Category Archives: Bike Touring

Bicycles, Art, & Updates

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Can you believe that it is December 2017 already? There are lots coming up for mural making in 2018!

As I have been reminiscing about the last year or so I have felt thankful for all of the creative endeavors, cycling adventures and the healing of a year-long a knee injury (yeah it’s better). 2017 has been full of the community including the Biketopia Music Collective and the 7 people that I live in Oakland, CA. Life is good and I can definitely feel winter coming! That means it is time to apply to potential summer gigs for art and sculpture and plan for my upcoming mural tour!

Recap of Biking and Travel: I wanted to share a couple videos with you. Summer 2018 the Biketopia Music Collective, will be starting out on a 3-month tour around Europe. We started the collective about 2 years ago and since have made a journey with 20+ cyclists from Vancouver, Canada to Oakland, CA. The video below is a recap and although the tour was in 2016 it shines a light on all the fantastic happenings that happened and will happen for future tours. We are currently planning and seeking sponsorship and venues that we can play at with our pedal-powered stage.

In addition to the above video, collective member and good friend Robin Applewood made an incredible video with footage of the tour. We created on tour entitled ‘Head Up’. It has video footage from the tour from the Go-Pro that I was into carrying for parts of the tour. It is a must see!

Art Update: I have been super busy creating digital art! Can you believe it? Why? Glad you asked! Painting murals recently have required that I sketch and design the mural before starting to paint. This has become one of the newer processes for me, as clients like to see designs beforehand. What that means is that I am busy expanding my knowledge of photoshop and creating designs digitally. I genuinely enjoy the process and am familiar with it as I minored in Digitial Technology Culture (DTC) at Washington State University.

I am loving diverse ways to express my creativity. But, with that said, I am ready to start painting already!

In addition to my mural making, I have been interested in creating a sculpture based on my experience with pedal power. Sculpture pieces that incorporate bicycle and tricycles with pedal-powered mobile bicycle parts. I am also interested in large structures that you can crawl into and explore with and around. In addition, my murals can be displayed on these pieces as they become more dynamic and interactive with the three-dimensional realm.

Completion of Bike Tour- 1,500 Miles Canada to Oakland

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PleasantRevolutionIn June 2016 the start of summer, I rode the Amtrack train to Seattle, Washington from Berkeley, California. 24 hours by train with my bicycle panniers and an extracycle bicycle that I had boxed and ready for shipping. From Seattle, I joined with 12 other cyclists and we started out on a journey that would last 2.5 months and over 1,500 miles of pure cycling. We organized over 31 human powered festivals with the 4 bands on bicycles. We are called the Pleasant Revolution and put on Biketopia Music Festivals all over the world.

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We each had loads on our bicycles consisting of microphone stands, stilts, food, stove, pots and pans, 2 amps, a subwoofer (80 pounds made into a trailer), cables and more! At the end of the tour, I personalized the people that went on the entire tour into a drawing.

1-omar 1-carolyn

1-adley  1-heather

1-kristina 1-maiesha

1-matt  1-molly

1-nate  1-nikki

We all had large bicycles making it possible to pull anywhere between 100-180 pounds. What is so challenging about bike touring? It forces you to slow down. If you need to ride 45 miles (which would normally take an average cyclist 5 hours to bike) in a group, it takes three times that amount. So you are slower, there is no destination because if you focused on that you would constantly be stressed and worried about getting there. In this specific community, you had to let go and enjoy. Swim, eat, talk, play music, and let things go with the flow. Sound easy? It was life changing, but with all that down time and time on a bicycle makes for some great reflection and inner work. I love cycling alone but with other people, it’s immensely powerful. I think its something that everyone could benefit from. You have to be strong physically but even more important, mentally. Balanced and rationale and put the group first.

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Here you can see the humans pedaling/making the electricity for the music. The bicycles have individual generators on the back wheel that are connected to a utility box designed by Rock the Bike in Oakland. From the utility box, you have output to the speakers and microphones. Pretty incredible!

The tour was incredible. The bike tour is so much more than cycling especially with the power of community and riding with a large group of friends with similar values and mission. Below are the group agreements created by the 2016 Pleasant Revolution west coast tour:

  • Slow is beautiful- take a breath, slow down, and pedal
  • Leave no trace.  Become a steward of the earth-  pack it in pack it out, clean up after others, dig a hole when you poo, gather wood in a considerate manner.
  • Be an active guest- consolidate your belongings, do a chore, cook a meal, give a gift.  Make your impact on someone’s space neutral or better than when you came.
  • We offer the highest musical and performance content.
  • To change the world, we must change our own consciousness and lifestyle, the bicycle liberates
  • Use music and performance as a political platform whenever possible.
  • We work to uplift the feminine in all of us to move beyond the patriarchs well as the binary to create balance in our group and ultimately in society.  We work to embody nurturing, supportive, loving energy among us.
  •  We respect to act in the highest regard for the webs of all life.
  • We operate on modified consensus- everyone’s voice matters and we won’t move forward on a decision if some have a strong block, however, if one is willing to stand aside even if the decision being made is not their preference the group will move forward with the decision.
  • Hold a culture which allows folks to speak any discomforts and work to address it right away
  • We work to educate and inspire the communities we travel through on fossil fuel alternatives.  We work to be a living example of sustainable living.
  • Everyone should strive for direct heart centered communication.  We should address conflict on a person to person basis, if the group needs to be called in we will facilitate that.  Take it to the source.
  • Everyone should be emotionally responsible for themselves, able to employ de-escalation skills on themselves when necessary.  
  • This is a Group lead tour- every person is a working part and doing their part. This is truly living interdependence.  We all have the opportunity to lead and be led.
  • We work to uplift everyone’s strength while also challenging growth in each individual.
  • Always do your best and have fun!

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    Here is the extra cycle Novara bicycle I rode for the tour. You can see the frame is extended backwards making the bicycle into a cargo bicycle. Her name is Gunther! Can you find the stilts?

We are talking about a 2018 6 month Europe tour that we already have a solid group of 20 cyclists for and I am already planning on making some murals for the tour and getting funding to make community art projects happen. Why do we start planning something almost 2 years away? We need funding, sponsorship, grants and more. It is  great timing for booking festivals and for planning out the route and logistics. I look forward to it.

