This blog has been created to document the planning and execution as it is happening, a bike ride across the USA for charity. I will update it on a regular basis to keep people informed and a tool for myself to keep going. Namaste.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The top of one mountain is only the bottom of another.

I am sitting on the couch that started it all. A year and a half ago I traded this oh so comfortable couch for a road bike, although it was completely unforseeable at the time that I would e taking a bicycle ride across America. It is still hard to believe that I have ridden my bike from Seattle to CT, but alas, I am home.

There are 17 more miles that Purple Toes, the name of my Rocky Mountain Cyclecross bike has to make before she will be retired, for this trip anyway. The ride concludes at the Bean & Leaf at 5:30 today. Ken and I will ride right there to friends and family to talk and share stories of certainly the most epic adventure i have had to date.

Ken, aka Bunk, aka Fred Flintstone (if you read this, you can ask me tonight why), has re-united with me this in Damariscotta, ME to finish the ride out. We met on Monday and rode out Tuesday. I think that it really started to sink in that the ride was coming to an end and fast with only 250 more miles to ride. Ken and I had a lovely and FUN ride along the coast back to CT. Well technically I haven't made it into CT yet. One exception, Boston, MA was the pits to ride through. The most tension, pissed off drivers I have come across yet. I was glad to be done for the day, greeted with home brew from my friend Harsh.

To be honest, it has been hard to stay as present with riding into such familiar territory and being so close to the conclusion of the ride. There has been much contemplation as to what is next, which few has presented themselves as far as making a living. It is so interesting how quickly my mind has me into the next endeavour when I haven't even completed this one. Something I am sure we are all too familiar with and a great reason as to why i practice yoga and meditate.

So here I stand, having accomplished something that I have set out to do. It feels amazing and scary a bit as I make a transition into my next phase.

Come down to the Bean and Leaf and celebrate life and love!!!


In peace, light and love,

Meaghan

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Over 4,000 miles....really?


It is hard for me to believe that I have biked over 4,000 miles and by the time I am done it will be 5,000. I am in the home stretch of the journey with 9 days to go and still much to experience between now and then.

I am in Vermont and I love it here. The scenery is amazing, rolling hills and mountains that are covered with trees, farms, and a culture of people that seem to really value community and supporting one another.

I rode out of NY to Killington, VT to see my favorite band. Yes, if you know me at all you know that Barefoot Truth is on the top of my list not to mention good friends. As I spoke with Jay, the guitarist of the band, trying to determine how much further I had in relation to where they were, he told me I had some hills to climb. Well, I think to myself, I am in damn good shape by now. I have biked across the continent, after all. That was the 2nd time I walked my bike. The mountains, not hills that lay before certainly had much to teach me about humility that day. However, as I am riding, correction, walking my bike the last leg of the mountain, i hear the sweet sound of Garrett's harmonica singing to the tune of their new song OK. My mind ringing with the thought "Meaghan, I will be damned if you are going to WALK your bike into a BFT show, now ride girl!!!". And ride I did.

The next day was I was bursting with excitement as I was riding a mere 40 miles north to stay at the sweet anticipated treehouse in Lincoln, VT. 40 miles, no problem, except for the mountain that lay between me and the hamlet of Lincoln. If I had only known, I would have navigated my way through another route, but ignorance I don't believe to be bliss this time around. I pushed my bike with the weight of 50# worth of gear up 3 miles of the steepest mountain I have come across yet. And down the mountain too, as the road was bumpy, gravelly, windy and treacherous. The view was stunning though. I most certainly declare that to be the most physically challenging part of my journey. All worth it, as I arrived and Ellie and H's haven in the fern wood forest where I rested my head to the sweetest smell of a TREEHOUSE!!! My dream has been realized, partially anyway. Next manifestation....to live in one.

As soon as I arrived at the treehouse, i knew that one night was not going to be enough. As that thought entered my mind, Ellie suggested I stay another day. Of course, without hesitation I obliged. Both mornings I got to share my love of yoga with Ellie and H as I guided them through a practice overlooking the Green Mountains. My rest day was spent swimming in the river, reading, yoga, dinner, hot tub, and feeling so loved. Upon my departure and blessing the beauty that Ellie and H have created, I knew that it would not be the last time I would be there.

In all efforts to avoid climbing over another pass or gap as it is referred to in VT, I made my way to Burlington to stay with my friend Garrett's mom. Unexpected visit, but really great. I ate well, slept well, shared stories and a yoga practice with her, before i took off to Montpelier where I now reside. I arrived yesterday here. I have been here once before and loved the smallest capitol in the US.

