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! 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Loving Durango!

Durango CO is one of my favorite towns so far! I've really been enjoying Colorado and would advise anyone who hasnt been to come! The towns are really neat, theres lots to see and do, very outdoorsy, and the views of course are breathtaking. Since I got in late last night I went on a date with Olivia and got Mexican and gelato. We had a great time! I took a nice shower and slept! I got up at 7am (prbly the earliest of all riders) and took a nice walk through town. Lots of outdoor shops, neato shots, organic things, coffee shops, and I took a walk through the farmers market which was nice and to the post office to mail some things. Meegan and I ventured to find a massage place but ran into a “wellness center” which turned out to be a medical marijuana center. That was an interesting experience. We finally found a nice place that had a hot tub and an cold tub and gave us robes too. It really helped with the soreness and the massage was great too! Unfortunately I missed going waterfall jumping when I misplaced my sunglasses so I went into search mode instead. I found them and went out for a beer at a brewery and then had pad thai at a Thai restaurant which was really good! It’s been a great day and tmrw is a shorter ride so we get to sleep in! woo! Thank you again to everyone that has supported me. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Durango CO!

For the 4th of July we celebrated at a BBQ in Ridgeway at the hot springs! It was a fun night after a long ride. The springs were interesting and basically 3 pools with different temperatures. Today was the hardest ride we have had yet. An 82 mile ride into Durango with 3 climbs going up to 11,000ft. We biked Million Dollar Highway! Apparently it costs 1 million per mile to build the highway and nobody can pay you 1 million to bike it again. The road was very steep and had little shoulder with a steep drop off. I road towards the middle of the road and braked going downhill. I saw a donkey too! He was so cute and looked just like Kasper! I road in the rear with Diet and Emily. The first climb was 13 miles going about 4mph! The 3 climbs were very tiring! The downhills were as well since I was so concentrated and my hands were in such pain from gripping and braking. While it was the hardest ride, it was for sure one of the prettiest! There were lakes, waterfalls, red top mountains, huge christmas type trees, snow, hail, rain, and huge mountains everywhere! I'll post pictures soon. Going up the mountains was rough and I stopped about every mile for a break. I didnt walk though! I pulled into the church in Durango around 7pm. I had a great shower and went on a date with Olivia or mexican food and gelato in town. Durango is such a nice town. Lots of little shops, outdoor stores, beautiful scenary everywhere, rafting, ziplining, tubing, and lots more! Tmrw I'll be able to explore the town a bit more and maybe see if other riders want to do something adventurous and maybe just relax in town. I'm really sore and ready for bed! Loving Colorado! Can't believe we'll be in San Diego in a little over 2 weeks! It feels like just yesterday we were metting in Nags Head for orientation. All the days seem to blend together and I seem to have no idea what day it is anymore. We have 2 nights at a church in San Diego and then I'm staying 2 extra nights in which we'll prbly all pitch in for a hotel. If you are familiar with San Diego please let me know what is good to do there or see! As always, thanks for reading!
PS: even though I came in late I somehow found a couch to sleep on! Night!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Snow! Monarch Pass! Climbing oh my!

We started off our build day with a great breakfast at the church. There was oatmeal, granola, cranberries, brown sugar, fresh fruit, and muffins! We were staying in Buena Vista but drove to Salida about 30miles away for the build. The site was amazing! The owners will have mountains in their front yard and backyard! We mostly did framing on the house but I did some paintwork with a few others. I’ve learned a lot about construction so far since we’ve been doing various tasks at the different builds. I’m getting better at hammering! I usually stay away from any power tool but was taught how to use the big boy saw in Colorado Spring where I just made a simple cut on a board. Habitat of Salida provided us with some  great snacks too! Different types of chips, cookies, fruit, and nuts! We had a great lunch provided by a local church that had bratwurst, sauerkraut, onions, baked beans, and different toppings. I’m not a fan of sauerkraut but the bratwurst and beans were good! That evening was busy! We got back to the church in Bueno Vista where they were holding a fundraiser for the habitat for humanity. It was a huge pasta dinner and all proceeds would go straight to affordable housing! About 250 people came! The dinner was really yummy too and the folks there were so kind and just kept serving us more and more food and lemonade. I was part of the presentation crew with a few other riders. After everyone ate, we invited anyone interested to listen to our presentation and answer questions about bike and build. It went really well and I was glad to see that folks were interested and asking questions. Afterwards, a few riders were able to go rafting! While I really would have loved to experience rafting there, I opted to go to the bike shop and get my bike tuned up and ready for the mountains. The shop did a nice job and I also got another bright tail light for my bike. A few of us took a walk in the downtown area and then I went straight to beddy!

