Onward, outward..upward?

We are leaving Rochester this rainy morning after 3.5 rest days in one of my favorite cities. I went to school here and every time I come back feel more attached.

An incredible session at Full Moon Vista Bike Shop sends us off with new energy and knowledge about technique. Thank you so much to Scott and everyone else!

I felt very lucky to connect with some of my favorite people while staying in a familiar place and having the pleasure of showing my teammates around.

There are a whirlwind of feelings as we end our third week (!) and head out from what may be the last "familiar place" in the east. We notice the changes in each town we pass as far as terrain, culture, (weather)... but WHOA. Things are really gonna change as we move.

My favorite rule I've created for myself on this trip is No Expectations Allowed.

Here we go!!

P.s. Check back for a 4th of July update probably in Canada...

-- joey


Two Stories and A Poem

We have time. This is something that all three of us remind ourselves as we pass through a wonderful city, need a rest, or see a detour. It is not a race nor a rush to the Pacific.

A few day ago, Joey, Lily, and I found ourselves biking in queue as usual, pointing out the gravel, potholes, and glass on the side of the road, shouting various observations back and forth to one another. It was a particularly hot and humid day and as we pedaled along, we found ourselves crossing a major highway and thus, passing by a potentially shorter route to our next destination. The highway was not a part of our Northern Tier maps, but it appeared that it would bring us to our next stop while cutting off a significant amount of miles (certainly more direct, but much less scenic and rewarding). We all skidded to a stop at the sign:
"Should we do it?"
"It would mean flatter and less miles"
"Would we even have  place to stay if we got there tonight?"
"We could figure it out..."
And as we stood there contemplating for a moment between our longer route ahead or the highway turn..Lily yelled:
"Guys, we have time."
A simple statement you might imagine, yet one which helped me do a little shake in the noggin and come up clear again. This is not a race. The biking IS the journey. And with that reminder and a push from the pavement, we continued on our path. I was glad we were given that little "kick" from the heavens.

Well reader, I am now going to share with you a few different stories that stand out in my mind as we have entered week 3 of Inventure:

Something In The Mind
Not too long ago, we pulled off to a gas station to eat our daily power bar snack:
"What do you guys want today?" Joey inquired as she opened her rear pannier. "We've got Peanut Butter Crunch or our favorite White Chocolate Macadamia."
(side note...Probars are probably the most AMAZING bar we've had thus far)
"Let's go with White Chocolate...why not"
As we sat there enjoying each Cliff  bar bite and finishing up the last of the freshly-picked strawberries one of our hosts had kindly donated to our trip, an older couple from North Carolina began telling us of their biking escapades around the country. Despite being impressed by their traveling experiences (and the fact that they had driven to NY from NC to bike!!) what struck me most was a comment made by the gentleman:
Gentleman: "Long distance biking does something to your brain doesn't it?"
Bekah: "What do you mean by that?"
Gentleman: "Well, you start to begin to think only about the necessities and real basics like food, shelter, and water. All that extra stuff no longer becomes important."

And he's right. Along with this change regarding what one focuses on in a given day, there comes a shift regarding what one values and cherishes as well. The seemingly simplest of gestures, comments, or occurrances, become significant. i.e.:

  • A wave from a passing car
  • A smile from someone sitting out on their porch
  • A cooling forest breeze (would I even have felt it if I weren't sweaty and hot?)
  • Momentary feelings of the warm, drying sun or the cooling rain
  • The simple pleasure of a steep hill climb only to recognize the feeling of leveling out again with gravity and the solid understanding that there is always a downhill

(and while I bet many people would understand all of those examples, these two may be specific to me:

  • Biking past any body of water and the immediate sense of peace and awe I feel
  • Seeing family and friends gathered together while pedaling by 

Now here I have no good segway other than "this is where my brain is flowing to next":

A short poem I wrote about "opposites"


"Inventure is about opposites. Life is about opposites. 
Yin and Yang. Black and White.
If you just wait a bit
If you just trust a bit
What you hope for will come...the Opposite. 
If it is hot, trust that the evening will bring cooler breezes...it usually does.
If you are hungry, trust that soon you will be full. 
If the hill is long, trust the sweet fun provided for you in the downhill on the other side.
If you are in pain or discomfort (cough* bike seat *cough) know that you will be comfortable again soon.
So no need to rush. 
The opposite will always come. 
It always does. "

The Incident of The Three Riders and The Motorized VehicleRaise your hand if you recently saw a photo of us in a car and felt confused, perhaps even outraged. Okay, put your hand down, you look silly. Sit back, I'll explain.

