Splitting time between Eugene and D.C.

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This week’s blog will cover our fifth week on the road (still crazy for us to think we’ve spent 5 weeks living off our bikes)! To preface this post, Jordan left Eugene this past Friday morning on a plane to D.C. to speak at AIPAC’s annual leadership conference for work. That means that I have been here in Eugene! Check out what’s been happening:

 

DAY 29: Monday, July 4th, 2016

McMinnville, OR to Lincoln City, OR – 55 miles

 

In the morning, our host Flint (friend of friend from Linfield Colege) ran alongside us as we biked to a local diner for breakfast. After delicious pancakes, biscuits and gravy and home fries, we departed McMinnville.

We rode 55 hard miles and arrived in Lincoln City around 4pm. After eating burgers, fries and drinking craft beer at a local restaurant called Kylos, we looked for someone’s house to knock on to camp in their lawn. Since it was 4th of July, we knew our luck was slim. While riding in a neighborhood adjacent to the restaurant, we had some luck. We didn’t see any Prius’ or Subarus. While near a cul-de-sac deciding what to do, a woman came out and asked if she could help us find something. I gave her the usual spiel. I had no expectations for her response and was quite surprised when she offered to let us camp in the grass at her house. 5 minutes later, she even came out and offered us a plate of freshly sliced watermelon and mango. We couldn’t believe our luck! Although the news may not always portray it but the American people are kind and friendly humans if you look in the right places.

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Even luckier for us, her house was less than 500 feet from the beach. We set up camp then headed over to the beach and sat down to watch the sunset and celebrate the day our people claimed independence.

DAY 30: Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Lincoln City to Florence, OR – 78 miles

After eating Burger King for breakfast, we biked 50 miles then stopped for pizza at Grand Central in Waldport. We split a 16″ pizza and then had a conference call with Haley and Cuyla from Outdoor Outreach. They helped us come up with a few more fundraising strategies(donate here) and also gave us tips for increasing our social media traction.

While riding the other 28 miles, Jordan stopped near a pull-off at the same time a car was stopping. A older dad in his late 50s exited the car and looked out towards the ocean.

“Look over there! Do you see the whales breaching?” He said to Jordan.

I stopped my bike in the front of the car and started chatting with his wife. It was strange how quickly we realized we had common ties! They had one son who attended Long Beach State (where I’m attending grad school) and now him, and their other son, both live in Arizona. It’s crazy to think of how much we had common even though 5 minutes previously, we were complete strangers travelling down the same road on the Oregon coast.

That night, our luck didn’t continue. After asking two homes if we could camp in their yard, they both expressed a firm no. Just as the sun was setting, we found a house across from a campground with an Arizona license plate.

“Let me handle this one” Jordan confidently said as we stopped in the driveway. After a little persuading, the elderly woman agreed. (She was from Green Valley, AZ by the way).

 

DAY 31: Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Florence, OR to Eugene, OR – 65 miles

We woke up early to make sure to leave before our host awoke. However, after packing up our tent, she came out and offered us coffee. Although  Jordan and I don’t consider ourselves big coffee drinkers, we appreciated the kind gesture and said yes.

Over breakfast, we learned that Monique, our host, had traveled to over 161 countries in her lifetime. Her house was filled with artifacts from her travels. After exchanging contact information, we departed and headed towards Eugene.

In Eugene, we headed straight to the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house where we (mostly me) would make base-camp for the next week. Jordan’s family friend from home, Matthew, is in AEPi and offered to let us stay there as long as we needed.

Jordan and I walked around the University of Oregon and admired the green grass and beautiful red brick buildings. The campus feel hit a nostalgic spot for me. It reminded me of U of A’s campus and made me wish I was back in Tucson with my Wildcat family.

That night, Matthew and some other friends brought us to the university strip to experience part of the night-life culture. It was a fun, laid back night.

 

DAY 32: Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Eugene, Oregon

After sleeping in till 8:30am, we headed to Starbucks to use the wifi and get ready for the day. While there, we had a funny coincidence. We spotted Neil, our wonderful Warmshowers host from Seaside, Oregon. He told us that plans fell through and he wasn’t traveling to Iceland but instead staying in Eugene for the remainder of the Olympic Trials.

After Jordan finished a conference call for work, we headed towards the Olympic Trials to watch a few events. When we arrived, they told us it didn’t open to none-ticket-holders until 1:30pm. Since we were on campus, we decided to walk around and check it out. Next door to the opening for the Olympic Trials, we saw an academic building and Jordan said, “Let’s take a look inside.”

At the front lobby, a woman sitting at a table looked to be there to give directions.

“Can you tell us where the linguistics department is located?” I asked.

“You’re in it!” She exclaimed and pointed to the right side of the building where the wall read LINGUISTICS.

What luck! Jordan and I headed inside the office and I asked if anyone was available to talk to about a PhD in linguistics. The receptionist made a quick phone call and told me a professor would be happy to talk to me for a few minutes. He came out, shook my hand and told us we could sit down in the hallway to chat for a few minutes. A few minutes into the conversation, I mentioned that I was particularly interested in Second Language Acquisition. He said they had two professors who focused on SLA.

“And what do you know. He comes one of them: Professor Baese-Berk” He said with a surprised tone.

She happened to have a short break and happily offered to sit down with me in her office to answer any questions that I had. The serendipitous moments on this trip continue day after day.

