Monday, August 31, 2015

Day 11- Utah is the prettiest state!

We started our day in Panguitch and headed out towards Bryce Canyon. The Red Canyon is a beautiful ride.  A perfect way to spend Sunday. That is until we started the hill climbs again.  We had passed through Henrieville and saw a cyclist loaded down with gear. So we flagged him down to chat. Adnan is from Pakistan and he started his journey in New York.  He has been on the road 49 days. Of course I asked him if he had lost any weight and he has lost 20 lbs since riding. He has had an incredible journey so far. We loved hearing what to look for since we are traveling the same road backwards. I gave him a bracelet and he is going to follow our blog.
Adnan,  fellow cyclist 
After we met him, we met a lot more mountains and got slower by the minute. David and Don were waiting for us at a lunch spot and kept asking people if they had seen a tandem. The German visitors said, "oh yes, but they are very slow." We did visit with a nice family from Southern Germany and they were spending four weeks in America touring the natonal parks. We hit the Grand Staircase and then a rain storm hit us. It was a race to the finish, Boulder. We were going to camp. But the rains took that idea away. Had the best meal of the trip so far at a small diner called Burr Trail Grill. Excellent burgers, pie and beet salad! Rico was super friendly with good tips of the area.
Day 12- We headed out of Boulder with a huge mountain climb ahead. Luckily, we both felt pretty good. Made it to the summit of The Baldy and felt on top of the world. Then we encountered Roly poly hills the rest of the day. Capital Reef was stunning and Bob even stopped to pick apples and peaches. 
Thought for the day- grind, just grind. None of us have the perfect life. Things happen, life gets in the way sometimes.  The Circles USA initiative is nationwide and Switchpoint embraces the model as a way to help families break out of poverty. This functions best when Allies in middle class are matched up with those in poverty. This creates a network and strength that lifts up these families and helps them grind on. We have seen some amazing individuals in our Circles group who have broken out of poverty because the put one foot in front of the other every day, even when it was hard. They worked through the obstacles and "flat tires" with the help of their Allie and learned the social rules of middle class. I have had 12 days grinding pedal after pedal thinking and thinking. If we as Americans are going to change our poverty and homeless issues, we must show up and allow these individuals and families into our social networking circles. Teach, friend and love them out of poverty. We have seen it happen.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Doing hard things because you love someone

Today was by far the hardest day. We started from Cedar and climbed all day, not kidding. We can say that it was beautiful weather and pretty scenery. We climbed 5908 ft in 58 miles. Brutal day. This ride is dedicated to my sister Anna. She is a monster hill climber and would have loved today's ride. Her wreck got me thinking about poverty and how a family with a weak support system goes hand in hand. I am blessed with a family that supports each other and always has your back. Many families in poverty experience a breakdown like divorce, single parent families,  domestic violence,  or a lack of unconditional love.  Families are the glue to strong communities. Cultures who still take care of their elders seem to exhibit strong ties of respect and support. In poverty, there can be constant let down and broken promises.  One thing about my sister is she attends a lot of family events in a lot of different states. She jumps in her car and travels anywhere to be with family. Perfect example was her and her husband driving 7 hours to ride two brutal days with me. Thank you Anna and John.
Before we left Cedar, I stopped at th e Iron County Care and Share. They have a beautiful clean shelter and I interviewed two residents who expressed great appreciation for the chance to stay there. One guy said it was the best food he has ever had! We are lucky to have such a well run facility in Southern Utah.
Huge shout out to David and Don for sagging for the next couple of weeks. I know it is a huge sacrifice to be away from family that long. We appreciate all the support! Another shout out to April, she doesn't even know us but gave my brother in law a ride from Cedar to Panguitch to get his car. Good Samaritans abound!


Shelter in Cedar

New sag drivers, David and Don
Anna, being picked up by ambulance

Day 9- The good, the bad and the Ugly!