Inventure has been full of blessings. Yes, I know, there is quite a ways to go yet on our journey and we have had and will continue to have our fair share of struggle. But those struggles are far outweighed by the things for which we are grateful.
I imagine that there is a spectrum. One end is called "receiving" and one end is called "giving", or perhaps, "paying it forward."Currently, this ride has placed us often on the "receiving" end of the line and has already taught me more than I could have known about hospitality, open-heartedness, and care. It has illustrated to me, for example, what it feels like to really REALLY feel welcomed to a home, helping  me develop into exactly the kind of "pay it forward" person that I hope to be throughout my life. Okay right, the car story.

After a particularly long and hot day last week, Inventure found themselves in a very small NY town looking to settle in for the evening. Upon arrival, the three bikers pedaled around slowing down to begin the search for "home". Passing over what they learned was the Salmon River Reservoir, the sun was on its way down and the bikers were calmed by the sight of what looked like a wedding ceremony about to take place.
 "Now there's a promising place to ask about potential hosts," they thought in their heads as the cycled by. Not long after passing some lovely fishing piers, a Cottage and Cabins Inn, a man walking his dog, and a small post office, they stopped. Sleepily pondering their predicament and potential evening options, they noticed a friendly woman sitting out on her veranda...A RESOURCE!
Pulling over onto her lawn, the bikers noticed that her home was buzzing with more hummingbirds than they had even seen. But, despite the hummingbirds and though she was quite friendly, her advice proved to be not quite what they were looking for/could afford. And so, the three turned 'round and cycled back the way they came...hoping a good idea would blossom. Waving hello a second time to the man and his dog, they paused at the nearest eatery. Despite their best efforts, it was a no good either. Too expensive and not too friendly.
As if hoping something new would have changed since the last two times they biked up and down the street, they decided to cycle a third time past the wedding, the fishing piers, and the man with his dog (who was, by now I'm convinced, thoroughly confused...truly a Groundhog Day scenario).

 But though you may be chuckling to yourself at this back and forth display of the worn out bikers, something WAS different this third time around. Courage surged through the young travelers and they turned into the Cabin and Cottages Inn. There, outside the beautifully manicured lawn and well-kept buildings, stood Tanya and Mitch."You guys looking for a place to camp?"  Tanya asked.
The angels were watching.
"We get bikers coming through here often. Mitch, do you mind if they camp under the cherry tree? The cottages are full, but you're welcome to pitch your tents back here. I'd stay away from pitching camp by the water, the geese make a mess. You can swim in the Reservoir if you'd like, we do all the time. And if you want I'll show you where the showers are in case..."
And with that, like it had been for the three bikers in the two weeks leading up to this moment, the offer became exponentially more amazing.

(Side Note: There seems to be a trend that hosts and guests (us) on this bike trip follow:
1.  Host meets  bikers.
2. Bikers meet host.
3. Energetic exchange happens.
4. If exchange is negative, bikers an host part ways.
5. If exchange is positive, both linger and engage in a quick chat.
6.  Initially hesitant host becomes increasingly open. Both guests and host grow fonder  of one another.
7. Bikers are welcomed in and soon, both host and bikers have found new lifelong friends.)

