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, June 27, 2010

Dedicated to Bunk....aka Ken

Ken and I set out June 1st out of Seattle on what would be a 1200 mi your of the Pacific Northwest. It really started a week before that in our first home on the road...a Winnebago aptly named the Jamboree Searcher. I can run through all the memories that we have shared and to think that it has only been a month seems preposterous.

Ken and I have been friends for a few years now and were roommates with our dear friend Lily in the coolest house this past winter. Ken knew of my desire/willingness to do this trip across America. I wasn't necessarily planning on doing this alone, but was not going to take on anyone at the expense of not going along. When Ken mentioned his desire, there was no hesitation as to whether it was right or wrong.....game on!

We have become good friends over the past year, but nothing like we have in the past month.

Laughter. Birthdays. "who's your best friend? Not you!". Bike paths. Small towns. Cities. Clipless pedals=falling....Ken 5, Meaghan 2. Waterfalls. Hot Springs. Cess pools. Climbs....are they done yet?!!. Frienship."I feel like we are 9 yrs old going to bed when it's light out....I don't wanna!" Non-contributing zero. Beau. Warm Showers. Kristen, Greg, Sadie and Graham. Staj. Rick and Cali. Juice Plus and the bears. Barefoot Truth. The TENT. Gibbons Pass which we never climbed :). $8,000 in one day. Compassion. Vision. Love. Friends.

Ken, you have been such a source of warmth and grace. You are an amazing man, father, friend, yogi and yes cyclist!! You have made my journey an unforgettable adventure. I will think about all the laughs we shared and the great friendship we have cultivated. You always have my love and support!!

I forge on, not alone but solo. It has me I am not afraid to say, afraid :) In an excited sort of way. I have 10 days to get to Telluride, CO for the Telluride Yoga Festival where I will play and practice yoga for a long weekend....thank god!! I need it. From there I will nto be riding, but yes, hitching a ride to Boulder/Denver so I can spend some time exploring and teaching yoga and spreading my message. Not riding so can spend some time there rather than just a day or 2.

The paradigm is shifting, I am ready. Although my companion/friend will be leaving, it is a road that must be travelled. Stay tuned......

In the mean time keep the peace, spread the love and speak the truth...your truth.

All my love,

Meaghan

Grand Teton National Park is amazing! Just bought some more peanut butter...my VT will be coming in CO. :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Men are Pistols, Woman are Holsters

We are on the brink of crossing out of Montanna, which we have been riding in for the past week. Into Wyoming we flee. We actually got a taste of WY today as we explored a bit of Yellowstone NP. To be honest, I/we were not too too impressed. However, we did see our fair share of bison, elk, a bald eagle and a grizzly. But the tourists, and we were one of them! I am however in denial bout that one. By days end we landed ourselves into the best pizza joint town where the Levi's or better yet Wranglers run rampant.



I am happy to say that we finally met Rick Olson and his friend Cali Bagby. A similar excursion with different agendas and intentions, but shared experiences and dynamics. Rick and Cali have set out to tour 15 national parks in the country via bicycle. http://www.playgroundtour.com/ They are great journaists, who have chosen to document their tour in a unique, fun, and worth a follow way, for sure! Cali like Ken leaves a month into the journey, with myself and Rick to venture off on a solo journey. Although alone, we are not really alone.



We met in Virginia City, MT. A fun town, made of old buildings, vaudeville shows and plays, peanut casings littering the floor of the local saloon, horses, and a campground owner ready to shackle you to your tent....LIGHTS OUT! It must of been a sight to walk up upon 4 folks playing with sock puppets at the ripe ol' hour of 11pm.



In an effort to make it what we thought was 70 mi from Virginia City, Ken and I learned we had 15 miles down the road that we had 70 to go...we gidddyupped and decided to eat in the next town which was closed. Imagine a whole town closed. Headwinds were strong and sucked. Not too ashamed to say that we hitched a ride. Gained 25 mi and still couldn't make it to our final destination due to shear hunger and feebleness (is that a word?).



