Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back Home

Finally settled into real life. Nico is down in San Luis Obispo and Calen in Santa Cruz, school is underway for both and reality fully kicking in. Its been 24 days since the biking ceased and already the trip is seeming distant, however the time has allowed us to gain some perspective on the whole trip and we are able to finally reflect. The trip in every way was a success, and was as a whole an unforgettable experience. Thank you everyone for following the blog, your support and encouragement was invaluable and helped make the trip that much better. We have already begun planning the next trip, but until then its back the real life with walls windows floors and a little less biking.

Calen and Nico

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some Pictures

Here are a few photos from the last little part of our trip. The wheel touching ceremony will take place later today. We have some post cards to send out... Comment with your address if you would like one!

Monday, September 7, 2009

New York City, NY

Well we have made it! Sorry for the delay, but about one week ago, on tuesday we made it into NYC. The trip into the city was fantastic. We were able to follow a bike route all the way that took us across three different bridges from upstate into Brooklyn; Bear Mountain Bridge-George Washington Bridge-Brooklyn Bridge. As soon as we got into the city we were able to head to some family friends of Nico's, Charlie and Kim. They have been absolutely wonderful, providing us a home base and a place to chill. The moment we got here we were able to shower, sit down, and just relax. After a day or so staying with them, we headed up north to visit some family of Calen's. With our motivation to bike almost tapped, and a tighter timeline, we were lucky enough to have the luxury of driving a car, in fact its the same car that is going to get us back to California. Anyway, we have been able to really put a dent into the list of family members of Calen's to visit and we've had a blast visiting everyone. We stayed with Grandparents in Millbrook, and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and spent some time with uncles in Manhattan and in Connecticut. We arrived back from Mass. on Saturday just in time to catch Nico's brothers show. Vince plays in an awesome band called Ikebe Shakedown, who put on an excellent show and are a really cool crew, tonight we are going to see them play again. Yesterday, Sunday, we spent the day roaming the city made it out to the Museum of Modern Art, and caught a show at one of the movie theaters in Brooklyn.

Now that we are officially done with the trip we have been able to really look back on the time we spent in the road, and have a little bit of perspective on everything. We couldn't have hoped for a better trip really. The amount of hospitality and kindness we experienced was beyond anything we expected, completely restored our faith in the USA. Thank you everybody who helped us out on the trip it really made our experience that much better. Those delicious cooked meals, and warm showers were a real treat.

Here are some stats from the trip:

Total Miles: 4358
Miles Pedaled: 4148.7
Miles in Car: 210
Total Days: 76
States Visited: 12 (CA,NV, UT, ID, MT, WY, SD, MN, WI, MI, NJ, NY)
Countries Visited: 2 (USA, CAN)
No. of nights of paid sleeping: 10, 2 hotels
Flat Tires: 27
No. of Inner Tubes: 13
No. of bikes: 3
No. of tires: 5
Hamburgers eaten: 89
Loaves of Bread: 30
Farts: 72,643
Showers: 18
Gallons of Water drank: 286
Mosquito bites: 87,534,621

We are planning on spending the next couple of days here in the city and heading out on Thursday. We will be driving back along a much more southern route, and visiting some of the places we were unable to visit. This trip has been an amazing experience that we will never forget and we will continue to look back on for years to come.

-Calen and Nico

Thursday, September 3, 2009

were in new york havin too much fun to post... the finale is comin soon!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Newark, New York

We are on our way and heading east through New York. We've found this cool route called New York Bike Route 5 and it keeps us on roads that have wide shoulders the whole way to the city. Its been nice to not have to dodge side mirrors or risk it on the super highways. We made it out of Niagara Falls losing only a little money at the casino and headed into the states. The moment we stepped into New York the sky cleared and the air dried up a little bit. We have already met some real friendly people.

But actually, on this whole last leg of the trip we have hung out with and stayed with some amazing folk. In Owen Sound we were slowed by a tornado some 30 miles south of us, and as a result we met Nick and Brad. Two school teachers from the area who were absolutely awesome. We shared some drinks, had some laughs, and ended up sleeping on their lawn. They also treated us to an excellent breakfast the following morning, thanks a lot for the hospitality and good times guys. We were also lucky enough to happen upon a town totally saturated with friendly people, Holstein was the town, and we came through just as the Farmers Market was going on. They forced us to accept, loads of cookies, cinnamon rolls, coffee, and bike repairs all for free. Martin, the local bike mechanic, even invited us for lunch but we unfortunately had to decline for the looming clouds suggested we get the heck on our way.

