Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Hey that one is called Thor's hammer! That one looks like snoopy! - Jesse. Hey look it's George Washington's head! - Mikey G... and so on.
We only did a moderate loop. The boys biked the first half of the day and they I drove over and caught up with them, so we only had a few hours to hike. We initially wanted to hike the Navajo loop, but that was closed due to rock slide, so we were diverted to the Queen's Garden loop. This was very pretty and very neat and also a very easy loop. We stopped and took a ton of pictures (no one was killed or harmed in the taking of the pictures) and still made it back within two hours.
This is definitely very different from the Grand Canyon experience. I've never done a little loop before. I hadn't even really gone camping before. I suppose this requires explanation. I was in girl scouts and we went "camping" in cabins. Then I went to a campground and had camp food and watched a meteor shower before driving home without sleeping because I had work at 8 am.
Basically before I picked up and went to the Grand Canyon I hadn't been backpacking or camping before. It turns out that I really like camping, which is good to know considering I had better like it on such a long trip.
So this trip I am doing the two and a half month camping trip thing. Basically, I only do long epic camping trips rather than little weekend ones. When I get home I should try out camping for funsies in local forests, like normal people.
Anyway, when you get to the bottom of the loop there are a ton of rock piles from people who have been there before. They're stacked on boulders and trees and the ground and between things. We took video and will post when able.
Well we got out of Bryce and the guys biked the last few miles to Tropica, Utah. Yes there is actually a place called Tropica, Utah. No, it is not Tropical. Jesse had run into a cyclist that owns an inn in Tropica and he let us pitch our tents out in back of his inn.
It was so completely windy. I woke up from a dead sleep and shot into the air grabbing the top of my tent like I thought I was being blown away. Then I blearily looked around and fell back down into a sleep. I rarely wake up once I'm asleep. I'm a champion sleeper. In fact, I come from a long line of champion sleepers. We are so good we should win awards.
The next morning, the boys set out and I set off to find a shower. This was no longer an option. Being in wretched condition is all well and good when you are hiking in back country for a week, but when you are camping outside of towns and then going into them and sitting next to people there is a limit of not showering.
I went to one of the RV campgrounds and bought a 5 dollar shower. Five dollars for as long as I wanted, which translated into a half an hour shower. Money well spent. It was glorious. Each shower on this trip is better than the last. Funnily enough, each bed is more comfy than the last.
I sat in a restaurant and wrote in my notebook, where I'm keeping track of where I've been and who I've met. This little girl kept walking real close to the table and turning around and running back to her seat. Her grandmother finally told me that she's fascinated by journals and keeps a dream journal. It was rather cute. I let her take a look. She looked for two seconds and ran off again.
While I was writing one of the employees at the place was sweeping the floor next to me and told me to put him into my book. His name was Clark, so here he is making an appearance in the closest thing to a book that I'll probably ever write.
When I got to where we were going, after Boulder, UT and up a mountain, I ran into Jesse halfway. He got in the car because his knees were killing him. We passed Mike and he hollered, 'The thing is open!' What thing? The thing on top the car with all our camp gear in it. All of Jesse's stuff had fallen out; we had forgotten it was open this morning when everyone left.
We get to the top of the mountain and run into Pacella and another cyclist. The other cyclist was traveling with his bike full loaded and was heading towards maybe the Great Lakes. He's done college except for his senior project. He just has to write a novel.
We unloaded everything we needed and Jesse took the car back on a search for the missing things. There is no way to find them, it was all sharp turns and cliffs and sheer drops. Not to make the parents worried...
I walked over to the edge and wow. Oh wow. over 9000 ft up and you can see for miles and miles where we'll be heading. We pitched our tents next a bit back in a meadow next to an aspen grove. It was so incredibly beautiful.
It was perfect out. We made some rice and tuna and pb&j sandwiches and shared them with our new friend. Mike German rolled in and has apparently met his match in the other cyclist. We didn't think it was possible. The world is probably imploding as we speak.