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Oregon Coast on the 1 – Florence to Jenner

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We rode the next couple of days after Eugene through hot hot hot heat. It got up to almost 105 degrees and we would just soak our shirts in water to be able to withstand the heat. Thank goodness for swimming holes too! Champoeg State Park was the gorgeous location and still to this day, one of my favorite campsites. It is settled on the Willamette river and we had plenty of time for swimming and for hanging out. The hot heat really made the cold water enjoyable.

    

Inland Oregon has been difficult for us because the cars are not as friendly or accepting of cyclists. For example, my friend Nate and I were riding side by side enjoying music and riding together as we always do. Then, out of nowhere, a large truck came by and let go of exhaust into our faces and there was such an intense plume of black thick smoke we immediately stopped in our tracks. It was such an aggressive way to approach us and certainly dangerous.

 

  

 It makes me sad that people feel that way about us and cowardly drive away without engaging or knowing us. There were also people around this area as well that would yell “Get a job” and once I even got spit on. I think that this is such a small population of people that feel this way. Don’t get me wrong, we get way more positive attention and applause but there are dark sides to sharing the road with everyone, and especially motorists. Many people feel like we are getting in their way and that we should not be able to use the roadways.  I disagree of course!

    

We saw these cute guys in Elk, California on the coast. I kind of fell in love! What a pair!

We were happy to finally arrive at the coast as it brought cooler temperature and different terrain. We loved seeing that coast, large boulder rocks coming out from the ocean. The sound of the waves, and the bright starlit sky! Incredible! Lots of camping, sharing food and riding. I found that people on the coast were more used to cyclists and more friendly. This also made me appreciate riding the inland Oregon route because not many cyclists do it. I bet you many motorists we passed had maybe never seen anything like 15 cyclists riding together. The ocean route is much more popular.

   

  

 

  

So the coast was incredible. I loved hearing the ocean and climbing hills, like hills we had never climbed before. We passed many tiny towns, art was prevalent in the towns we passed through. Lots of artist coops and collectives. We met so many nice people and had epic camping spots.

  

  

We were on the coast for about a week and a half and I loved it all. Defiantly a lot of hills and crazy climbing. Did I mention that we weighed our bicycles and they ranged from 140-180 pounds? Crazy!

   

Jenner to Santa Rosa

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Leaving the coast was a much needed break from hills and from the dew filled air. The coast has such a dramatically different feel than even 5-10 miles inland. Jenner was beautiful, we met a man that owned the community center, and he let us stay at it. Everyone in the town of a population 136 were so nice and welcoming. The town lays at the mouth of the Russian River and is on the Pacific Ocean. The state route highway 1 runs through it, as well as the 116.

 

Typically heading inland there are a lot of hills, but to our surprise we didn’t hit any! We passed through Gurneville and had a beautiful dip into the Russian River and had some lunch before hitting into Santa Rosa, wine country and lots of traffic and cars!

Santa Rosa was amazing, we got to stay with Carolyn’s brother, Sean. He had a house and he let us stay in his driveway with our tents. We played a show at the Santa Rosa farmers market. It was amazing, we had a lot o participation and her brother came as well. We did a little wine tasting, a lot of riding and the anticipation of arriving at home is at the forefront of our thoughts! We are really trying to enjoy every moment. Less than a week left!

Portland to Brownsville and Eugene!

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Thank you Portland for everything! We were happy to move on and experience Brownsville, the oldest town in Oregon which is where I had breakfast and a coffee with the Mayor. A city councilwoman showed me the art center as well. Apparently it is where they filmed Stand by me. A lot of people come from all around the world to celebrate it once a year in the summer time. It was a small and quaint town, above is the picture of Adley talking to the Mayor.

 

 

We rode through a trail for much of the ride. Went swimming in a cold river too!

We rode through Salem on the way to Eugene and found ourselves in the midst of a pokemon battle ground, or gym as the kids call it. We were laughing so hard at the game because it was the first time we had seen it in action, and the first time that some people in our crew actually knew how big the game was. This was a memorable moment!

Our first night in Eugene we played at Vanilla Jills which was a ice cream shop that had a venue in the backyard of the shop. We had a great turn out with tons of people dancing. It was epic!

 

 

We stayed at a cooperative in Eugene that was about a block long but all the houses did not have fences. Instead, they took down the fences and built homes, tiny houses and gardens. It was a flourishing community and we were so excited to stay there. Complete with a fish pond, treehouse and more! I feel so thankful I was able to stay there and meet such beautiful people, living out their dreams.

 

 

Our second show was Eugene was so much fun, playing at the park for the sunday street closures. Lots of people that supported bicycles. We stayed at a cooperative that hosted all 18 of us. We gained Sierra and Robyn during this time and Mike Cobb and Kelly came by too! The street closure was about 10 city blocks wide and there were so many families and people out enjoying the community. I guess they pick a different street each month of summer to be apart of the street closure. I say they pick some streets and do it year round! Amazing!

 

We had two big sponsorships come through in Eugene. The first was Nutcase helmets that donated a bunch of colorful and different style of helmets. The other was party in my pants which is reusable menstrual pads for women. All gear donated and we were so happy to be supported by them both! Thank you!

 

 

 

Olympia to Portland – 1 month stong

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Goodbye Olympia! We had three days to ride to Portland and took about 45 miles each day. We wanted to get into Portland for the weekend!

 

Olympia was really beautiful with a lot of rivers and trees!

 

 

 

Here is the group at the welcome oregon sign. There was an epic bridge that we cycled over and actually just a weekend after the famous Seattle to Portland ride so there were still sings on the ground welcoming riders and showing them the way.

   

Our first show we played at was for Velo Cult a brewery and bicycle shop. Yes, a bicycle shop with beer and a venue. It was the perfect setup for us, and quite hard for us as it was the first show we had inside. The sound was overwhelming but we learned a lot.

Our second show was at the sunday street closure for only bicycles and pedestrians! No cars and it was magical. I stilt walked and there were children that were learning how to stilt walk as well. It was amazing because they were staring at me with awe and loved my sparkle pants.

 

The third show we had was thanks to my friend Sarah Vitort who hooked us up with the Jade lounge. It exactly the show that we needed as the whole group came together and we tried some new songs. We even had one of the original pleasant revolution riders, Kipchoge come and play with us. Incredible night and I had another family member show up and stay the whole time! What wonderful surprise it was! I also got to see an old friend, Andy Vu. It was fun to see him again.