The end of the trip is in sight, we will continue to follow this bike route along the Erie Canal. We have at least two places along the way where we know we will be able to stay with friends and family. Then into the city and onto the couch. Looking forward to some hardcore veg time.

Tornado Damage in Durham! We were supposed to camp there that night...

Checking out the Erie Canal.

Monday, August 24, 2009

niagara falls new york

back in the usa.... final state.. final stretch... niagara falls was way more vegas-like then we had imagined... on our way to the ocean now less than 500 miles to go.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Owen Sound, Ontario

We are making our way south, and have landed in Owen Sound. A cool little town right in Georgian Bay. We've found a library here in town which is great because it not only offers us internet but also a little warmth and cover from the wind and rain. Today was a blast, yet it was a little on the soggy side. We rode about 35 miles in a complete downpour; shirts made no difference and a jacket was too hot, so the whole way we were topless. With lakes in our shoes the size of Superior itself we made it to Owen Sound in time to catch the bike shop for some repairs right before it closed. We just ate some awesome Gyros from this little greek shop which were absolutely delicious and combined with the recent ferry ride we took, sent us right back to the time we spent in Greece. The ferry we took was from South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island to Tobermory. We camped the night before about 50 miles away, and the ferry left at 1:30. Our ride that day felt like a race against the clock. We started out riding at a normal pace, but as the time of departure got closer and closer we began to feel the presssure. The last 15 miles of the ride were an all out sprint, Nico finished first getting to the port at 1:10. Calen was about 5 miles out when his chain jumped off again, shredding more spokes. This time not nearly as bad as in Nevada. He was able to limp the bike the rest of the way arriving at the port at 1:27 just barely in time to buy a ticket and get on. It was hectic.

The riding up here has been great, as Nico says though its the time at the end of the day when we get to camp, cook, and try to sleep that has been the hardest. Our biggest problems have been; the incessant mosquitos who never fail to join us for dinner at the camp, and the sauna like heat and humidity at night complimented by sporatic downpours. Its a weird sensation to be sweating like crazy while lying down as its dumping rain on you at 11 at night. All things aside though we have been figuring it out and have been having a great time. We have met some awesome people, Donn and Anne were a couple in Michigan who were absolutely too kind and cooked us delicious meals let us sleep on their lawn and provided us with tools to fix up our bikes. Recently Nico found this little book in a coffee shop on the free book rack called The Guns of Navarone by Alistair Maclean, apparently it was his favorite movie as a kid. We take turns reading it aloud, and it has now become a part of every lunch break and dinner prep. New York times describes it as "Thrills thrills and more thrills" and I would have to agree.

We dont have any cell service up here in Canada so our next post might be from the states. From here we keep heading south, Niagara Falls will be where we cross the border back into the US and then from there its east to the Hudson and south into Manhattan. We are excited for this final week or so of the trip and are predicting that we will be on schedule to hit the big apple right around sept 1. This should leave us plenty of time to hang out, see the city, and visit family and friends before starting our journey home.
Calen and Nico

Friday, August 14, 2009

Marquette Michigan

3000 miles!!! we have made it to marquette, michigan... stoked that we passed our 3000 mile mark .. stoked that we are back alongside lake superior and stoked that i finally got to shave (calen).... we have roughly 1000 miles left and are feeling great.. last night we camped next to Joe a guy who is walking from vancouver island to nova scotia... a real happy dude. we will post a pic of him soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ironwood MI

we're out of wisconsin and into michigan! we spent some time on the southshore of lake superior and had a fantastic time. we met a wonderful couple (don and ann), also cross country tourists, who lived close to the lake and had a great evening and dinner with them... with sandwhiches prepared they sent us on our way. today we will pass into the new time zone and camp... two more states and one country is all thats left!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