Went to sleep and it stayed perfect. I can't even describe waking up on top of a mountain, in a meadow next to an aspen grove with a perfect view. It's just... perfection. It's like the camping people dream about having and never get. The fairy tale camping that shouldn't exist. But it does and it did and we experienced it. I highly recommend coming to Utah. It's beautiful.
Signed from a dream,
Shelly Kessler, Future camping extraordinaire
Sunday, June 27, 2010
So far I have:
Taken a ride on the ghost train, an old fashioned train in Ely, NV that takes you on a scenic tour of the area. I also had a great conversation with the artist in residence in Eureka. She gave me some tips on what to check out including Leman Caves.
Next I hop skipped over to the Great Basin National Park where I went on a tour of the Lehman Caves. These were really neat. The guy giving the tour was a biology major with a summer job. You could tell he loved it. His tour was actually really polished for someone who just started working at the park.
The Caves were neat because they were like works of art. Each room was more decorated than the last with popcorn looking rock formations, stalagmites (you might trip over them), stalactites (they hang tight to the ceiling) and shield formations.
We camped in the middle of no where off the side of the road between Baker and Milford on the Utah side of the state lines (I stopped and took a picture because it was the first state sign I had run into. I didn't see the one between California and Nevada).
Then we went to Cedar City, which was really neat. They were having Groooooovefest. So, I met up with our host, who was exceedingly nice, and went over to check it out. The musicians were really good. It was mostly some combination of Western/American/Rock/Bluegrass depending on the band. I'll post some clips of it whenever I have better wifi than this Subway I'm sitting in.
Some things to note: Lemonade with strawberries is a fantastic idea. Garlic fries are also highly recommended if you get them in a place that does them right. I don't remember ever seeing garlic fries in Maryland.
Plus! And this is important. I found snowballs in Cedar City. Apparently they moved in a few years ago and set up shop. They don't have chocolate and they didn't have marshmallow, so they still have awhile to catch us to the genius that is Maryland snowballs, but they're heading in the right direction. They do however call them shaved ice, or snow cones. Never snowballs.
Also good to note. People don't know what you're talking about when you ask for a fried egg here, but I'm pretty sure they don't always know what I'm talking about in Maryland diners either. They also generally do not know how to make hard boiled eggs in the diners I have stopped in. One diner cracked an egg into boiling water and let it sit for 8 minutes. Some of them just refuse out of practicality. From now on I order scrambled eggs; they seem to be the same everywhere.
When you get toast around here, they butter it for you before you even get it. No option because it goes without saying that of course you would butter your toast. It comes to you pre-melted onto the bread.
Let's see, what else? I got to sleep in the comfiest bed in the world (each bed is comfier than the last). Our host's daughter thoroughly insisted that I take this stuffed moose and give it to Jesse. She told me to give it to the bald one in the white shirt. We have some envelopes. We were planning on taking a picture of it with Jesse in a neat place and mailing it to her like people do with gnomes.
Then I went back to Groovefest for a few hours and got on the road to Panguitch, UT.
On the way there, there are some gorgeous view points where you can see Cedar Breaks (google it). It's really beautiful. While I was up there at 10,000 feet I ran into the nicest couple, Pat and Maria. They're busy traveling America in a RV. They've been all over and they're heading out the same way we're going next. I can't tell you how nice they were. I told them I'd post the picture I took of them on this blog, but that won't happen for another week until we get wifi. So, if you're reading this, check back! I'll post it eventually. I wanted to mention them here just in case it took me as long as I fear it will.
Now this town, Panguitch, is real neat. We decided to arrive in Panguitch on same night with 10,000 other people. There was a Balloon Festival!!! This is super exciting to apparently just me. Pacella and Snuggles (Jesse, =) ) just slept through the balloon launch.
I want to be a hot air balloon pilot when I grow up. I want to hot air balloon around the world in 80 days. I want to get married on a hot air balloon. In fact, if I could live on a hot air balloon, I would.
So... yeah, the guys weren't as excited as me.
