We visited past stomping grounds of Carmen's including the chance to spend Halloween in the intriguing city of Arcadia, California. Converting our cycling items into costumes, we cruised around central plaza as Firefly's using our handy headlamps to make flashing backsides.
Oregon was next and it provided us not only with an incredible coastline but the city of Portland, where we had the chance to put our bikes back together for some last cycling adventures to explore it's vast array of cycling routes as well as meet up with good friends. Portland, Oregon was also the place where we had to say our goodbyes and departe seperately and in different directions. The journey from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon was officially over and the reality of returning to family and jobs had to begin.
Narelle is now in back in Australia, almost fully recovered from her accident and awaiting the new year to resume her outdoor guiding position with Victorian highschools. On returning to Victoria, she finally had the oppurtunity to meet her 9 month old nephew for the first time and this year will be spending christmas with her entire family, something that hasn't happened for over 5 years! Carmen has returned home to Michigan to her family where she too will be spending the holiday season with family before seeking a new job as a massage therapist. Both Narelle and Carmen are looking forward to their next adventure together, as there no doubt will be one. A BIG "Thank You" to everyone who submitted questions to us about our journey. We have finally compiled our answers for you all below. ENJOY!
Longest day in miles? Day 62, 107 miles, Scott City, Kansas to Edes, Colorado. We didn't start riding until 10am and experienced one of the few tailwinds of the trip!
Where did you sleep? Usually in a tent on a cost-free patch of ground, with permission, of course. This could be in a public park, a church yard, some one's backyard or Bureau of Land Management land.
How many of those were paid for? 6!
Exactly how light was your load when u reached your destination? Probably 20 lbs. lighter than when we started. Carmen got rid of 15 lbs after the first two weeks and more later, though she picked up road booty along the way and carried those items for various lengths of the trip.
What was the one thing you carried all the way accross the USA and never or hardly used? CP: Sadly, my little kite. However, I did use it once to wake Narelle from a nap. NC: a mini deck of UNO cards, a set of Dice a pack of constelations cards and my iPOD. I had such good intentions.How would you redefine necessities? CP & NC: "Use it or Lose it." There is a refreshing found freedom in having LESS belongings! Most things really do have more than one use, so think practical and simple.
What was the weirdest piece of road booty you found? CP: Probably the fake severed hand, but finding Nemo in Illinois and delivering him to the ocean was a pretty fun mission (and he also served as a pillow). Elephante and Nemo were the cutest road booties, and more like road buddies. NC: Probably the Doctors knee reflex hammer! Just what was something like that doing on the side of the road?? Oh can't forget the thigh master and helmet Kathryn found in a free bin in Vermont!
How do you get the time off to do a long trip? CP/NC: We both worked, saved money, and gave our notices with the faith we could find new jobs post-trip. Our scenario would not work for everyone, but there are many ways to do something like this through limited vacation time. For instance, we met a man from England who comes to the U.S. every year and bikes a limited distance on his vacation time, then puts his biking gear in (U.S.) storage, and his ending point becomes next years starting point. Even if you only have 1-2 weeks, you can create an incredible experience for yourself, especially if you practice and prepare during the weekends ahead of time... work the kinks out.
How should a novice train for cycle touring? CP/NC: It depends on what you want your trip to look like, 50 mile days vs. 120 miles days, for instance. In any case, try to work yourself up to that goal. The more often you get on your bike, the more ready your body will be to bike, bike, bike. However, if you fail to train, your first two weeks will take care of that, as long as you do not over-exert yourself and work within your abilities. Kathryn's training - roller derby, Narelle's - guiding treks in Guatemala, Carmen's - jogging 2-3 miles 3Xweek and biking 10-40 miles 1-2Xweek the month or so before we started... and the White Mountains still kicked Carmen's butt the hardest.
What would be a good brand of bike to buy for someone attempting a distance trip for the first time, with some prior preparation of course as all I have is a very cheap bike that is not practical for that type of riding? CP/NC: "Any bike can make it across the country if it's in good maintenance," though some bikes might be better for touring for a number of reasons. Many bike companies do make a touring specific bike. Both Narelle and I did not have true touring bikes, but they are quality machines and well maintained (Carmen, Bianchi road bike, Narelle, a Redline cycle cross). I'd suggest getting your bike professionally looked over before you start your trip, have some knowledge of your own on how to fix and maintain your bike (and the tools to do so on the road), and trial ride it loaded before you go. Invest in quality tires, comfortable seat and good bike shorts; you will be so happy you did!
What is a good tandem bike brand for cycle touring? We met a couple who used to tour on a Cannodale and loved their experience. You could check out this site for tandem bike reviews.