we made it to the ocean! ...nottt... looks like an ocean though. lake superior at duluth mn were heading to the apostle islands by tomorrow evening and the following day we plan to get some lake and cave kayaking in.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hey Hey... we made it to Minneapolis and our stay here has been fantastic. We met up with some good friends (Angela, and Ben) and have been staying with them for a couple days now. We arrived in the city on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning Nico went to get his passport so that we can go through Canada. He got it and we are good to go. We spent a day today cruising around the city and seeing the sites with Ben. We saw Claes Oldenburg's spoon and cherry sculpture, we hit up a lake for some swimming and sun, got some delicious subs at Jimmy Johns, and ran a couple other errands (bike shops and what not). We also received an awesome care package from the parents and godparents back home full of delicious goodies and treats. Thanks John and Celeste thanks Mom and Pops. We have been getting real used to just hanging out and chilling out, but are ready to get back on the road. Today we biked a couple miles out of the city to another friends house of Angela, who lives right by a lake with a hot tub and the works. Its a real rough life. We realized we haven't posted in a while now, and we have a bit to talk about.

Busted Bike follow-up: In Rapid City after Nico totaled his bike we were fortunate enough to meet one of the most chilling dudes in Rapid, Eli. We were also able to stay with one of the nicest women in Rapid. Jean-Claire saved us, she let us stay with her for three nights and even let us drive her stylin' sports car. Eli from the bike shop was able to hook us up with a new frame through a friend of his, Ted, and then helped us totally strip and rebuild the new bike in his garage at no charge. Within two days from the accident we were back on the road and heading to the badlands. Badlands.... wow totally awesome. The prairie just runs on for miles and then all of a sudden drops out into these massive and phenomenal canyons.. awesome views and endless rock formations. From the badlands we charged through South Dakota completing back to back 120 mile days and made it into Minnesota to stay with Ron and Sandy, family of Nico. The two of them were amazing hosts spoiling us with plenty of food, hot showers, even our own rooms with comfy beds. We were able to spend some time with them and take a tour of their property on some ATV's and shoot some guns from their porch. It was quite a great a experience and we had such a blast hanging out with them. Thanks again Ron and Sandy for having us.

Tomorrow we are heading out of Minneapolis on our way to Michigan and to the great lakes. We haven't quite decided our specific route, but we are looking forward to whats ahead. Its pouring rain right now which is nice when we have the luxury of a house and hot tub, hopefully it blows over by tomorrow so we will have some good riding weather. We have about 1300 miles to go which means we are about 2/3 of the way through, with the final leg to go. New York City, here we come!!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

we made it to Pierre SD... battled 40mph headwinds at one point but with the help of a passing pickup truck made it out of the gnarly section. we are now camped alongside the missouri river gearing up for a 100 mile day tommorow. by the way the badlands are way bad ass... when we get to minneapolis we will post the pics.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

loaded up and on our way!!!

back in business!! the bikes a beauty....badlands or bust

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rapid City, SD

2000 miles in and... we finally encontered some serious problems (So you don't worry, we're both physically fine). Today as we rode out of Rapid City, SD and got ourselves prepared for the much talked about Badlands National Park, Nico was stopped dead in his tracks by a storm grate. Bags flew into the air, Nico performed a flawless frontflip, and the frame of the bike has been... TOTALLED!!! The rider however stood up from the accident with out a scratch (At least no NEW scratches) As apparent in the pictures below, the frame was seriously bent in two places which has completely messed up any riding ability and left us with the only option of finding a new frame. We considered taking the frame to someone who could possibly weld in sections, however traveleing on downhill sections at 45+ would be too nerve racking on a pieced together bike. So, here we are, in a search for a new frame.

Immediately after the accident a nice fellow gave us a ride to the nearest bicycle shop. Here we met a very generous employee named Eli who has been helping us out. There is hope that he may be able to sell us a similar Bianchi frame that will be very compatible with the component set that I am riding with now. If this is the case he has willingly offered to help us put the bike together at his house where he has the tools to do so. We are waiting for his call.

Despite the accident, we have had a good time in rapid city! We just enjoyed some Buffalo burgers and beers at a great local brewer to ease the pain of the wreckage. Many games of rummy later, our spirits are not crushed and we know the trip will continue. We also have friends waiting in Minneapolis. If the bike doesn't work out here, we plan to find a ride to the twin cities and work it out there.

