Ridiculous video for the eLIFELIST Facebook App. Add the app
eLIFELIST.com's first contest of 2008!
The first 50 people to complete a goal on their LIfe-List, video themselves completing their goal, and embed (how to) the video to your list will receive some eLIFELIST swag: a free T-SHIRT. Your video will also be on the eLIFELIST homepage for a day.
Once you embed your video, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the page with your video, your mailing address, and the size shirt you would like. Good luck out there!
Listen to the interview with Peter Walsh on "Oprah and Friends"
We'll be on Oprah and Friends Radio Friday October 19th. We were interviewed by Peter Walsh about the Bike Trip and eLIFELIST.com
There are several times to catch the interview:
Friday the 19th:
11AM, 5PM and 11PM (EST)
8AM, 2PM, and 8PM (PST)
Saturday the 20th:
7AM, 8PM (EST)
4AM, 5PM (PST)
Sunday the 21:
10AM, 4PM (EST)
7AM, 1PM (PST)
Oprah and Friends Radio is on XM Radio. If you don't have a subscription, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial version of XM Radio online here or just wait and listen to the copy uploaded to BikeTripBlog.com
Final Video from the eLIFELIST.com Bicycle trip across the country.
Well, as surreal as it is the trip is finally over. We can no longer eat 6000 calories a day and entire pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream without a second thought any more. We don’t have to go through the ritual of breaking down camp, heading off into the unknown and sweating for 7 hours a day every day. We have reached the last bike-able mile of land on the West Coast. The trip is done and with a great sense of pride, joy, and excitement accomplished what we set out to do. It is tough to put into words my own personal experiences and takeaways of the trip but will try my best to summarize what the trip meant to me, some of the lessons I learned, and just my perspective on some of the experiences from the trip.
First off, I wanted to thank EVERYONE for their support that we received over the course of the trip. Whether the support was a financial donation to our fundraiser, words of encouragement, providing a roof over our head for the night, a home-cooked meal, keeping us in your thoughts, a car-honk of encouragement, assistance from our sponsors, a deep muscle massage, aiding with the bikes, or any other help we got along the way; we are extremely grateful for all of it.
I know one of the reasons that we continually gave people why we were biking across the country when they realized what we were doing and tried to comprehend what would make a person do such a thing was simply: because it was on our lifelist. That quick one-liner was an easy way to explain it and did not really get into much more detail than that since there were so many other personal and professional reasons that we did not get into unless people questioned us further. On a professional level, biking across the country provided an excellent opportunity for us to raise money for a very worthwhile organization, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which we truly appreciate everyone’s donation thus far. On a more personal level, the idea was hatched and put on my lifelist a while back for many reasons. One of the main aspects of the trip that drew me in was the personal challenge of biking that many miles over such a diverse and challenging terrain. The challenge was not only physical but mental as well. The concentration and persistence needed to consistently wake up everyday knowing the trials ahead of you for the day and weeks ahead really caused you to challenge your mental fortitude. We knew that once we started, there was no turning back and you have to manage and drive yourself to accomplish such a long term goal. Besides the mental and physical challenge of riding across the country, the scale of what we were doing was another appeal for me. Knowing how epic in scale of a trip this would be with all of the unknown adventures, unseen places, unknown people we would meet along the way and simply how few people actually do and complete a trip like this constantly made me itch to do it even more. One thing that I think Lee and I both loved was the crazy look and astonished responses of people who learned what we were doing and thought we were both off of our rockers because of it. That response seemed to be another daily motivation that a trip like this to many people was just so impossible in their eyes, which we loved to prove wrong. I had spoken with and met too many people who have gone through their lives living with regrets for not doing either a trip like this or anything else that they really wanted to do at some point in their life but never went through with it made me realize that their was no time like the present to actually make it happen.