We were so excited to have some family join us on the ride from Milford to St. George! My sister, Anna and her husband John drove down from Idaho Falls to ride with us from Milford to Panguitch. So excited!! We started out and in the first mile Anna got a flat tire. She had run over a goat head. No problem! I found a quarter- bonus. We fixed that right up.Started again. At mile 21 David Dangerfield and his buddy Don, joined us. David rode with us to Cedar. Anna was a beast going uphills. We could not catch her! On the downhills we were able to catch her and David. So proud of Anna for the tough rider she is! She "puts skinny minny's to shame". Then due to time constraints we took a bump to HWY 18 so we could make it to our party. First stop Veyo Pie- we needed sugar because it was so blasted hot! So we bought 2 pies.. Started off again. We started the descent down HWY 18 on the bike path. Anna doesn't like steep downhills, so she got off her bike and walked the first one. As we crossed the bike path onto Bluff, Anna crashed hard. Major road rash and concussion- but no broken bones! We are so sad because she really wanted to ride to Panguitch! She looks like she was in a Rocky movie which is funny because she wanted Eye of the Tiger played on the road.We didn't get her patched up until late so we decided to sleep at home and leave for Panguitch in the morning.

The highlight of the day was seeing my team at the park. I have the best staff! My board is amazing as well. Tim, Jim and David- thanks for manning the booth with your wives. They are passionate and love serving others! Huge thanks to the bike patrol! Loved having you escort us into town. St. George community is an awesome example of how people can come together to solve problems.

Thought for the day- Flies can be so annoying. I think we have carried the same family of flies since Sacramento! Flies are pesky, persistent and pain...why can't we get rid of them? Many of the addictions and bad habits that create poverty are like flies. We swat at them, we try to kill them. But they keep coming around- bringing their cousins with them. The only way to get rid of flies is to ride so fast they can't catch us or use a tool-like a fly swatter. The tools like AA/NA, case managers, education and counseling are like a fly swatter. We can get rid of addiction flies with those fly swatters.
Anna and John enjoying the first 25 miles!

I love my team!!! They are the best!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

If you live in St. George- come see us tomorrow!!

You are invited to join us as we support Carol & Bob Hollowell on their bike journey across America to help break the cycle of homelessness!
When: Friday, August 28th, 2015
Where: Sunset Square, downtown St. George
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Follow them on their journey by visiting:...
See More

Day 8- Just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling!

Today we woke up and the weather was perfect! It was a little chill in the morning but no headwind and not too hot! Best weather day we have had. We had 2 major hills to climb and the Frisco pass kicked our butts! I had to sing the Finding Nemo song to myself...just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling. A helicopter flew over and saw us and the guy waved. He must have thought we were crazy to be riding out in the middle of nowhere.

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It was a very long quiet stretch...in 75 miles only 4 cars passed us. So we started looking for things at the side of the road. Bob has a good eye for tools. So we are now the proud owners of a crescent wrench.
We also passed by the only 3 trees east of Fallon today! They were growing on the side of the road as lonely as can be. We did see some wild horses, cows, lots of antelope and mucho bunnies.

Thought of the day- Like so many things in life- we all want to quit when the going gets rough. I see this every day at work. I see it with myself on a diet or exercise plan, etc. Today was the going gets rough part. Day 8 of riding every day and I will admit quite lonely. I love to be around people and sitting on the back of the bike is not like being at work. We faced some tough climbs on very tired legs today and it took everything we had to push through and keep pedaling. One special person comes to mind-This lady has a disability. She suffers from seizures and has a hard time getting a job because employers are afraid to hire her. She has worked with her case manager for 11 months of turning her life around, becoming independent, getting and staying in housing, etc. Many times she wanted to give up because changing is so hard. But she stuck with it and her life is remarkably different today than it was 11 months ago. She has income, a nice apartment and dignity!

Video of plane passing us yesterday



Frisco Pass


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day 7-Ely to Garrison, UT- Rain, planes and automobiles

Day 7- I can't believe we have been riding for 7 straight days! That is almost 700 miles. We have climbed over 24,700 ft and only had 3 flat tires.The weather was at least cooler as we headed out of Ely. We had passed through Ely 6 years ago this month on a voyage to find ourselves when the depression hit. Another Jimmy Buffett song comes to mind- "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, nothing remains quite the same. We decided on this trip to move to St. George. What a change in attitude came with the southern latitude change. We have met some great people and I love my job!!