So, after setting up their tents under the cherry tree and going for their first swim since the journey's beginning, the bikers were overjoyed. As if all of that weren't enough, Tanya nearly gave the bikers conniptions when she told them that she would lend them her car to go into town for dinner. The next thing they knew, the dirty, tired, and semi-delirious travelers were refreshed, clean, and sitting in A CAR (now you know) on their way to dinner.
Hang on here, it gets even better. After driving back to the Inn under a nearly full moon and moving faster than they had in days, the bikers began to walk to their tents underneath the cherry tree to turn in for the night. Encountering Tanya and her daughter en route to bed, another gift was bestowed:
"You know, I feel badly making you camp out. I've got two free bedrooms upstairs with the best beds you'll ever sleep in if you would like."
and so now you know. You know how it is that we found ourselves in a car one day and how it is that we find ourselves feeling so incredibly fortunate and grateful on this journey of endless surprises. Let it be known that we have encountered so many people like Tanya and Mitch. Kind, warm, open, and caring souls.

There is so much more to describe, reflect upon, and share with you, but I shall save it for another day. For now, I will close out by sending blessings and light to all of our loved ones...you are with us every step of this journey. And to those of you whom we have met while Inventuring (whether in conversation, in your home, or passing by) ,our most recent lifelong friends, thank you.


And I would bike 500 miles!

Hello followers - friends and family! 

I'm sitting in a lovely home drinking a cup of peppermint tea. SO MUCH GRATITUDE. I won't begin on this now because we feel gratitude all day, ever day and will likely talk about it in every other post. So... we're only about 20 miles from Rochester where we will take our next set of rest days (whatever we feel they need to be). Today's weather was the most weather, weather of all time. I guess what I mean by that is I couldn't stop thinking about it! It was about 100% humidity and up there around 90 degrees while we were on the road in the middle of the day. Some call it "lake effect" (from Ontario), I call it swimming. Bekah and I were both brushing salt granules off our shoulders and arms all day. HYDRATION was important. Thank you, Sandy, for the Gatorade. 

 OH... [[We're hittin' some big ones here: today has officially been two weeks on the road and yesterday (Saturday) we hit 500 miles! New York has taken us longer than those other three states (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont)]]