Here we are, 1,000+ mi in, new brake pads, a mini tune up and my pal leaving in 3 days has got me feeling bittersweet. I feel ready to move on, but sad that my words and laughter will fall upon deaf ears. This last month has prepared me to move forward. There is a confidence that I now hold that yes I can live off my bicycle. I have what it takes, i can do this. I am not so sure I would have felt this or would have had as many laughs had Ken not been with me. We have shared so much. We have become such good friends.



The journey is shifting. It is for me to live the question, which I feel like I am getting pretty good at, letting go of needing to know, but staying so present to just be in the inquiry of life and all its possibilities. They are only as limited as we believe them to be.



Off to bed.



I am a beer drinker again and a burger eater. However, why is it that no one can cook a burger to the right temperature?....fail.



In peace, light and love,



Meaghan aka Pip or Pippilicious

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's in my heart.



It is said about the day of my birth, June 6, that the one thing that rules our lives is love. Above anything else, love is the basis for all decisions made by June 6th people. A good quote by Carlos Castaneda...."Look at every path closely...then ask yourself one question: Does this path have a heart?"




Upon reading that passage about June 6th people, it certainly rang true for me. Above all else, my intention is to infuse love in all that I do, ALL that I do. Going to the bank, blessing my table when I wait on them, yoga, taking a dog for a walk...you get the picture.




But it wasn't until I started loving myself that this transition began to happen. And when that happened is when I began practicing yoga. Something shifted and my whole world changed. A long relationship came to an end. I knew I needed to be alone. So I shut myself off to intimate relationships for the better part of 3 years. I knew that I needed to make myself happy, every void that I felt was not going to be filled my another if I had anything to say about it. I got on my mat every day and nurtured myself and my friendships.




Yoga began to peel off the layers of myself that were the stories, the untruths. It didn't make me beautiful, it just allowed the beauty to show through, the beauty that already existed in me. There are many paths to shed the layers, mine happens to be yoga. It has helped me not to tolerate, but to accept what I cannot change. It has helped me to take a step back and look at the world from a different perspective, another attitude and maybe that is someone elses shoes. Every moment we live in is an opportunity to open to grace, to choose how we want our life to be.




Ken and I stayed at a state park last night. We stayed in a Tipi. I in my mind didn't want to go, Ken did. We could have forged on, but I went along with Ken. I knew it would be awesome, we were going to be camping next to one of the only real ghost towns in America called Bannack afterall. As we made our way down the 4 mile path, my conversation to myself went a bit something like this...."man, I really don't want to. I totally could have gone on. I don't want to camp in this rain that is rolling in. I don't wanna, I don't wanna, I don't wanna!!!....Meaghan this was a choice you made and it's a ghost town and who knows what is going to happen when you arrive down there....something amazing no doubt." So then a smile came to my face and before I knew it, Ken and I discovered the Tipi that became our sanctuary for the evening and took a trek a bit further to tour the old gold diggin' ghost town.




So far we have climbed 4 passes (mountains), had some crap for weather, some wind wipping through the bikes making you feel like you are trying to balance on the top of a stilt with one foot...scary.




We are meeting up with friends we don't even know yet. Rick Olson and his friend are making a trek through all the National Parks in the NW, recreating the playground tour that was done in 1923 but on bicycles. We met him through his girlfriend Staj, who hosted us in Portland. Check out their tour, pretty awesome. http://www.theplaygroundtour.com/. We meet up with them in Virginia City, MT and camp with them for a night before we head out to Yellowstone NP.


So one thing that I guess sticks with me, and now especially that I am travelling the country, meeting new people and raising money for charity is to keep listening to my heart-pay attention; everything is a choice-make it conciously and with love; and speak to peoples hearts as everyone is doing the best they know how with what they are given.


Just some of my internal thoughts.


As always....in peace, light and love,


Meaghan

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wanna know what makes one pedal faster?....

...Fear!!!

Ken and I just finished biking a mere 56 mi today. Nothing we are not used to by this point...but when you put 10 mi of shear climbing about 3,000ft in the middle....it takes a lot out of you. By the time we started our climb we were already over 20 mi into the day, a beautiful one I might add. That was until we got about half way up. One rain cloud with some cold pellets of water seemed to be the perfect remedy for the hot sun, until it was followed by a stream of thunderous clouds. At this point we were a mile from the summit which was great except that we were 2 cyclists exposed to the elements of mother nature, one that happened to shoot a bolt of lightening not far from dear friend Ken's apparent oblivious head. Myself, having noticed and the very real fear of the situation we were in pedalled so freakin' hard, caught up to Ken which seemed like a mile apart and summitted seriously just in time!