 

Portland was great, we spent about 4 days there and had a blast. Shout out to Mike Cobb and Kelly for hosting us at their home. It was a great place to call home and we enjoyed watching Mike fix bikes all day! Ah!

  

Seattle to Olympia via Vashon and Tacoma!

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Seattle was a lot of fun but also pretty exhausting! Tour is hard to balance between riding and playing shows. We find it hard to please everyone, but the balance of the group is wonderful because we have open communication and really enjoy spending time together. It is a pretty special group! So after our Mt. Baker show we rode to Vashon Island, we took the sunset ferry across the way. We joined with two Pleasant Revolution members Aaron and Colin who came with some crazy bicycles. Aaon on his tall bicycle and then colin on a tandem! It was fun to have them around, they contributed a lot and Aaron even bought our tickets for the Vashon ferry! So nice!

 

 

We had some friends on Vashon host us, and we had a beautiful night falling asleep to the orchestra of frogs and animals outside. The next morning I met for coffee with Alice, my old neighbor and friend of my mother’s that I grew up with. She lived next door to our cabin on paradise cove. It was great to catch up with her and get a coffee and treat. Later Michelle, Carolyn, Adley and I went to my mother’s grave and spent some time there. My bicycle flipped over at the grave site. It had never done that before. Of course, we had to got to the bicycle in the tree. The infamous and beautiful tree! I remember going there as a child and seeing the way the tree would change crushing the bicycle alive!

  

We rode through the island and that was so hilly! So many hills, I tried riding with “SUBrina”, our sub woofer that was made into a trailer. We took the ferry to Tacoma from Vashon and found ourselves in Tacoma at Point Defiance park. My friends Tyler and Robbie that I had met in Ecuador and then later cycled with Tyler last summer on the East Coast, were living in Tacoma. I decided to stay a night with them and we played in the park and enjoyed each others company. It was nice to be with them and enjoy some new friend energy!

 
 

The ride 35 miles was difficult as some times and it was just me. I enjoyed riding through the coast and the forest. Below is the Tacoma Narrows bridge that I find stunning!

 

 There is a octopus that lives underneath it, one of the largest in the world! The bridge at one point fell in an earthquake. Some of it is new, and there have been stories of orca whales that like to travel under the bridge!

 

 

The next day I cycled to Olympia alone maybe 35 miles and joined the group for our show in the Artesian square which had a water well that flowed right through the city. Fresh water you could fill up. Tyler and Robbie came to the show and it was so nice to have them there. The show was wonderful and we ended the day at a friends house and we camped on their front lawn. The capital of Olympia it was fun to experience it in a different way.

The Olympia show is below! Nice colorful mural behind was a great setting for us!

 

Here are some photos from the event thank you to Bunker for taking them for us!

 

 

Four Shows and Three days in Seattle!

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We rode from Port Townsend to Seattle and I got to ride over the Hood Canal bridge. It was temporarily opened for a boat to go through so we were able to ride it without cars moving which is special considering it would of been a loud and polluted bridge with all those cars! Lots of trees and magic!

Seattle, Washington! Again!

Seattle was incredible and we were so happy to be back, and in full action. For the three days that we were there, we had 4 shows and loved  every moment of it. Sunshine, swimming, playing music and enjoying everything that Seattle had to offer. We covered a lot of ground and got to cycle all around the city. Above are the photos from our second show at Gasworks park one of my most favorite parks in Seattle. We did an importu show there and the people loved it. We had a great show.

We found the crowd at Gasworks so wonderful and receptive of what we were doing, and that was an unplanned and last minute show. Goes to show its always good to have an open mind when booking shows and that you can always play something last minute. Below is a swimming hole we found with a rope swing on the Ballard locks.

 

The first show that we had is still my most favorite show that I have experienced. Partly because my whole Seattle community came! It was at Peddler Brewery with a bunch of picnic tables and a stage outside. My grandparents came, my dad and stepmom, brothers and sisters and cousins! It was a great show and I loved seeing my family on the bicycles and experiencing the whole show for the first time and after hearing so much about it!

The sweet Heather Perrea hosted us again and she had cleaned out her whole yard and we were able to have all (believe it or not) 18 people at her house! What a host huh? She was so special and accepting and loved having us and we couldnt of done the Seattle weekend without her. Below is a picture of her pup, pepper who loved having us there as well! THANK YOU HEATHER! We love you.

The next show was Outlander brewery and that was amazing, my friend Dragan hooked us up in the back patio on a Saturday night and we rocked an amazing show. My sister came out for some of it as well. I used to hang my artwork at the bar, its so nice to get support from friends for art, music and projects.

 

Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend and Beyond!

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We arrived from the black ball ferry mid day into port Angeles from victoria that took about one hour and 36 minutes on the ferry. Again, epic as we passed through the islands and through the US border and into the tiny cozy town of port Angeles. Home of the Olympic and Hoh national rainforest it is where many people get their start before their trek into the forest.

   

  

We arrived in town and wanted to play a show so we asked a bar owner we met on the ferry if we could play at his bar. Two hour later we were on stage praise on the sidewalk and then later elevated on a second story stage that looked down upon the bar. At the bar called “next door” we met a man who let us crash at his place less than a mile from downtown and the venue we were playing around. So many nice people along the way! Yipppeee! The outdoor sidewalk concert quickly turned into a full on elevated stage venue inside and we played a couple hours on this stage that was on the second story looking down onto the bar. A pretty amazing venue.

We slept in the lawn of a friend and played music around the bonfire!

Next we traveled next to port Townsend and along the way we passed by squirm which is where my great aunt lives!

 

This part of the tour was super super super important to me. After my mother passed in 2007 I started using my mothers last name as my artist name. Molly Aigner turned Molly Keen for my art and inspiration. I sign my paintings M. Keen and my mother has been with me through all my journeys and paintings. So meeting another Keen was amazing. She is a painter herself and signs her paintings M. Keen as well! What a blessing and amazing thing to have in common. We spoke of family and I heard stories I never had before.