Today, we road into Gunnison! It was an 83 mile day but it was such an exciting day! We had a big climb up Monarch Pass which seemed like it lasted forever going 4-5mph and having to stop every mile to catch my breathe and drink water. I road with Meegan, Emily, and Emerson mostly and I’m not sure I would have been able to do that ride alone. Having amazing teammates to support you during a hard ride is a must! We finally made it to the top of Monarch Pass! We reached 11,300 ft in elevation which is the highest we will go! It got really cold up there and the air got thin. Once at the visitor center we got sammiches and Abbies mom was so kind and bought us all icecream! I had yummy cappuccino icecream with a turkey sammich. We explored the gift shop and I found some stickers, postcards, and doggie signs for cars! I’ve been collecting different stickers from most states and covering my bike with them! I have mostly NC, Arkansas, and many from Colorado (my favorite!) We were able to go in the cable car up to the very top of the peak where I was able to see snow! It was more so icey snow patches but still snow! We took a nap at the top on some benches for awhile and ended up staying at the visitor center for prbly 2 hours! Biking Monarch Pass was such a great accomplishment and feeling to know just how much more stronger I’ve become since Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s such a different feeling on bike than in a car and means much more to know you’ve reached the top! I layered myself up for the descend and was glad I packed some little mittens to go under my gloves to keep my fingers warmer. I can’t say the descend was great since it was really steep and had many switchbacks. It was nice to go 35mph versus 4mph but I stay pretty concentrated and tense going down and ride my back break a lot before the turns. I was leading the rear of the group and tried staying around 35pmh but jumped to 40 at moments. I took the lane and most cars notice riders going at such a fast pace and respect them with space. We booked it into Gunnison! It was a tiring day but great to get to the host. We are staying at an Ice Rink so its been interesting. We had a great dinner with lots of salads, veggies, and pizza. The local habitat here made us each a nice little brown bag with some snacks. I’ll try to post some pictures soon. I may have to borrow other riders photos too. Its hard to take pictures going uphill and its pretty hard to stop going downhill so I don’t have too many from those parts. Colorado has for sure been my favorite state! It’s so beautiful here and so much to see and do. Lots of outdoors things! Hopefully I’ll be able to come back sometime (with a car) and be able to raft, zipline, hot springs, and do other neat things that we don’t have much time to do while riding. We got mail today! I was so excited to receive about 8 letters! (I had the most mail hehe) Thank you Ginny/Ed, Tomi/Ron, Mom/Pop, Becca/Bryan, Nick, Kendyl, Janet/Hoyle for the nice cards! I really appreciate it! So uplifting to receive letters after a hard day. Happy 4th of July! We have a long ride tmrw but hopefully we’ll be able to celebrate later! Thank you for reading!  

Today was a long ride into Ridgeway. It was so beautiful though! We were riding through amazing valleys with lakes and many aspen trees I believe they are called. The sights were amazing! We also saw some mountain goats! The ride was a tough one but we got through it. Shout out to all the parents of riders reading! Sarah, Claire, and Olivia mentioned they had family reading and I’m sure there are few others! Sorry I’m short with this blog for today, I’m exhausted and need to be ready for the ride tmrw into Durango! Thanks for reading and check out the pictures!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rocky Mountains!

Wow! Where to start! What an incredible day biking 100 miles through the Rocky mountains from Colorado Springs into Bueno Vista CO. It was for sure challenging since it was mostly uphill. The views were amazing though and well worth it. Within the first 10 miles I saw 3 huge reindeer with massive antlers! We visited the Garden of the Gods which was really pretty as well as the balanced rock. I've never seen anything like the Rocky Mountains! They do exist! The climbs were gradual and we had a few nice downhill rides. Before first lunch I got caught in some hail! You can also see snow at the mountain peaks. The peaks reach around 14,000ft in elevation and we climbed to about 9,600ft. We got caught in a little rain and it was freezing cold so we stayed at a little visitor center for a bit. The last 12miles were downhill and through such a beautiful area. Words really dont explain the view! I saw a double rainbow and the rainbow ended so close to us! There was no gold though! During the rainy portion of the ride I started having more weird thoughts. After biking mile after mile you have to do something to keep your mind busy. So, I saw this huge dark mountain in the distance that looked like Mordor from Lord of the Rings. Sarumon was cooking up a bad storm over top! Any animals I saw were the Orks! The goal was to get to Mordor and throw the ring in or rather, finish the 100 mile day. This was my thought process for a long while. Haha! I had to keep my mind busy since we couldnt really sing today. I was with Meegan, Emerson, and Emily. As we got higher in elevation the air begain to thin out and I found myself huffing and puffing for air! I reached 40mph coming into town through the beautiful mountains! Today was one of the best days. I was surprised by the mountains for sure! We have a build day tmrw. There are some hot springs 5miles away so I'm hoping we get to visit it. Theres water rafting and ziplining which would be fun too but I wish we had more time! I'll post some pictures from today and maybe videos too. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Build days in Colorado Springs