ALSO! Quick note before I geek out over hot air balloons. Mike German (who I have been referring to as Papa Bear; Jesse agrees with this assessment) is thoroughly ridiculous as a person. We were trying to convince him to let us stay in a campground with a shower tonight; he of course refused. So we told him we'd each give him 5 dollars (the amount if would have cost us to pay for a camp ground) if he found us a place with electricity and a shower. Originally the deal was inside with electricity and a shower, but we scaled it back to be equivalent to the camp ground we wanted to stay in.
So, he wanders off with that walk of his. It's sort of a duck walk, stalking his prey, assessing the situation. He looks around and zeros in on a likely candidate. Well, what do you know. He found someone willing to let us camp in their backyard and use the electrical outlet outside their house. This was rather easy because it was a festival and there were a million people to ask. They already had other family from Salt Lake camping in their backyard. He did not find us a shower, they had too many people in their house as it was, so no fives for him.
That hot air balloon festival was awesome. They had all the hot air balloons line main street and they inflated them and lit them up in the night. It was really neat. They also had live music and lots of people milling about.
The next morning at 6:30 they had a hot air balloon launch; 35 hot air balloons taking off into the air at once. I got up to see it, and Mike G. stumbled out of bed to check it out. The other guys stayed in bed. Mike wanted us to walk over because he thought there wouldn't be parking. It ended up taking us a half hour to get over there (p.s. there was parking), I ended up losing him at some point as we got there.
The hot air balloon launch was not a disappointment. It was really great. They had a smokey the bear balloon and lots of brightly colored ones from all over. I want to reiterate my inexhaustible love for hot air balloons and my burning desire to be a hot air balloon pilot. New goal for this trip: ride a hot air balloon. This trip just wouldn't be complete without a hot air balloon ride. I'll see you later boys! I'm flying back to Maryland in style.
Mike G. was not as impressed as me with the hot air balloons. He said he would have preferred extra sleep. My enthusiasm will just have to sustain both of us.
Now we are headed towards Bryce Canyon. You will probably not get any more video updates for awhile because it looks like I will be using Subway free wifis for the next few days at least, unless Papa Bear ups the ante and finds us a free place with a shower, electricity and wifi.
We're going to take a rest day, basically they're only riding for 25 miles today, and check out Bryce Canyon. Then we're off to Escalante, UT for more adventure.
If what I have seen so far is true, Utah is full of festivals. It is the season for them.
Signed most extravagantly,
One Shelly Kessler, Future Hot Air Balloonist
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The boys left late in the morning because it does not get that hot in this area yet. I stuck around, used the internet planned the next few days. I'm going to take the ghost train (an old steam train) aaaaand I'm going to go take a tour of lehman caves.
So I get going late and pass Mike and Jesse. I get to Ely and Mike Pacella is waiting. We find the church and the pastor lets us in. Everything is great, we have another place to stay.
So we're waiting for Mike and Jesse to show up and get a call. 'Hey is the place giving us food?' No Mike, no food this time. 'Oh well great we found some people who are gonna give us burgers'.
So Pacella and I set out to go find some much talked about biscuits and gravy, but before we get there we get a call from Papa Bear again. 'Hey, ya'll should come over. There's free food by the sign that says economy drugs and toys!'
So we stop by to assess the situation. They're having a cookout with lots of good food. Awesome. We grab a plate sit down and our hosts point and say, 'that's the mayor, the one in the red'. It was a 70s themed cookout. They had good music, good food and good people.
We're so cool we roll into Ely and have dinner with the mayor and the chamber of commerce. They took our picture and they're putting us into their newsletter. Hopefully we get some donations, but if not, that was pretty awesome all the same. If one of you are reading this because you're checking out our blog, Hi! Thank you so much!
Like I said before. They've been nothing but nice.
Signed most famously,
One Shelly Kessler, Imfamous cookout crasher
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Basically what has happened is this:
Mike German's Achilles tendon was acting up just outside of Fallon (Day 5). Consequentially he wrapped up his ankle and took the day off while the other two biked to Austin, NV. We were supposed to go to a campground between Fallon and Austin, but we sped up the time line. Instead of biking from Fallon to Eureka in 4 days we did it in two. This was so that Mike P. could fly out of Elko (about 100 miles away from Eureka) and return without missing any days of biking; we would only be about one day behind schedule instead of 3, which actually makes us right on schedule. Mike built in rest days, bless him.