Before this somewhat fearful experience we have had a series of great times i would love to share.

Lolo Pass...the last pass I wrote about....was fun and did it in the mist of the mountain and descended 30 miles into Montanna. Missoula to be exact. The downhill wasn't all fun and games as we lost our precious tent to the rear tire of Ken's bike. It slipped off and got shredded. :( We took a rest day with our new friend Shane. Well sort of a rest day...we still rode 20 mi around town stocking up on provisions and yes a new tent.

Our rest day ended with a big bang. The day before, we learned that one of mine and Ken's favorite bands just happened to be in town. Elephant Revival, a folky, bluegrass style band was playing. I still can't believe that we saw them. It was a great show full of the biggest group of hippies I have seen in a while. A beautifil compliment was shared with me that evening. A gentleman by the name of ...... told me that although there were a lot of beautiful people in the room (and there were!!), that I eminated a beauty and peacefulness that was rare...my aura was glowing. I am not sure if that had anything to do with the pyschedelics that he proclaimed to have taken. Hmmmm?

Riding out of Missoula was beautiful....it was a beautiful sunshine day. A bike path took us right into the Bitteroot Valley which only spans about 15mi wide through ranches and small towns that rest along the Bitteroot River. Landed in Darby...had a beer and a burger, which I have become a coinessoir of once again. As we pitched our tent and the night grew later, I feel as though I understand what it means to be in Big Sky country. 1030pm and it was still light...it was amazing.

Leaving Darby, brought us to today, leaving the Bitteroot Valley to the Bitteroot National Forest. In 2000, the Bitteroot National Forest had seen major devastation through a forest fire. It was Incredible to the remnants of a once thriving eco-system.

Ken and i have been having a blast the last few days...many good laughs. I feel as though my core has gotten a substantial work out. It is sad to think that we part ways in a week and a half. We have also been meeting a great number of people on the road.. Today in particular, we have seen and met many cyclists. One all the way from Tazmania, nearing the end of his route and then will fly back home. It is an interesting existence, living on the road. Exhilerating, exhausting, fun, connected, vulnerable, fear, exciting, laughter, love, compassion, smiles, waves, good cold micro-brews, food, ewater, chamois cream, picnics, parks, mountains, streams, rivers, good people sharing stories, friends....it is all worth any amount of fear that I felt thus far. Afterall, fear is just the absence of love.

I am off for some much needed sleep.

In peace, light and love,

meaghan

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If only my eyes were cameras....

I sit here at the bottom of Lolo Pass. A pass that brings me from breathtaking Idaho into Montanna. It just sits on the other side of this mountain awaiting mine Ken's arrival. A 13 mile climb is ahead of us first thing tomorrow morning. Forget about the wheels of my bike turning, the wheels of mind mind are spinning even faster. A bit more about the travels I have experienced since last Thursday....

...well, the days are beginning to blend together. Warm Showers, oh how I love thee!! We stayed with 2 amazing families. One in Walla Walla, who hosted us on a moments notice. Dan and Alison have a beautiful home that they shared with us, gave us our space to do what we needed, let us eat their food, do our laundry, and a warm bed. The whole family toured x country 2 years ago. The love they share as family certainly infected me.

We made our way out of Walla Walla through farmland as far as the eye could see. Stretches of the greenest pastures you've ever seen. As we strolled through rolling hills of wheat, we made it 72 miles to a small town called Pomeroy where we camped out in the city park. Tired, oh so tired, we were just happy that we didn't have to camp in the rain. Oh wait.....until we woke up at 3 am to the sprinkler system happily petting our tent for an hour. I am just happy we didn't put the tent on one of the sprinklers!

We cruised out of Pomeroy the next morning to make it to Clarkston, our last stop in WA. We stayed with another Warm Showers family. Laura and Joseph who took their 2 year old across country on a bicycle terk some 24 years ago. We talked for hours in their home that sat on a cliff above the Snake River. The next morning I was adamant about waking up for sunrise at the ripe ol' hour of 4:45 to practice some yoga and meditation. It was a sight for sure.