We chatted for 20 minutes in her office about the PhD in Linguistics and she answered all my questions. She was so kind and incredibly helpful. I would definitely considering applying there after my Master’s program.

Afterwards, we headed to the Olympic Trials and set up our chairs on the grass in front of the screens projecting live streams of the events. Being there, watching people compete to represent our country in the Olympics in Rio filled my body with chills. The atmosphere there filled you with thrills. Jordan and I looked at each other and smiled, “What are the odds that we end up in Eugene, where the Olympic Trials are happening and are witnessing this live right now?” We couldn’t believe it.

 

DAY 33- Friday, July 8th, 2016

Eugene, Oregon

My eyes widened with fear. It was 4:30am. I heard loud thumps and bags rustling.

“Oh no… Did someone break in to the house and trying to steal my bike?” My first thought every time I wake up in the middle of the night while on tour. Then I remembered it was Friday. Jordan was packing last-minute for his trip to D.C.

Jordan and I hugged goodbye as he headed to the airport.

After looking at the weather and weighing my options, I decided the best thing for me to do for the next half week was to stay in Eugene. Originally, I had contemplated hitchhiking to Bend but I decided to stay and watch the Trials during the weekend.

That morning, I had a fascinating conversation with a guy who lived in the house. His name was Zack and he was from LA. I told him I was from Arizona. “Oh cool. I transferred here last year from U of A”

“From U of A? Why would you ever leave want to leave U of A?” My initial thoughts.

For the next 30 minutes, he told me about his freshman year. He mentioned how he rushed because he heard Greek life at UA was awesome and how it was a great way to meet people. However, through the process, he didn’t feel like he fit in with the guys in there. He didn’t go through with rush, but he was living in Coronado, which is the largest dorm on campus so he expected to meet people. But he had trouble- with the girls. He said that most of the girls that he met fired the question, “Are you in a frat?” immediately after they asked his name.  According to him, when he responded, “no,” they simply wrote him off as “not worth their time” in his words.

This shocked me! I had a lot of friends in Greek life- both sorority and fraternity- but had never heard of people experiencing what Zack described to me. I felt sad. I LOVED my experience at U of A and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Now, I never went through rush freshman year so I can’t say much but I’m optimistic that this isn’t a common experience.

Zack told me how he transferred to the University of Oregon after a not-so-great year at Arizona and rushed again, this time finding guys who he fit in with in AEPi. He really enjoyed Oregon and realized Arizona wasn’t the right place for him. At the end of the conversation, I was glad to hear he found his fit.

 

DAY 34: Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Eugene, Oregon

I cooked oatmeal for breakfast then headed to the library to finish some work related to grad school registration.

Luckily, I arrived at the Olympic Trials just in time to catch the first round of the women’s 5000m and the final for the men’s 5000m. Out of all the people there, I just so happened to sit next to a man named Larry, who was in his sixties. Larry and I chatted and soon after meeting, I learned that he had also participated in a long distance bicycle ride. Wow. There’s serendipity again for ya’. We stayed to watch the award ceremonies. We even saw Devon Allen, University of Oregon football and track athlete, win the finals for the 110m hurdles. Guess where he’s from? Phoenix, Arizona! How crazy is that? I later found out he attended Brophy, a college preparatory school in downtown Phoenix.

 

DAY 35: Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Eugene, Oregon 

This day started out like yesterday- breakfast then the Olympic Trials. This time, I went a little earlier because I didn’t have much else to do. I arrived around 1pm. Lucky for me, there was a live band playing and since it was sprinkling, no one was near the stage. I plopped my REI camping chair near the front and sat there, enjoying the sounds of live music. After three songs, the band concluded their performance and headed in. “Well, at least I was able to catch the end of it!” I thought to myself.

While contemplating what I should do until the events starting at 3pm, I sat in my chair, taking in everything around me. Then, my luck continued.

Out of my left peripheral, a woman who worked for USATF approached me and asked, “Do you have a ticket for today?”

“No.” I said shyly.

“Do you want one?” She proceeded.

“Uh, yes, I’d love one!” I said in disbelief.

She handed me a ticket. Just like that, I had a ticket to see the Olympic Trials on the last day when my favorite events were happening- the men’s and women’s finals for the 1500m. Wow, I couldn’t believe it.

That afternoon, I found my seat on the bleachers at the Historic Hayward Field. I watched the finals for the women’s pole vault, 200m final, 5000m and 1500m final and the men’s high jump, and 1500m final. The crowd was filled with energy. During high jump, a few of the jumpers would start a clap and continue until the entire arena followed in suit. It brought back the old cross country and track and field days from high school.

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I loved being in that environment, cheering on the athletes who trained and put in hard work and dedication in order to compete to represent our beautiful country.

At the end of the day, I felt extreme gratitude for all the luck I experienced that weekend.

 

Jordan returns on Wednesday night so we’ll be heading down the coast of Oregon this Thursday. Thank you to everyone who has donated to help us reach our goal of $5,000 for Outdoor Outreach! We’ve raised close to $1,500 already and know we’ll hit our mark by August 20th, the day we plan to finish in San Diego. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.

If you let life steer, good things come your way. I couldn’t be happier with the way our trip has turned out these past 5 weeks. It’s been an amazing ride quite far and I can’t wait to see how this next month and a half unwinds.