During Mike's day of not biking we found a place to stay in Eureka with the local church. We also went to see the much talked about and recommended Berlin-Ichthyosaur state park, which I was super excited about and Mike was being tolerant about. Basically Berlin and the surrounding area used to be covered by water... sooooo they have water dinosaurs. Super exciting, right? Not to mention I'm trying to hit every dinosaur and quirky thing from here to Baltimore. Sooooo we get there and the little place with the fossils in it is closed, but you can look through the window. Mike was, um... well. It'll be good when he can start cycling again. It's hard to switch from cyclist mode to road trip mode. One is about exercise and going going going. The other is about seeing every quirky thing from here to Baltimore.
So we get there and turn right back around and go back. Keep in mind that to get there it took about 59 miles on a dirt road. The bikes got very dirty. This was OK because later on that night we camped off a dirt road making all the bikes even dirtier.
So, we roll into Austin, which has the International Cafe. A place where you can apparently get homemade pie. All the motels in town were booked, and Mike wouldn't consent to stay in one even if they weren't. So, we set off to find some hot springs that we had been hearing about. We didn't find them and it was getting progressively darker, so up a hill on a road we should never have been driving on we pitched our tents and got some sleep. Luckily it did not rain. Really this was a pretty amazing experience because there were actually no sounds. Normally when you camp you hear the people in the campground next to yours, or some animal rustling through your campground or something. This had nothing. It's the desert, there are no large predators. There are barely lizards. There was a bee that was particularly annoying in it's buzzing come 4 am. Other than that and a donkey off in the distance, nothing.
This Dunalk girl is entirely not used to no noise. You mean to tell me there are no trains going by? No sirens? No loud party next door or an argument on the street? No nothing? This exists?
The next day in Austin we got going late because the boys had to clean off their bikes having gotten them entirely dirty from all the dirt road driving that had been going on the night before.
Mike P. and Jesse got going before the parade started. Did I mention there was a parade in Austin? Someone who had a lot to do with the city, well it was his day. So they had the people who were running for sheriff go by. They had a little kid in a stroller made to look like a buggy. They had a girl on a horse that was labeled the pony express. They had a guy carrying an American flag, a guy next to him firing off his gun and finally the LDS sang a song about something that I'm imagining has to do with being from Nevada and a pioneer westward type. Mike G. was thrilled.
We got going and I dropped Mike G. on the flat part of the trail so that he could bike and I could drive and everyone could be happy. He wanted to try to work out his tendon without killing it.
So we arrived at the church about 12 miles from the town of Eureka. The people there are so so nice. We showed up and there was a casserole, bread, butter, coleslaw, and desert cake just waiting for us. So after catching up on some stuff, I went back to make sure the boys weren't dead in the desert. By the time I got back Mike P. had already arrived and we dug into the casserole. Delicious. Oh man.
Jesse rolled in not too long afterwards. We ate, I napped and Mike P. and I rolled out for Elko.
Oh man oh man oh man. Elko. The town, I don't like so much. I've never been much of a city girl anyway. But the house I am staying in. Oh my goodness oh my goodness.
The walls are straw bale with clay on top. The house is facing such a way that they get heat from the sun in the winter and shade in the summer. They have solar panels and a back up system powered by a kerosene tank. They designed and built it themselves. It is beautiful. Last year when I was ranting about cob houses and building and the like, this is what I was talking about.
They have a shower outside!!! This is the sort of thing you get arrested over in Baltimore. You can shower and look at the mountains and smell the flowers and it's amazing. You can shower outside because they're on top of a foothill, away from the city and have 40 acres. This means that even if someone did come up the road, they won't be coming up the driveway, so people are too far away to see you. Not that many people live over here to begin with. Like I said, it's an amazing place.