Events of the day- 1. One semi wouldn't move over and blew us off the road. As a mental note, Nevada drivers don't like cyclists. 2. I saw 26 dead deers and one dead elk. 3. Choice of beer based on what is on side of road is Coors Light. 4. Highway 50 really is the loneliest road.

As we were climbing the last huge pass, 7 state police passed us and used their loud speaker to tell us a wide load was coming. How odd, right?? So we pulled over and sure enough a truck was hauling a King Air plane down the road. It was crazy! It apparently had an off airport landing.

We finally hit the Utah border and we were trying to beat the storm. We had wind all day and some rain and just as we got to camp, rain, thunder and lightening started. It should be a fun night to watch. I love the thunder storms. I am super proud of Bob for climbing all the hills and mountains. He hasn't complained one time. I have only cried once from fatigue but quickly regrouped.

Today's ride is dedicated to a client of Switchpoint who has never given up. She has been through so much and yet she has overcome her "mountains of despair". "P" has learned so much about herself over the last year, been sober for over 10 months and has a good job. I love "P" new change in attitude. She has found with support and resources she can start a new leaf and become who she wants to be.
At top of a summit was this cool company!

Rain storm that followed us all day

Bob excited for some color in our ride

Finally- 2 states done!!! Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day 6- Eureka to Ely- Winds were not in our favor!

Holy cow!! The winds blew against us all day. Took every ounce of strength to get to Ely. At least it wasn't as hot. The rain started as soon as we got to Ely. We climbed 4 mountain passes today as well. A total of 4400 ft of gain. Man our legs are sore!!
When we got to Ely, I met a man at the park. He was eating by himself and was up for conversation. Baron and I started talking to him and he is actually from Grants Pass, Oregon! What a small world. He moved here 12 years ago. His dentist gave him a great bike with a super fat seat. He even offered to give me his seat! Most people we have met love to visit and have someone pay attention to them.

Today's ride was probably our hardest. It is day 6 of long miles- but the head wind and climbs were the tiring part. Plus with the wind, we couldn't hear the music or ourselves. One thought came to mind. Jim Carey gave a commencement speech in 2014- His quote is "It's better to fail at what you love than to fail at what you don't". Several of the people I have met in the last year at Switchpoint made me think of this today. Some just needed a little support and guidance to try what they always wanted to. Andrea always wanted to be a hairdresser. She has 2 small children and things have been very tough. After she joined our Circles group, she made a goal to apply for Cosmetology school. She was accepted and is in her 2 month. Fear is what kept her from doing what she wanted to do. There are two emotions that drive each of us- fear and love! Do what you love to do! Even if you fear it.
Glen, Ely- 12 years.

His dentist donated him a bike so he let me try it out!

One of the many summits


Monday, August 24, 2015

Day 5- Eureka and man is Nevada hot and boring!

Day 5 - I felt much better. A good night sleep, lots of liquids and a Tylenol PM does wonders. We set out of Austin by 8 am and immediately started a climb. Austin is in the mountains and the only way out is up and over. We ended up crossing 3 passes on our way to Eureka. Hot weather but we stayed well hydrated and made it to Eureka in time for a patty melt. Only mistake today was not enough sunscreen...
Lots of climbing today





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There was a small grocery store and a guy was in his car waiting for the cashier to bring him his groceries. He had a hard time talking because his larynx was gone and he had some mental health issues as well. I walked over to his station wagon and he was so happy to have someone to talk to. His name was tattooed on his arm- www- goes by 3 w. He made gestures and grunt noises but I was able to get the gist of what he was saying. He loved his bracelet and sticker I gave him. He has hitch hiked across the US 2 times.
Welcome to Eureka 
Lesson of the day- 40 days!! Listening to Zac Brown on the long hot ride it occurred to me that 40 days is a long time. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?? "When I was a baby child my daddy said to me, many mountains we must climb before we'll be free. But he never told me about the bruises on my knees. How they would be the map that leads him where we need to be. And oh that storm came down forty days and forty nights". We will have storms along the way- all of us. But the storms don't last forever. Even Noah had a storm for only 40 days. The ride today is dedicated to my friend "Jerry", a former resident at Switchpoint. His storm has lasted him 40 years. He rode his bike all over the country searching for peace and freedom from his chains. I hope he remembers to get on his knees. Jerry motivated me to get on a bike again.