Written by Joe Previte

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Experiencing Portlandia and the coast 

I have to preface this blog post with just saying happy 4th of July to everyone. Cycling around the United States has given both Joe and I even more insight into why we live in the most scenic, unique and overall best country in the entire world. I’m currently sitting on a beach on the Oregon coast, on a bright sunny day thinking about how fortunate I am to be doing what I’m doing and meeting the people that we have along the way. So without further ado here is last weeks adventures. 

Raymond to Seaside 
Monday morning we left the little town of Raymond and as usual we were looking for our local diner. The town is quite small, so needless to say our options were limited.we saws Chinese restaurant with the open sign on at 8:00 which we thought was quite strange, but we decided to go check it out since we were starving. We walk and people were eating pankakes and eggs, I thought for sure this was one of the weirdest restaurants I had ever been too, but to my disbelief it was one of the best breakfasts we have had on our trip. No joke, the gravy on Joe’s biscuits was flowing off the plate, he was in heaven. 
As we start riding we come across 2 other cyclist, one American and the other Australian, both probably in there 60’s, super nice people. We also saw a group of high school students touring. It was awesome seeing such a variation of ages doing all colliding on the road enjoying our beautiful backyard. 

We eventually made it to Astoria, where they have a massive bridge that divides Oregon and Washington. As we were riding in the mile long bridge we ran into the American and Aussie who we saw about 3 hours earlier. We rode the rest of the bridge together and everyone was waving and giving us the thumbs up. 

We rode hard for the rest of the day, totaling 74 miles, our longest day yet. We got to our warmshowers host house and nobody was there. I called up Niel, our host, and he said go on in and make yourself at home. He didn’t even know us but he trusted us with his house. 

Later we met Neil. Neil is the man. He hosts over 150 people a year, all the while traveling for half the year. He’s been to over 100 countries. 

That night we ate a whole bag of pasta and a half gallon on ice cream. A perfect example of our extremely balanced diet. 

Seaside to garibaldi 
After saying bye to Neil we took off. A little down the coast is Canon beach, an iconic beach in Oregon because it has huge rocks coming out of the water. 
We kept riding down the coast and at each turn there was an incredible view of the water. We got to this super small town and we were starving. We grabbed a full pizza and probably ate it in 15min. 

After riding for a little longer that day we decided to take a shorter day and stop at 40 miles. We came across the camp site and they wanted $20 a person, ya right. We biked maybe 200 feet down the street and I saw a guy outside his house. I did my usual spiel and he said of course. His name was Bill and his house was right on the ocean. We couldn’t of gotten a better view. And let it be know that we have been on the road for 4 weeks as of today and we still haven’t paid once for sleeping. 

Bill was a great guy. He was the president of a major construction company and now has retired to this house. We spoke for about an hour about Oregon and other things. He said right in front of his house we might see killer whales, so we kept our eyes open. 

Garibaldi to Forrest Grove 
Cheese. We saw so many cheese factories that morning. We stopped in at the Tillamook cheese and ice cream factory and had tons of samples of cheese. After filling up on cheddar and Swiss we rode and we rode for many miles up through the Tillamook state park. It was hard but oh so stunning. Once we got to the summit we were beyond stoked cause we knew we had an awesome down hill. It was at least 3 miles down cruising at 35 MPH. 
We finally got to Forrest Grove where we were staying with our friend Krisa. We went out that night with her roommate Emily and Krisa’s boyfriend, Nathan. 

Forrest Grove to Portland
Krisa took us to the local bakery where they were famous for their cinnamon rolls. Joe and I each had a whole one, they were so good. 
We ended up riding over to her boyfriend, Nathan’s house, where we made enchiladas and met some more of their friends. 

We set off for David’s house, a friend of our high school Spanish teacher, Robbie klasky. 

Once we got there we headed out to a brewery. I swear at every corner there is a brewery in Portland. We enjoyed great beer and good conversation. David is an exceptional man. For the past 19 years he has ridin in the AIDS and HIV ride from San Francisco down to LA. Later that evening, we went to Alberta street, quite the scene to say the least. There was a huge street fair with vendors and performances. David explained it as the best representation of Portland, people were walking around naked and smoking weed, quite the scene to say the least. But I couldn’t help but realize the large smiles on everyone’s face. Everyone was living simply and just enjoying themselves. Later David treated us to Salt and Straw, where we had some of the best ice cream ever. They have flavors that incorporate crazy combos, such a balsamic vinaigrette and others. Vice President Joe Biden is a frequent Salt and Straw customer. 

Portland for the next couple days 
The next morning, we got off to a great start. We said bye to David and right as we left, a gentleman by the name of Quinn asked if we were lost, cause he saw our bags. We began chatting and he coincidently works for a company called Ride with GPS. An app that allows you to create maps for cycling. He invited us up to the office, which had to have been the coolest office I’ve ever seen. With 10 employees they had a wide open room with brick and wood. We met everyone else and ended up spending an hour there. One of the guys who worked there, Kevin, brought in his Golden Retriever, and all I could think about is my golden, Ollie, back at home. 
We then headed out and explored Portland having a delicious breakfast at Screen Door. Later that day we were scrambling for a place to stay and luckily Tanja, a host on warmshowers invited us over. They were the kindest family ever. They were in the middle of remodeling their house and still let us come over. We went out to dinner and then they took us to a secret dessert joint that you only know of by word of mouth. I was a little thrown off at first because, my cup kept moving to the left, and I wasn’t even touching it. They all started laughing because I didn’t realize the tables were moving. They said most of them do that in the place and it’s funny watching first timers get so confused. We definitely felt like locals that night. 
The next morning we went to a vegan restaurant. Not really my cup of tea but it was actually really good. A nice change of pace from the food we’ve been eating so far on this trip. 
Later we went downtown and visited the food trucks and a couple more breweries, you really can’t escape them. Experienced the Portland culture and just enjoyed the beautiful weather. 
We ran into a couple of my SDSU friends at a bar. Alec, who lives in Portland, invited us to sleep at his house that night on the river. 
We said bye to Tanja and her family and rode to Alec’s house. We grabbed dinner with Joe’s step sister and funny enough, the waitress thought we were Joe’s parents. People also think I’m around 26 and Joe is, well A LOT younger. 

