Saturday, July 27, 2013

Closing a chapter

I'm currently sitting in the San Diego Airport waiting for my flight that consists of a 4 hour layover in LA followed by a 3 hour layover in Houston and then finally home to Orlando! I've been having fun in San Diego and celebrating a successful journey cross country. The day after we arrived, I had a mani/pedi with a few other riders! We did lots of walking around the town and exploring. Riders started to go home and goodbyes were sad but we look forward to a reunion soon. That evening most of the team was able to get together for one last beach evening. We had a sushi dinner and I had my first saki! The next day a group of us went shark snorkeling! The water was cold! I saw 4 sharks, 2 sting rays, and a large crab! The sharks were pretty scary and in shallow water! After th snorkel trip, we packed up and had mexican lunch. A group of us then went to downtown where we checked into our hotel for the night. We stayed at the Westin in Gaslamp which was really nice! Not to mention we all took nice showers and had a bed to sleep in. We walked a bit, had dinner, and said more goodbyes. The next morning everyone had left except for Meegan and I. We went to Balboa gardens where we walked around the pretty gardens and buildings for a bit and had lunch near the Japanese gardens. Afterwards we checked into the Sheraton hotel near the airport. We took a ferry to Coronado island where we had dinner and walked around the quaint town. I said my goodbyes to Meed dog this morning and went on a date with myself to the zoo. The zoo was  great! I met a man named Donnie currently in the Navy who was my tour guide for the day so I was able to get around the entire zoo. He even bought me lunch! I've come across so many kind folks this summer! The pandas, orangutans, and polar bears were the best a the zoo here! So here I am, waiting at the airport! I'm trying to prepare myself for the real world. I'm so used to the Bike&Build life! Thank you again to everyone who has supported, sponsored, and been reading my blogs! It's been one absolute experience of a lifetime! While I'm sad to put a close to this summer, I'm excited to turn the page into the next chapter of my life. :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Today was a 73mile ride up 4,000ft in elevation into Julian California. It was a rough ride! Through the desert mountains and a rainstorm. I thought it was downhill after the rockies, but boy was I mistaken! Hopefully its downhill our last 2 ride days since we’re going to sea level. Julian is such a cute town! Nice little shops, homemade apple pie cafes, cider, breweries, and various jams and fudge! We walked around a bit and came back to the church where I took a wonderful baby wipe shower. We have been reviewing 15 of the affordable housing grants and we will be voting this evening. It’s been interesting! Almost to San Diego! Thanks for reading!

The 55 mile ride into El Cajon was amazing! It was mostly downhill but through such a pretty area. We were basically in the suberbs of San Diego! We stayed at a high school library for the evening and woke up early to get to the beaches of San Diego! The ride today was incredible. Best day! We started off getting starbucks and then set off for 26 beautiful miles. We made our way through Mission Bay area and up to La Jolla. I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time!!! We met as a team for the last mile and ran into the water together! There were way too many people and they were all staring at us not understanding. The many folks just going for a normal beach day didn’t understand that we have biked for the past two and a half months and we were now at our final destination! Many asked questions and we shared some of what we had done. We celebrated with champagne too! There were sea lions there for the party! Some parents were there and Mark Bush, the Bike&Build founder. We enjoyed a picnic there and just soaking in the fact that we had come all this way and there it was, the ocean! Most importantly, we are here safe!!! There is risk involved with anything you do, its just a matter of doing what you can to be as safe and trusting drivers. I'm very thankful to be here safe and sound. 26 out of 28 riders from my route completed the cross country adventure. We are staying at a church for the next two nights and a group of us got a hotel at the Westin downtown for a good deal! I was able to get my bike shipped (hopefully) after must frustration and stress. I can only hope it gets home safe now! We had a hose shower and then a fish taco dinner on the beach and had our final team town hall meeting. We shared our favorite moments on the trip and watched a slide show with many pictures from beginning to end of our trip. Its been such an amazing summer. I’m not even sure how to explain the feeling today. Simply accomplished I suppose. I’m grateful for this experience and thankful for everyone who has been supporting me. Thank you thank you thank you! This has for sure been a life changing experience and a big eye opener for me for various opportunities. I remember over a year ago when I first contemplated this idea of biking cross country. Now, I wonder why I was so hesitant.  ITS AMAZiNG! I would advise anyone (18-28) to do Bike&Build. The fundraising is a bit challenging, there are hard moments on the trip, but anyone can bike cross country if you simply put your mind to it. I’ll continue to post about my adventures in San Diego! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

California girls!

