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.

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