So I dropped Mike P. off in the morning and off he went. He is presenting at a conference about his research from his time as a TA. Something to do with teaching more sustainability in classes I think? He said his presentation went great and he met lots of people in the industry and the trip was completely worth it.
While here I finished reading 1984 and am appropriately devastated by the ending. I also picked up a new sleeping bag. I got cold in the other one while camping in the Desert of Austin, so I was a little concerned about the Rockies. This new one is ridiculous and had better keep me warm.
I pick Pacella up tonight and we drive back to Eureka so that the boys can get going in the morning. I feel this blog is even more uninteresting than the last, but that can't be helped because I'm on vacation and have stopped thinking. Perhaps the next one will be better. (The next one potentially being in Colorado because I'm not entirely sure we're going to be doing anything but camping in Utah.
Signed most wholeheartedly,
Shelly Kessler, solo adventurer
I am looking forward to the next week because we will be in the middle of nowhere Utah.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
He was really cool and made us a really good dinner. Great conversation and wine and food and a good place to sleep. We were happy people indeed.
So I woke up this morning and spent the whole time uploading videos that take forever to upload just to make you all happy. I might have thrown down about dishes at some point...right as I was meeting our new hosts... It might have carried over into video format... I don't think I'll be doing dishes anymore.
Sooooo I was on the road to Fallon, NV because I got a call from Mike Pacella that we were staying in a palace. They have a pool, cows, pool table, lots of couches, food left over from yesterday's party and an amazing view. I figured I'd get right over there and check it out, but on the way I passed the twice recommending Virginia City and thought I'd check it out.
At a gas station, before this awesome decision, I got a call from a pastor in Ely (which I keep pronouncing wrong... I bet you're pronouncing it wrong in your head right now... Ely... Yup that's wrong... Ely... stop it.)
So looks like we get to crash at a church in Ely. Sometimes life works out. Anyway I get the call from him and I couldn't hear him at all because I was right by the highway. Hopefully I wasn't too irritating trying to sound coherent.
So on the road I see the sign for Virginia City and one U turn later, I am on the road to adventure. It was cool, it had a lot of the old buildings and board walks still intact. I took the three dollar tour of the museum in town which was neat because it had things like old phones and old mine carts and old everything.
I was going to take the 5 dollar tour of the town on a trolley, but not enough people were around for the last tour of the day for it to happen. While I waited I ran into some people who had a son who had gone on a mission trip to somewhere in Africa; he worked at an orphanage and the town he lived in lost their well. He fund raised the money in his own church to fix it, so me and his father and a nice chat about why water is so important and how it's going to be the thing we start wars over for the 21st century.
On the way back I saw a Dinosaur!!!! T-rex to be exact. Made out of scrap metal on the side of the road. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of it, so I can't prove that it's there. This is like trying to prove that you saw a banana shaving it's legs in the shower (shout out to Jim Thomas who will never read this), so you'll have to decide for yourselves if you believe me or not.
Coincidentally the guy we stayed with (Mike) that reminded me remarkably of Jake Jensen worked for the City and surveyed wells and things. Apparently when it comes to water it all comes down to how long you've been on the land. There are people in Carson City who get first rights to the water because their grandparent's grandparents or something or another lived there, so the water is bought from them... or something. I'm a real details girl.
So food, has been amazing. Mike G. bought something like 40 lbs of rice and 180 cans of tuna... and about the equivalent in oatmeal and peanut butter and jelly. So I was rather frightened, but turns out Mike is also really good at finding extra food to supplement this rather awful diet. THe guy in Carson City made us some awesome chicken and something or another deliciousness. We just rolled into Fallon and they people here are very very nice. They had a party yesterday and so we've been eating all of their leftovers. Basically Mike sort of pokes around until he gets an offer of food and we hop onto the mooch bandwagon.
This may be the last post for awhile because we're about to enter the middle of nowhere Nevada (It's Nevahhhda) and then the middle of nowhere Utah, where apparently there are some of the most beautiful dark sky parks you will ever find. Dark Sky parks just mean that there are conservatories around them and they have some of the darkest skies in the world for viewing stars. Things will pick back up in Colorado when we're not camping.