The past two days we have been building with the local habitat in Colorado Springs on a house for Karen and Scott. It has been such a great experience working with the homeowners and habitat volunteers. They were very focused on safety and provided us with hardhats, gloves, and safety glasses. We had a safety talk every morning as well. There were a few different homeowners working with us. As part of the process, they must put forth a certain amount of hours each week with the habitat on their house and others. We were able to donate our volunteer hours to them to help Karen and Scott. They were such a sweet grateful couple and we really just enjoyed working with them and talking to them. They were so excited to have 27 positive volunteers help them build! We did the first wall raising of their house and they were overwhelmed with emotions. I did lots of nailing and some gardening for a elderly lady in the neighborhood. Most of the nighborhood was built by habitat which was pretty neat. There are lots of dogs in the neighborhood too including Pixie! She was such a sweet little girl that loved her belly rubbed. I've noticed that there are alot of rabbits running around like squirrels in Florida. The dogs were chasing them! It reminded me of how Kasper used to chase lizards and play with them. Last night I was able to go out with a few riders to the downtown area and explore some local bars. There are some interesting characters in Colorado Springs! But it was a fun night! Tmrw we have a long ride into the rockies! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 28, 2013


I'm in Colorado Springs now! The past two days were hot and tough! Yesterday We biked 80 miles into nowhere land. Literally. It was about 105 degrees out, no clouds, no trees, and a drought! There was about 10miles worth of gravel and sand that I ended up walking some because the back tire would fish out. We ended up running out of water and the van was getting low on gas. It was a rather scary situation considering we were in the middle of eastern colorado desert plains. Everything ended up working out and a nice couple offered us water and we got through. We stayed at Chico Basin Ranch. The ride into the ranch was on rumble strip sand and pretty rough. Everything jiggled everywhere! We got to the ranch late only to find horse/cow crap everywhere and this abandoned house. I showered under a freezing cold spigot for the evening and went to bed in a tent. I didnt sleep too well since it was really hot and then got cold suddenly. And to make matters a bit more interesting, it started to rain about 1am! Meegan, Sean, and I left the tent for the abandoned! All riders were headed to the creepy house and we ended up sleeping hip to hip. The sunset and sunrise were so pretty! The ride into Colorado Springs was nice but tough again. We are high in elevation! Colorado Springs is so pretty. The population is around 400,000. We are right up against the mountains and boy is it a sight! It got pretty hilly coming into the host. I went to Jimmy Johns with Sam, Sarah, Amelia, and Emily and it was yummy! The showers here...oh the showers were AMAZING! The workout center is so incredible. There were individual glass door showers with wooden floors and a rain type shower pouring from the ceiling. They also had really nice orange mandarin type shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. And fresh towels! There was also mouth wash, spray deoderant, and qtips! I guess I can say I have a new appreciation for showers these days. We are now doing a professional photo shoot! So maybe I'll get some nice pictures if they get my good side! I'll be posting pictures soon! thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"He rode a blazing saddle He wore a shining star"

As we entered Rocky Ford I felt like I was in the movie "Blazing Saddles". The terrain resembled that of the movie and well, the movie did take place in Rock Ledge! We had to pay a dime to pass through the town and I thought I saw mongo passing through! (not really) Today we had a nice 66mile ride into Rocky Ford Colorado! We left from Lamar and had breakfest at a local community center at 7am. It was "bike to work day" and for everyone that biked to the community center they got a nice breakfest consisting of eggs, sausage, pancakes, and fruit! I road with Olivia and Emerson today and we had such a great ride going between 14mph-20mph for most of the day! The terrain was mostly flat with dessert plains mostly. We stopped in a little town called Las Animas at a little mom/pop lunch place and had a great lunch! I has some fresh gazpocha (spelling?) with home made herb/parmesean bread turkey sammich. It was delicious! When we got into town we all went swimming at a local pool which was fun. We played marco polo and jumped off the diving board! It brought me back to the days when I used to be on the swim team when I was younger. Except, I'm sure back then I was a bit graceful versus my flop off the board today! haha Three churches got together in the small town and provided a wonderful dinner for us. We had chicken alfredo, a few different pasta salads with garbonzo beans, different salami meats, veggies, a few different fruit salads, green beans, and brownies! I ate dinner with a lady named Diane (aka Mrs. Piggy). A few of the girls and I were sitting with her and we had asked what brought her here to Rocky Ford. Diane answered simply, "A man." haha Diane was a sweet older lady who told us about her love story. Basically, she met her husband dressed in a mrs. piggy outfit for halloween at a lunch spot where they were both just eating lunch alone (didnt know eachother) and he asked her out for a drink after they spotted eachother at lunch and have been together since. She told us girls that you never know where you will meet your man! What a character she was and we really enjoyed chatting with her and appreciated the work they put into feeding us for dinner.