So, please read these series of bullet in any order or fashion you like. They're not necessarily related but more just a series of things I wanted to share and express (or things I just find myself thinking about on the bike). There are little segments and themes - there are little moments and big challenges. They are not necessarily whole or complete thoughts (and definitely not all of them are practical). They are: bits of learning, fun moments, and slightly hilarious or unfortunate realities.
  • It seems as thought my diagnosed spirit animal (a monkey) might be becoming an accurate portrayal. I started out with a longer arm span than body height. I've got a case of the gangles. But now... things are getting more severe. As you know, a razor is A LOT of extra weight to carry. Therefore, I'm becoming harrier and harrier by the day. I'm also building more muscle (one would hope) sporting the large Morgan forehead and lastly, getting better with tools.
  • On a more serious but maybe less personal note, I'm in the process of learning an important lesson. To tell the quick story - on the third day of the trip I started to develop some knee pain, located on the outside of my leg and likely related to tight muscles and an improper bike fit (meaning seat height, cleat placement, etc). The pain has progressed and I'm doing all I can now. I'm stretching, icing, massaging and rolling, taking Ibuprofen (or Vitamin - I, as a friend called it).  Last Tuesday and Wednesday were bad days. I even had to walk up some of the hills because of the pain. As you can imagine, all of that has been a pretty discouraging experience - full of frustration, pain, disappointment, and even fear. The "what-ifs" that I suppressed in my mind moved from there to real conversation. But there is a deeper experience that this all brings to light....
    • First, this journey. Bekah, Joey, and I all wanted to internal struggles, challenges, and sufferings to be a part of this trip. We talked about how it is not about the destination as much as it is the journey that gets us there. Therefore, this knee situation has allowed us to have conversations that bring the journey to life. The three of us will get to Seattle together - that is Inventure. We will adapt as necessary - making the trip richer by welcoming the change that may need to come. Isn't this good practice for getting by in our society? Practicing change and adaptation -  The "how" in our lives? These questions and problems are great teachers. We will strive to be open and dig deeper into ourselves when making choices. Sufferings seems to have opportunity to provide newness and enlightened understandings. Success is also only a matter of perspective.
    • There is also a more personal learning experience that comes from this and for me this injury is really about self-love. My family gave me some good advice. Treat yourself how you would treat a good friend. So, if it was Bekah or Joey, what advice would I give? I would say: be patient and gentle with yourself. It is so hard to think long term but reaching Seattle is most likely to come if we take the precautionary measure (another lesson for our great country). I'm learning to become my own true friend. And to hold those big dreams dearly but appreciate the nature of paths -- that they change. I appreciate my body and love it for what it allows me to do in my life. I should take care of myself... I know. All that being said, I'm working on figuring out how to be better. The past three days were great until the last 10 miles of today when it got bad again. The plan is to see a doctor in Rochester. I think it is the wisest decision. This has been a really hard (but important) lesson for me, well, for all three of us.
  • Before we left Middlebury over a week ago, Lisa let us weight our bikes. SO... it turns out they all weight in the range of70-80 lbs before  our necessary re-stocking of food. That's a lot of weight!
  • I had a realization the other day while biking along the beautiful lakes in New York. I was thinking of home and friends and family. It is amazing how time and space are largely under our own control. They can (as they are on this trip) be inverse of one another. What I mean is that as we geographically move from east to west, we move further away from being home. Yet at the very same moment, in time, we get closer and closer to being home. It shows how things are cyclical, not linear. In a linear world, it becomes two paths moving away from each other (maybe that my divide between my mind - thinking of home, and the body - moving west). But it makes more sense as a circle. Here, wherever we are and whatever time we're in, we're on a path that is the same journey. Although moving in different directions, we have the same line and end at the same place. **I illustrated this in my journal -- sorry you won't get to see** But, what does this mean about perspective? Or about place and time? About existing in a multi-dimentional world? It might not be about exactly WHERE our spirits, bodies, and minds are, but more, what are the paths we choose to take and HOW do we move along these paths. Maybe this is some of the difference between traveling lost and traveling grounded. 
  • A lot of people mow their lawns. A lot of people do not keep their dogs on leashes. A lot of people give you plenty of space on the road (though not all). A lot of dragonflies die in the shoulder. A lot of Red Winged Black Birds like to talk. A lot of trees try to grow around electrical wires. A lot of bugs take advantage of our moving vehicles and catch a ride. A lot of people say, "you mean... Washington STATE?". A lot of people think Bekah and I are still in school. A lot of people are really nice. A lot of bike grease ALL THE TIME.  A lot of soggy-ness.
  • Us three are SO. DIFFERENT. IT'S. AMAZING.
  • If you see a diner or bar that says, "BIKERS WELCOME", that doesn't mean you Oforo, Pegasus, or Maia.
  • By the end of this trip, our left sides will be much tanner than our right.
Well, that's all for now - it's 10:30 and past our bed time.

My love goes out to you all! 


Hello New York!

It seems like we flew through New Hampshire and Vermont but we'll be getting to know New York for the next week and a half or so..

Our friend Cyril joined us going UP UP UP the Middlebury Gap, after which we had a wonderful two rest days in Burlington with some familiar faces.

Lily and I got to go to Meeting in Burlington on Sunday which was so nice, plus we met a new friend named James who biked with us the next day from Middlebury! We took a ferry to Ticonderoga, NY.

While trying to find a campground near Paradox Lake (it's real) we stopped by a gorgeous old house/B&B to ask, and ended up going in to get a tour of the amazing building which was bursting with history, and met some incredible people with whom we ended up having some crazy connections. Just ask any of us about Paradox House sometime. WOW. So many thanks to Analise and Merritt.

We've heard from a couple others who've done similar trips that New England was the hardest section-- AND I BELIEVE IT. Talk about hills. My body is definitely still figuring out what's going on.

-- joey


Gifts: From Maine to Vermont

I once learned that in our human brains, the center for language is quite distinct from the center which processes our emotions. In other words, it's hard to SAY how we FEEL. But, on one cold and damp night mid-week, we (me, Joey, and Lily) found ourselves feeling full. Full in our hearts and full in our stomachs sitting warm and dry surrounded by the nighttime hills of Bethel, Vermont. And there, scattered amongst our hanging wet biking clothes by the wood stove of our new friends, I wrote this:

"When I leave what I know, I can no longer expect anything.
So then when I find myself so happy and comfortable- standing, warm and dry, with a full belly, surrounded by the love of friends who used to be strangers and the beautiful land, what do I do? How do I express gratitude? How do I thank?