Today I venture off to Lancaster, NH before hitting ME on Friday. It is hitting me that my ride is coming to a close. With the balance of living on the road, organizing a wrap up party, which is scheduled to be held at the Bean & Leaf in New London, CT on 9/12 at 530, blogging and fundraising.....well it's just that, a balance.

I have no idea what is next for me. Farming, yoga, serving, family, pottery, tambourine player....I await the answer. Until then, I will ride hard and share my heart.

Om shanti,

Meaghan

Thursday, August 26, 2010

There's a lot of money here.

I am in Saratoga Springs, a town with a good deal of money. It's been a while since I have been enveloped in high fashion and a plethora of fine eating establishments. Finding a place to fit my bulky bike and un-showered, tattered version of myself has me feeling, well sort of happily out of place. It has lead to interesting conversation and sharing of stories that otherwise would be simple passerbys on the street.

Flying solo again has it's ups and downs. Ups is that I converse a bit more with folks. People tend not to approach as often when you are in the company of other folks. I have been sharing my story more now that I am a single trekker once again. Down....well, no poaching cool campsites in the woods lakeside....enough said.

My companions Spela and Charlie, who I met up with south of Jackson, WY and then again in Ohio, quite remarkably I might add, where we rode for another 2 weeks have finally parted ways for the last time. At least the biking part of our journeys. There certainly was a bond created, a family that was formed upon sharing such similar experiences. Their ride concluded in Ithaca, NY. A trip that I was not going to make, but last minute my heart felt such a magnetic pull that i could not not oblige.

I didn't want to leave the Finger Lake region of NY. Not too many places I would say I would or could live in on this journey, but this would be one. Upon the climb out of Ithaca.....phew,I recieved one accolade from a gentlemen who observed me climb this one monster. "That was impressive", he said. Thankfully he didn't wait for a reply as it took all the effort in me to not throw up.

Climbing that hill brought me right back to day 1. Ken and I came to the bottom of this hill which was pretty daunting. Half way up the impossibility of climbing it became pretty evident as we quickly clipped out and struggled to walk our bikes the rest of the way up. It felt pretty good to climb a hill of equal magnitude and actually be able to make it....huffing and puffing the whole way mind you, but conquered I did!

As the beauty of life on the road would have it, and technology, Facebook has helped me insurmountably on this trip. Yet again, due to a simple post of where I was going I made it to Munnsville, NY to stay at my dear friend Missy's grandparents house. Never did I see this one coming....and welcomed with hugs and kisses and pancakes.

I made a vow back in Indianna that i would no longer pay for a hotel to stay in. There are so many beautiful places to sleep outside and amazing people that are willing to share their homes or their backyards at the very least. With a bit of prayer, faith and patience I landed a place to stay last night. I was starting to get a bit anxious when a man rolled up on his 2 wheeled Schwinn and brought me to his friends house where him and his wife lovingly gave me a warm bed, corn and potato salad. And to think I almost gave into fear and would have missed the opportunity to have faith restored once again.

I am going to soak in a hot tub this afternoon, so I am signing off. I anxiously await the arrival of my mom and sister to visit with me this evening. They couldn't pass up the chance to visit knowing that I was so close to my home town.

Til next time.

In peace, light and love,

Meaghan

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where have I been? and Where am I going?


Reflecting on the last 10 days has me a bit in a tizzy. I was just trying to remember what the heck happened through Illinois and Indianna. The answer, I am not quite sure. One might think I rode through a big smoke cloud of marijuana and plum forgot what happened. But no, i assure you I have been quite coherent and conscious along this beautiful journey.

The truth really, since leaving my sister in law in Missouri is that the states have become narrower, so I have been able to cruise through them fairly quickly. Riding solo has been an amazing time. I had myself on a pretty good schedule of getting up early, grabbing a quick bite and riding 60-70 miles with few breaks, a bit of yoga and meditation, sleep and do it all over again the next day. It was great and I was in a groove until....

....the folks Spela and Charlie, those who i rode with back in WY when Ken and I parted, collided again in Findlay, OH. We had realized days before that we could make it happen and so we did. Now, knowing that they have quite a different schedule than I, i was this time prepared for my dynamic to shift once again. A new phase of the ride was going to unfold, I could choose to be in the flow or resist. I chose to toss my schedule out the window to be able to have experiences that i would otherwise not have had with riding as a single woman.

Since meeting up with these guys I have eatin well as we make stops at farmers stands, eat copious amounts of peaches and some right from the tree, homestays, beef jerky, tail winds, coffee, poached camp spots right in the woods on Lake Erie, unexpected rest days with The Womack Family Band and friends, and hmmmmm....the rest remains to be seen as we continue to ride together for the next few days.

Spela and Charlie will leave in NY to make their way to Ithaca as I make my way towards eastern NY and VT. I have found a treehouse to stay in. I am hoping that it is available when I come through and funds allow me to stay in my dream home for the night.