Mike G. is wandering around like a bear man. He's tried two different couches and is still too warm. He's just wandered off into the desert... or rather the patio on the desert to find cool air... now the basement. Maybe I'll just sit here and blog about his crazy movements as they happen like that English assignment that everyone gets. You know, the one where you're supposed to sit in a place like a cafe and write down everything that happens around you. Only mine will be the Mike German experience. Here he comes again. His Achilles tendon has been hurting him. He's hobbling around like an old bear man. Here he comes with a sleeping bag, who wants to bet that he's going outside? Oh no... the dining room.... oh! and the surprise by the balcony door decision. I did not see that one coming. He grabs a pillow and an extra blanket and he is outta here.
So, it's been great so far... Donna, the woman we're staying with gave me a drink because I have to travel with three boys and some great food. She also asked me if I was dating Mike German. This is because I rolled into her drive way, called Mike and started yelling at him on the phone and in person as I got out of the car about dishes left in a sink in Carson City... I may have over reacted just a tad, but hey sometimes a girl just has to throw down about dishes; all the girls from Antietam can back me up on this one. This was about the last four years; poor Mike and Jesse were just the straws that broke the she-demon's back. A shout out to Mike Pacella for being completely self sufficient and good at doing dishes. I've never seen the like before. I probably shouldn't put my crazy on the internet. Oh well. Deal with it.
Soooo yea. The next few days will be interesting. We're coordinating a drop off of Mike P. in Elko to catch a plane for a conference where he's presenting. I will be driving up to Elko to stay with the nice people the boys stayed with on the way out to San Fran. Then I will pick up Mike P. and head down to Eureka, Kansas where the other boys will be waiting for us so that we can pick back up again. If you have never tried to fly out of the middle of nowhere Nevada, I wouldn't recommend it. It is at least 3 planes and 1000 dollars. This is why I'm not making it to my brother's wedding party.
So far we are nearly ahead of schedule. It looks like they're going to cut out the middle between Austin, Nevada and here and just go straight to Austin. I'm not entirely sure why but, when Chem E's start to plan something, you just let them do crazy mathematical figure 8s and acrobatics until you can figure out what the heck they're trying to do, so you can suggest something obvious.
Actually now that I think about it the next time I'll probably be able to update is in Elko... maybe. Who knows. That's why this is an adventure.
Signed Most Irrevocably,
One Shelly Kessler, She-Demon
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
When we got back our host was cleaning her house and offered a bike tour of UC Davis. Now that was really interesting. First of all, it turns out that UC Davis allows communes to exist on their campus. As in kids living in domes or old houses with land to grow vegetables and to raise chickens. Second of all even without the hippie commune people, UC Davis grows its own olives and makes its own olive oil, which you can buy and third of all there are frozen yogurt places all over which we needed after biking in the heat in Davis. I'm not entirely sure how the boys are not passing out on their bikes, but I suppose that is why I am their support car driver and they are the cyclists.
I nearly crashed the bike that our hosts let me borrow anyway. It didn't have grips, so after putting on suntan lotion holding on was a problem and it barely had breaks, which in traffic was a problem, and it made this really interesting continuous squeaking noise, which wasn't anything but worrisome. Also, I was way way too short for that bike. Talk about immediate bruising. Soooo basically I'm a big sissy and should stay away from biking. It's a good thing I'm on a trip called BAAM. Turns out in Davis I am also exceptionally clumsy. I managed to knock over bikes and drop things and bang into things. I mean I'm uncoordinated, but I'm not normally that bad.
Also, I had to attempt to parallel park. I have not parallel parked since i took my drivers test. The other couchsurfer was laughing pretty hard while he watched me try to do it. Not only was it parallel parking, but it was parallel parking with spikes sticking off the back of the car.
