In The Way

Transitioning from Bike Trip to School

This week has been relaxing, mostly. Partly boring, as most of the things I’ve been doing consist of trying to figure out how to pay for school and cleaning my room. Oh, and writing fun postcards to people we met this summer. That part is hard work, but really fun. ūüôā

Whenever I am at my parents house I’m constantly throwing things away and taking things to the local thrift store. ¬†My goal when I leave for Guatemala, apart from musical instruments, is to only have so much stuff to take with me on a plane, a small treasure chest of random oddities, and one small duffel bag full of winter clothes. This might be a little extreme but I think the life mentality of “packing light” is worth working for.

In a more blog-related manner, it’s time to put up these two posts. For the duration of this summer these two posts have represented what we have been doing in “What’s the Plan”, and why, “What Do You Do When It Rains? (FAQ)”.

May they not be forgotten.

“What’s the Plan”

“We (Valerie Sartor and David Shinabarger) are touring from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon on a tandem bicycle this summer.

We kicked the journey into high gear on May 23rd, and we plan to be in Oregon in mid-August.

Along the way we are meeting and greeting, telling lots of stories, pedaling lots of miles, eating lots of food, drinking lots of water, singing lots of songs, playing lots of games, wearing plenty of sunscreen, couchsurfing, camping, exploring, geocaching, and living out our dreams.

We are stoked and pumped to work through thousands of revolutions every day. But really, we just sit on our butts most of the time.

Anyways, this is the blog, and we hope to keep you updated as much as possible. :)”

“What Do You Do When It Rains?”

This is what happened to us when it rained inside Yellowstone National Park- We biked up Sylvan Pass, at 8,000 feet!

“Over the past three months we met 100’s of people and been asked 100’s of questions.¬† Here are the top ones!

Really? 

Yes we’re really doing this.

Are you crazy? 

After being told so by our friends, family, and every person we’ve met on the road so far, we’re starting to think so.

How did you come up with this idea? 

Spring semester we brainstormed a million crazy ideas for our summer. Other ideas included rafting down the Mississippi, hiking the Appalachian Trail, going on a music tour, hitchhiking up route 1 on the West Coast, and traveling through Central America. After thinking it over a week, this is the one that we were most pumped and geared up about. ¬†It’s something Dave’s wanted to do for years.

Where did you start? 

Portland, ME! ¬†We boarded a train in Chicago on May 23rd to Boston. It was Valerie’s first train ride and it was 22 hours long. ¬†From there we biked up the Atlantic coast to Portland to see the sea, stretch our legs from the train, and to train for the mountains that stretched before us. ¬†When we got to the Atlantic we stuck our back tire in the water.

So you’re from Maine?¬†

No, we just thought it’d be a good starting point. ¬†Valerie is from Howell, MI and David is from Woodstock, IL. ¬†We met at our university in southern Michigan.

Where are you going? 

Portland, OR! …and then one extra day to the Pacific Ocean. ¬†When we get there we’ll put our front wheel in the water.

How long is that going to take? 

All summer long! ¬†We’re planning to get there in early August so that realistically we’ll finish mid-August.

How far do you go on an average day?

Anywhere from zero to 80 miles depending on wind conditions, muscle conditions, attitude conditions, mountainous conditions, and weather conditions.

Where do you sleep? 

We are using two hospitality websites, Warm Showers and Couch Surfing, staying with friends and family along the way, and camping anywhere we can find a place to do so.  A few favorite campsites so far have been playgrounds, the Erie Canal trail, a BMX regional championship, Niagara Falls, and a wildlife reserve.  We use the incredible Hennessy Hammocks, making it possible to sleep pretty much anywhere.

What do you eat? 

Stuff that doesn’t weigh a lot to carry on a bike! ¬†Mostly groceries.¬† If we were what we ate, we’d be mostly oatmeal, ramen, cliff bars, soup, pasta, pistachios, pretzels, and trail mix. ¬†And a TON of peanut butter and nutella. Maybe too much peanut butter and nutella. Also, ANYTHING people give to us.