We have a few builds coming up! I shall explain where most of the money that was raised goes. Each rider has raised $4500 and in total our route has raised about $150,000. We have a grant program that affordable housing organizations can apply for. As a group, we will soon go over these applications to give out some bigger grants. Each night we have a different church host us. These hosts have $100 to give to an affordable housing organizatin of their choice. Each rider also will give out a $500 grant to an org of their choice. While on the road we have some expenses that some of the money goes towards but the less money we use on the trip the more we can give to affordable housing. This is why when we grocery shop we try to get day old breads, veggies, fruits, or anything grocery stores donate. We also buy off brands that cost less to save and keep track of the food we have so we dont waste. Usually churches or YMCAs host us so we have a place to stay for the night and we are able to shower either at the church or local highschools allow us to use their facilities. Many times some of these hosts have laundry machines we can use every three days or we have to go to a local laundrymat. We also have a few other expenses such as gas for the support van. If you have more questions feel free to ask! I'm becoming more knowledgable about the affordable housing cause while on the trip!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

We are finally in Colorado! Dodge City was neat but I  don't have too much to say about Kansas. We rode by cow feed farms and it wasnt to pleasant. Garden City had such a horrible smell in the air but we stayed at a YMCA and it was nice having a pool, spa, and smoothies! I didnt find the yellow brick road in Kansas or the wicked witch! We crossed into Colorado today and are staying in Lamar. We also changed time zones so we are 2 hours earlier now. We have a few more tough rides in the heat and wind but will have some build days soon and day off! I'm looking forward to rockies and colorado springs! It's been a long day but we were welcomed with a potato bar that was rather tasty at the church! I'll be taking lots of pictures when we get to the pretty areas of Colorado soon! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Somewhere over the rainbow Way up high"

In Ponca City the hosts were great! They provided chocolate milk and strawberries! I love chocolate milk! The ride started off with a few of us taking a wrong turn that turned into a 6 mile detour. Oklahoma is pretty! The pretty open grassy plains pleasantly surprise me. There are so many cows too and horses! The ride today was about 81 miles and pretty rough. There was a cross wind, rough road, and many semi trucks for harvest season. For lunch, our amazing leaders set up a half way party! We each got slap bracelets, popsicles, and took a shot of half and half! We all made it safely to the host and were welcomed with some snacks and water. For dinner, we had some yummy brisket, corn, cheesy potatoes, salad, fruit salad, deviled eggs (my favorite!), and some delicious desserts!

From Cherokee we headed to Coldwater Kansas! It was a 92 mile ride through heat, crosswinds, hills, and nothing much to look at. I road sweep with Max and had a great time! Although it was a rough ride, we made it to town around 6:30pm and had root beer floats at a local ice cream place and Dollar Tree before meeting the team at a campground on Coldwater Lake! I jumped in the lake and it was rather refreshing! The showers on site were hand pump style but warm. I enjoyed camping out for a night to change it up. Some slept in hammocks, some in tents, and others just found a spot outside. Of course I slept in a tent! I got a new razor too so now I have smooth leggies and I painted my nails! As a group we had a arm wrestling tournament! Girls had a bracket as did the guys and we circled around a picnic table and battled it out! We each had our own wrestler names! I am “Lo Brohemian Rapsady”! The riders call me Lo Bro! I made it to round 2 but in the end Emerson took the trophy! After a long day I passed out and woke up to another 82 mile ride into Dodge City Kansas! It was another hot, long, cross wind type of day. Plus everyone seemed to be pretty sore and worn out since the past few days have been hard. But, we did it! I rode mostly with Meeg Dog (Meegan) and Emerson. We stopped at mile 30 for lunch at a little sammich shop and had yummy wraps! The last 30miles had a nice tailwind as we headed north for a bit. I was starting to think that nobody lived in Kansas. There was literally nothing for miles upon miles. After rider for so long I found that you start to see things and have weird thoughts. I started to imagine the Wicked Witch of the West (from OZ) coming out of nowhere and blocking the road with her broom. I also started to think that the miles of golden wheat was the yellow brick road. I didn’t find Toto today but perhaps tmrw (last day in Kansas) I’ll find him! At the host we had sammiches and chips and then I ventured to a local western shop. It’s a neat western town here and nice to see that people do live in Kansas. I must say though, I’m pretty excited to enter Colorado soon! Everything is going well with the team. My legs are super sore and my hands hurt from having a tight grip with all the winds. One more night in Kansas and then CO!!! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Whoa we're halfway there!