As we rode across the bridge out of Clarkston to Lewiston, ID, we continued to follow the Lewis and Clark trail along the now Clearwater River. This has been by far the most beautiful part of the journey I have seen yet. This river is wide, long, and well clear, quiet and serene. The further we trekked into Idaho as we followed the river the more beautiful and picturesque it became until the cars became fewer and fewer. I must say this was a blessing as much the road is shoulderless and can become quite scary to say the least as you have truckers driving within an arms length of you. It takes a lot of yogic breathing (and bandhas) to keep your focus and compassion for they have a hard time sharing the road. But then our eyes would re-focus on all the beauty that was surrounding us....poof all fear was replaced with love.

Kamiah (Kam-eeee-i), was an interesting town. Nez Perce reservation. We were on mile 70. Thirsty and tired. We stopped for a beer at the local saloon. We were welcomed by some locals. Mine and Ken's attention were nestled on the 2 almost 100% Nez Perce that were sitting behind us. Before we knew it we were talking and sharing stories. Linda and Johnny O....who both were quite taken with Ken for different reasons. Linda was feeling a bit frisky, but Johnny O was moved by Ken's soft spirit as Ken was to him. To see the exchange and connection that the 2 'brothers' had was remarkable.

There was a sadness to the reservation. As you might expect, a lot of alcohol and drugs, but to see it, to feel it. There is such beauty that has been drowned with booze, clouded and misty. A heritage, so proud, but helpless it seems. Now, I believe nothing is helpless, but it is hard to see in a place like this.

Ken and I headed out to find our camp for the night on the Clearirwater River. We tackled the next day by riding into even more beautiful, which was hard to imagine, but it proved itself to get more majestic by the mile.

We made it to the end of the Clearwater River, which we had been riding for a good 2 1/2 days. The convergence of the Selway and Lochsa River make up the Clearwater. It was an awesome thing to see. We continued along the Lochsa, which was much more rapid and talkative. The deeper into Idaho, the deeper into the wilderness we have gotten. It is humbling. It is peaceful. I have been somewhat thankful for the lack of service and technology that I have been forced to let go of.

We have been riding for 9 straight days. Our bodies are tired. We found some relief today at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. I haven't felt euphoria like I did today in a long time. My body thanked me. It could not have come at a better day either as it is Ken's day of birth. We have celebrated well. We both have shared our birthdays on together on this journey, which is growing everyday into something more amazing.

I am going to sign off now. I hope that you all are well and are finding peace in your days.

I truly wish that I could show you the beauty that I see every moment of every day as my camera could not possibly capture the landscape and keep its integrity. Something to be experienced for sure. As the sights I see bring tears to my eyes.

Keep loving,

Meaghan

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Portland and eastward and onward

Multnomah Falls, OR
Columbia River Gorge, OR




The time we spent in Portland, OR was great. The city is among one the highest rated bike friendly city in the country, which made it super fun to trek around in, not to mention the restaurants, pubs and people. The Laughing Labrador was one of our first stops, super cool pub that makes all its own beers that are quite tastey. I am not too much of a beer drinker, but after putting in 50 mi on a bike, there is not much that tastes better than a nice cold microbrew.


Me n Raquel at Mt. Tabor


Day 2 brought on a bike tune up that cost me a rear wheel re-build (don't ask). 208 mi in and already needed a serious bike maintenance. I brought it some great guys at Sellwood Cycles....thanks Jeramiah! Walked around the beautiful neighborhood of Sellwood and got aquainted as to where my yoga class was to be held the next day. Some much needed alone time was had.

Ken and I trekked downtown to go to the Wend Magazine release party, meeting some cool people. I was happy to see Jason and Chelsey from the Yogaslackers on the cover. Great article Chelsey, so inspiring!! Then Ken took me out to dinner for my birthday :)

Sunday....my day of birth (didn't really feel like it) and a yoga class that was lightly attended but great to teach on the road. We were going to go out and celebrate a bit, but my eyes grew tired and we were planning on heading out early the next day.