Last night we talked about what love meant to us. It has been probable one of the most important themes in my life aside from freedom. To me, true love involves being free and letting others be free. So much we want to hold onto that which we love in fear of not having it or them, whatever the object it is that we want. The fear that keeps us holding on, is really just holding us back from greater things. We hold ourselves back by holding on. Sometimes it invloves in cutting the chord everyday to remind ourselves that we are in control of our power and who we choose to give it to and sometimes who we choose to give it to in the hopes that they make the right decision for us. It seems crazy, but I just did it and we all do sometimes. But for me to realize that was so empowering and now I can move forward knowing that I again have the power to choose.

To all, my love to you is unwaivering and constant,

Meaghan

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From Bologna and American Cheese to Garden Fresh Dinner

Before I begin to tell of my adventures or maybe lack thereof, I will leave that up to you, I want to first talk about where I am and why I am here. Currently I reside at The Giddy Goat, a coffeehouse down the road from the local hospital I have been spending some time at. Everything is ok!!!...actually better than ok. My brother and sister in law are adopting a baby in Rolla, MO....Missouri....just in case one doesn't know state abbreviations....I know I have a hard time. As I was making my way through KS towards the KATY trail which is 252mi bicycle path through MO, I learned that Marybeth, my sister in law was going to be staying in MO until she got the go ahead to take the baby out of the state. "Come to Rolla!!!", was the plea that I recieved. My reply without hesitation was an uber-enthusiastic "Hell yeah!!"

Since arriving, I have seen such beauty in the child, a baby boy they have named Owen and the deep love that Marybeth and my brother Devin have for him. Having witnessed what their life has been like the past week, sitting in a hospital room with no windows and on the phone with lawyers, senators, judges, friends, and family to try and make this adoption happen has been inspiring. To see such love and dedication in hopes of enriching their lives and the life of Owen is remarkably touching. All my love!!

Now onto Kansas. Man Kansas is a special place filled with special people. Much of what I had heard before riding through was that it was flat and boring. Flat is a myth and well boring....how one chooses to perceive things is what you are going to get. I for one, saw immense beauty in the not so changing landscape.

Before arrivng in KS I was met by a fella and his wife that invited me in for some lunch. Free food and good conversation, how could I pass that up. Had I known that it was going to be bologna and american cheese (I detest american cheese and bologna for that matter), I would have politely moved on. Thankfully he put some salad stuff out and chips and told me to fix my own, so I was able to skirt around the meat of unknown substance.

Moving on, my experince through Kansas was one filled with early morning rides (430am) to beat the heat of the day, homestays with folks that didn't even know me, Elaine's Bicycle Oasis-a B&B for cyclists with home cooked meals right from the garden and community swimming pools to cool down from the mid-day sun.

Waking up at 3 or 4 am to get on the road was a challenge at times, but well worth it on many levels. One being the shear beauty and peace that is present at that time of day. It's quiet and the world is sleeping. I got to experience the part of the world that is waking up with the rising of the sun. Getting 30 miles in by 8 am is not a bad accomplishment either.

Arriving at Elaine's Bicycle Oasis in Bizene, KS was like going to your grandmothers house. A great sense of comfort and love in the middle of no-where Kansas with Dan and Elaine was certainly a blessing. Dan showed me his tractor and we picked corn while Elaine busied herslef in the kitchen preparing dinner and baking apricot cobbler.

A thing I have learned about Kansas towns, they can be seen for miles away which is indicated by a cluster of trees and a grain elevator which looks like you are approaching some big city with the way it towers towards the sky. However, just because it is a "town" does by no means mean their is a gas station, store, post office or a working bathroom....it just means that maybe someone lives there or at least used to.

Another beautiful blessing was a quaint grove looking town, although most towns had a mystical grovesque feel to it, called Marquette. Here I met Sharon Barber and her cute son along with his stunning Honduras decent girlfriend. Upon seeing my fully loaded bicycle, they quickly began asking question, nothing I am not used to by this time....and most welcome the onslaught of questions and in this case an invitation to stay at their lovely home. I happily obliged and after swimming at yet another town pool, I pushed on 8 miles to Lindsborg, KS where I ate fresh tomatoes and cukes and sandwiches and slept peacefully.

The final hurrah, just to let me know how cool the people are in KS, a breakfast was bought for me and $40 was left on bicycle when I returned to it. 3miles later and I was in Missouri where the roads quickly lost favor to any cyclist as the shoulders became non-existant and the roads themselves seemingly don't get paved often or well to say the very least.

The Ozarks.....oh the Ozarks...I think I would have more fun if hadn't/wasn't so freakin' hot. 110 with the heat index has had me take a couple of rides...I have however felt a bit cheated out of the glory of riding through a profile elevation that I kid you not looks like a heart monitor.