I'm finding it hard to believe that we are already half way cross country! Time flys when youre having fun! Today was a 70mile ride to Ponca City. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see real pretty sites in Oklahoma. We had mostly rolling hills today but you could see just green plains for miles. Also many oil rigs, cows, and horses. I also saw some kind of mountain lion or coyote on the side of the road (dead). It had to have been about 30lbs and had big teeth! I also saw a rattlesnake on the side of the road! I really wanted to stop and take a picture but couldnt tell if it was still alive. It appeared pretty healthy looking or freshly killed but was pretty big! It didnt feel like 70 miles today at all. It was so pleasant and I road with many different people. I started with Meegan then joined with Daniele, Diet, Ryan, and Sam. A bunch of us stopped at Sonic where they were they gave us all free meals! I road with Ryan for a bit, then Daniele, and then Sean for awhile. There was a big hill getting into the host. There always seems to be a hill right before each host. I didnt stop much today so I was the first female in! While resting as the host Scott took a trip to the grocery store and came back surprising me with chocolate milk since he knew I was hunting for some! Thanks Scott! For dinner we had pasta/sauce with salad and cookies! It was a great dinner but not too sure how much more pasta/sauce I can handle.

We have town hall every Thursday evening where we go around in a circle and talk about our highs and lows for the week. Everyone seems positive so that was great! We also switch chore groups for the week. There is dinner crew, breakfest crew, trailor/laundry crew, cleanup crew, and cooler crew.

Tmrw we set out for Cherokee OK which is about 80miles I think. Each rider was assigned towns to research and give information to the group every morning. This is my town! The population is 1,500 and theres 40 federally recognized tribes including Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creek, and Seminoles. In a few nights we have our first camping night so that will be interesting. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bartlesville Building!

I have really enjoyed building in Bartlesville! I learned about trusses yesterday and today I working on siding and chaulking. I had some really great chats with Harry. He is celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife in August! And he's been in all 50 states now with his recent being N Dakota. Alot of work got done in Bartlesville and Harry and the other Habitat guys working with us seemed happy. This was one of my favorite builds so far! Lunch was incredible! Provided by Daniels family! We had some yummy wraps, hummus, fresh berrys, homemade chips, many different salads, and cookies! Bartlesville habitat gave us cool habitat hats too! For dinner the church provided a nice picnic with many of the community members. There was a big cookout with burgers, weenies, and beans! We head out tmrw riding again and for the next week or so we have some longer rides. It's really hard to watch what I eat when theres so much great foods to try. My endurance is picking up and my metabolism is getting faster which is good. I'm building muscle in my legs but the rest of my body needs work. I think eating less and more healthy would help so hopefully when I come back I'll continue with endurance training (more cycling, spin classes, elliptical) and eat better/less. I'm looking into completing a full triathlon in August when my endurance is at its top. Perhaps joining the tri-knights might be good for me too as I enter my senior year at UCF!

This is a good time to explain the game "My Cow". I don't play too much but some of the guys get pretty competative. While biking cross country, we see MANY cows. While riding, if you see a cow/cows you must yell "my cow" and you now own that number of cows. If there is a cemetery and you call "my cemetery" you can subract another riders cows. Basically you just call my cow when you see cows. Theres more rules but I'm not as involved in the game. Playing my cow and singing various songs seem pretty popular as we bike long miles!

It's still hard for me to believe that we are about half way cross country. 5 weeks! The days go by way too fast and the rides/builds start to blend together. I'm trying to enjoy each day and look forward to the next. About bed time for me, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When it rains, the sun will shine!