We appologize for such a long post about not very much... it's just that this is all that is on our minds at the moment. Other than this unfortunate happening, we have been doing quite well. We have spent the last 4 or 5 days in the Black Hills National Forest, where we have enjoyed wonderful riding, amazing sights, and very nice people! We've stayed with Billie Jane Hamblin in Belle Fourche, an 83 year old woman with a rich life story and an amazing attitude. Belle Fourche has been determined the geological center of the nation if you factor in alaska and hawaii, and it was cool to stand on the marker. Mt rushmore had some crazy tourist attractions, the town right nearby is Keystone, it is a combination of the boardwalk and pier 39, cotton candy salt water taffy, but also and awesome 2000 ft slide that we went down, on small karts. We came out from the slide with more scrapes and burns than from the last 1950 miles of our trip. Last night we stayed at Jean-Claire's house (billie's daughter) with two other bikers we had previously met in yellowstone, it was quite a coincidence. We are looking forward to getting back on the road, we should have everything worked out soon and will be heading due east.

Here are some pictures:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

we made it to tourist this place is strange but kinda cool....the best part so far was the 35 foot cliff jump into horsethief lake on the way into the park. we are off to rapid city with a house to stay at tonight... we are making our way woo hoo..

Friday, July 24, 2009

dinosaurs..i think is what nico meant.

Devils Tower WY

Devil's tower! quite an amazing sight... we camped there last night and today enjoyed taking a closer look. we have just passed into south dakota and plan to camp in the black hills national forest. tomorrow we'll see some dinosoars!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Plan

Hello everyone. We must get on the road so this will be a short post. We wanted to post our new proposed route. Once again, if there are stops along the way that people have friends or acquaintances in, we would love to hear it. Respond on the blog, or call or text Nico at 831-706-6365. Thanks!

View Larger Map

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gillette WY

New plans! we've been checking out the maps and with the help of our new friends in both buffalo and gillette we have quite an exciting next leg... we plan to ride tomorrow to devils tower, the tall standing center of an ancient volcano. from there we will ride a scenic route to see t-rex stan in hill city and then into mt rushmore nat'l mon. we will continue to head east into the badlands and spend some time off our bikes checking out the sights... tonight, we once again have the luxary of beds, showers and await more pancakes! we also have started to plan a much more northern route through minneapolis and hopefully a ferry (thanks diz) across lake michagan! much more to report when we get to a computer... until then, we are excited and really looking forward to what is ahead.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

FWD:Buffalo WY

we made it to the top of powder river pass... 35 miles of 6% grade or steeper up. 30 miles of rolling hills down to buffalo... we are staying with some friends of the rangells now here in town... great people..good food.warm showers. thank you margo and david for having us. thanks paul for introducing us... tommorow we are off to gillette where i think we will have another house to stay at..we are living in luxury.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cody Wyoming

Just made it to Cody, Wyoming.. feeling great after a pizza each and ice cream... we climbed over dead indian pass today which has some interesting history and alooong 6% grade... when we left yellowstone yesterday we saw herds of buffalo.pronghorns.and the elusive black bear..we are now out of the cool and beautiful mountains and ecstatic to be back in the desert. looking forward to showers soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

West Yellowstone, MT

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it's been so long since our last post and that this post is soooo long. We have been without service or internet, as well as completely distracted by our surroundings for quite some time now. But here we are, in West Yellowstone, Montana at the public library finally at a computer! Where to start... The last time we posted we were just getting ready to enter the Tetons and Yellowstone. We followed the Snake River from Jackson, Wyoming all the way into Grand Teton National Park. On this pleasant ride we witnessed two Bald Eagles soaring high above as well as two river surfers carving up a stationary rapid wave! We arrived at Jenny Lake, somewhat early the following day. We had heard great things about the back country camping in the Teton mountain range so we went to the visitor center and found out that we could plan a two day excursion for free! We took the supplied bear box, went to an outdoor shop in which we rigged up our panniers into backpacks, then set off for our hike. The hike was a little over 6 miles of gentle climb through a beautiful canyon. After the day of preparation, night was starting to fall and the further in we hiked the more the crowds of tourists diminished. Just as we started to concentrate more on hiking and less on taking everything in, we were stopped by a massive wall in our path. A huge bull moose was blocking our path. He looked briefly at us, gave a us a snort of recognition and then continued to eat the vegetation as if we weren't there. It was so great to see this beast up close even though we didn't quite know how to get around it. Eventually it cleared out of the path and we kept on hiking to witness porcupines, marmots, streams of fresh snow melt, and the amazing mountain ranges. After a good nights sleep at our camp, the following day consisted of freezing cold dips in the the snow fed streams, hiking parts of some of the ranges and a whole lot of sleeping in the warm sun which in the end left our backs quite burnt.