Portland to Mcminville 
The next day we were planning on heading out early but Alec invited us on a hike and we definitely couldn’t pass that up. It was a great hike going through mountain lakes and coming out at the top to see Mount Hood. We got home around 4:30 and left the house around 5, our latest start yet. We made it to Mcminville at 9:30, and luckily the sun was just about going down by then. We stayed with a guy by the name of Flint. A friend of Chris Beresford who I played baseball with back in high school. 
What a week! We are still amazed by all the hospitality and kindness of every stranger we meet as well as long time friends that we run into. We have now officially been in the rode for a month and have about 6 weeks left! 
We feel extremely fortunate to be raising money for Outdoor Outreach, if you are able to, please donate at Thebendableroad.com. Thanks 

Week 3 Update

A day late but it’s here- our third week on the road. This was typed at a small cafe in Seaside, Oregon on an iPhone so I apologize in advance for any incorrect autocorrections and missed mistakes. Enjoy 🙂

DAY 15: Monday – June 20th, 2016

Buffalo, NY to Seattle, WA 

We woke up and met a guy named Nate, who took us to the airport. It’s funny because we had never met Nate. 

This awesome guy named Ryan had come up behind us on a bike trail a few days earlier and messaged us on Instagram saying how he was stoked to follow our journey. The day before our flight out of NY, we didn’t have a ride there. We told Ryan and he connected us with his friend Nate who commutes to Buffalo during the week. Nate agreed to pick us up and take us to the airport. We made great conversation on the way there. Nate was working on his second year of his PhD in social work at the University of Buffalo. 

We flew into Seattle and were greeted by Jordan’s lovely Aunt Alexandra.
DAY 16-18: Tuesday-Thursday – June 21-23, 2016

Enjoying Seattle, WA

We spent some time exploring the city including areas like Ballard, Bellevue, and Pike’s Market. It’s crazy how bike-friendly the city is and how easy it is to navigate your way around the town. 

One day was spent cycling on Bainbridge Island. We joined Jordan’s friend Haley for lunch at a local teriyaki joint. After, we visited a state park and sat at the beach taking in the beautiful views, including the view of Mount Reiner. It’s beauty stunned us. It appears as a “mountain of gods” of some sort, peaking high above the cloud line. We found a local brewery and enjoyed delicious nachos and local ales to end the day. On the ferry back, we had quite the laughable moment.

The cyclists exit first on the ferry so naturally we were up in the front with about 20 others. The ferry was approaching the dock. Jordan and I took this moment to try and “fit in as locals” by clipping in one foot. The ferry was a little too far left and I braced myself. Jordan, however, did not anticipate the bumps.

The ferry knocked into the left side, sending a wave of energy throughout the ferry. Jordan wasn’t ready and stumbled a little but grabbed onto me to regain balance. Not anticipating Jordan needing to grab onto me, he fell into me and pushed me to the ground before I could react. I crashed with my 40 pounds of panniers and fell on the ground. Jordan burst out laughing and all I could do was smile thinking, “welp, there goes any shot of us ‘blending in’ as Seattlites.” A few people around laughed and suggested I stay far from Jordan before he “bully” me anymore. It was quite a hysterical moment for the both of us. 

Jordan’s family treated us so well from giving us a room to sleep in to delicious home-cooked meals in the evenings to homemade granola in the morning. It was a wonderful few days in Seattle and we couldn’t have had a better place to stay. 

 
DAY 19: Friday – June 24th, 2016

Seattle, WA to Lakewood, WA – 54 miles

It was time to move on with our trip. After sometime, we made it to our Warmshowers host, Steven. He had basically a second house in his basement that we had all to ourselves. At dinner, we chatted with him and his wife about current issues in the world and the politics involving them. It was quite the conversation and definitely made Friday night a fun one. 
DAY 20: Saturday – June 25th, 2016

Lakewood, WA to Chehalis, WA – 69 miles

That morning, Steven kept his promise and had breakfast ready at 6:30am so that he could ride with us for part of the day. 

He joined us and took us on a slight detour so that we had flat, paved bike paths and a scenic ride through the city of Lakewood. Steven biked with us for 37 miles and wished everyone a wonderful day that we passed. For a man at the age of 75, it was most admirable. Let him serve as a role model to never let age be an excuse to health and fitness in the future. 

That day, we biked our most miles to date- 69. Luckily, we had a wonderful host that night too- Sophie, a friend of mine from college, parents house. Richard, her father, was the only one in town that weekend, but still gave us an unforgettable experience.