One aspect of the trip that we knew before biking one mile was the beauty and amazing landscape that we were going to see along the way. After finishing and seeing the landscape gradually change(we weren’t going light speed) little by little, I have got to say the country is extremely blessed to have such a diverse, resourceful, and beautiful country. I don’t think most people really appreciate how much this country has to offer and how that has made it into the place that it is today. We not only saw it first hand but could see it in the eyes and voices of the international folk that were doing the trip when they referenced and compared it back to their own countries. As strange as it is, every state really did have it’s own personality, not just with the people but the type of terrain that we would bike through. It was not like there was one or two things that set states apart, but within about 50 miles of entering each state you could notice the colors, hills, mountains, animals, and farms all changing as well.
Going into the trip we knew that it was going to be difficult and would be very naïve to think otherwise. But we really didn’t know what the daily challenges would be that we encountered. We could’ve planned prior for the trip for months but we still wouldn’t have known what we were truly getting ourselves into until we actually got out there. The best thing we could have done was plan as best we could and deal with each thing as it came. Facing these new challenges and overcoming them was one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip for me. So what exactly were some of these challenges and how did we manage to deal with them? One of the biggest challenges for me was to comprehend the scale of the trip and how far we had to go(3800 miles) and staying motivated to bike 75 miles everyday. What I learned early on was to not think about how far away San Francisco was but to try to break the trip into smaller segments that I could wrap my head around. Instead of thinking that far ahead, I would think about the state that we were in, the day ahead of us, even just the climb that we were doing at that moment. Breaking down the trip into smaller goals allowed me to not only enjoy the moment we were in but to see things in a much more realistic and manageable scale. Other issues we knew we were going to face but didn’t REALLY know how these things would pan out until actually having to deal with them such as bike break downs, the heat and humidity, traffic, wrong turns, flooding, desolation in the desert, 12% grade inclines, dogs hell bent on chasing you off of THEIR stretch of the highway, splinters in legs, freak storms, 20 mph headwinds, or runaway house dogs. In almost every case of a challenge being thrown at us my attitude towards dealing with it was that this was what was dealt to us and we will have to face it head on. Whether that meant to just put your head down and muscle and grunt your way to the top of the hill, prepare ourselves the morning of to face the whole day without access to water, stop and fix the bike immediately to prevent any further damage, or start pedaling like your hair was on fire when Fido thought your legs looked like giant rawhide bones. In almost every case there was nothing we could do to avoid it so there was no point in complaining or feeling sorry for ourselves, rather just face whatever it was and deal with it.
Another aspect of the trip that I truly enjoyed was the people that we met along the way and the small towns we went through. Going into a trip like this you know you are going to meet a ton of people all with their own stories, but I was really surprised at how friendly everyone was. Whether the people were just curious to know what we were doing after seeing the trailers, fellow cyclists doing their own trip, gas station attendants, waitresses, farmers, campers, whoever, I can’t remember one encounter where the person was not very nice to us. It was very surprising at how many of our conversations with these people ended with them telling us to ‘be safe out there’. Most of the people we did meet we met because we were trying to avoid the major highways which basically led us from small town to small town. This was the rural side of America that I had never really experienced before since I have always pretty much grown up in larger cities and on road trips you don’t really go off the beaten paths off of the highways. I think I realized that small town America is definitely not for me but everyone town was filled with friendly people a tight knit community that is tough to find in the larger cities.
One last part of the trip that I truly enjoyed was being able to experience the whole thing with Lee. It is pretty tough to know somebody that you would want to do such a trip with and convince them it would be a great idea to do it with YOU. After over two months of being on the road we didn’t kill each other, which is a pretty amazing feat for any two people spending that much time together. We were pretty much with each other every waking hour(about 16) of the day, every day for two months straight and can honestly say that there aren’t too many people in the world that I could have done the trip with and am very fortunate to have a friend like Lee. Of course we had arguments and a couple of bad days but we got through it and got to spend an awful lot of quality time together and strengthened our friendship because of it.