We hiked out of the backcountry the next morning, and in no rush to leave the beautiful Jenny Lake we decided to spend the night at the hiker/biker site that was right next to the lake. When we arrived at the campsite and started setting up camp we happened to meet two other bikers who were riding from Boulder, Co all the way up to Alaska. The two of them, Loren and Jared, happened to be about our age, and were absolutely awesome company around the campfire. Little did we know, that night was the first night of a series of ridiculous social encounters and coincidences that helped make our time in Yellowstone an absolute blast.

The next day we were fortunate enough to get in contact with a Conner and Lucy, two good friends of Calen's who had spent the last three weeks driving all over the north-west. The timing worked out perfectly and we met up at Lewis Lake, for another night of camping around a warm fire with great company. We hung out with Conner and Lucy all the next day, enjoying the luxury of driving around, and hiked Mt.Washburn one of the highest peaks in the park. We were bummed to leave our friends that night, but were quite content with two nights of socializing and talking with friends. We were not prepared for the absolute circus that we were about to be a part of.

We got another hiker/biker site this time at Grants Village, and as we rolled into the site we were blown away by the fact that the two bikers we had hung out with recently, Jared and Loren were already there. They were accompanied by two other cyclists, (Joe and Carlos), who are biking across the US from the east. Shortly after our arrival, three other cyclists came in, (Jacob, Mike, and Aaron), who were coming in from Virginia. At this point there are 9 of us, all within 5 years of each-other, all with awesome attitudes and outlooks on life, and all heading north through the park the next day. It was absolutely bizarre, first off none of us had met nearly this many cyclists at any point in any of our trips. And second, we all were headed in the same general direction even though we were all going to end up in very different places. We were getting along great and were having a blast. We spent our third night exchanging stories around a fire, getting to know this eclectic group of adventurers.

The morning came and none of us were really sure how the pacing or grouping was really going to go, but as the day went on, we formed a massive pack, and took Yellowstone by storm. We were riding in one huge group for the majority of the day, stopping at the sites and absolutely clogging up any bike rack we could find. As our turn away from the group neared, it became clear that the whole pack was heading west out of Yellowstone, and were going to go see Harry Potter 6 at the local movie theater. We were planning on heading north to Mammoth Hot Springs, but were having too much fun with this circus of riders that we decided, "hell lets head west". We rode 14 miles west in a huge draft line cruising up hills at about 17 mph, and reaching speeds of 25 mph on the flat. We made great time and reached the cinema in time to get tickets for the show. We all enjoyed the movie, an excellent escape from the normal routine of ride sleep ride sleep. Almost all of us completely forgot that we had ridden across the US to get here. We gorged on pizza after the movie, rolled a couple blocks out of town and found a nice group of trees for the 9 of us to camp behind.

We have now separated from the pack, and are headed back into Yellowstone Natl. Park, and back east. We are definitely going to remember the awesome group of people we met,the ridiculous jokes and stories we heard, and the fun we had cruising through the park with such a pack.

We have about two days of riding ahead of us to get back through the park to the north-east entrance, we will be riding the Beartooth highway in which parts are rumored to be elevations of 11,000 ft. Someone also told us it was once called the most beautiful highway in the US. We are excited to start making some more miles, but have enjoyed our slow cruise through these beautiful National Parks. We will try to keep updating the blog a little more regularly. Our next big stops will be Mt. Rushmore and Badlands Natl. Park in South Dakota, we should be there pretty soon. Yesterday was exactly 4 weeks that we have spent on the road, and it has flown by as if it were only one week, this trip has been great so far and we are looking forward to what is ahead. We miss everyone back home, talk to you soon.

calen and nico