Do have any weapons? "We'd hate for you to have to find out." We did not carry weapons, but Carmen did have a toy holster attached to her bike in which she carried a granola bar for easy access. Plus we both had some watermelon crushing thighs!
Did you feel afraid just been the two of you? No, but fearful of road hazards- big trucks, fast moving vehicles, steep descents.
Were there any close calls with cars etc passing you? Yes, but few and far between. Most of the close calls were from trucks passing very fast and us getting blown about from their tailwind or from people been unaware of the width of the trailer they were towing. We were always thankful for the presences of a nice wide road shoulder.
What was your route over the Rockies? Monarch Pass, over 11,000 ft.
Is there a group that specializes in crossing Canada? We happened to meet a newly-wed couple, Adam and Katherine, who had mega-mooned across Canada and down the Pacific coast via bike this summer. They have an incredible website and they would be a excellent resource for a Canadian tour: http://www.biketrip.ca/
What is a good place or website to go if one needs to ask further questions? CP/NC: Check out the Adventure Cycling Association website and Crazy Guy on a Bike cyclists journal website for personal research.
Why are you cycling when you could drive? NC& CP- It's the most incredible adventure, the best way to experience a place, and meet people along the way. Travelling by bicycle is fast enough for you to get to a place but slow enough that you can experience sights/smells/communities along the way. Plus it's very cost effective, less damaging on the environment and cheaper than a gym membership!
We also encountered a few very different "greatest unexpected beauties"... From the Katy Trail in Missouri
Favourite sunset or sunrise location? CP: Nevada dessert moonrise on the Fall solstice. Oooh, Fairport, NY! - Sunset over the canal. NC: Sunrise on departing Kanopolis Lake in Kansas and definitely the sunset in Fairport, NY!
What is one of your most special memories of the trip? CP: So, so many! But ONE: watching the city lights of San Francisco come alive across the water as the moon was also rising. I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment and strong sense of connection and gratitude to every single person who had helped us along the way and especially to my steadfast teammate who went through it all with me. "Cheers, Mate!" Narelle, a special thanks goes to you for all your support TO ME to see us through this incredible journey.
NC: So many incredible moments. One for me was cycling across the Hogs Back, just outside Escalante, Utah. This section of road was atop a VERY thin ridge line with steep, open canyons dropping off either side! The sun was setting and turning the canyon walls a deep, rich orange as we made the 14% grade decent to the canyon floor. I truly felt humbled by the beauty and power of the nature around me, plus we were meeting up with a good friend, Christie Adelsberger, who drove over 8hrs to visit us!We had so many incredible experiences on this trip, like this surprise airplane ride with "Airplane Mike" in Old Forge, NY:
If u could do it over again, what would you do differently? CP: I would have invested in a small voice recorder at the beginning of the trip and used that as my journal. Maybe later, I'd put together a radio broadcast for NPR's This American Life radio broadcast about our travels, or at least have better notes from which to write a book. I would also argue less like an old married couple at times. Life is too short for it. Enjoy the time you have! And always treat the other with the best you have to give.
NC: I too would do a voice recorded journal as well as attempt to before the trip, secure speaking engagements with local community groups/newspapers as well as sponsorship for certain trip associated costs.
Any good poo stories.....(you know you have em!) ? There was often a song and dance routine in celebration post-poo. Something like, "I'm ALIVE, doo doo, do-do-do-do, I'm ALIVE, doo doo, do-do-do-do!" Those who know the shark song from camp could probably rock that one out. Then again, that song was our theme song for EVERYTHING!
Most important lesson learned? CP: Open yourself to what is possible, trust your gut, remember exactly where you stashed your rain pants. NC: Have faith in humanity and the people that surround you. People will help you out if your willing to ask and stay far way from goat heads (thorns) and cars!
NC: Clean, Safe WATER- given, thanks to the hundreds of people that supported our journey!
Do you plan on visiting the village where the well will be received? Yes. Absolutely! It may take some time to save up for this specific travel, but I believe it would be incredible to experience first hand our efforts put into action. We won't know where the well/water project will be for a further 12-18months and then it may be very remote and difficult or impossible to reach via conventional transportation. I (Narelle) am already planning for my next cycle tour to be to the well, perhaps off road style! (CP: Hey! I'm right there with ya!)
Would you ever do it again? ABSOLUTELY! We would perhaps chose a new route, maybe even a different continent for good measure, but yes... This is likely only THE BEGINNING.