Oh.....I don't want to fail to mention the beautiful morning I had getting lost on the streets of Portland with my friend Raquel who lives there.

So we get up early on Monday to get an early start, meet Staj for some coffee and off we go to White Salmon, WA. Headed east along the Historic Columbia River Highway. We are stoked as there are some amazing sights to be seen ahead. An hour of riding, I beThegin to wonder if my intuition that was yelling at me as we made a right turn to head South instead of East was in fact right. And as intuition is always right, we silently pedalled back to Portland. As we frustratingly made our way out east, we made it to possibly one of the most beautiful vistas/rodes I have ever experienced.
Onward we went in mad efforts to make it to White Salmon, WA were my friends Greg and Kristen were awaiting our arrival. They lovingly hosted us with warm showers, food, drink and good conversation....and the playfulness of 2 beautiful children.
The following day, Ken and I took off from a beautiful vista from Stonhendge, WA, were we probably headed out on the roughest ride yet. We didn't want to stop, everytime we did we realized just how hot it was. 55 miles seemed like 100. Tired, achey and weary for a cold beer we finally made it a sweet haven in the middle of the Columbia River called Crown Butte Park. We were asleep by 830. :)
That was yesterday. Today we had the intention of taking it easy, which is exactly what we did. This morning gave way to an amazing ride through more green pastures with cows lurking and munching. We only rode 40 miles today to the luxurious campsite where I sit here blogging in my tent, with wifi and electricity at my site. Not really what I call camping, but i tell ya, I am certainly appreciating it right about now. Tomorrow we make it to and through Walla Walla, WA. We are planning a 70 mi ride. Ken and I have 3 weeks left before he leaves me to engage the road to be only companion. I am tired of writing. I am going to watch the sunset on the river.
And it's been hard to find food, good food, unless it's our own. Note to future cyclists...WA side of Columbia River is less traffic, which means less stores/eateries. OR side...sucks to ride east of Hood River...FYI. Sucks....relatively speaking....you are on a beautiful river after all.
Peace to you all.
Meaghan

Friday, June 4, 2010

The New Normal

I have ended day four in Portland, Oregon. Even though I ride with my friend Ken, there is much alone time on the road. Much time to think. It is you, the revolution of your pedals and your mind. It is quite a meditation. You find a rhythm and watch the stories of your mind unfold.

Ken and I have completed 208 miles in 4 days. I can already feel my body getting stronger. My legs and thighs are more defined and muscular. I trained, albeit not as hard as I am riding now, but I was out there. I feel as though the terrain that we have been riding has been good. The first being the most climbing we have done so far....it really has been mostly downhill from Tumwater, WA. It really has been a nice ride to Portland. I fear that, much of the country won't be as kind. However, every climb there is to be had, thus far anyway, has proven to be incredibly accomplishing. Stay tuned for when I hit the big guns. I might be singing a different tune. :)

We made it into Longview, WA to grab a beer and a bit before we headed out to our final destination....Prescott, OR. This was last night, Day 3. We crossed over a busy scary bridge, with a view of all the lumber which I am sure was a result of all the clear cuts we saw frequently througout the ride down. A sea of lumber, waiting to be shipped. We arrived at a little park on the river, set up camp in the rain and called it a night. Listened to the sound of rain pitter-pattering on the tent sent us into a blissful sleep.

Woke up pretty early....a little tent-asana seemed to fit the bill as it was raining and wasn't prepared to bear the cold wet air on my skin. Resistant as I was to gear up in the rain, despite my growing affection for riding in the rain, we pulled it together and headed out into the Oregon morning mist. It was quite beautiful. We made AMAZING time today, did I mention that it was pretty much one slow steady decline the entire way. :) Still, we were pedalling!!!

We arrived at out final destination in Portland around 230....record time yet! Staj is our host here. I met her through Surfrider. For those of you tuning in, it is one of the charities that I am riding for. Andrew from the CT Chapter was kind enough to put us in touch. She is amazingly independent and passionate....really quite inspiring. Staj is the Chair for Portland Surfrider. Surfer, snowboarder, skateboarder, bicyclist, traveller....I knew I was in the right place as soon as walked into her apartment.