After a great lasagna dinner with ice cream for dessert, we watched Zoolander! I went to bed pretty early since we had plenty of time to spare. I’m turned into an old fart these days. In bed around 9pm! I’m getting used to sleeping on the floors in random places. I’ve slept in some pretty interesting places…churches, sanctuaries, arcades, cafeterias, camping, armory, and gyms. Today we woke up at 6am, which was too late in my opinion since its getting really hot in the deserts of Arizona. But anywhos, some riders stopped at Dennys for the “pancake challenge” which consisted of 5 riders trying to eat the most pancakes. Max won with 11 pancakes! The ride was pretty flat for the most part and we didn’t shift much as far as elevation goes. I averaged around 15mph through the blazing heat that got to 104f! It was only a 55mile ride today to Salome, but it was for sure a hard ride. It was hard to eat lunch so most of us nibbled on some light foods and continued truckin. I saw more interesting cacti and some sand devils that spiral high in the air! We are staying at a high school this evening and having a family dinner followed by town hall meeting. We got mail today! What a great way to end a hard ride! I have really enjoyed all the letters this trip! Thank you Tom/ Sandi, Ginny/Ed, Tomi/Ron, Hoyle/ Janet and the entire CBA Deans Office! The cards are so uplifting and I always have the most mail! One card stated the following: “Imagine yourself doing what you love and loving what you do, being happy from the inside out, experiencing your dreams wide awake, being creative, being unique, being you-changing things to the way you know they can be, living the life you always imagined.” I thought this was awesome and so well put! Thank you for reading J I’m 5 days away from San Diego!

Hello California!!! We made it to our last state! It was a hot 60 mile ride today to Blyth California. The terrain was mostly flat with some uphill and downhill’s. Subway gave Meegan and I free subs for lunch! The roads weren’t the best and caused so many flats! I got one flat today and Meegan got 4! We ran out of tubes and patches though in the blazing heat. We had to walk a bit in order to get shade and fill up on water. We made it 3 miles out from the church where the van had to pick us up. Overall it was a good day but hard due to the heat. But we are in California and only a few days away!! We sang California girls by Katy Perry as we entered California! For dinner we has such a great salad, fresh fruit, scallop potatoes, pulled pork, and chips! Yummy! Tmrw will be another hard day! Thanks for reading!
We woke up at 4am this morning in order to beat some of the heat on our 90 mile day to Brawley California! The first half of the ride was nice since the sun was covered by the clouds but the sun snuck up on us as did the hills and desert. I was a hot ride! The desert was interesting and reminded me of Israel with the rolling sand dunes. The host here in Brawley is so nice! We were welcomed with air condition and lots of snacks! I’m hungry and looking forward to dinner! I’ve said it before, but the generosity of folks across the country is incredible. The hosts have treated us too well! Also, when we have flats and are fixing them, we’ve had cars pull over to make sure we’re okay; however, today an 18 wheeler pulled over to make sure we were okay! Haha! WE ARE SO CLOSE TO SAN DIEGO!!!!!! I’m so excited! We have been biking for two and a half months! I ment to post these “fun facts” when I get to San Diego but I will do so now in order to save me more time for exploring San Diego.