There were so many aspects of the trip that I really enjoyed that really made it a once in a lifetime trip. People always say that it is the journey not the destination and that was most definitely the case here. Though the sense of accomplishment and achievement that surfaced as we rolled under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco after all that we had gone through was really overwhelming and such a tremendous feeling. I don’t think I have ever had a goal that has taken so much energy, time and focus to achieve in my life and to finally reach it through all of our hard work was something I will always be proud of.
How does one begin to sum up such an epic physical and mental journey like the bike trip? I don’t know, but here it goes.
Before anything else I want to thank everyone that had any part what so ever in this trip. Thanks you for your sponsorship, donations to LAF, blog comments, thoughts, prayers, love, patience, smiles and interest in this journey. We had a lot of help and support along the way and could not have done it without you all believing.
It is very weird to think that the trip is over and after being done for almost a week it still hasn’t quite hit me. For two months we were so focused everyday on biking from point A to B that when you have to turn that intensity and focus off you feel like a kid at their first day or school; clueless, awkward and slightly confused.
This trip grew out of a lot of coincidences and all the planets began to align to make it happen. I had always thought about doing a large-scale trip to see and experience things I didn’t know, I had no idea it would develop into a trip and experience like this one. I’ll be honest having “Bike Across the Country” on my Life-List was quite daunting and overwhelming to wrap my head around, I’m glad Brent convinced me to go. Brent and I were toying with the idea last winter and had a lot of “that would be so cool” moments. We finally said “we have to do this now, because it is only going to get harder to do things like this as we get older.” We decided to do it and sure we were a bit naïve about the scale and size of the trip but quickly learned what would have to happen to be able to leave five weeks later. A short time period to prepare for the trip was actually a great benefit because we made quick decisions and only did what was necessary for the trip. We wanted to do the trip in conjunction with a great foundation that does a lot to encourage people to be active, overcome and feel empowered, so after careful consideration the Lance Armstrong Foundation seemed a perfect fit. We’re so glad it worked out to raise money for them.
Ok, so personal thoughts from the trip. I can honestly say that I learned a lot about myself on this trip and felt like I grew a great deal mentally. One of the biggest things I learned was to truly take things as they come and the great thing about this trip was that we didn’t have a choice. Everyday we woke up and knew there were going to be things we would encounter that we would have to “figure out once we got there.” The days were slammed full of mental and physical challenges and I relished the tough parts we ran into. The majority of the days we didn’t know where we were going to sleep that night. What I gained from that was the understanding that a rough organization is necessary but taking things as they come and making educated decisions in the moment proved to be much more effective and a thousand times more interesting. The daily problem solving; traffic, road work, flats, broken spokes, bent chains, rain, heat, headwinds, lightening, sleet, carrying water 84 miles, big climbs, blisters, insanely dirty smelly clothes etc. made you feel like you could be thrown into any situation and work your way through it. I loved riding and not knowing our daily end destination to the T. I turned off the odometer Brent loaned me on day 4 and I really liked just riding and not knowing how far we had gone or still had left to ride. Letting go of an overwhelming need to control was a great feeling.
Everyday was a mental and physical challenge like none I’d ever experienced, and that made me excited to start everyday. I began to really like the challenging parts of the trip. Once we hit Colorado I really started to love climbing not just because they were some of the most beautiful days on the trip but also because reaching a huge summit after climbing 3-4,000 feet was like a drug. The daily feeling of accomplishment was amazing. With daily accomplishments the trip didn’t feel so huge and overwhelming and thinking about San Francisco seemed a little more attainable. Living and seizing the day at hand never felt like such a clear-cut expression. Another thing I learned was the importance of getting out of my comfort zone, which happened daily on the trip. Gritting through and embracing the parts that I was unfamiliar and uncomfortable with really opened up my perspective. I found that I love a sense of adventure and need to keep that close at hand as I get older. I realized how personally important it is to always seek experiencing and learning something new.
Meeting new and interesting people that are completely different from you everyday was one thing that I really enjoyed on the trip. Farmers, gas station attendants, other bikers, and funny kids that tell you there are coyotes in the dunes 5 feet from where you just set up your tent. I loved the crazy looks, the stares, the “are you kiddings”, the laughs, and the people in trucks taunting you at times. All these and other factors were the best motivation.