Yesterday we road from Grove Oklahoma to Bartlesville which was about 75miles. However, it turned out to be a rather different day. When we woke up it was raining out and well, the rain just continued throughout the day. There was no lightening and it was safe but I'm not a fan of the rain. Wet shoes, shorts, and wet brakes arent the best feeling. I was mainly with Meegan, Emerson, Emily, and Marge about 28miles out when the rain picked up and visibility became rough so we pulled into a Braum's. Braums is pretty popular around here and has icecream and burgers mostly. Theres also many Herds and Freds grocery stores. We ended up staying at Braums for about 2 hours! They were kind enough to give us a bag of burgers to share and a few other riders ended up joining us after being caught in rain. We continued to bike when it slowed and slit into two groups. Sarah and I both got flats and Meegan, Lo, and Amelia stayed with us. I ended up getting 2 more flats and learning that a rock that looked like a shark tooth was lodged in my front tire causing the flats. Since we were so far behind the van ended up having to come pick us up at around mile 33. My bike is working well I just need to get my back tire true and prbly get a new front tire. The Church of Christ is treating us so well. Three local churches have come together to feed us dinner for the three nights we are staying here to build. When we got in yesterday they gave us snacks and lemonade! For dinner there was lentil salad, beans, lasagna, and yummy pies! I've learned that once we get to the host to seek out a place to sleep. I first look for couches and then move to a quiet room (carpet prefered). I spotted a couch all by its lonesome that wouldve been great but I decided against it since it was kinda creepy by itself and surrounded by all windows. The churches are really nice but honestly some are eerie with ghosts everywhere! In the living area there are a few couches and recliner chairs so I picked an open recliner and we watched Twister in the evening. Perfect movie for Oklahoma I suppose. I also learned more about tornadoes while here. To conclude my search for a sleep spot, I assumed this wonderful couch near me was claimed so I stayed on my recliner. However, after 15minutes of no movement towards the couch I made a move and well, slept very nicely last night on that couch! Great story about the hunt for a sleep spot right!

Today we built in Bartlesville! It was a hot day! We split the group up so half worked on a house while the other half (where i was) worked on building a warehouse for the habitat for humanity here. I learned how to put us trusses (roof). The habitat here doesnt have a restore exactly like most habitats. A restore is similar to a goodwill or a used/donated Home Depot. You can get pretty decent construction items (hammers, paints, furniture, books...) from these Restores for cheap. The Bartlesville habitat uses a warehouse to store donated items. Mostly toilets, sinks, mirrors, doors, and so forth. The store these items and every once in awhile have pretty much a large garage sale. They usually make about 25k a year from the warehouse sales which goes towards building the houses. I wasnt too knowledgable about various construction on houses but after every build I learn something new. I'm getting better at hammering too! Harry was one of the gentlemen we worked with. He's worked on every Habitat house in Bartlesville since they began in the 80's! After lunch Harry took myself, Meg, and Sarah to the local thrift shop where he volunteers every Tuesday. He introduced us to all his friends and shared with them what we were doing. He also gave us a little tour of the neighborhood that was basically served those in need. There was a thrift store, daycare for low income, mental disabilities clinic, and a girls club that helps tutor and teach young girls. While walking around the thrift shop a lady by the name of Gale was chatting with me about what we were doing. I found a weird sleep type dress for bike and build prom (i'll explain more once we have the event in July), cool silk bandana, and postcards while the other girls found some items too. We were in line when Gale approached me and handed me about $8 and asked that we used it to pay for our items at the thrift store and thanked us for our service in Bartlesville. I first refused to take the money and thanked her but she insisted. We used the cash to purchase our items and gave the rest to the thrift store. It's experiences like these that makes me think a bit differently about humanity. I've said it plenty of times, but watching the news really brings out the worst in the world and while on Bike&Build I've seen so much more good. We had another wonderful dinner provided by another church. We build again in Bartlesville tmrw!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

3 states 1 day!

I finally got my bike fixed! I was in the van for the last two days with a broken derailer/hanger. It got pretty frustrating and draining so I’m glad its fixed. Riding in the van with Ryan was great though. When we got into Fayettville Ryan took myself and Emily who also had a broken derailer to a bike shop. Lewis and Clark Outfitters gave me a free derailer! ($35!) They were awesome and very knowledgeable. Unfortunately they didn’t have the hanger that I needed so we went to another bike store. Emily had a hanger and thought her derailer could get fixed. At the 2nd shop Emily got her bike fixed and ended up having to buy a new derailer. This shop wasn’t the nicest and charged her $100 to fix her derailer. The guy working on my bike was pretty rude and didn’t seem too knowledgeable about what needed to be done. When he asked me if I had money for a new bike I asked if he was asking a serious question. When he replied stating that my bike was done for and that I needed a new bike I asked for my bike back and left. He charged me $5 for one new chain link. -_- We went back to the church where someone said they had seen a hanger in the trailer. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack but I found the derailer hanger! Ryan was such an amazing leader! He took me back to Lewis and Clark (the great store that gave me the derailer) at 8pm to get my bike fixed before they closed at 9pm. The guys working on my bike were awesome and made sure everything was working. They only charged me $10 for working on my bike for an hour! Anyways, glad it got fixed and I was on the bike today! We went 73miles to Grove Oklahoma! It was a really nice ride today! I biked with Emily, Emerson, Marge, and Meeg dog. We passed through Missouri and then into Oklahoma. At one point I stood in all 3 states! There was a nice lunch spot at this creek where some riders went swimming. Or rather skinny dipping as to not get their shorts wet. It seems like everyone had a pretty good day! I’m happy to be out of Arkansas. I wasn’t a big fan of the state. Nothing much to see or do! I hear many parents are reading so thank you to all the parents of riders reading! I’m happy to share my experience through this blog and I’ll report that all riders on NCtoSD are healthy, safe, and having fun! Happy fathers day to all the Pops out there! And happy Pops day to my Pop! Happy 1 year anniversary Winks! Glad to have you in the family! Almost time for dinner! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Colours of the Wind!