Due to such heat and every pore on my body sweating just as quickly as I am injesting the liquids, a beautifully generous woman offered me a ride first then a place to stay at her lake house on Lake Ozark. Again....obliged I did. Little did I know that I would be bombarded with marriage proposals by the retiree neighbors to according to them their very available sons and grandsons. If only I stayed, I would be all set with a vacation home and a husband. Sorry folks.

So here I am, randomly in Rolla, MO....having just met my new nephew Owen and keepping my sister in law company through a trying adoption process.

My adventures continue on in the next day or two. Heading up towards Erie, PA before I hit NY and the Northeast. I must say, I am excited to be heading back to not only familiar territory but friends and family. 2,000 more miles to go!!!

All my love.

Peace, Light and Love,

Meaghan

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Resistance

I want not to be where I am. But I also don't want to ride in the conditions beyond the walls in which I sit. Strong winds will be in my face all day if I choose to ride. Par for the course? Pretty much. There certainly are days in which we must make the other choice of not riding. And really we can do whatever we want, I can do whatever I want. I guess the question is what do I want more? I can hang out for another day in Ordway, CO or venture on 60 miles east which I am more inclined to do.

Considering all the rest I have just come off of, I want to ride, but I want the conditions to be up to me. HA!! Never have I experienced so much as I have teaching yoga and riding a bicycle across America, to adapt and be flexible and open to what comes your way.

I am in a cool house or trailer. This woman names Gillian, from New Zealand, houses cyclists for free. She has a couple of trailers on her property specifically for people like me. We have use of shower, laundry, kitchen and can hang out with the myriad of pets roaming around....goats, ducks, chickens, dogs, horses...unfortunately no pigs :(

Amongst the all of the people that live here and are visiting, I feel a bit lost and alone. I am excited to be heading back east. Through my travels, i certainly have to realize how much I enjoy living in the Northeast. With all the green, trees, mountains, oceans, lakes.....it really has so much that I love, not to mention the love of family and friends.

Til Next Time....until then ride the wave....

In Peace, Light and Love

Meaghan

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On the road.....again.

I have left Denver. Day 4 and I have decided to take a rest day in Pueblo with Ann, Pat and their 2 girls Molly and Alison. Sam from the Yogaslackers put me in touch with these fine folks. There house is AMAZING. Apartment really in this old bldg (which they own) in downtown Pueblo, CO. A yoga teacher and a pilot, solar panels being erected on the roof as we speak, 2 beautifully intelligent and funny girls...another example of a model family.

This was not the only inspiring homestay that I have had. Just 2 nights ago, I made my way to CO Springs to stay with the Elias Fund family. 2 young guys began this organization originally helping one Zimbabwean gardner put his sons through college. Soon becoming their passion and hopefully their lifes work to help struggling families in this country to give their children an education. Many of you, who know me and were at my fundraiser may recognize the bracelet or necklace that you may be wearing now that is so beautifully inscribed...."if you are strong, I am strong". This is a sentiment that is widely used through Zimbabwe. This is the family that I stayed with. Although I did not get to meet Eric and Scott....the founders....their parents and other brother Luke opened their home and hearts. Margie, the wife, mother and now dear friend of mine, well lets just say we could still be chatting at the kitchen table and not miss a beat :) Check out www.eliasfund.org

And I must not fail to mention my lovely friend Michelle who picked me up from Telluride and brought me to her apt 30 stories high in downtown Denver. A friend, where picking up right where we left off, had many great laughs and conversations. To top it off, my friend came out to visit from the east coast and had one of the best days of my trip tubing down Boulder Creek.

I am back on the road, with a renewed sense of focus. I begin my journey back east tomorrow. I have headed South the last few days, but knowing that I am heading back to the east coast has me brimming with excitement and nerves! I am not sure whether it is that I am getting closer to home, more familiar territory or that I soon have to figure out where my place in the world is going to be once I conclude my ride. The latter part does have me all to concerned as I feel that with living that question I will live myself into the answer. If that makes sense, it does to me and guess that's all that really matters.

One thing I know...I know what I want and I know who I am. I guess that's 2 things. And when I feel lost or alone I am quickly reminded that I am loved, usually by some divine intervention. The surest thing to getting what we want is to give it. The ccol thing about our friends and family, people we love or hate....they are mirrors for us. They show us where we can grow and expand. Many times it is the people that frustrate us the most we have the most to learn from. Take it with open arms, like a good friend. Welcome it all, the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the laughter and tears. For we could never know sadness without happiness and never know laughter without tears. Ride the wave....

In peace, light and love,

Meaghan

www.ridethewaveofchange.org