What we're doing

I could reflect on any number of events I've experienced this past week since the car accident.

We have been on the road almost 7 weeks and THINGS HAVE CHANGED since day 1 and things have changed since day 31. I am constantly aware that there are 3 of us on this team, together every day and every turn, but also dozens of us biking cross-country on these same roads, thousands of us driving through towns, billions of us breathing the same air and making it through the same day.

One realization that struck me within the first week or two is that "what we're doing" (on one level) is immediately obvious when we're on the road. When we roll up to a gas station in our bike clothes, bikes fully loaded, snacking like fiends, people stop and ask, "where are you going?" and they know it's far. Their responses when we tell them "we're going coast to coast" range from "WHAT" to "holy crap" to (my personal favorite) "well I won't keep you then". They have offered countless blessings of safety, admiration, encouragement, concern, sometimes a place to stay and sometimes even money.

The full realization I had was that occasionally we are not in our bike clothes and we are not carrying our bikes, and at those times no one can tell "what we're doing." When I turned that around I saw that every day we see and meet people and we don't know what they're doing.  We (read: people) don't wear signs that say "I'm doing something awesome" or "I'm going through something hard" or "I need help" or "I would join the revolution if I saw it happening".

I know that we are learning and growing every day because I can see it happening but I can only specifically speak for myself. This is the hardest thing I've ever done. You may be able to see and guess that what I'm doing is hard, physically. I am really working every day, not just pumping my legs and lungs; I'm fighting with my own brain, I'm rationing what energy I have left from pedaling into killing self-doubt, into attempting to let my life speak even on this trip that sometimes feels separate from "normal life", I'm trying to soothe my poor confused body, I'm trying to be healthy when the odds are against me, I'm living in this broken world, remembering the beautiful creatures who live on it, even as I travel across it on my bicycle.

That's a lot, by the way. I didn't think about all the ways in which this would be hard when I committed to going on this trip, much like people who find out what we're doing and immediately say "I could never do that". I think they are mostly imagining the physical part. Guess what, you can do it if you want to. You might not want to (that's fair). But don't sell yourself short of doing something hard, chances are you're already doing something hard. Also remember, please, that we're not wearing signs. Our fellow humans are every one of them on journeys no matter what they're not physically carrying.

Of all the lessons I've learned so far on this trip, I plan on working hard after it's over to remember this one everyday.



well, HECK!

Hello family, (F)friends, and all loved ones!

I am writing here, with the support of the other two, just briefly to say that this week was rather eventful for us. On Thursday, July 18th we got hit by a van on our way out of Wisconsin. While climbing up a long gradual hill (so going slowly and one stacked behind the other) Bekah was hit first in the back of the head by the mirror of the van. Either she or the van hit Joey and both of them when down rather hard. Hearing all the noise, I immediately pulled off the road and ran over - called 911, spoke with the drive (we are grateful he stopped and stayed during the entire thing), and tended to my family, all with only some phantom-impact on the shoulder (no memory of how this happened). We were WELL taken care of. We got checked at the hospital and once Bekah was discharged, our hosts from the night prior came to pick us up and we stayed with them during our immediate process of physical, emotional, and psychological recovery. We were more than comfortable during this time and we "thanked" this family into oblivion as they provided us with wonderful food, comforting hugs and dialogues, and healing laughter. Our circle continues to grow.

There will be more reflection and writing from us in relation to this, I'm sure! Yet, for now we would love for you all to know that we are grateful for all the support you have provided us that makes us feel compelled to continue on. Inventure is a process and a journey and I am going to do my best not make a large distinction between "before" and "after".

The flooding of anger, fear, and love has made me think: what really matters in this world? What is clutter? How can my perspective change from this incident? How will I be stronger and what changes will I make?

For me, there is not really a distinction between good and bad in this case. Anything else could have happened. We have talked about how life threatening and shaking situations can happen commuting at home by bike in Vermont or Pennsylvania, driving to Quaker meeting, or even walking downtown.

Just like every other day on this trip, we will safely, consciously, and TOGETHER, approach our daily bike ride thankful for life, thankful for family, and thankful for the opportunities that lie ahead.

With love to you all,
Lily, Bekah, and Joey



It's always a bit intimidating to get back on the ol' computer after a week or so of biking and try to find a way to express and summarize what we, I, experience on this Inventure. My fellow cyclists have been encouraging me to, rather than go off into philosophical tangents and metaphorical imagery, perhaps write in bullet points, list form, or be short and sweet in order to help dissipate some of this overwhelming feeling I get when I approach the screen.

But dear reader, no matter how hard I tried, and despite all the best intentions to be succinct and "to the point"in this post, again I will not tell you a specific story (though I have many). Rather, I want to share with you a broad, sweeping, overarching statement I have that rings true to our Inventure every single day..."People Are Incredible".