What is with you guys? 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know we’re crazy. ¬†Oh, you meant literally? How embarrassing. ¬†We are carrying with us four pennier saddle bags, two on the front and two on the back, and a camelback backpack.

Inside of these we have our two camping hammocks that we like to bunk bed on trees, two sleeping bags, four outfits, identification, credit cards, a compass, a homemade camping stove, denatured alcohol, any snacks or groceries we just bought, sunglasses, bug spray, sunscreen, two toothbrushes, journals, a state map of wherever we are, bike tools, an odometer, a camera, an iphone, and a solar charger for the iphone.

What do your parents think? 

That we’re crazy! …but that’s not a recent development.

David’s mom is thrilled and tells everyone she knows about the blog and our adventure (she’s asked us to add that she is also worried sick).¬† Valerie’s parents always told her to dream big so when she started to they were mostly proud and a bit worried. ¬†After Val’s dad had her take self defense class and Dave’s mom had us watch relational bonding videos, all parents are breathing easier.

Do you take turns riding in the front? Who pedals harder?

Because of the way the bike is designed, the bigger person (David) has to ride in front and the smaller (Valerie) in back. ¬†For grins and giggles we once tried switching and quickly realized Valerie couldn’t reach the pedals. ¬†To this day, it’s been the only crash we’ve had.

Also because of the way the bike’s designed, the pedals have to move in unison so we should both pedal as hard as the other one does …in theory. ¬†Every old couple we meet jokes about Valerie sitting in the back sightseeing and sticking her tongue out. ¬†Valerie has no comment on the matter.

Are you two related?

Although Valerie’s extremely tan skin and David’s extremely pale physique make us look like close kin, we are in fact not brother and sister. ¬†And although we have ridiculous tan lines on almost every inch of our bodies, we have no tan lines on our left ring fingers. ¬†We are happily dating and thankfully not siblings.

Are you Adventure Cycling? 

Yes! …and no. ¬†We are adventure cycling in the sense that we are doing this trip in the spirit of adventure, but we are not riding with an¬†Adventure Cycling¬†tour, using their gear, or any of their routes.

We thought it’d be a lot more fun and exciting to make our own route and figure things out ourselves. ¬†Plus, since we’re not doing a route that 100’s of people have done before we are meeting people who have never heard of such nonsense as riding your bike across the continent. ¬†We’ve found that they are a lot more excited about the idea than people who’ve met 100’s of cyclers doing the same thing and ask cooler questions than whether or not we’re going east or west.

So what DO you do when it rains? 

Cry, hold each other, and shake our fists at the skies. Afterwards, we’ll either put our raincoats on and push our pedals to the metal or we’ll take cover in the closest building we can find. (Or we’ll get pizza and a ride out of town. Or stop and get coffee at the only cafe within 50 miles. At least, that’s what we’ve done so far)”

 

EDIT AND INSERT “What’s the Plan?”

We (Valerie Sartor and David Shinabarger) are touring from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon on a tandem bicycle this summer.

We kicked the journey into high gear on May 23rd, and we plan to be in Oregon in mid-August.

Along the way we are meeting and greeting, telling lots of stories, pedaling lots of miles, eating lots of food, drinking lots of water, singing lots of songs, playing lots of games, wearing plenty of sunscreen, couchsurfing, camping, exploring, geocaching, and living out our dreams.

We are stoked and pumped to work through thousands of revolutions every day. But really, we just sit on our butts most of the time.

Anyways, this is the blog, and we hope to keep you updated as much as possible. ūüôā

Contact: Comment on here or call 815-200-YEAH (9324).

*NEW* We have a Facebook page with our pictures and videos at facebook.com/daveandval

 

That’s it!

Remember, if you haven’t already viewed the map I worked on, be sure to check it out!¬†

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One thought on “Transitioning from Bike Trip to School

  1. Awesome. Thanks for posting these! I’m super excited to see you both in a week!

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