Davis is pretty much the biking capital of the world. Everyone there bikes. They told me that they have more bikes per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. and they were beaten only by one foeign country and I forget which. I could actually believe it. The place we stayed had at least 8 bikes. Driving around there were bike racks everywhere and bike shops. The city's symbol was a bike with a huge wheel. There are bike lanes and traffic signals and paths. It was all very pretty.
I called this post the sleeping situation because sleeping is funny. We show up at a place we don't know and have never seen and get some sort of sleeping arrangement. At our other place we had two couches a floor and a backyard, no air conditioning. At this place we had a big community room floor to put our sleeping bags on, air conditioning and free reign in the kitchen (church kitchens always seem to be well stocked).
At this place, which has treated us so so well, they didn't want me to sleep on the same floor as the boys. Every place we go to will have new accommodations and expectations, you have to be very flexible when you are living off the kindness of strangers. This one was exceptionally funny to me because... well... they're stinky so it's not like I'm going near them anyway. Also they biked all day and are probably sore all over, so we get to the new place the boys eat all the food they can mooch (OK, I do too) or that we can make, and then they wander around blearily in bikers shorts until they pass out on a sleeping mat sometimes still stinky.
Then they wake up in the morning and go go go. You would think this would be boring for me, but I get to hang around the places we've been with our exceptionally nice hosts and I eat food that Mike German didn't buy and I sleep in til 10 am. So far, I am definitely very relaxed. Soon I shall rustle up a dinosaur museum to visit.
So in conclusion... sleeping at churches means that you are well fed and treated very nicely in air conditioning in clean locations. Also really funny things come up like the issue of girls sleeping at minimum 7 feet from very stinky boys. This is something I can live with. They've all been nothing but nice.
Signed most extravagantly,
One Shelly Kessler
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The day has finally come for us to depart on BAAM! I have been dreaming and planning this trip since Urbana, which ended New Year’s Day. Some of my great ideas pre-trip totally fell through because of lack of time and last minute everything. That’s okay I guess I knew something like that would happen.
I pride myself on being confident and comfortable in any situation. In my mind, I can go anywhere and talk to anybody about what I want. I’m a pretty carefree and laid back person, and this is pretty much true. This likely was kindled by student council staff training, leadership workshops, etc. Even though I left with a bad feeling from unethical practices and minimal, tangible results outside the organization (exceptions being SMOBs, volunteer work, and legislative days), these were very important formative years for myself (and probably many others involved). But, I still overanalyze many things and think too much on trivial matters.
Last week, I got real nervous about this trip. I had to buy a million things, we didn’t have housing planned out for ~50 nights, I didn’t have directions printed, I hadn’t advertised much, I had no idea what we were going to do when we went to speak at different churches, etc. I still don’t have half of these things done! Some I’ll finish today, others not a chance. Heck, my original plan was to visit a bunch of VBS camp kids and do planned activities with them on water, to educate the children, who would educate the parents, who would give us money. HA I haven’t even come close to that level of organization. Now, I don’t even know how to raise money. But, I’ve found that by virtue of stating we care enough about international water issues and individuals who need clean water in Zambia to bike across the country that people will give us money along the way. We’ll also talk with them a bit and show them the documentary FLOW.
But, that’s okay, I have peace in God’s plan for this Summer.
The main problem in trip planning was me being frugal. I thought I could design up a route myself using Google Maps. You can get directions no problem, just plug in location A, B, C, etc, click no highway and no tolls, and BAAM! you might be on your way. But that idea was stupid, Rt 40 isn’t a highway, but I don’t want to bike on that road! So I caved and dropped $160 on maps. But that was ~1 month ago. Without a route you ain’t got nothing, no places to stay, no people to talk to, no sites to see, etc. So, note to self: DON’T BE FRUGAL/LAZY DURING EARLY STAGES OF PLANNING BIG STUFF. Also, thank you Adventure Cycling Association for making really sweet maps and routes, I highly recommend them for any long distance touring plans.
I think that’s all for now, I guess this is a decent first blog post. If you find yourself for any reason feeling bored this Summer, well I have about 10 things I can give you to do :P. Call me at any point this summer, for the sanity of BAAM! and yourself! 443-255-5103