Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ode to Aqua

Oh precious water
How I do love thee
In mid summers day
From blazing heat you do protect me

How precious is your clear liquid self
As it Cascades right into my mouth,
 I wipe your brethren, Sweat, from my brow
As I bike near the cow

Oh precious water
You quench my thirst
As we pedal through 
fifteen mile Raging Hot Valley's curse
And 106 degree dessert
We have survived.

Riding into Tonapah we thought that we had hit our hardest hottest day.   Boy are we wrong.  The past three days have all reached into the triple digits.  Yea baby! To avoid any overheating we have gotten   into a routine of waking up at 4:30ish and starting our ride by 6ish.  Even though it's a little hard the lower temperatures are so worth it!  

Thursday we biked until 1130 or so and stopped off at Warm Springs.  Warm Springs was a bar with a spring fed pool and our water refill spot.  I say was because it was no longer a bar and we weren't able to fill up our water there uh oh...  At least the spring was pretty sweet and we got to make friends with a snake.  Ten miles down the road we found the only trees(living thing) for ten miles.  Can you say three hour sweaty lunch break next to some pretty old cow pies.

Our lunch break ended around 6 with us nearly out of water.  Little did we know that literally half a mile down the road there was a place with a mechanical engineer pilot ceramics and glass blowing artist farmer named Anne who happened to have the day off.  Needless to say we were super thankful for the water and cokes she gave us.  From there we headed towards Rachel.

On our way to Rachel,about thirty miles out,  we stopped off and camped in a thorn bush field to camp for the night.  That night was probably one of the most beautiful nights to date.  We saw shooting stars, satellites, and stars galore.  It was awesome.  

The next morning I woke up somewhat dazed.  Someone's alam had gone off and I really don't remember much more than that other than the sunrise.  I love sunrises the red and orange hues spread out in the sky.  At 430 in the morning everything is still in a slumber and so the world is totally peaceful.  I love it.  We bike about 20miles before hitting the Little A -Le-Inn a bar/inn at Rachel.  Too our detriment we stayed there talking eating delicious hamburgesas and drinking lots of water until probably 1130.  Not good...  Well it was nice but NOT smart.   From the inn we bike up a mountain and down into a fifteen mile valley which honestly got to be 106 degrees.  That was hot.  After what seemed to be long enough to cook us into brownies we climbed a steep and still really hot mountain.  We also had two cars stop and ask if we needed water which we gratefully accepted.  

After surviving (and I might add dominating) the mountain we stopped at the first  shade we could find, a tree.  After resting for several hours we rode down into the Ash Spring valley replenished our nonexistent food supply and headed to bed.  I slept like a baby last night.  It felt so good after what was probably one of the dumber days we've had so far.  Word to the wise don't bike in weather that potentially could come close to a record high.  It's just not a good idea.... At least that's what we found out yesterday. 

Today was a different story.  We were up mostly on time.  And we're on he rode almost on time.  And we are in an air conditioned laundromat definitely on time.  Experience is such a good teacher.  In all seriousness though I can't tell you how thankful I am to be on this crazy adventure.  

Although many times it has been taxing and exhausting, I have learned so much.  Two main lessons that i have been experiencing are giving and  the importance of time with the Lord.  The first, giving, it's incredible how much an hour of your time or $10 or even a bottle of water can totally turn someone's day around.  I feel like this is all that Jesus meant when he said the greatest commandment is to love others.  Love them where they are at and fill their needs as you can.  This takes me to the second thing that I am re-learning.  The second greatest commandment is to love others, and the greatest is to love God.  How do you do this?  Spend time with Him.  He cherishes each and every moment with you.  Read scripture and meditate on (think about) it.  He wants you to know the truth and to tell you who you are in him.  And lastly He wants you to take what you have and to fulfill the second commandment with it.  Love others.  Before this trip I feel like I have gotten away from both of these commandments.  Slowly but surely I am remembering or re-learning how good and enjoyable time with my God is when you give him the time of day.  He has shown me so much of where I have fallen short.   He has not done it in judgement, but in love.  He wants only the best for his kids and draws me away from that which kills  and he draws me into that...or rather Him who gives life.  Jesus.
I want to thank you guys for all of your help and support.  It's truly been a blast so far, and we still have 2/3's of the trip left to pedal!  Woohoo!
-Paulie G

Thursday, June 27, 2013



This will be shortened version of what I just typed up. I had a blog ready, but then I accidentally deleted it, but here is what I said as closely as I can remember it.