 

I gave her a last minute call to see if he could have lunch or coffee and she agreed! Met me within ten minutes at the Mexican restaurant down from her home. What a gift! Her name is Marion keen and he is an artist and painter as well. He was married to my grandfathers brother, Stan. What a beautiful reunion it was!

Marion let me know that she has a son and family in port Townsend so I grabbed the number of drew. The next morning after we camped at a clearing in the fleet and made a lovely fire. We stopped for gas at a gas station and sure enough there came Pamela and Drew running to our group of cyclists and asking “Which one of you is Molly?”. They had found our group and the reunion was beautiful. The last time I saw them was apparently when I was only a couple of months old and I was in their wedding. They are Keen’s as well! I loved meeting them and getting to know them. I invited Pamela to our show and she came for the whole set with chocolate and gifts included! She was so sweet to connect with and just retired from working for the library for 25+years! What a treat it was to be able to get to know her!

The show was set on the water at a park and we had a great turn out. After the show we rode another 5 miles to a friends house where we slept in the front yard. It was a great place to stay for the night and we were all super tired!

 

 

The next day we were in route to Seattle! We rode a different way from Port Townsend to the Edmonds ferry! I was able to ride early enough to get dinner with my family and enjoy seattle! More to come on the Seattle shows that I have helped book and put together. It is going to be an amazing weekend! Stay tuned.

Canada! Vancouver, Salt Spring & Victoria

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Getting to Salt Spring island was a beautiful adventure. We saw pods of orca whales on the ferry boat, and did some Tarot and card making. I started to get pain in my wrist so my friend Justin and I switched out my handle bars and met the rest of the group at the ferry. From my understanding they went through a huge tunnel on the ride, that was not meant for cyclists. They had no troubles and a road angel showed up and rode behind them through the whole tunnel protecting them from cars. I am glad that they are all okay!

  

 

Here you can see the group looking for whales and all of the 16 bicycles packed on the front of the ferry. What a group we have! The ride from then ferry into the channel was incredible. Orcas are considered rare to see these days, so we felt incredibly lucky. We pulled into long harbor, salt spring island around sunset so the lighting was incredible and you could see more bright green trees than water or houses. What a special island.

 

It was hard to say goodbye to Vancouver but the ferry ride into salt spring island was unbelievable. We got to play an amazing show at Centennial park in Victoria and a show at the Farmers market in Salt Spring island.

I couldn’t believe the one hour ride through the gulf islands. Those orcas are still with me! The ferry rides have been nothing short of epic and incredible as we get to take them all around the route we are on. They are so nice to bicycles and to be out on the deck and listen to the sounds, smells and experience all that the Northwest has to offer. I feel really lucky to be from this area and to have experienced so many ferry rides in my life. Below if a picture of the first place that we stayed, and an epic rock formation from Salt Spring Island.

  

We played a show at the farmer’s market and got caught in a bit of rain. We stayed a total of 4 days on the island. We were so lucky to get another ferry ride to Victoria and then played a show at centennial park with the pouring down rain. People still showed up and even for our bike ride after. We had a little moonlight ride through the rain.

It is a small town and the farmers market that we played at was super cute. I think that playing at farmer markets is really the best venue for our bike music festival as there are tons of children, local people and local healthy food. Playing outdoors is definitely a strong play for us to play as well. Above is a picture of one of the three children that we got to play with and get to know. Here in the picture he told me he was catching butterflies.

  

  

The island of salt spring has a population of 10,000 people and is on a Quartz! It was beautiful intense energy. The first night I met a 92 year old woman with a property right in a cove. She let us stay under her apple trees in the front yard. We sang some songs into the sound and to our surprise there was a group of sailors that heard us sing and they began to sing back! They eventually took a dingy boat to meet us and turned out to be two drunken older guys. But it was fun to sing across the cove to each other. In the morning we headed for our hosts home. We stayed with a family for three nights – Ashley’s friend Michelle who he travelled with in Colombia and Canada! Michelle’s sister let us stay at the enchanted fairy farm.

 

 

They had three children on the farm, three horses and two cats.The property was super close to mermaid lake. A wonderful lake with super clean and warm water. We played a show for the couple that hosted us. It was a long ride from town to the house with quite the uphills!

 

  

 

Canada has been nothing short of stunning scenery, nice people and friendly drivers. We all agreed that this is an incredible part of the journey and unlike anything else we have ever seen! Beauty!

The next day we took the black ball ferry to port Angeles. We are so thankful for all of the bodies of water we were able to cross with ferries! Really special! This leg of the trip is epically impressive.

 

 

 

 

Lastly, below is Michelle crossing the border off the ferry. You can see how much space all of our bicycles take up in the below picture as well! We are a sight to see!

 

 

Bellingham to Vancouver

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We made it to Canada! Check out the above photo of the 4 bands with a burning man sculpture that was used 20 years ago and is pedaled by solar energy! Canada was epic and we are so happy to be traveling now around the islands and B.C. We love this place!

  

What a beautiful ride we had to get into Canda! Crossing the border from United States to Canada was a breeze, we had to ride on the I-5 to cross but it was relatively easy. We only had 33 miles to ride this day, so we swam, took lots of breaks (as we always do) and arrived to Vancouver to the house of Adley’s brother, Chris. Chris let us stay in his back yard and was so gracious with his home. There are now 16 of us, three more joined us in Canada. Craig, our drummer, Dara an amazing writer and experienced cyclist that took a group across the U.S. with a theatre group the Agile Rascals and then Mega, who juggles, sings and dances. She has ridden with the crew before in previous bike tours.

  

We stayed a total of 4 nights and played a gig at the Vancouver Art Gallery in conjunction with eatArt that helped us with the burning man sculpture. We had a beer garden and a dance floor. There was also tricycle bikes they brought that people could test ride that we pretty amazing.

    
It was an incredible show as we played on the steps of the gorgeous gallery.

   

The show was incredible. I was pulling people from the street with my stilts and our sound was incredible. It was a sunny and beautiful day. It was great to relax and take time in one city. Vancouver is gorgeous right on the water and at the edge of huge mountains and glorious hiking. I was so excited to get to know the area and to get to celebrate Canada day! July 1st, they celebrate the joining of three colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Providence of  Canada into a single dominion within the British Empire. This all happened on July 1, 1867 .

  
We are in good high spirits and excited to continue the tour, meeting beautiful people and playing a lot of music. Have you gotten a chance to hear all the musicians on tour with us yet?