Her brought us to dinner at the local Mexican restaurant that everyone raves about- it was absolutely delicious (almost as good as Guadalajara in Tucson!). Over dinner, Jordan and Richard chatted endlessly about politics being that he serves in the Washington state legislature. Even though I didn’t previously have much interest in politics, their conversation gave me more insight in the functions of the system and the possibilities to make a difference within the state. 

After dinner, he gave us a tour of Chehalis and took us downtown where a car drag show was happening. After, he took us to the oldest bar in the town to taste craft ales. 

It’s the experiences like these ones that give us genuine insight into the Americana culture in other parts of our country. It’s these ones that we look forward to most.

 The evening ended well with soft beds and a roof over our heads.
DAY 21: Sunday – June 26th, 2016

Chehalis, WA to Raymond, WA – 49 miles

We slept in as a reward to ourselves for biking so far the day before. Richard had breakfast with us and then invited us to go out on his boat on the Puget Sound. We thought, “Why not? All we have is time.” 

It was a beautiful day to be on a 30-foot boat on clear, crisp water of the Puget Sound. We relaxed and enjoyed the water. Afterwards, we hopped on our bikes at 2pm and still managed to bike 49 miles before calling it a day around 7pm. However, our luck didn’t end there.

With nowhere to sleep, we ventured down a neighborhood nearby the end of our ride. The first house we saw had a Hilary 2016 sign and an SUV out front. “Hmm… Why not?” We thought. Jordan warmed up the usual spiel and asked if we could pitch our tents in her back lawn. 

“Of course you can. Go right ahead” replied the woman who answered the door. 

The kindness in strangers we encounter each day continues. We feel profound gratitude to all the people we have met thus far and look forward to those we have yet to meet.
Written by Joe Previte

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Doing what we want to do


When Joe and I first started planning our trip, we wanted to conquer a 7,700 mile trek across the U.S and then some. You could say we were a little nieve and ambitious.  But as with most things, that idea was soon replaced with a new one.  I was offered my dream job in D.C and Joe will soon be attending graduate school at California State University at Long Beach.  Because of this, we shortened our trip, so now instead of traveling all throughout Utah and Colorado after we made it to Seattle, we were now going to finish in Salt Lake City via Seattle.

Now, flash forward to 3 days ago.  As we were riding through rural New York on our way to Rochester, we were talking about whats to come.  We had just rode through the Green Mountains, the White Mountains and the Adirondacks, arguably some of the most beautiful places in the country.  And what did we have to look forward to now, corn and big bugs in the Midwest.

Now I’m not saying the Midwest isn’t beautiful, its just not the beautiful Joe and I were looking for.  So as we were riding, we were joking about the possibility of getting to Seattle quicker and bypassing the Midwest and Montana.  At first, it started as a joke, but as we talked more and more, we realized we could do this.  We stopped for dinner at this rad Mexican restaurant and looked up ways to get to Seattle.  This was Friday evening, and now as I am writing this blog post on Monday night, I’m sitting in my beautiful cousins house in Seattle.

We ended up packing up our bikes in Rochester and snagged a flight out of Buffalo this morning.  Its really crazy how things happen.  We had an idea and made a spontaneous decision.  You are probably wondering what are they going to do now?  Well, we both have a great desire to see the Pacific Northwest and the California coast so in a couple days we are going to set off for San Diego, taking our time and visiting towns such as Portland, Eugene and San Francisco along the way riding the whole time down the Pacific Coast Highway.

When making this decision, Joe and I asked each other, are we cheating ourselves?  We concluded that in no way that is the case.  We figured, this is our trip, one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.  An experience that most other people won’t have during their life time, so why not make the most out of the limited time we had on the road.  Yes, going through the Midwest, we might have met some amazing people, but it would not give us the experience that we both want, which is a beautiful sight around each corner.  This is our trip, we don’t have to live up to any expectations, the whole emphasis of this journey from the start was to see our own “backyard” in our own terms, and we are doing just that.  We are beyond excited to begin our trek south, meeting more amazing people along the way and raising money for Outdoor Outreach.

Sorry for the long explanation, but I figured I’d share our reasoning so others would know why we chose to do what we did.  Now, I’look share a little bit about this past week and the incredible experiences we have had.
Middlebury,VT to Paradox, NY

After leaving Zane and Elana’s house, we headed west to New York.  After splitting a large pizza at a gas station, we ended up at the Lake Champlain Ferry crossing that led us into Ticonderoga, New York.

Once we got to Ticonderoga, we were faced with one of the biggest hills we have had our whole trip, a steep 2 mile incline that took it out of us.  We were exhausted and it was getting to around the time we like to find where we are going to sleep that night so we stopped at one house and they said no, but pointed us to the boat dock where he said nobody would find us.  After intensely looking, we could not find the dock so we just continued.

We decided to take a little side street that led us to this massive house on a river.  We knocked and a friendly gentleman by the name of Chris came out and said it was totally cool if we camped in his backyard.  After setting up, he came over and offered us his kayaks to go checkout the local lake.  We obviously said yes.  After about 20 minutes of riding, it started pouring so we raced back home.  Chris felt so bad and invited us in for hot chocolate and even offered to dry our clothes.  After we got to talking, we found out that Chris is a Professor of Literature at Eastern Kentucky University.  Joe is interested in getting his Ph.D. so we had a lot to talk about.  After about two hours, we parted ways and went back to our tent.