Day 4- Made it to Austin.

I woke up feeling nauseous and had a headache. The heat and no sleep must be getting to me. We decided Baron, the sag, needs to stop every 20 miles so we can get water and food in the desert heat. Because I wasn't feeling good, we had a really late start- 9 am. But Bob highly encouraged me to get on the bike and ride...hard to do a tandem with one person.
We left Fallon and entered the Salt Flats- lots of rock graffitti. Lots of drivers stop and arrange letters out of rocks. This part of the highway is called "the loneliest road". No towns at all for miles and miles. No shade, no water and no wildlife.
Bicycle graffiti- the kind we like

Lesson of the day- It's my job!
Jimmy Buffett has a song that stuck in my mind all day. One verse goes like this- "It's my job to be different than the rest and that's enough reason to go for me. It's my job to be better than the best and that's a tough break for me." I contemplated this for 103 miles of pain, thinking -" why am I doing this"?? The answer came. It's my job. It's my job to make a difference. It's my job to change status quo. It's my job to serve. Then I hung my head down and pedaled out the 12 hour day. Switchpoint is different, The model is working and we need to share. Many of the shelters think they are doing all they can- but what I see is that it takes a lot more work to do it right.
Huge shout out to Baron, Frankie and Mako. Great sag team- the dogs always great us with lots of wags.So we named them the Wag Sag!
By 8 pm, we hit Austin and I bonked big time. Made dinner and was asleep half way through my bowl. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day 2 and 3- Wardrobe and equipment malfunctions

We left Sac town and hopped back on the river trail. When we got to one of our turn offs, I couldn't get out of my clips. So I just left shoes on the bike. :) People have been pretty nice about passing us and giving lots of room. We have been impressed with the California drivers.


 Saw a bunch of wild turkeys and the trail was great. We rode to Placerville where we met up with Baron for lunch. It was a hot day and we knew we had a lot of mountains to climb. Our chain fell off twice and once was when we were hauling down a big hill. As we came back up the other side of the hill, 4 miles/hour I heard a lot of rattling in the leaves. A stinking rattlesnake was hiding in there and could have caught us since we were going so slow.

After 12 hours in the saddle, we finally ran out of daylight as well as getting a flat tire! What a day. We had to call Baron for help. It was a long, steep day with 8000 ft of climbing. I really was thinking that today was Breaking the Spirit instead of Breaking the cycle. Brutal is the word.

Day 3- We rode from Kirkwood to Fallon, NV- 108 miles and it was so cold in the morning,  had to keep stopping to get the blood flowing. Then when we got to Carson, NV, a friend -Chris Barber-we haven't seen in 11 years met us and rode with us to Fallon. Chris is a ultra marathoner and ex pro cyclist. He took it easy on us and gave us lots of tips. So fun to ride behind him and learn from the best.
 By the time we left Carson City, the weather had warmed up significantly. 95 degrees! It was a long day and saddle sores are coming on. In Carson, we met Michael who is growing his beard to win the contest at the state capital. What a character! We are both exhausted and wondering how we are going to do the big climbing tomorrow. One day at a time....
Michael in Carson City- winner of beard display

Burt, who we met on the Nevada/California line!

Early morning arctic ride down Carson pass
We couldn't keep up with Chris Barber

Chris was the master mechanic. 
We saw several food pantries on the ride today. They are all small and run by volunteers to serve the rural communities.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day one of great adventure!