Check out the links below!

Biking WA – Mukilteo to Bellingham

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Rain started as a sprinkle as we drifted beyond the trees and the rivers and streams. Light playful rejuvenating rain. Heavy and thick getting louder and more powerful.

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Soon enough we were in full on downpour where our waterproof gear was suddenly not and we were chilly little bikers! For a couple of hours we rode in the rain. At first it was fun and exciting, but then it became cold and uncomfortable.

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The ferry was beautiful, and quite the ordeal with 12 bicycles. We walked on and the ride was only about 15 minutes to Whidbey Island. We were greeted with huge uphills! Beautiful, but wet ride! I am glad that we waterproofed all of our gear before it started. Because it did not stop anytime soon.

IMG_9183 Here is the first part of the ride from Mukilteo to Fort Ebey State park that was right on the water. It was a beautiful spot, but unfortunately rained the entire time. We were greeted with quite large hills on the end of the ride, which was difficult.

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We finally found a warm place to stop for lunch and made nori sandwiches and wraps then we’re off again. Beautiful and hilly Whidbey I remember coming to the island as a child and as a teenager for my grandparents’ reunion. Memories now shared with my present experience of this rainy bike tour. The land, so green and luscious. The trees, swaying with beauty, and the puget sound with smells of salt and seaweed. Smells from my childhood.

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We rode across the island only 50 miles to our camping site where we arrive with pouring down rain and tons of hills! One thing I love about this group is our ability to work together. We had two tarps. One tarp for cooking dinner and keeping the food and crew dry and the other for a team of people holding up a tarp so individuals could set up their tents! What an experience so organized and loving with all that rain! We were pretty cold and miserable. We warmed up quickly in our little tents and got dry as night fell.

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Here is the second part of the ride where we rode over a military part of the island. There was a lot of planes flying overhead and a navy base. It made for an interestingly loud ride amongst the beautiful green trees.  We made it to the Look Out Arts Quarry in Bellingham after two days and lots of rain! It was beautiful and we are thankful to have experienced that magical island!

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Proyecto de Pedaleo – Collaboration Mural

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This is one of my most favorite projects I have ever done. The murals that keeps painting itself…

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Baja California

The Inspiration: As many of you know, I am not a stranger to staying on peoples couches, floors, back yards of anywhere I can with a tent. My journeys have been filled with hospitable and beautiful humans who have treated me like a family member. Among the many Lupita and Gabino from San Quintin stand out to me as shiny examples of this. Parents to daughter, Stephanie, they have welcomed hundreds of travelers yearly who bicycle down the Baja Mexico. They took me in for almost a week!

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They are made me feel like I was apart of their family and took care of me in ways that parents would. I met them at a hard time in my travels and they made me feel that I was not alone. Lupita and Gabino have so many travelers stay with them, they made a guest book and started having people write entries. Then it turned into a map where people would pin where they started their travels from. The day that I first stayed with Lupita and Gabino they were full of excitement for me to mark with a tiny tack where I traveled from. They led me to a large map that was covered in plastic lamenant and many different colored pins all over the map of the world.  It was incredible to see these physical pins from so many people. Connecting the world to make it seem smaller and that we are all the same. I was so inspired.

I knew this idea would come up again. And sure enough, three weeks later I was able to make it happen at the “Casa de Cyclista” in San Ignacio, Baja Mexico

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The Process: I ask to use some paints from the surrounding neighbors in Mexico and many of them laughed at me and then watched me paint from the street. They had no idea why I would want to borrow paint from them. Sure enough I found green, blue and white. The only colors we found. It was enough though and after one day of sketching (I typically don’t sketch but figured I had to in order to get the world perspective right) that I was underway painting.

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How long: It took me almost 4 days to paint. I had a little helper with me who got me coffee, and sharpened my pencil. He also just watched in awe as I painted. He would even help me erase my pencil lines. What a beauty this little helper was!

The exchange: Free stay and food for the mural.

The Location: San Igancio, Mexico at the Casa de Cyclistas. Click here for the Casa de Cyclistas Website. Thank you to Casa de Cylistas and thank you to Lupita and Gabino, ustedes tienen un lugar especial en mi corazón!

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York, Maine

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Welcome to York, Maine settled in 1624 and right on the Atlantic Ocean!

     

York, Maine is known to be a summer vacation town, just South of Portland, Maine. Took us a day to bike and Ian had some friends that he knew in town. It was a beautiful couple that were musicians and artists who had two young boys. We ended up staying in their barn for a week!

   
  

We took the boys out for their first long ride. Actually you could call it a tour, because we spent the night at their grandparents house in the back yard. It was a pretty wild experience teaching the boys how to ride. It wasn’t a simple ride either, a lot if it is what I do while touring. Incredible time!
   
  

Above is the barn room that we stayed in. Joyce, the mother and incredible musician was such a fun time to hang out with. A beautiful soul and I feel so wonderful and appreciative that she let me stay with them for the week.

    
    

We stayed a night in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as well. We ended up staying with a man, Jeremy that had Ian had already stayed him. Pretty funny, we ran into him on the street. We stayed in his back yard and set up a tent.

     
   

We met some friends, went to an art party and then ended up camping on the beach. What an experience as there were trucks that drove through where we were camping in the middle of the night.

   

Bahia de Los Angelos, North Baja California Mexico

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This magical bay of Los Angleos, Baja California deserves a post of its own for the inspiration it left me and for the beauty and screnity of its location.

 

The past month since arriving in Meixico we have had one road the entire way. It is called the “One” and you don’t need maps and you don’t need to worry about getting lost. You can see it above in the yellow line. From the one there are many roads that lead to the sea of Cortez and they are a good 66-120 kilometers of a detour.   You can can also see in the photo above the one road and then where the pin is dropped. We didn’t want to miss out on all these beautiful places.

So we decided we wanted to hitchhike and not back track and with three bikes we knew we had to be patient. We see maybe one car every half hour but we were patient, ate lunch and waited about 1.5 hours before some cars came along. 2 cars, one with a man made trailor from half a truck cut in half already stocked high with things, and another suburban with a sailboat hitched behind. We were kindly offered a ride and put all our bikes on top of the trailor in the classic bike stack.