Paradox to Long Lake

Chris and his wife Susan invited us in for a quick breakfast and then we took off for Long Lake.  After going 38 miles we finally came across a super small, hole in the wall bar where we snagged some burgers and beer.  So refreshing on a hot day.  After riding another 14 miles we finally hit Long Lake.  We stopped at a convince store and each ate  a pint of ice cream, this has since become a tradition.

Later that evening we found ourselves at a campsite right on the lake.  Absolutely epic spot!  We did laundry for the first time using our soap and faucet.  The people next to us got a good laugh out of it.

Long Lake to McKeever

After grabbing breakfast at the town diner we headed west, still riding through the beautiful Adirondacks.  All day were riding through cool mountain towns and eventually we stopped in Old Forge to where we grabbed a bite to eat.

Later that evening when it was about time to find a place to sleep, we asked a couple homes if we could sleep on their lawn and they all said no.  Up until then, everyone had said yes, maybe Joe smelled bad or my facial hair was to long and they thought I was 35 years old.

We ended up sleeping on the side of a highway.  Cars stopped to look at us but it didn’t really bother us to much.  That night Joe had a blister so I had to perform a surgical procedure using a needle to relieve the pain.  It was quite epic if I can say so myself.

McKeever to Pulaski

After not having the best night sleep on the side of the highway, we boogied on out and rode 20 miles along a river to Boonville and ate at my favorite diner yet called Silks.

We continued to a small town called Redfield where we grabbed a beer at this hole in the wall bar.  We chatted with some firefighters and the bartender for about an hour about riding and motorcycles.

That evening my Uncle Lee and Aunt Kim met up with us.  They were driving from San Francisco out to Maine with their Airstream.  We made camp at a state park right on Lake Ontario.  They treated us to an actual dinner which was much needed.  We talked all night about traveling and our crazy adventures thus far.
Pulaski to Sodus

In the morning we grabbed breakfast at the smallest diner I had ever been to but it was unbelievable.  I had the best blueberry pancakes there.  After, we parted ways with my Uncle and Aunt and we headed towards Sodus.

This was the first time we got lost.  We decided to take our own route and not the one on our map, but this turned out disastrous.  Instead of saving time, we lost time and rode on super busy streets.  We learned a great lesson that day.

After finding our way back on track, we starting talking about what we wanted with this trip.  We had just left the Adirondacks and realized for the next couple thousand miles, it would be nothing but corn fields and flat roads.  We jokingly threw out ideas and after a while we started thinking this could actually happen.

We sat down for a great Mexican food dinner and researched ways to get to Seattle.  First we wanted a train and then we thought a car might be a cool idea.

We got to our warmshowers host that evening and took a shower using their hose on the side.  People looked at us like we were freaks, but you got to do what you got to do.


Sodus to Rochester

The next morning we decided that we were going to fly so the next thing we knew we had two, one way tickets to Seattle for Monday.  It was Saturday. On the way to Rochester, we met Ryan, a great guy who also tours on the Erie Canal.  Our friend in in Phoenix, Erick, put us in contact with two othercyclists,  Alex and Cole.  They had been biking for 5 months on the same route we were going to do, except they started from the West Coast.  They were carrying their dog with them as well which was so rad to see.

After a long days ride, we arrived at my cousins house in Rodchester.  I totally forgot I had cousins who lived in Rochester until my mom told me a day before, but it could not of worked out any better. They opened their stunning house up to us and showed us all around the city.

My cousins are the same age as Joe and I, so we went out that evening in Downtown Rochester. It was great being in that environment because we hadn’t done that since we started out journey. We ended the night with a garbage plate, a dish that is a Rochester staple.  It was basically a combination of pasta salad, home fries and cheese burgers topped with meat sauce.  It is up there with one of the best late night foods I’ve ever had.

We stayed at their house playing soccer in the backyard and relaxing until Monday morning when we left to the airport.  Ryan, the guy who we met on the Erie Canal had a friend who drove us to the airport.  His name is Nate.  He’s a Ph.D student studying social work.  Sure cool guy.

Once we got into Seattle, my cousins picked us up from the airport and brought us back to their house.  We had an amazing salmon dinner and spoke about what we should do it Seattle for the next couple days. Neither Joe nor I’s parents knew we were going to Seattle, so we called my mom and she didn’t believe me for 10 minutes.  We all got a good laugh out of it.  We could not be more stoked to start our new journey.


Sorry for any spelling mistakes or typos in advance.

 

Written by Jordan Mishlove.

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Week 1: churches to home brewing to river views

Each Monday, we hope to post a summary of that week’s adventures. For organizational purposes, each day has a few paragraphs to give you a sense of what we experienced. We apologize in advance for any errors/typos/formatting issues- this was typed on an iPhone in a small cafe in Middlebury, Vermont. 

Please enjoy 🙂 

DAY 1: Monday – June 6th, 2016

Camden, ME to Bath, ME – 42 miles

Wow, Maine was hilly. While coasting downhill, one of my panniers fell off. Luckily, no damage. We stayed with our first warm showers host- Mike, Amy and Juniper. 

We chatted with us almost the entire night about their travels. They were extremely kind and shared their delicious meal with us. The coolest part was looking at a map with their two year, Juniper, who showed us all the states where she knew people. Lucky for us, they had a guest bed for us to sleep in on our first night. We couldn’t have asked for a better first night.