I suppose...give back is my best answer. Be the same person to others as others are to me.
We have had nothing but blessings since Day One. Our families nurtured us as we prepared our bags, bikes, and bodies to set forth. The bright sun lit our path as we pedaled away from what we knew, leaving the Atlantic Ocean from Wells, Maine. The rain cooled us as we relentlessly pedaled our way through the White Mountains up the Kancamagus Highway of New Hampshire. Out of the past 8 days of travel, we've slept in our tents only once (and that was in the backyard of a friend) due to the kindness of those who have offered shelter in the form of a trailer, a pottery studio, a cabin, house, or home. We have made friends with a ranger, a nurse, two potters, a steel drum tuner, bike repairmen, musicians, an ice cream shop scooper, an artist, international camp counselors, parents, students, dogs (lots of dogs), and car windows with waving hands.

Those who were once strangers, now begin to look after us. They have feed us warm bowls of chili at night, given us towels with which to clean our sweaty selves, offered us beer, coffee, tea, steaming bowls of oats in the morning, and dry beds. Those who were once strangers begin to show concern for us, "Are you warm enough? Do you have food? Have you felt safe enough around the cars?" Those who were once strangers and are now friends have done so much for us that I feel flustered with gratitude and with the constant question, "How, How will you, Bekah, give back?"

And while that is perhaps a life-long question, one that is best embodied rather than quantified and qualified, I do know this:
each time I face a steep hill up ahead, each time I experience the cold and the wet, each time I feel lost or tired, all I have to do is think of these blessings and know that all is well. Each pedal to the Pacific is dedicated to these faces. Faces new as well as old...for equally as powerful are the words, messages, and phone calls from family and friends that have been lighting my fire and inspiring me each day.
So then, thanks because we just ate a home-cooked meal (goat chili, coconut milk rice, sauteed vegetables, nuts, toasted corn, breads, and cheese), thanks because I'm looking out onto the Green Mountains, thanks because we received free bike tune ups at Green Mountain Bike Shop in Rochester, thanks because our friend met up with us to bike over the Middlebury Gap, thanks, thanks, thanks......

Slowly and surely, we ride.

 The Atlantic
 My Best Friends...sending me off
Killgore!!! (biker name)
Together on the Ocean

 Tamworth, New Hampshire
Taco Tuesday

 Sharon Trading Post, VT
Surprise Friends in South Royalton, VT

 Up the Middlebury Gap in VT with a Familiar Face
 Made it! Middlebury, VT
Rest Days
Yep...he's the best
I leave you with the reply of one of our recent Vermont hosts. After asking him how to best express the kind of immense thanks I felt for all that he and his wife had done for us, he responded: "Well, I just strive to be the kind of person I'd want to meet on the road. And, you know, life can be hard sometimes. So, why not make it great?"


Some photos

No time for captions.. Here are a few photos from the first couple days in New England :)


Thank you

I was trying to figure out the most appropriate blog post to write before our trip begins this Sunday the 9th (!) but was having trouble coming up with something that I really wanted to say.

I'm sure it can be understood the swarming of moods - coming and going. I'm not sure what ready means. I'm not sure what life will be on bike. I'm not sure how we will move, meet, and greet. BUT - my excitement and energy beats on strong, sort of like how my heart was beating only yesterday morning in West Virginia as I was running 3 miles up a mountain road.

In all this change, wild preparation, and constant rumbling of tummy nerves, I have figured out what must be said.


This trip, even in thought and mind, is something special and I have my family -- the close and the extended, the blood and the non-blood -- to thank for their support, love, and push.
Is it complicated or is it simple?

Relax. Breathe.
Open your eyes. Close your eyes.
Take it in. Release. 

Things will come and go
and so


Here are a few pictures of the people and places that... actually, no words needed.
I love them.

Reigate - devotion and stewardship

Home - backbone and courage

Dad - teacher and hero. A speaker and listener

Mom - teacher and hero. A listener and speaker

Becky, Alex, and Tim - love, trust, and admiration