them for a spa day at a solon just down the street from the hotel.  It was wonderful, just what I needed!  And now my toenail color matches the new turquoise earrings David got for me and oh yes, he also give me a dozen roses.
Prairie Dogs on Hotel property
Day 61 April 30, 2011, Day 62 May 1, 2011, Day 63 May 2, 2011, Total Mileage: 2,455 Today: 0 miles – Caught up on laundry, blog postings, job search, emails, etc.  We drove back to Globe, AZ  in approximately 13 hours.