 

It was only 66 miles and unfortunately got to sit in the suburban and chat with a family from La, a father and two kids the same  age as my brother James (11) and sister Melina (14). They were on spring break (lots of tourists from the states in Baja). Anyways we arrive in Bahia and seeing the water truly make you appreciate it more and want to jump right in. But we had to find a place first.

Well as soon as we were packing our bags on the side of the road a lovely couple in a dune buggy came zipping by merrily and asked us what we were doing etc. They kindly and warmly offered their back porch for us to stay and it was a divine meeting! They were very excited to meet us and were just finishing up a week long stay there and did not mind if we joined them for the end of it.

The couple, from Lauguna beach, Don and Susie met when they were bike touring in the states. They ironically were going separate directions but ended up riding together for 4 hours. They didn’t get together till much later but it was a blissful meeting!

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Dons parents, Joyce and Wally were one of the first Americans to build a home in Bahia in 1972. Mind you there are virtually no houses in 1950 this town is relatively new. Anyways Joyce and Wally build a gorgeous home. Simple, filled with joy and love, and looking out onto the water. They used to fly their airplane down to Bahia LA and would sometimes bring chickens and apples and fruits for the local people.

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 So the house was constructed in the states by Joyce where she put the house together to make sure it worked properly and  then took it apart, loaded it in a truck and constructed it for a second time in Bahia. Such an amazing story I love it. The two of them seemed like a happy couple and really you could tell from the energy of the home. Unfortunately Joyce passed away last year and Wally 5 years ago but their legacy lives on. We even were fortunate enough to listen to some of their Cds!

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So we all agreed to stay one night, which turned into two, which turned into three! What a wonderful time. We took out the boat and got a wonderful tour of the islands around the bay. Beautiful clear water, tons of little islands, red rocks, jumping fish, white sandy beaches, and plethora of birds and sea lions! So many islands to explore and we even got to hike to the top of a little hill on an island to see an osprey nest. Papa Bob and Joe I always think about you two when I see any birds from our days birdwatching in the arboretum!

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So there were 5 of us, plus a dog, skipper that went whale watching. Susie made sandwiches and we got to see Finnback whales! So beautiful at one point we saw 3 of them right in front of us coming up to breathe at the same time. So beautiful they are the second largest whale! They can grow up to 90 feet long! The whale is long and slender, grey blue in color, They are super fast and can pass the fastest ocean steamship! They are not very fond of humans so the way that we would find them was to stop the motor, listen for their breathe which is easy to hear.

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I still can’t believe these amazing animals that are so large in size eat such small plankton. I also learned that some of the whales are now a generation away from the whales that were whaled and killed meaning that the new generation has no memory of fear of humans. We are meeting many tourists who actually take boats and pet the whales because they are so curious and friendly. While this is more about the grey whale, the finnbacks are not into people at all. The would always swim away from us but you could get close to see them breathe and then you could fell when they dove high and can swim up to 20 mph. What a lovely experience!

We are so thankful to have met Don and Susie. I have stayed with many people over the last 2 months and I never had a hard time saying goodbye to any of them as I wanted to continue the journey but for some reason these two have still been in my thoughts and I didn’t want them to leave! I will have to visit them in Laguna Beach!

Valle de Los circos -Socorrito to Catavinya

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Lanky waving Dr. Seuss cactus, bright liquid blue sky saluting, puffy cotton cloud drifting, excruciating intense heat riding, melted deteriorating pavement has been consuming my reality these last couple days. It’s been truly incredible but the desert has been challenging. It has been a couple of weeks since I have wrote, so this post is almost 3 weeks worth of travel. A lot, a lot, a lot of desert. So many cactus and so much dust and sunshine! No shade! Ah!

 

 

San Quintin was an experience I will never forget staying with the Gomez family for one week! they treated me like a daughter and really became my family! I feel so grateful for people like Gabino and Lupita!

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I ended up painting some hummingbirds in their kitchen and a little bike mural in the garage! Adley  and I even got to play a little concert for a family gathering!

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Leaving San Quintin with a new riding partner was by far the worst ride we have experienced yet! I have a new friend, Maud from France who is riding from LA to Peru alone. We decided to ride together and our first experience was in 107 degree weather and incredible side winds creating a tornado of dust and rocks and making it quite dangerous when riding alongside trucks and cars that block the wind and then suck you in near their wheels as they unblock the wind from you. We only made it 30 km when Maud felt sick and we paused on the side of the road. Here we were stopped by a green truck where a Mexican American Alejandro appeared like an angel.

  

 

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He offered us a place to stay for he night and maud and I desperately needed a place to hide away from the wind and heat. His house sits alongside the ocean and he provides us with food and beds and was so welcoming and amazing to us. He cycles himself and was excited to have us. We actually ended up staying 3 nights there as maud got better and we met some amazing friends on the beach. Some American boys from La traveling by van and surfing and two American girls who were road tripping and celebrating their 30th birthdays. We had a camp fire and swapped travel stories. So much fun and exactly what we a needed!

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So we were off on the road again and into the desert. We camped a couple nights in the desert and then I got sick darn it. Probably the same thing Maud had. Really traveling is amazing but it can be hard! I was so sick and riding a bike through the desert in 100 degree F heat, cooking on and in the sand, cactus camping and so badly wanting the comforts of a home when not feeling well. Not to mention we are not even close to being out of the desert, not even close!

This uneasy feeling must easily be accepted or you will not have a pleasant time. These roads bring into the reality of death and peace. The cars pass now every 10-30 minutes and it’s much more tranquil of a ride.

You can enjoy the wind and the smell of the native plants that remind me of sage. Their scent fills the warm air. Here kilometer markings are signs of our progress and I count each one knowing that soon we will reach a town with water. We must bring enough water and food for a 3 nights stay. 10 liters of water adds a lot to the weight of the already heavy pack. I would guess my head now weighs 60 pounds.

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One day we were riding through the desert exhausted and with unbearable heat and flagged down 5 cars for water. 4/5 cars were American and gifted us water, Gatorade and one person even had Halloween bags of candy for us ha. People are very generous on the road. Then we continued 30 km more to the closest town Katayina where we were in awe of the change of scenery from desert nothing to huge giant boulders and enormous towering cactus. Here they call the town an oasis and there are petroglyphs still preserved you can walk right up to and a river! We took a whole day off and swam in the river and enjoyed the oasis while we had it. That was our first rinse in 4 days! While Maud, my friend and I were checking out the petroglyphs high up in a cave we saw from way below a tiny figure with a bike! Another cyclist!