Very often we are asked the question, "So where do you sleep at night? Do you camp? Do you stay in hotels?"
In all honesty, there's no need to hide the news, we have camped only once since our departure from the east coast on June 9, over a month ago. Now whether that's an accomplishment or simply is the nature of this journey, it doesn't really matter. What does matter is how open, caring, giving, and genuinely inspirational each and every host and friendly passerby has been and how much COLOR is added to our story by the people we meet.

As you can gather from above, we've entered many, many homes and each one is unique in design, decor and architecture: some streamlined and new age with surround sound speakers and heated flooring, some full of wonderful nick knacks and family photos. There are those homes that choose to eat local and organic foods, having grown and preserved their own vegetables and fruits, and there are others who keep kitchens stocked with power drinks, energy bars, and sweet cereals and candies that bring back warm memories of my childhood.

And yet, despite all of this variety, no matter which way I slice it, each unique home is successful in creating a similar feeling of security and comfort for me. I could have never, in my life, predicted the amount of times we have cooked together with our hosts, standing in their kitchen preparing an evening meal while laughing, chatting, and getting acquainted with where they store their utensils and glasses (and peanut butter :), or the number of gatherings we've been invited to around a dinner table laden with foods such as salad, pasta, bread, drinks, and fruit.

We have had the privilege to be taken in like family continually and often are found in the midst of familiar family dialogues at dinner with folks who were, only an hour ago, strangers (it's always nice to yell, "Thanks Mom!" or "See ya Dad!" as we bike out of the driveway in the morning). I take great comfort each time I find that we're simply "chilling" together afterward in the living room, gently entering into people's calming evening routines while we journal and joke, just talking, relaxing and being goofy together.
It may seem like an easy thing, to give us a towel or two, offer a shower, invite three more mouths to the table, or provide a bit of floor space, but for us it means a gratitude beyond words.

Now though it may sound strange, in addition to having already offered us a safe place to sleep, it's challenging for me to, on top of that, accept further blessings from a host such as a box of cereal, bag of nuts, Gatorade, or a homemade pie to take for the road without having something to offer back in return. And while I may always struggle with this, I begin to realize more and more that it's not the physical act of giving back that matters. What I mean is, it's not necessary to leave behind a replacement roll of toilet paper or to re-fill the half jar of salsa we devoured (though that would be lovely).

 Rather, what seems to matter most is the sentiment and the spirit with which we receive these gifts. What seems to most matter is the fact that I can live a life that can embody and appreciate and HOLD ON to the gratitude I feel.
 If energy is neither created nor destroyed, then I take faith that the $15 dollars given to us by a stranger at the post office will become a home-baked loaf of bread that I will have the privilege to gift to a hungry passerby someday or that perhaps the carton of freshly-picked strawberries gifted to us by a sweet woman at a gas station will become a cool glass of water I can give to a tired traveler. I take faith that we riders will have the privilege to open our hearts to other bedraggled wanderers and offer a meal and warm place for them to sleep on a rainy or buggy night, making their evening a bit brighter. I take great faith in knowing that we will be able to have our chances and times to "give back."

The biking is magnificent, challenging, and inspiring. It teaches me about myself and what my body, mind, and, spirit are capable of. It is a path that I must follow. And the sights and sounds we are privy to each day are memorable and magnificent. Yet most often, I find that it is in the moments before we get on the saddle in the morning and once we get off in the evening that make me quickly scramble to get my journal out to try to capture the experiences of the PEOPLE Inventure brings our way.

Pancake breakfasts, lasagna dinners, jumps in backyard pools, and warm nights in soft beds...we are more fortunate than I often can believe.  And that is why I tend to find myself, upon hitting the pillow at night and waking up in the morning, just saying "thank you, thank you, thank you" over and over again.

..and I know there are many more people to meet.
(Thanks for following along...perhaps next time I'll have just ONE real winner of a story for you ;)
With light,


Almost Century


p.s. We are in Wisconsin.


Exploring in Clare, Michigan

Today we rode 60 miles on the Pere Marquette rail trail. We were excited to be on a nice wide, traffic-free, and paved trail but it ended up feeling like FOREVER! It was quiet and fairly meditative. We didn't even play any games- we just let ourselves daydream today. 

I always find it hard to articulate my time on the bike. There's a lot of thinking that happens and hilarious incidents but theres just so much muchness!
Mind meets bike.

Anyway! The real story is our short detour into Clare city. Our lovely host from the night before told us to stop at the "cops & doughnuts" shop. Its a very popular place. And, it's exactly what you're thinking... 

A doughnut shop run by cops!

They bake all there stuff right there, sell merchandise, and do corky things like invite you to take a mugshot. The pictures speak for themselves:

Good stuff, EH?!

Taking the ferry into Michigan soon! We're very excite. Yip-yip!


Pictures from Canada

Here are a few photos from crossing the border into Canada (over the Queenston-Lewiston bridge), along the coast of Lake Erie, and finally across the St. Clair River into Michigan (yesterday).