One thing that just never ceased to amaze me was the beauty of everything we were biking through. It really was unbelievable how diverse the States were on the trip. Utah wins as the most beautiful state for me, but every state had something beautiful, different and distinct in its landscape. The beach, Asheville and the Smokies in North Carolina, the foothills in Tennessee (minus the ravenous dogs), the horse farms and rolling hills of Kentucky, the Ohio River in Elizabethtown Illinois, the Ozarks in Missouri, the plains of Kansas, the Rockies in Colorado, Moab, Zion, Grand Staircase, Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon in Utah, the beautiful valleys and mountains of Nevada, the Sierra Nevadas in California and finally the gorgeous San Francisco Bay. Seeing all this beauty from a bike was so different than experiencing it in a car, everything just felt so much bigger and magnificent.
Along the way we ran into a couple people that were biking across the country alone and I honestly don’t know how they did it. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the trip near as much if I were alone and didn’t have a friend like Brent to share it with. I had a great time with Brent and I think we learned a lot from each other. We also talked to a few other people that had gone on a long bike trip with someone and ended up hating each other halfway through or weren’t friends afterwards. Sure there were challenging moments and days but Brent is still one of my closest friends after the journey and I don’t think either of us could have made it without the camaraderie of the other. Just being able to joke about all the insane daily things we encountered was important and if you did the trip alone you’d probably just end up talking and laughing with yourself and that makes you seem crazy.
Overall the trip was a huge success for me personally and I have never felt more proud and fulfilled in an accomplishment than when we were riding up to the Golden Gate Bridge. Finishing such a big item on my Life-List invigorates me to jump into other challenging items on my list. Maybe next summer??
After several days to recoup, here's the blog entry for arriving to San Francisco.
Well we made it to San Francisco and it was an amazing sight. The last two days we were sure to maintain strict focus because it would have been so easy to just zone out and think the trip was over. The last few days of riding were great, we rode a bike path through Sacramento, California for about 50 miles along the American River. We stayed at a hotel our last night of the trip because there wasn’t any camping in Davis, CA. The ride from Davis to Vallejo, where we would catch the ferry to San Francisco, was beautiful. Riding through countless orchards we saw pears, apples, tomatoes, strawberries, cabbage and other produce I couldn’t identify.
We were planning to catch the 2PM ferry to SF and arrive in the city at 3:30. We hauled it 65 miles to Vallejo and had plenty of time to eat some lunch before the ferry. Riding in to SF we saw all the standard sights, Angel Island, Alcatraz, San Quentin, the Transamerica building and of course the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Even when we could see all these indications that “the trip was really coming to a conclusion” it just didn’t feel real. For two months we’ve been hyper focused and aware of everything, shooting for that final goal of arriving in San Francisco, and once that day is finally here it doesn’t really register. After landing at the SF ferry terminal we biked 5 miles up to the Golden Gate and went to the base of the bridge at Fort Point Park. It was a perfectly clear afternoon; no clouds or fog blurred the bridge. Soon after we met Melissa and Niki right by the entrance of the bridge. Seeing Melissa, knowing I was in my new hometown and done with the trip was really exciting. We then hopped back on the bikes for our final 5 miles to the Pacific Ocean where we would dip our front tires. Our adrenalin helped us dominate the San Francisco hills on the way to the Pacific. At the top of the great highway there was a great view of the Pacific. We pulled down to the ramp by the beach where Melissa, Niki and our friend Allison were waiting. We detached our trailers, put on our crocs and got ready for the hike out over the sand to the water. As we rounded the corner to go down the ramp, I had to do a big double take because there were my parents and Brent's Mom to surprise us. It was great to see them and quite a surprise. Melissa had been planning and keeping everything a secret.