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This has been a perfect day. We left St. George on Tuesday, August 18. Had to stop and say goodbye to our favorite bike shop. Thanks so much to Bicycles Unlimited for all of their support- Mark, Nate and Cindy are awesome! Made it past Beatty, Nevada and camped on side of the road. On Wednesday morning we set compass towards San Francisco and made a great new friend, "Mike on a bike", he was traveling around on his bike and had more duck tape then Walmart! His seat and handle bars were solid tape. LOL. Very friendly and so we loaded him up with granola bars, pears, cliff bars, waters etc.
video

We hit San Francisco during rush hour and it was CRAZY! Not a good spot for a large motorhome. The shelters were full and people were laying in every nook and cranny, even under cardboard in front of restaurants. I will have to say that this was a frightening venture in downtown. So after some clam chowder, we drove to our starting point.

We got up early and dipped our tires in the water and then headed out. The fog was thick so it was a little chilly, which was so nice after all the HOT riding we have endured. The first 20 miles we got lost 3 times but quickly figured out how to read our maps. Baron met us in Winters, Ca for lunch and we saw another tandem. So I struck up conversation and and they asked if they could ride to Davis with us! A fantastic couple, Don and Diana and they had a beautiful bike. They loved our cause and will share it with the Davis riding club. They were great to ride with and showed us the campus and the US Cycling Hall of Fame. New friends!!!

After Davis, we headed to Sacramento and stopped at Loaves and Fishes. There was a couple of hundred people living on the streets because the shelters are all full. One nice guy, another Don, lives outside of town and rides in to collect cans and get supplies. He has been homeless 2.5 years. He came from Minnesota and thinks it is easier to survive in California. Can't blame him.
Winner of most stuff on a bike

Loaves and fishes

Don and Diana, new friends with tandem
Old town Sac

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Radio show last night with "Up Close with Chris Tinney"


 

Up Close: Breaking Cycles: Ride Across America to End the Cylce of Homelessness

August 11, 2015
Hosted by Chris Tinney
[Download MP3] [itunes] [Bookmark Episode]

Guest Information


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Episode Description

On August 20th, Bob and Carol Hollowell will embark on a 3,760-mile, cross-country bike ride across America to raise awareness and funds to help “Break the Cycle” of poverty in America. (BreakingTheCycles.org). They'll be visiting homeless shelters and visiting with the homeless along the way. You're going to love this show."Up Close" with Carol Hollowell and learn about her bike ride across America to help our homeless friends and how she's helping people change their lives in St. George, Utah. Carol is the Executive Director of Switchpoint Community Resource Center (switchpointcrc.com/) that opened in August of last year to help house the homeless and to help them improve their future. Within the three weeks of opening Swtichpoint helped 23 people find employment, nine find housing, and five people reunite with their families.

Two great training days in... only 8 days until we leave.

On Sunday we rode 80 miles with Steve Fulling, a great friend up in South Jordan. We took a beautiful trip around Utah Lake. I had no idea there was so much fertile farm land out there. We passed by peaches, cherries, apples, pumpkins, squash, raspberries etc. Loved the ride! We would have gone farther if we had more time, but we needed to get back home before dark. Steve did get a flat at mile 72, but since we had the great sag driver, Jenny, we were back on the rode in under 5 minutes.
Tuesday we rode with David Dangerfield to Gunlock Reservoir. It was a perfect morning with nice cool temperature and amazing scenery. The best thing about this ride is all of the hills. Now that might sound funny, but hills are perfect for training. 50 miles was all we could squeeze in before work, but they were 50 fast and furious miles. This was the last of our big days before we leave since we have so much to do ...
Last night, I was a guest on "Up Close with Chris Tinney". An amazing radio host who spent 5 years on the road with his wife helping homeless and started a non-profit called Spread Peace. He has some interesting stories and totally gets the spirit of service to others. I really enjoyed talking to him. I will add the link to the blog today.
Going up the hill at Gunlock Reservoir. 

Steve Fulling on our 80 mile ride around Utah Lake


David Dangerfield on yesterday's ride to Gunlock


Flat was fixed in 3 minutes! Way to go Stevie and Bob..