DAY 2: Tuesday – June 7th, 2016

Bath, ME to Poland, ME – 50 miles
“Joe, wait! What time is it?” Jordan shouted to me as we passed a tall, white church in Durham, ME. I looked at my bike computer: it read 11:20. The sign sitting outside the church read LUNCH 11:30. We parked our bikes and headed inside.

There, we were met by the kindest elderly folk who welcomed us in and asked for a small donation to cover the cost of the food. While there, we chatted about our trip and received significant donations. One man even told us to stop at his friends in Bridgton who brews his own beer. 

That night, we found a parking lot behind a church to pitch our tents. As soon as Jordan finished attaching the rain fly, the rain poured down and all we could do was laugh at how timely we had set up our tents. 
DAY 3: Wednesday – June 8th, 2016

Poland, ME to Fryeburg, ME – ~40 miles
We stopped at the house of the friend we met the day before to taste home brewed beer. Steve, the friend, opened the door. “I was expected you two yesterday! What happened?” He chuckled. “Come on in, I heard you two were interested in trying my home brews.” 

He taught us all about the art of home brewing, what he liked to call “Old Pondy’s.” We tried a raspberry ale and a porter- both delicious. Then, he sent us off with a bottle of wheat beer that was the same recipe of the beer he entered into a town contest and win first place. The day didn’t end there.

That evening, we weren’t sure where we’d be resting our heads that night. After being turned down by the Fryeburg Fire Department, we thought we’d try our luck with a complete stranger. Down the street, we watched a woman gardening in the back. I approached her with our situation and asked if we could camp in her backyard. As a worker for th tourist center, she said yes with hesitation. 

While there, her tenant who lived upstairs came out to say hello. Her name was Nickie and she was a water activist and a director for Wilderness First Responder training programs in the US who lived lightly with her son who was 12 named Luke. She told about her hikes thru the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail and her work with refugees in Burma and Thailand. Then, she invited us in for beers, to meet her son and on a hike. She brought us in her car to a place called Jockey Cap, which was on a small mountain that overlooked all the nearby mountains in Maine. It was gorgeous. 
DAY 4: Thursday – June 9th, 2016

Fryeburg, ME to Lincon, NH- 47.5 miles 
We conquered our toughest hill- Kancamagus  Pass- 22 miles of uphill to reach 2,855 feet in elevation.


Oh, and while stopping at a creek, my phone fell out of my jacket pocket and into the creek, two feet under water. Jordan had to hold me by my feet to reach it. My Lifeproof case failed me and didn’t stop the water from entering. However, lucky I have amazing friends like Jessica Edwards who is shipping me her brothers old phone to use (thank you so much!). 

That night, we didn’t know where we were going to sleep. We stopped at a pizza shop but they were out of slices, lucky for us (although we didn’t know it at the time). So we headed to Woodstock Brewery, where we told the bartender our situation and she told us about a guy who hosts Appalachain Trail thru hikers at his house. We headed to his house and crossed our fingers.

At the house, we made eye contact with a man through the window seconds before ringing the door bell. He pulled a cord and the window opened. 

“Can I help you?” 

“We’re looking for Chet. That’s me. Who are you?” 

“I’m Joe and this is Jordan and we’re riding our bikes across the country and we heard you host AT thru hikers. We were hoping to stay at your place or pitch our tents.” 

“Where did you start and where are you going?”

“We started in Camden, Maine and we’re heading to Seattle.”

He paused for a few seconds. Then he said with a smile, “Well, that’s enough information for me. You boys have a place tonight. Welcome to Chet’s Hostel.”

I could write a whole blog post on this night but I’ll summarize for you. Chet was injured in a backpacking incident and now sits in a wheel chair. He told us it’s a miracle he’s even alive but through spiritual healing techniques like reiki, he awoke from a coma. Now, he hosts hikers and cyclists for a work/trade stay, meaning you do something as simple as sweeping the porch or donating any unused gear to stay for free. Chet told us some amazing stories. We felt so thankful to have met him and stay with him. He is one of the most inspiring individuals we’ve met this far.
DAY 5: Friday, June 10th, 2016

Lincon, NH to Lime, NH – 42 miles 
We rode over another hill and then stopped in Orford to eat some of the not-so-delicious mac and cheese and mozzarella. After attempting to contact a few other warmshowers hosts, we didn’t have too much luck. We decided to keep riding and just camp when we were tired of riding. 

A few miles from the convenience store, we stopped to double check the map. A cyclist, an older gentleman around the age of a grandpa,  came up behind me while Jordan was looking at the map and said, “Where you going?” 

“Thetford, I think.”

“Where are you coming from?”

“Camden, Maine.”

Jordan stopped looking at the map to join the conversation. He looked at me with the face “Should I ask?” and then went for it. 

“This may sound strange… but do you have a patch of grass at your house?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Well, we don’t have a place to stay tonight. Could we camp on your grass?”

“Sure, follow me.”

Of course, his house happened to be along the road our map told us to take. After a mile, we turned right down a lightly gravel-ed driveway that seemed to extend for at least 50 yards where we pulled up to a gorgeous mansion, right next to the Conneticut River. He had more than a small patch of grass. 

Then he offered to take us to the grocery store to buy sandwiches for dinner. We returned to the house, showered and sat on a bench overlooking the river. He would have had us over for dinner but he had guests coming and didn’t prepare enough food.