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We met a 25 year old cyclists Cameron from New York who had just finished a cross US country tour this last year and is now cycling with us. How cool! And what a fun way to meet someone! We set up camp near the side of the 1 highway and then a Canadian motor bike slowed down near us and asked if we needed help. We replied no and invited him to camp with us. So from 2 to 4 we camped 2 nights and made some new friends! We shared meals together and had a fun sharing stories. Below is some of the petroglyph and the trailer that Ramon lives in who let us camp in his yard.

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As far as riding, we never know how many kilometers we will do each day, where we will sleep or who we will meet a long the way. Sometimes we meet people like Eugene whose grandparents created the town of rancho Calamata. It’s a town with the population of two buildings, 5-6 people, 20 cows, 3 horses, 20 chickens, 2 peacocks, 3 dogs and 1 kitten. The only have solar panels and make money from truckers and having a restaurant. Eugene continues to tell us the story of his father in 1925 who met the governor or Mexico who actually came to meet the father and telling him news that they were going to build a road through Baja. The father was not pleased and continued to tell the governor that he wouldn’t live to see the day that happened. Well a couple decades later and sure enough the road was built and the father was greeted by the governor again but this time with the first car he had ever seen in his life a ford from the states. He ended up driving the car and accepting that the road was built. Eugene tells the story with such “animo” or enthusiasm that it makes you want to make a film out of the stories he tells. What a crazy bunch of people in that town we spent one night there and he gifted us coffee and water which was essential for our voyage.

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Above, one of the things that really disturbs me while riding (and there isn’t much that does) are the crosses that are on the sides of the roads. They are quite a literal symbol of death with names, dates, and loved ones writings etc. showing how much they miss their loves ones. Most of the accidents are truckers and most of them are at night, but still they are quite the sight to be seen. Next to the picture above is Maud’s back trailer that was stuck in the mud. What a mess, we got stuck for a little bit but also long enough for me to take a picture!

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Here in the small “town” I met a French family a dad and two boys that were traveling around the world and were on their way to southern Baja to study the whales as there are many grey whales living in the southern part of Baja. The family was truly an inspiration as they travel together and had such an array of experiences and history I really enjoyed speaking with them. This is one of my favorite parts of traveling is speaking with people, especially other travelers and hearing honest stories and different perspectives on their view of the world. Just amazing!

Below is a picture of a tire store and the sign for the shop is made out of tires and is an elephant. Can you see it?

  
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Acampar y San Quintin, Mexico

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Mexico is special. 

It has such a deep part of my heart as the people I make connections with are real and present and loving. You can make friends so quickly , everyone says hello to you, and there is a way of life that is about family and living in the present moment. Most conversations I have are about family, food, and weather. I see smiles and honks all day long and best of all I love when we share food with people. The life is about sharing and caring and everyone is included. I really missed speaking Spanish.

This is now almost a month since we have been riding. We left February 6th and have been non stop going! We are currently in San Quintin, where the dot is below.

   

I am sure by now we have done over 700 miles not quite sure just an estimate. I’m most surprised so far at how many homes we have stayed in! Such generosity that we have encountered.

Half of the weight that I carry is from food. We have a whole kitchen with us from spices to stove to pots and pans and then of course fruit and tortillas and avocados and cheese! I do miss the protein bars we could so easily access in the states. Traveling by bike outside  the Us is totally different in almost every single way. You don’t really have bike lanes here, food is different and you never have to pay to camp and the people are moree likely to let you sleep at their homes.

From Ensenada we rode 43-45 miles and arrived in a small town called San Tomas  around 5:30pm after wine tasting!  (My idea) Adley and I agreed that we would not bike after 4:30pm from now on as the drivers get crazy and that is also the peak hour when people get off work. Not worth it to ride we also hear daylight savings is coming this week so we will have another hour of riding!

Once in San Tomas we started asking around for a place to stay. We asked a 25 year old doctor who worked at a social services building if we could put our tents up in his yard. He responded “si perfecto, hágalo pues!” Later we found out he was super bored and somedays works 36 hours and delivers babies after being asleep and the women would wake him up ready to give birth. Pretty crazy stories and an amazing guy, super young for that sort of responsibility alone. He let us sleep in the storage room. We cooked him dinner.

The next day we camped after riding 35-49 miles at a random spot. Below is a typical camping experience. This place was just off highway 1. We are usually in bed usually by 830pm and up at 7am. I am a fan or writing in my journal and I’ve been learning tarot cards as well. So I like to do this at night and meditate. 

In the morning we usually make oats and fruit for the morning and then are off.

 

My tan is getting better and better. My face as well is half tanned from sun glasses and helmet.

 

Here is Adley and moon last night arriving in San Quintin where we have a warm showers host. They cooked us dinner and breakfast let us take a shower (after three days ) and have wifi and a warm bed! So appreciative of the little things what luxuries they are! Here lupita and gabino live with their children and two chihuahuas. It’s a beautiful home and they have hosted over 170 cyclist in 1.5 years! Here is a map they have in their home! The dots below in the map are the different places cyclists have come from. One guy that stayed here is traveling by unicycle!!!! I couldn’t believe it all the way to Argentina!!! And another guy by foot running!!!! All the way to Argentina! There are wonderfully more crazy people out there than I expected! Such a nice surprise and inspiration ! 

 

  

I will meet my future riding friend Maud from France hopefully here. She is on her way to Peru and we met on this cycling website warm showers. I am in no hurry and enjoying all the time I have on my beautiful bicycle! 

Tijuana, Playa de Mision y Ensenada, Mexico

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Never had I experienced that type of cycling as what I did in Tijuana! I’ll explain…It was an amazing city despite what many people say and I had a great time there thanks to our hosts and my cycling buddy Adley.

  

The ride was crazy from San Diego to the border maybe 15 miles of an easy ride. We took a ferry and loved chatting it up with the captain.

After the ferry you pass a couple of navy bases and it feels almost like Armageddon. There are US planes with people jumping out of them with parachutes, helicopters everywhere and guys and girls running through obstacle courses. You hear gun shots practicing  in the background and it feels almost scary.