Fun Facts:
·      I’ve used the same 2 hair ties the entire trip
·      I’ve had 12 flats total
·      Number of bridges crossed: 531 (Olivia counted!)
·      Favorite state: Colorado
·      Least favorite state: Kansas
·      Least favorite ride: into Cherokee
·      Favorite ride: into Maryville (water day!)
·      Best food: Prescott, Pulaski, NC towns
·      Lost items the entire summer: 1 sock, handle to my bike pump, water bottle
·      Towns I’d visit again: Salida/Bueno Vista, Durango, Colorado Springs, Grand Canyon, Ashville, Chapel Hill, Waynesville,
·      Craziest things I did this summer: jump off a bridge, bike million dollar highway
·      I most likely have the longest fingernails on this trip after having a horrible habit of nail biting
·      Most disgusting: waking up about a foot away from a dead bat in Bluff Utah
·      There are currently 16 stickers on my bike from various states
·      We have touched 12 states
·      Most challenging aspects: staying mentally strong, being organized, rushing through towns too fast
·      My brother Nick and I have registered for our 2nd triathlon at Siesta Key come August!
Would I do b&b again: Absolutely! This has been one of the best experiences in my life so far and has opened my eyes to different opportunities, various ways of living, and a different outloo

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's my birfday!

Our first build day in Prescott went well but was cut a bit short when a storm came through. The folks here are so nice! On the way back from the site we stopped at the fire station. I’m not too sure how to explain the memorial I saw for the 19 young men that have lost their lives. The entire fence line was decorated in flags, notes, posters, flowers, bears, fire station shirts from around the country, and pictures from young kids. We spent some time reading and paying our respects to these heroes. I’ve never seen such a memorial. While it was extremely sad to read many of the notes, I’m thankful I was able to be there. It brings more respect and gratefulness to those serving our country in various ways.

Afterwards, we went back the church where we were able to go thrift shopping for prom tonight! Riders found some pretty neat outfits! For dinner we went to a church where there was a huge potluck! Prescott Habitat made such a nice evening! There were so many different types of great foods! There were some presentations and questions as well. One of the ladies, Christine, even reads our bios and blogs! She gave a few of us that blog religiously a bag of Lindor dark chocolate truffles! There was also a birfday cake for those of us that have recent birfdays! That evening we also had prom! Check out the pictures! It was basically a huge dance party. Our second build day went well too but was cut short by the storms. It’s my birfday today! A few of us went to a small diner for lunch that had yummy wraps and homemade cheesecake! They gave me a free slice of mocha cheesecake for my birfday! Yum!! Tonight we have dinner at the Red Robin provided by Olivia’s parents! So sweet! We have 7 days left till we reach San Diego!

Today we had a 60 mile ride to Wickenburg Arizona. Last night Red Robin dinner was so great! I had a southwest avocado chicken salad! Everyone sang happy birfday and I got a huge slice of ice cream cake! Habitat also got us nice shirts with respects to the Prescott firefighters. We thought the ride today would be 80 miles since the road we were going to take has been closed since the fires but it reopened and we took the 60 miles route. I was surprised at the beginning of the ride since it was a mountain! Most of the ride seemed downhill after that. We biked through the town of Yarnell where most of the fire took place. There were disaster relief pick up signs, volunteer check-ins, roads blocked off, and then we began to see some of the damage from the fire. I saw some really big cactus today too! The church here is really nice and even set up a shower tent for us using a hose. We have a lasagna dinner tonight! 6 days left till be reach San Diego!!!! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The elk are coming!!