Thank you so very much to everyone for making our journey across the U.S.A an incredible experience and helping us bring clean, safe drinking water to hundreds of men, woman and children so desperatley in need. If we have missed anyone from the list an extra special thank you goes out to them. Please let us know so we may add them to the list.Aaron Andres Aaron, Doug, Brian and Reanne, Hoisington Rec Center Abigail Fisher Alisa Edwards Amy Sewick Amy Vonderhydt Andrew and Katie Watts Angelica, Duetschland Annie Oliverio Annie Swier Anonymous individuals Barb Thompson Barton Hospital Barton Physical Therapist team Ben and Olinda Bev and Charles Bill and Alice Kingsglover Bill and Judy Hammond Bill Desmond Bill Lawry Bob, McNair campground Brendan and Katie Battenfelder Brent and Paula Esplin Brett and Kerry Lindemuth Brian and Anne Hurtuk Broad Ripple Brewpub, Sunday church crew Brooke, Colby and Grace Bruce and Jane lelliott Camp Santinonie Catherine Johnston Chad Warner Chloe Risto Chris Bont and Alicia Kulla-Branz Chris Spiek Christie Adelsberger Claudia Gibson Colleen Cronnin and Tanner Collier and the Green Mountain club Connie's Clothline and Thriftstore Craig Pasek Dan and Barb Beatty Daryl and Sandy Sturdy Dave, Ashtubula Dave, Jenny, Derek and Mason Rodriegez David and Lydia Anne Wagler Deb Boogard Debbie Sittner Debra McKenzie Delores Kube Derek Buddemeyer Dick, Caren, Bill and Jim, Mentor on the lake Dixie and Allen Long Dolly Robey Donna Sell Donna Sull Dorothy and Carl James Douglas Harkey Ed and Carol Friedman Eileen Crim Elliot and Craig, Lacrosse Emily Max Erica Wunderlich Frank and Ester Wagler George Thomas and Patricia Weisse Gillian and Mark and Henry Hayley Smith Humbys James and Anne Vonder Hydt Jamie Van Dee Jan Gillilan Jan Tracy Janice South Jean Caler Jen Walsh Jennifer Mason Jenny and Neil Rose Jenny Evison, Tegan and Steve Jim and Branda Ryan Jim Edwards Jim Hickey and family Jim Niedermaier Joan Frisby Joan and Roger Skelley-Watts Jodie Morrow Joes Perez John and Elsie Evison Johnny Evison Jony and Nancy Guthrie Joyce and Les Sparks Kate, Chilli and Otis Chilton Kathryn Haber Kathryn Skelley-Watts Kathryn Zimmerman Kathy (Casey g-parents) Kathy Haber Kathy Norgard Katie Hodgdon and Karen Bushhouse Katie Magoon Keith and Glenda Couper Kelley Simpson Kelly Dillion Kelly Simpson Kerry Bagallay Kevin and Kelly Cooney Kimberly and Sam MacDougall Kirsten and Ben Fraser Larry Laverne and Laura Eicher Lawrence A. Rolince Leah Mason Lee and Ophelia, Ely Baptist church, N.V Lindy Dawson Liz Haber Louise and Michael Yeager Lucy Gentz Luigi Laraia Marg and Ange Paino Maria Peterson Marilyn Nichols Marion Lunn Martie and Ted Linton Mary and Jake Scheele Mary Rose Mary Wagler Matt and Melinda Brown Matt, Bucyrus, O.H Meg Bliss members of the Church of latter Day Saints Michael tour guide, U.T Micheal Lynch Michelle Capio-Collins Mike Mitchell Nancy Shoup Natalie Howard Nate and Meghan Means Nick Tait Nicole Chapman Pam and Ken Bower Pat Barlow Patrick, Anne Marie and Kevin O'Conner Paul Buckles Paul Ruiz Paul Ruksenas Paul, Ordway Peter and Kathy Manning Peter and Kathy, Vancouver Robert and Connie Gentz Robyn Davies Rod Harmen, Freedom Baptist Church Rod Pooler Roger, Ridgway Baptist Church, C.O Ronnie and Trudy Anderson Ruth from the Odon Locker Sandi Maranowicz Sara Patterson Sarah and Shaun Swartzentruber Sarah Rossi Scott Abott Scotty Seventh Day Adventist Church, Indiana Shane and Trisha Anderson Sharon Wagner Shawna, Rich and Itaxa Staley Stan, pastor St Pauls Lutheran Church Starre and David Evans Sue at Casey’s and David, Adrian, M>O Susan Mulcahy Susie, Cedar Breaks N.P Tahoe Douglas Fire Department Tanya and Eric Page Tara and Josh Bunton Tarryn and Nicole Terry and Carolyn Wiseman Ticonderga Church Tom Meier Tony revilla Tracy and Bernan Young Troy and Casey Wilson Wakonse 2010 Will and Lydia Wagler Xamara Eaves Thanks so much, Everyone! You helped to make our journey as Water Cycle 2010 absolutely extraordinary! Sincerely, Carmen and Narelle