Monthly Archives: March 2015

In San Diego

We left on Saturday morning and, two days of car travel later, we are in San Diego. The travel by car was loooong. Day one was the toughest. It felt like we would never get out of Texas. We made it to Las Cruces in New Mexico, ate a fast food dinner and were asleep once our bodies hit the beds.

Day two began with us re-figuring out how to pack the car. It took us an hour, but when all was said and done we think we actually found a better way to pack. More room for us, Ladybird and our stuff. We figure we will get faster at packing the car….or at least that’s the hope.

day 2 collageFor some reason day two traveling felt faster. Not sure if hitting Arizona so quickly after getting started gave us a sense of faster movement. Did we mention getting out of Texas took a really long time? One of the cool things about this leg of the trip was the drastic changes in terrain. From desert to lush farmlands to sand dunes to mountains to ocean. It really was a feast for the eyes.

Driving I-10 is not an exact duplicate of the route I will rise during the tour. However, it does give me a sense of the terrain I will encounter. I have never paid more attention to road shoulders as I did over the last two days. Some roads had fabulous wide shoulders relatively free from debris. Others were rough, gravelly situations full of debris. I am curious how my skinny tires will handle those particular roads.

When we got to the mountains in California before we hit San Diego, I finally got a chance to feel what those elevations have up until now only been lines on a map. Oh boy, what a way to start a tour. I’m not sure if I’m more wary of the going up or going down the mountains. Going down there were times when we would hit 75-80mph without me hitting the gas. I know the weight of the fully loaded car is drastically different than the weight of my and my bike, but it certainly gives me pause.

Roger and SusanToday is rest day. And by rest, I mean we will not be sitting in the car. In reality, I have much to do in order to be ready for Tuesday mornings official start of the bike tour. Bonus today was finally meeting Roger and Susan who are also riding the Southern Tier. We have been corresponding online over the last few months after connecting via the Crazy Guy On A Bike site.

As for the team, Jonathan, Jordan and Ladybird have been a wonderful support. Jonathan taught me more about RPM’s and manually shifting my car than I have known my entire life. If it wasn’t for his thorough and detailed instruction I do not think our entire load would have made it up and down and up and down from sea level to 4,100 feet. I was able to experience his patient and thorough teaching and educational style first hand. Now I know why he was a customer and client favorite in his career. `

Reflecting the day before the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Bike Tour StartsAt the end of the day, Jonathan took me to Mission Bay Park to give my Trek 1.2 bike around for a final test ride. It felt great to get back in the saddle even if it was just for 10-15 minutes. As I looked out across the water, I finally felt like I was in California. I could feel this was truly the beginning of an epic adventure.

 

Personal & Team Preparations

As the departure date gets ever closer there are a few things that need to be done. Over the past week, we have taken a bike mechanics class, had our tour mascot given the thumbs up for travel and I had my eyes examined. You know we captured it all on film as part of the documentary. So, here it all is for your viewing pleasure:

 


Henry L. Parrilla from Bike Seven showed Jordan and I how to replace a bike chain, repair a broken spoke and how to install a new derailer. While we hope we never have to use these repair skills during the bike tour, we sure are glad we know how to make repairs should the need arise. Thank you, Henry for sharing your bike repair knowledge as well as words of wisdom when it comes to long distance bike touring.

Jennifer getting her eyes examinedI went to visit the eye doctor at the insistence of my mother, Nelda Cooling, owner of Koolaches Bakery (and a sponsor of the tour). As many of you know, I have been using over-the-counter reading glasses for a couple of years now. I’ve been in denial about really needing glasses, but I knew it was time to make it official. What I didn’t know was exactly how much I really needed them. I had an “Oh dear!” moment upon hearing that bifocals were in my future. I am now getting the hang of contacts. Putting things in and out of my eyeballs just seems so opposite of what I should be doing. What I will say is that being able to look at my phone without reaching for glasses is a very nice thing. Thanks Mom!

The last thing we did this week was to take our Ladybird, who is the Official Bike Tour Mascot, for her annual checkup. At 14 years of age, we wanted to make sure she was fit and ready for two months of travel and adventure. Something we found especially interesting was that she would need travel papers in order for her to legally cross state lines. Turns out that taking a pet outside of state lines without travel papers can be a costly endeavor which can get your pet impounded. Happy to say she is squared away with a rabies shot as well as flea and heart meds.

 

As you can see in her video, she is less than amused. Being poked and prodded does not make for a happy puppy. This will not be the last time you see Ladybird on video. We will also be sharing “Ladybird Approved” dog-friendly locations as part of our bike tour discoveries.

 

Announcing the Bike Tour Documentary

Bike Tour Documentary

When it comes to embarking on a cross-country tour, cycling day in and day out for over 2 months is only part of the story.

The real power behind the tour is my support team. My sons, Jonathan and Jordan, will be with me along the entire 8 state ride.

I am thankful they’ll be providing cycling support but what is even better is that they will be recording the entire journey for a documentary film.

Having them with me on this trek to to film the ride experience and capture interviews of the people we meet adds so much value to the tour and makes it even more meaningful.

The Team

Jonathan

As part of the team for the bike tour, Jonathan is in charge of filming the documentary. Keeping sponsors, supports, friends and family updated through social media of Jennifer’s progress. Jonathan will also be one of the drivers of the support vehicle across the 8 states from California to Florida.

 

Jordan

Jordan his thoughts on the bike tour. As a member of the documentary team filming, Jordan will also drive and help Jennifer maintain her fitness through stretching exercise and workouts.

To learn more about the bike tour documentary simply go to the Bike Tour Documentary.

Southern Tier Maps Have Arrived!

Southern Tier Maps

The 7 maps that make up the Adventure Cycling Association’s Southern Tier

There are so many pieces that all must come together for the bike tour. Even though I have been planning this for months, sometimes it feels like there is so much to do with so little time. Then something happens that makes me realize that everything is coming together exactly the way is should. I opened my mailbox and inside a non-descript postal package were the 7 maps from the Adventure Cycling Association. These maps are the guide for 3065 miles of cycling through mountains, deserts, swamp and coastland.

Seeing these maps really brings home the fact that in about 3 weeks I will be dipping my bike tire into the Pacific Ocean and starting on my journey.  It’s coming soon and even though a part of me wishes I had more time to prep, most of me knows that it will be exactly as it should be and that will be just fine.