I haven’t had internet in awhile! Keyenta with the southern route was great but a little crowded. It was nice to chat with others that are doing the same thing and to see their group dynamic. In the morning we had a huge dance party before heading out! The ride was nice to Tuba City. I can’t say I was a big fan of the area but some of the views were nice. We stayed at a small church in Tuba City but it was nice. I stopped at sonic on the way in with some others since we were hungry and there aren’t too many food choices. We had good showers that were kinda chilly. For dinner we had bean and rice burritos. We had our town hall meeting and discussed out B&B prom! The girls are to ask a guy out and we pulled a name out of a hat to decide. It will be July 15 in the gym! We then had breakfast and the hosts made us these yummy muffins with zucchini, oats, and chocolate chips! We also had a more traditional Native American breakfast I believe that consisted of a bean mixture with meat along with a sweet fried bread topped with cinnamon and honey. It was yummy! There are so many stray dogs in the area. It was pretty sad. Most of them were nice though and just wanted some attention. I saw some rams on the ride into the Grand Canyon! They just wander around the sides of roads. The first 25 miles were pretty simple averaging about 18-20mph. We stopped at a huge trading post in Cameron that had a gigantic gift shop and café. Little did I know I would be going up a mountain to get into the Grand Canyon. I went about 5-12mph up till mile 55 where we had second lunch. On the ride in I could see what I thought was the outsides of the Grand Canyon. To enter the National Park its $25 a car or $12 per biker! So we got in Trojan horse style by stopping early and loading all bikes in the trailer. My first view of the Grand Canyon was one of amazement! It’s basically a site that I really can’t explain. It looks like the Rocky Mountains turned upside down for the most part. There were way too many tourists here! So many different languages. I kept looking around and thinking that I actually bike to the Grand Canyon! I BIKED HERE! What an incredible view. Looking down into this crazy never ending abyss within the earth. Theres wild sage that smells great! I saw some elk as well! They are pretty much just acclimated to people being around. I got so close! At the campground we all set up tents and made family dinner consisting of bean and rice burritos again. The fire ban was dropped so we were able to make a campfire, which was great since the temperature drops at night! On our day off in the Grand Canyon I woke up at 6:15am naturally with Erin and Sean. We walked over to the visitor center and café where I just got a yogurt, peach, and chocolate milk for breakfast. We went on a hike down the Grand Canyon on Kaibab trail which goes down a steep zig zag path. It was quite the workout not to mention I was pretty sore. There was a line of mules that take people up and down the path. I felt bad for them though as they marched tied together uphill. I tried so desperately to not step in their dung but it happened unfortunately. I decided that I will throw out my tennis shoes in San Diego since they are gross and have been through too much this summer. Anyways, after the hike I ventured around the museum center and watched a history movie of the Grand Canyon which was neat. There are way too many gift shops here and overpriced food. I paid way too much for a chicken sammich with a frap. I did some people watching since there were some rather interesting tourists here. I found myself eating hummus, pita chips, and some crab meat for dinner. I keep running into Elk here! I’m starting to wonder if they will accept me into their wolf pack of elks. They seem like such pleasant creatures just doing their own things and leaving droppings all over the trail. I’ve enjoyed the Grand Canyon! Its for sure a must see in the United States. We go to Williams tmrw which is apparently a cute town. Thank you Mom/Pop, Ginny/Ed, and Ron/Tomi for the birthday cards! So sweet! I’ll be 22 years young on July 16! What a way to spend my birfday! Thank you for reading!

Today we woke up in the Grand Canyon and a few of us decided to take the historic train ride to Williams which is 60 miles! The 8 of us were able to spend the morning exploring the canyon and saw some Native American dancing and flute playing. The train ride was awesome and so well worth it! It was my first time taking a train ride other than those at Disney. There was even a staged train robbery! Claire went on the speakers and asked Steven to Prom too! This summer I’ve already had so many different and new experiences and this just added to it! Williams is a neat town but a very tourist area since were right on Route 66. For dinner I had a yummy taco salad at a Mexican place which was too expensive since were trapped in a small tourist area. I asked Tim to prom this evening with the help of some other riders who blind folded him as I laundry looped our hands together and surprised him asking him to prom! Hahaha! It’ll be a fun B&B party! We are entering the desert. Eek! Thanks for reading!

We had a nice 66 mile day in into Prescott Arizona. After having a meeting last night I ended up sleeping in the sanctuary, which usually is creepy to me, but I ended up using the seat cushion to sleep on which was comfy. Other riders have been asking others to prom is creative ways too! The ride today had a rough road and caused many flats. I got a staple stuck just perfectly in my tire and had to use a pocket knife to dig it out. We stopped at this little shop that had these awesome cheap trucker hats that we all got! In the morning we painted “19” on our legs and did the ride in memory of the firefighters lost in the recent fires. It was very sad to ride into Prescott and see the signs, ribbons, and flags hanging from churches and the sides of roads for the firefighters. The flags are at half-mast as well. I’m glad we are able to volunteer in this city for two days and do what we can to help with the affordable housing at least. On another note, showers have been rough lately. Or should I say there lack of. I’m glad I bought some baby wipes the other day! Check out the photos and videos please! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Riders from the east!