A fellow rider, Sam, from Casper Wyoming was a guest blogger yesterday! Thanks Sam! Today started off great with a 4am wakeup and 100miles ahead of us. I ate well and felt mentally prepared. I hit 41mph going down a hill (my fastest!) and then proceeded to go up "Big Dam Bridge" across the Arkansas River at mile 4 but when I shifted my derailer snapped. Long story short, after a short burst of frustration, 5 other riders helped take turns carrying my bike across the bridge to the van. They were such a great support team and nice to be surrounded by such a great team when I was feeling pretty down about not having a working bike for the entire day. Life in the van for the day wasnt the most exciting. I helped set up lunch and was a cheerleader out the window for riders driving by. Sometimes I dozed off and on too. Thanks Nick for helping me look up bike shops to get my bike fixed up. I will be going into Fayetteville Arkansas tmrw to get it fixed. On a side note, as my title states, I had Colours of the Wind stuck in my head after biking in head winds, mountains, flat ground, building, and talking with such generous folks. "Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain? Can you paint with all the colors of the wind...The heron and the otter are my friends"! We sing alot on bikes to pass the time and for entertainment. I've gained a bigger appreciation for small things in life. Watching donkeys and baby donkeys run across a field was so pleasant and crossing the Big Dam Bridge was a beautiful site. Generous folks handing us gatorades, cookies, or cooking us dinner. Folks pulling over on the side asking us if we need assistance when we are fixing a flat or on a water break. Just simple things I notice more brings faith back to humanity. Perhaps being away from negative news that is always on television has also added to the peace on this adventure. I couldnt have asked for a better experience so far. The only things I'm not a fan of is the rushed feeling. We bike through towns but dont have the time to adventure to as many places as I would like simply because we have to keep moving. I also dont enjoy the killer dogs that chase us down the streets. Otherwise, Bike&Build has been such an incredible journey cross country so far! I'm excited to be venturing into new states and headed west for the first time. The team is doing well and we have some great leaders! Thank you to everyone who has been supporting me!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Like a cat on a hot tin roof...

Today was AWESOME!!!

After riding over 100 miles yesterday it was a huge relief today to not have to ride our bikes. We traded our bikes for hammers and were quickly put in charge of reroofing a house in North Littlerock. There was not enough work/room for the entire bike and build crew to be working all at once so we worked in half hour shifts. Luckily for us, these half hour shifts were live savers because the temperature easily reached 100 degrees. Through out the day we drank over 124 bottles water and over 60 bottles of gatoraid! At the end of our work day we had completely finished 1/2 of the roof and had the other side ready for shingles. We had a delicious dinner of lasanga and ended the night with a town hall meeting. Lastly, today I had the realization the Sam Murdawg is da bomb. -Sam

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wind, Heat, and 103 miles!