Anyways we cross the border after exchanging money and are sent through a whirl wind of people. We pass the hundreds of people trying to get back into the states, an incredible amount of people! I couldn’t believe it. Apparently Mexico is one of the most visited borders in the world.

I received 6 months of visit from Mexico and then we were off. We had friends Liz and Elvis who live in downtown Tijuana so we were off. The problem now is that we don’t have GPS so we were sent to the streets  to ask people for directions. From experience most people you ask for directions they tell you anything they can and typically it’s not the right way. If they don’t know something they still tell you a way. There is a need to not just admit they are wrong.

After an hour of searching we found the house had an amazing time with Liz and Elvis who had experience bike touring in Europe and were just incredible people. Great conversations, good food, and wonderful hosts.

In the morning we were off by 11 and that’s when the chaos started. No bike lane and a major highway. Add in an element of being lost and we were in a crazy situation. We figured it out quick but there was a good six miles that I didn’t even change gears or think about how hard to was to ride up the hills because I was so concerned about the cars. This is a different ball game and the way the cars were driving was a wake up call to always give the right away to the car and always assume that they don’t see me. I’ve never riden like this before!

But all was fine and safe. We made it though to playa de mission almost 40 miles where we were lost again looking for a biking hostel. Those 40 miles seemed like 80 because we were just riding so hard.

We were searching for a place to sleep when suddenly we were honked at by a white Subaru that (in english) asked us where we were going. It was a woman and her friend and she invited us to stay in her guest house. It was getting dark so we jumped at it and came to a huge house on the hillside complete with food a bed and comfort all over it. Warm showers and a delicious meal later we were in biking heaven.

 

  

The next day we rode 10 miles to Ensenada when we got pulled over by a “green angel” who told us we were not allowed to ride on the toll road and that we had to go around through a mountain in order to get to Ensenada. We pleaded with him to give us a ride as we weren’t allowed to continue and he agreed to take us to enaenada. I was so happy because I really didn’t want to go around.

We arrived in Ensenada, fixed out bikes at a local bike shop and ate with some hilarious people who reminded us of cartoon characters and had a great time.

  

 

We stayed with a friend of glorias, daphne and stayed 2 nights as a storm hit and we didn’t want to ride in the rain! She had two children and seven and we had our hands full playing with them and being special guests in the house. We left her house just a half hour before another big storm hit. We made it out in time and even had time for some wine tasting at the oldest winery in North America San tomas!

 

Dana Point, San Diego and Ocean Beach

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image I love this part of California. Great bikes lanes, gorgeous roads and just endless amounts of cycling. I really love it. South, south, and more south we go! Off to Dana point where we stayed with a family in the hills who had 3 dogs and a very interesting story to tell. We found them through warm showers and they gave us a place to stay and a warm shower and even cooked us dinner. What a lovely experience.

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They were a couple from Houston and love to tour. They just moved to California for the husbands job which involves helping dismantle a nuclear waste site that is near the ocean. He said it takes about 30 years to do. When they retire hopefully in 5 years they want to bike tour and pretty much live on their bikes. Super nice family.

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The next day we rode about 45-50 miles to Encinitas to see my family…Amy and Matt and the kids (5 total!!!) and get to spend time catching up with them and getting to know each other all overs against. It was so great, we had dinner together and we took the golf cart out the kids and i got some snuggle time with their two puppies who are adorable. What a great nights sleep!

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 Sal gave Adley and I the grand tour where we saw the property including the wine cave (above), that we says is haunted. We saw rabbits and dogs and horses and a swimming pool! Truly a unique and beautiful house. Maddie let me sleep in her bed and Adley slept on Sal’s floor! I loved it!

Next we were off to the San Diego Ocean Beach farmers market to perform on the street. We said goodbye to the family, saw the kids off to school and were off! Beautiful warm sunshine and a lovely day in front of us!

At Ocean Beach it was an actual gig and they help us get set up with a whole sound crew. I had my first solo back up singing experience and we just had a ball! I ran into a girlfriend I met back in mazunte Mexico last year when I was getting yoga certified. Small world! Here is to growth, new challenges, new perspectives and letting go of worry. Too many times do we plan ahead or think about yesterday when the moment is here. To live now. To be content, thankful and full now. Tomorrow off to Mexico tomorrow!! Dont know if I am ready for it yet, California went by so quickly!

  

*all of these posts are posted a week after it happened! We are currently in san quintin Mexico but blogs take time and internet! Love you all!

Lompoc and Santa Barbara California

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Rode 62 miles from Lompoc to Santa Barbara. We got to see the ocean again! I missed it dearly! Found another cyclist named Cody from Vermont that joined our group for a while. Always nice to meet friendly cyclists on the road.

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We stayed with a warm showers house in Lompoc, with a Seattle native, Alden. We didn’t actually meet him he just gave us keys to his place and said make yourself at home. So generous and hospitable and there was a lot of seahawk gear around the house. I cant believe how open and welcoming people are of us!

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The essentials…kale, salt and vinegar chips, broccoli and a flower. The picture above is the backyard of where we camped in Santa Barbara.

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We get hungry…really hungry. We split the work load into teams, and everyone carries food evenly. Carolyn is our featured cook, we tried to get everyone to split the load but she is just so darn good at what she does! Coconut curry veggie stirfry was the hit of the tour. Adley, the inspiration and 3 time Oakland to Mexico adventurer and musician carries an amp and an electric guitar in his panniers. He is crazy. Literally, crazy. But he loves music and he loves what he does…and did I mention that he is also the fastest in the group? Not that I am keeping track, but really…is this guy serious?

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Once we hit Santa Barbara we stayed again with a warm shower host Alex who let us set up tents in his backyard. A musician himself his roommates and our band were jamming all night. We played a little bit at the farmers market and then enjoyed a good nights rest after I made lentil burgers and salad! Yummmmm! I am constantly in awe of how generous, welcoming and beautiful all the hosts we stay with are.

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Rafael, one of the house mates took us to a bike shop he volunteers at, Santa Barabara bike coalition and he helped teach us how to is our broken spokes and true a wheel! Great knowledge! I even picked up a bike bell! Ring ring! Love this place!

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Next we are on our way down south of course taking the Pacific Coast Highway and as many back roads as we can!