Get it? Riders from Rohan! (Lord of the Rings) Today we entered the deserts of Arizona. I actually really pretty. Like my Pop has said, it was a different type of pretty from the mountains. There were giant orange rock formations everywhere! Such an interesting site. I took some pictures that I'll post soon but just like in the mountains, pictures just arent enough to show the beauty of the land, you must see it! I say "riders from the east" because well, while biking I always seem to relate my adventures to that of Lord of the Rings. While there was mostly orange rock formations, we found this one giant dark rock that looked like Mordor. Another hard day through the heat, dryness, and lots of uphills actually. We've been biking through mostly Indian reservations as well. I'm finding it interesting to see the different cultures and simply the different ways of living within the United States. We are staying at a small church in Kayente Arizona with the Southern Route! There are almost 60 of us sleeping hip to hip tonight. The next few days we are camping out so I assume I wont have much internet to blog. We will be at the Grand Canyon soon which I'm excited for! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 8, 2013

4 states!

We had the morning in Durango to explore before heading out for a 45mile ride around 12pm. I actually slept in till about 7:15am and then went to a coffee shop with Meegan and Kim where I got a rosemary bagel with egg, ham, provolone, sprouts, and guacomole. I also had an iced coffee and it was all delicious! If you haven’t noticed I love food! We had an interesting conversation about how we are a little over 2 weeks away from reaching San Diego and what it will be like when we get there, the emotional ride in to the ocean, the fun we will have, how we will be able to visit eachother in different states, and the lonely ride home in a plane knowing we had biked all this way and now are taking the easy way out by flying home. It’s still pretty hard to believe that we are here in Colorado and soon to be in California. We’ve all grown so much stronger physically and mentally too. I say mentally simply because I believe most rides are mental. You have to be in the right mind set from beginning to end. I took some time this morning to wipe down my bike as best as I could and add my new stickers! My bike is looking good! I also got some clear packing tape to better secure the stickers so they stay nicer. Most of my bike is covered in Colorado stickers since its my favorite state! I’m trying to save some room for California! I’ve been looking into things to do in San Diego. There’s a vineyard so we will do wine tasting hopefully and a few of us bought livingsocial deals to swim with sharks! The ride was nice today with some uphill’s and downhill’s. I road with Meegan and as we were going downhill I hit 44mph! But as we were coming to the bottom a sheriff pulled out in front of us with his lights on and stopped us! It was a horrible location since I was going about 35mph at the time and had to come to a quick stop. I went a bit past his car and he prbly thought I wasn’t going to pull over! He ended up telling us that he was getting some phone calls from folks saying “bikers in black shorts and blue/red jerseys were too far in the lane”. We told him since we were in the back of the pack it had to be some riders up front blocking traffic. Hehe and explained that we ride the shoulder for most of the ride but take a foot of the lane when going downhill and that according to Colorado law bikers are allowed in the lane or at least a certain amount of space. He was nice and understanding. After he gave us speeding tickets and tickets for not pulling over….kidding! But we joked about it since we were going at high speeds! I can now say that I’ve been pulled over by a sheriff while on a bike! I’ve never gotten a ticket! Anyways, that was a highlight of the day. I had a horrible shower with a hose in front of a church and ate an expensive but good sammich from City Market with a crab patty melt that wasn’t too good. Otherwise, great day and off to bed! 

We biked 85 miles today through the 4 corners and into Bluff Utah! It started off pretty simple with some nice downhills up until we reached mile 40 and visited the 4 corners. I stood in 4 states at once! I got some navajo taco that looked good but was too expensive and too much fried bread stuff. =/ I needed more food but continued biking the last 45 miles which ended up being tough! There were mostly climbs with a strong head wind. I ended up bonking as I pulled into the church and immediatly ate. It was a rather weird feeling. Theres some neat rock formations here and ruins. Its really hot here! And no AC -__- I cleaned my bike today too! Check out my pictures!