I BIKED 103 MILES TODAY!!!! My first century ride! Last night in Forest City the Priest gave me a tour of the sanctuary which was beautiful and then did some yoga with a few of us. We woke at 4am and left by 6am for the 103 mile ride today into Little Rock. It was great starting early and I hope we wake up at 3am next time we have a long ride. It got really hot towards the late morning and afternoon! And was super windy! I started off the morning with a great mindset and kept that throughout the day. I knew it would be a mental ride today. Its all in the head. I started the morning with 2 goals: get to Little Rock safe with no injuries/falls and simple complete my first century ride. I accomplished both! We were on the same road for a the longest time and had some strong gusts of wind with sun beating down on us. I just kept telling myself that it was all in my head and stayed positive throughout the day. We had two lunch breaks! I got chased by a killer dog around mile 20. It looked like a polar bear dog! We made many stops under shade trees mostly. At one point we were resting under a tree and a nice lady approached us with a bunch of gatorades for the 6 girls I was with and I. So sweet! Also, we stopped in a parking lot that had Kingdom Bakery, the owner came out and offered us water and two bags of yummy baked goods for us to share! I'm at the host now and its wonderful! They are so organized with dinner items, snacks, and breakfast all set up for us. We had burgers, mushrooms, icecream, and potato salad for dinner! I found myself a couch here for the next two nights since we have a build day tmrw. My whole body is pretty sore and I'm simply worn out from the ride today. Sleep time! I really enjoyed rolling into the host to dinner and all the mail! Thank you to everyone who sent cards and packages! Ginny&Ed, Tommi&Ron, Mom&Pop, Becca&Bryan, Kasper! I really appreciate all the cards! They really made my day after riding over 100 miles today! Plus, I had the most mail! Kasper sent a picture of himself with a piece of his hair just for me! I got new gloves, peanut m&ms, sunscreen, aleve, and a new toothbrush/paste! I have just about everything I need. I have one of the biggest bags on the team, but I like to just say that I'm very prepared. I'm having such an incredible time biking cross country! Looking forward to the build day tmrw! I started sending out postcards so let me know if you start receiving them! I have most addresses from the link where donations were made, so if you donated online you should be recieving a postcard soon! I hope they make it out, I put them in a little drop box I found biking today. Email me your address if I may have missed you please! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I'm now in Arkansas! We crossed the Mississippi today into Arkansas for about a 58mile ride. It was a rather uncomfortable ride at first since we had to cross the bridge on the interstate. We stayed together as a large group and walked across the bridge but I still wish we had a police escort. Once in Arkansas, we took a road that was gravel and rock. I ended up walking alot on that road since I didnt want to risk a fall or damage to my tires. That road ended up being flooded so we had to turn around back to the interstate where the van took 3 trips to transport riders across the interstate to the next safe road to continue. It was a rather rough day today I must admit. It was 97degrees out and about 58 miles of headwind with nothing really to look at. Plus, the roads in Arkansas are pretty crappy. I went about 10mph through the sun and wind and finally arrived in Forest City Arkansas around 5pm. Everyone is pretty worn out from such a long hectic day. I stopped in the dollar general for chocolate milk and trail mix! The church provided a great dinner consisting of salad, lasagna, garlic bread, green beans, and carrot cake! Tmrw we ride over 100miles into Little Rock! We wake up at 4am so I will be in bed by 9pm at the latest. I'll try to post more pictures soon!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Walking in Memphis!

The ride into Memphis was pretty nice. At about mile 5 we got caught in a rain storm but it slowed up. We ended up biking the rest of the way with wet shoes which wasn’t the greatest. I rode the first 40 miles with Aaron and it was so nice and pleasant. I really got to know him better and the great chats made the miles pass. The terrain was relatively flat with a few hills. After lunch I rode with Meegan and Olivia into Memphis. It went fast since there were so many turns and the town was nice to ride through. For dinner we had the best bbq in Memphis at Marges house! Her parents organized a nice dinner for us all including ribs, pulled pork, chicken, salad, baked beans, cole slaw, mac n cheese, and cookies! We have an off day in Memphis so we will prbly explore some and tonight we are all going to a baseball game so that will be fun! We’re staying at the oldest Catholic Church in Memphis and it honestly look like an old castle. I find it rather creepy and eerie sometimes to sleep in the churches next to huge paintings of popes and large crosses in my face. Haha but I slept in till about 6:30am on my day off! The day off in Memphis was nice but not my favorite town for sure. An alumni rider provided a nice breakfast of fresh fruit and chick-fila for us! I walked to the Arcade which is the oldest café in Memphis and ranked on the food network channel. I didn’t eat since I had a great free breakfast so I left with another rider to walk. Andrew (who just graduated high school wooo!) and I walked around the civil rights museum and went to where Martin Luther King was assassinated in front of room 306 of the motel. We then met a few other riders at The Peabody Hotel where there’s a famous duck show that tourists must see. I posted a video, but it honestly it was pretty dumb so we left and went to a cotton museum. So much cotton! We walked to the Mississippi River which unfortunately looked very polluted. After a walk we had lunch at Westys which turned out to be really good. I had a Chicken Cordon Bleu that was mighty tasty! We strolled back to the church for a break and I wrote some postcards out then took another stroll onto Beale Street for dinner. Beale street was very lit up and tourist trap for sure. Lots of jazzy music, booze, and craziness going on there. I can’t say I was a fan but I suppose it was a must see to complete my experience in Memphis. We had dinner at some burger place that wasn’t too great but the root beer float I had was great! We then met up with most of the team at the baseball game. The alumni and her family were so kind and got us tickets to the Memphis Redbirds game! I’m not the biggest baseball fan but it was fun and the stadium was huge! Glad I ate beforehand, food was so pricey. Why would someone pay $8 for a coke? I stayed for about half and came back to the church to get ready for the ride in the morning. We cross into Arkansas tmrw! I will now enter states that I have not yet been to! Woo! Thank you to everyone who has been reading! I appreciate it! We have mail day tmrw too and that’s always fun! Night!