It is amazing what we accept into our lives, the choices that we make and how quickly we can adapt. This living on the road now out of four panniers, 2 only slightly bigger than the others, is an interesting and fun existence. I have been gone from my 'home' for almost 2 weeks. I use quotes with home, because my home is really where ever I am, which I really feel I am starting to embody more and more everday. This is my new normal if you will.

In my short time on the road and the reflections that I have had and what I keep coming back to is love. My sister asked me some time ago, she saw that this ride was more serving my spirit than it was to be of service. If not to serve my spirit, then I can't serve this life. The love that I have within me is what I want to share. The more I connect to that love, the more I care about the world and people around me. It will be interesting to see what transpires over the next few months.

I am off to bed. Tomorrow I see the sights of Portland....a city that I love in the very short time that I have been here. I teach yoga on Sunday at Sellwood Yoga. I am excited to be teaching on the road. Until next time.

In Peace, Light and Lots of Love,

Meaghan

Today I had the WORST cup of coffee.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

From ferry ride to old growth forests

Day 1 of the bike ride across America led Ken and leaving our host Andrew on Bainbridge Island. 2 ferry rides later, Bremerton hosted us for a bit of a greasy breakfast that was burned off pretty quickly I am glad to say. We had a decent amount of climbing on Day 1 coupled with some rain, county roads ending, traversing through dirt paths and scotch blossom bushes. I suppose we didn't have to ride the 60+ mi, but we had a gracious host awaiting our arrival with food and drink....we were determined folks. Because we didn't feel like hauling our bikes through the mud anymore we hopped on the freeway for 10 some odd miles in the rain rain rain. It took a bit to get used to the weight of the bikes.....number of falls so far.....we are tied 2 for 2. :) By the time we reached our final destination we had to ascend one last and final hill that we just couldn't bear....so we walked. Not to look like we were copouts...we hopped on the bikes to ride into the driveway only to find out that we had already walked passed it. :) We were greeted by Stephanie and her sister Sheila. Both amazing, whose husband and fiance are slackliners, yogis, acro yogis, climbers and.....Sheila and her husband at their wedding did an acro-yoga demo instead of there dance. We didn't know all this before going there....Ken had met Stephanie only 2 days before. It was amazing....warm bed, shower followed by an awesome breakfast of french toast...one I am trying now to judge Ken on, but has become increasingly hard as he puts KETCHUP on his french toast. Sorry Ken....love you Bunk!

Day 2 started out with a bunch of rain and much much later than Day1 We got our start at about 1 and didn't end until 8. First day was a 9 hour day...phew! There was I think 1 climb yesterday. It was a pretty leisurelly day of riding...the rain subsided which was great. Drove through small industrial, logging towns with apparently some sewage issues. There was one place we rode through that smelled so bad and all the trees in this one field were dead. It was awful. Cruised through there. We stopped for lunch and feeling unmotivated to ride as it was already a bit late for us, we decided to forge ahead to make it to Lewis and Clark State Park. Man am i glad we did....even though it took us about another 3 hours the ride down the hill was well worth it. First we did our only climb of the day. The further we rode the higher the trees climbed into the sky. It seemed doublely so as we started to descend towards the entrance to the park, it becaming darker, greener, lush and quiet. The old growth forest was moiost from all the rain, it looked as though there were cobwebs that connected every tree from all the dew, it was stunning. One that no picture could capture, we tried. We found out nook in the woods next to a brook, popped open a few Oregon brewed beers a little dehyradted Pad Thai and fast asleep we went.

We woke up this morning to a bit of yoga, slackline yoga that is, followed by some mat time (yoga) and then onto Day 3. This is where I will end, as we still have about 20 more miles to go.

I apologize for the lack of paragraphs...I know that it can be annoying to read, but, that's the way it goes for now.

Onward I go.

Oh, one more thing. This was not meant to be an afterthought, it's just that so much has happened and has been seen. But one of the most common things I have seen throughout my trek and the most stirring for me, is the amount of clear cutting that happened and continues to. To me my heart feels it. Here you have so much beauty that just seems to be without any regard hacked, cleared, ravaged. It is sad. I will post pictures soon.

in peace, light and love,

Meaghan