We walked across the sand and dipped our front tires in the cold Pacific as a finale of an “Atlantic to Pacific” bike trip. After that we loaded the bikes in the car, we didn’t think it was a good idea to bike all the way back to Marin County after a night of celebrating. The restaurant “Beach Chalet” overlooking the beach was the location for the festivities. Thanks to our friends Andrea, Elizabeth, David, Annie and Ellie, Laura, and Allison for joining us for the evening. There were balloons, ribs, beer and cake to celebrate. It was a great night and pretty overwhelming to take it all in.
Thanks to Melissa for organizing such a great celebration.
September 2 + 3 - Day 64 + Day 65
As hard as it is to believe, we are done with the state of Nevada and every other state on the trip. We have entered our 10th and final state on this trip, California! It was pretty subtle with the sign being the smallest state marker sign we have seen on the trip but it was a pretty monumental feeling to be this close to the end.
From the moment we entered into Nevada till the end, all of our conceptions of the state were pretty much shattered. It is a very beautiful state and has so many unique aspects to it. We both thought of the state as one giant desert with Las Vegas thrown in there but it is filled with hundreds of mountain ranges, wildlife, very hospitable people, lakes, salt flats, and just being a very unique place. Every state really has had its own personality and features and Nevada was no different. Though one departing gift from Nevada was not so nice, a broken spoke only a few miles from the border. We have really been lucky with the bikes and had not had a broken spoke since Kansas up until this point.
We biked our way up part of the mountain we were going to be climbing the following morning to cut down on some of the long day that was to follow. We camped in the Sierras that night and were both really blown away by how pretty the Sierras were and how different it was than most of the camping we had done to this point.
For our FINAL big climb of the trip we had to make it up and over the Sierra Mountains. After a few hours of climbing, we reached Carson Pass which meant that the rest of the day was going to be all downhill. One aspect of the ride we really didn’t expect was the traffic, since it was Labor Day. It was unbelievable the amount of cars and trucks pulling their giant trailers passed us on the road. It was a constant stream of cars from the time we started climbing until we got off of 88, about 45 miles later. Not only that but the shoulder was not too big which was pretty frustrating being smothered by some nice diesel fumes and tight quarters. Carson Pass was at 8574 ft and our home for the night Placerville is at around 2000 ft, which means we had over 6500 ft of downhill ahead of us. Over a mile down! Unfortunately it was not straight downhill and had a lot of little climbs thrown in there, especially when we got closer to Placerville. There were a couple of climbs of over 500 ft which was also coupled with the hotter weather as we came down closer to sea level. Along the descent we came across a fellow named Roy who was biking from BC to Key West. It was a good/strange feeling to know from experience the long and challenging road he was really just beginning and about to face. Overall it was a very long day but the LAST long day of the trip. Even though it was one of the longer more challenging days of the trip, it was one of the most exceptional days of riding. We went up and through the Sierras and then a good portion of the descent was on a very deserted windy road through a forest of small Redwoods and towering trees on each side of us.
Only 2 days left to San Francisco!
Day 64 September 1st
Middlegate, NV to The Beach?!? (Lahontan Reservoir, NV)
We had a pretty easy ride from Middlegate to the Lahontan Reservoir in Nevada. From Middlegate we biked through a couple salt flats and “Air Force Testing Areas” not to mention a GIANT dune. On that dune we could see tons of 4X4’s, that looked like ants going up and down the 200 foot sand dune. We pulled through Fallon, NV and changed over to our last map! After pummeling some Arby’s for lunch we fought through a monster headwind from Fallon to the Lahontan Reservoir. Pulling into the reservoir we had to bike about 2 miles off route to a spot for camping. It was kind of a pain to get to but so worth it because we were on a beach in Nevada?! Very bizarre feeling but it was literally like being at the beach and it was awesome. While setting up camp a little boy named Donovan from one of the RV’s on the beach, came up to us and warned us of the “wild dogs” that come out of the dunes. We weren’t sure whether to take him serious because he was probably 7 or 8, swinging a giant stick and talking about how he would beat the Coyotes off by “spanking” them. Pretty hilarious. The breeze, sand, quesadillas and cigars made it a good night.