He later came down and invited us to join his guests for food and drinks on the back patio. It turns out his three Dartmouth roommates were over for dinner along with his daughter, son-in-law and their two year old. We made great conversation and him and his wife made us feel so welcome with their friends and family. They also let us sleep in their small guest house. It felt like a true New England experience. 
DAY 6: Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Lime, NH to Rochester, VT – 57 miles 

Dave, the man we stayed with, walked us out that morning and sent us to Isabell’s, a local diner. There, we met two University of Arizona alum who graduated in 2008 and now the wife is pursuing a PhD in computer engineering at Dartmouth. 

On our way, a woman told us that a bike shop in Rochester might let us camp out there. 

We arrived ten minutes before they closed shop and found clip less pedals to switch to becaus we figured they might help us go faster. The bike shop guys were so kind and helpful. While there, the owner offered to let us camp in his backyard behind the shop. It worked out too because this awesome guy named Vince was doing a demo the next day for Kona bikes. He inspected our bikes, taught us a lot and even gave us chain lube and a rag. 
DAY 7: Sunday, June 12th, 2016

Rochester, VT to Middlebury, VT- 32 miles 

In the morning, Vince gave us a few more cycling tips and said bye. We passed over Brandon Gap, about 2,000 feet in elevation, and even saw other cyclists pass by us on the way up.

On the way down, we hit 43 mph- our fastest yet! At the bottom, we stopped at the convenience store and ran into about 10 cyclists, the same ones who passed us and chatted with us earlier. One, who I had talked to briefly, walked up and handled me a $10 bill. “Hey, lunch is on me guys.” 

It was really kind of him and he really didn’t need to but he wouldn’t take no for a answer. Later, a woman from the group said he was the town postman and had once climbed Mount Everest. 

In Middlebury, we struggled a bit. We didn’t know where we would stay and we were banking on Jordan’s friend of a friend to respond to our Facebook. After riding on Middlebury College campus with no luck of running into students who might let us crash in their dorm, we went back to a cafe we had eaten at earlier. We asked someone on Couchsurfing  and later received a yes, we could stay with her.

On our way to her house, Jordan’s connection came through. “Oh no… Now what?” I asked Jordan. 

We went to the Couchsurfer’s house and explained the situation. She understood and was very kind. We rode to Elana’s, Jordan’s friend’s house, and ended up staying there with her and her roommate Zane. 

They gave us a tour of Middlebury, introduced us to several friends and were very hospitable. All the conversations that night pertained to education, journalism, politics and the incredible amount of opportunities youth have today in society. 
Wow, we could end our trip today and be satisfied with our experience. Thank you to everyone out there cheering us on and supporting us! We couldn’t imagine doing anything else right now.

If you’d like to donate to Outdoor Outreach, please follow this link and help us reach our goal of $20,000:

https://www.classy.org/checkout/donation?eid=72748

Written by Joe Previte
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Sleeping with Coyotes-Phoenix to Fountain Hills

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30 miles away.  About half of what we are going to be riding everyday on our journey.  That was the mileage we rode on our practice ride out to McDowell Mountain Regional Park last week.  We figured we should test out all gear before actually hitting the road in Maine and boy, was it helpful.  

Everyone can give you gear recommendations on what to bring on a cross country bike trip, but you never know what you actually need until you do a trip yourself.

We left my house around 4:00pm and headed west.  The looks we got from cars and people on the streets were hysterical!  We got everything from yells to honks, and for the most part, everyone kept their distance from us while we were riding.  

We arrived in Fountain Hills, about 20 miles into our trip and had our first grocery store visit.  Carbs carbs carbs -that’s what everyone tells us.  So that’s what we did.  We bought a big loaf of bread, pita chips, roast beef sandwich meat, bananas, cheese and 2 snickers.  It was getting close to sunset so we set off to finish the last 10 miles.

These last 10 miles were the hardest. It was hill after hill but at least we knew it was going to be smooth sailing the next morning.  We made it to Mcdowell Mountain Regional Park at dusk, and when we entered, the sign read, “TENT CAMPING- 5 Miles.” No way would we make it another 5 miles with the amount of daylight left. So we just decided to camp at the beginning of the park right next to a BMX track.

We set up camp, taking off all of our gear.  By the end, it was pitch black so we used our headlights for the first time.  Setting up camp went pretty smoothly. Then we headed into dinner.  We ate super quickly because we were starving.

Sleeping out in the middle of the desert was probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever camped.  We heard coyotes, owls and javelina all throughout the night.  

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In the morning we woke up with the sun and set off.  We made a quick stop to grab some food but soon after, sailed home.  

I’m so glad we were able to fit in one quick trip before embarking on our big trip.

12 days Till We hit the East Coast

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Wow! It’s crazy to think that in less than two weeks, Jordan and I will be in Maine! We fly out on June 1st. We’re heading to Boston to see his mom graduate from her master’s program and then, on June 6th, we head out.

We’ve been buying all our last minute gear items this week and we also went on a nice easy 12 mile ride today in Phoenix.

 

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This Wednesday (May 18th), I biked from Tucson, AZ all the way to Chandler, AZ (a smaller city within Phoenix). I rode 100 miles and it took about 7 and a half hours, including a few breaks. It was tough but it gave me a great taste for what to expect during our ride. Luckily, we won’t be riding as far. We’re aiming for 60 miles per day during our trip. Check out a video I posted on our Instagram here.

If you can, help us reach our goal of $20,000 by donating to Outdoor Outreach here!

Stay tuned for future updates!

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