 Well after yesterday's big day, we woke up around 5 and we on the roads by 6. We road for about 7.5 hours with about 1.5 hours of total stoping in there.we got to a town called tonopah by about 1:30. We stopped for lunch at subway and ate a LOT of food, then went to a "park" and slept/rested. I say "park" because it was really just 3 tables, one of them in the shade, on gravel. But it was good enough for us. So over the next 4 hours, I fixed my spoke that I had broken about 2 miles before we stopped, trued up my wheel, rotated my tires, and replaced a tube. I don't even know why it took so long to fixe everything, but as I fixed things, something would happen to cause the repair to take longer. But while I fixes my bike, Paul and Dave went out to get groceries and came back with a hotel room. I'll take that! Because we went through some of our hardest biking today. The heat, headwind, hills, sun, and length of time in those conditions really wiped us out! It got up to about 90 today, was sunny all day, wind was against us most of the time, and we climbed about 2000 ft today. So all in all, hard, but satisfying.

I do want to say thank you again to everyone that is praying for us, we really appreciate, and need those prayers, and man o man are they being answered. We are seeing such amazing beauty, meeting such incredible people, we are all in good health, we are having a great time together, and God's beauty is awe inspiring. Even here in the desert of Nevada, it's so different from Greenville, it's very cool and we never tire of thanking God for the blessings he has poured out on us. From conversations to nature to donations, people's generosity blows us away! For instance we met a couple who stopped us while we were biking to fill up our water! Which was awesome because we biked all 70 miles today with no towns in between and no chance to fill up water.

All in all, we are so blessed to be on the trip

And I am going to go to bed so that I can, assuming I'm given tomorrow, wake up and enjoy all the beauty, people, and whatever else God gives us. From the teaching and stretching moments to the beauty, God has been good to us

Alright goodnight everyone, enjoy your rest, I know I will!

-Tommy G

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

100 and 1000. Big milestone!

Paul was able to give a brief overview of the past couple of days and I will fill in what happened for the rest of today....

Nevada. Lots of road, semi's, heat, and we are surrounded by dirt hills. We keep lucking out, the road we are taking (highway 95) continues to go around the hills. Yes please! 

We have looked ahead a little bit and see that we will go over some more passes once we hit the Rockies.  One of these passes being Monarch pass which is over 11,000 feet in elevation. So we will take the flatter road while we can!

After our fill of sodium at Mc. Donald's we fixed up our bikes a bit, and rested in the shade. We had been up since 4:45 and on the road by 6-6:30ish this morning to beat the heat, wind, and escape some traffic. 
Things are clicking for us. We are more confident in our mechanical abilities, we are able to set up/tear down/pack up much faster, and we are getting stronger.
Today was another milestone in our journey that showed just that....

We are officially over 1000 miles into the bike trip! On top of that today marked our first day of triple digits in mileage. 

100.1 miles! When we got to Mina our distance read 97.57 miles. Obviously we can't leave it at that, so we rode our bike up and down the road till we got it haha.

Tomorrow, we have similar goals and looking for an early start again. God has increased fellowship, joy, and peace on our trip between the three of us. We have all had to press into The Lord when stressed, annoyed, exhausted, and when we have no idea where home will be for the night. He provides everything we need. It's been a cool process/journey so far and looking forward to sharing more of how The Lord has been at work here with us.

Congrats to: Paul for getting a job at blueridge high school!
My parents and their 25th anniversary!
And LeBron James. Go heat!
Ok maybe that one shouldn't have been last, but still. Congrats!

Love you guys, thanks for reading and keeping up with us a bit. Means a lot!

New stats of the trip...

Highest elevation: 9950ish(tioga pass)

Fastest MPH: 50.2 (Thomas...yeah he didn't draft off me this time, well done)

Most Mileage in one day: 100.1

Butterfly casualties: 3...they flew into me I swear
Most distinct tan line: Tommy

Most random place we have slept: on the edge of someone's farm between shrubbery(we were spotted but he apparently didn't care)

Bears seen: 0...but Paul snores like one.

That is all for now. 

Most days without a shower: 4!
Here is proof...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nevahda not Nevada

Yesterday we we (finally) able to take Tom's bike to the bike shop.  Afer saying our good byes to the Strattons we headed to the Bike Smith.  The shop fixed David's, Tom's, and my bikes no charge except for the cost of the parts.  It was awesome!  We left Carson City about two o'clock, and ended up making it about 50 miles down the road to Wabuska, a town with a population of 5.  Woohoo way to go Wabuska! Five miles later we found a hidden little area on the edge of a farm and decided to crash there for the night.  
A bit of an awkward moment arose when one of the locals drove by us.  We thought for sure that we were cauht and going to be kicked out of the sleeping area we had just set up.   to our surprise he didn't say a word just waved and kept on driving.

This morning we woke up at the wee hours of the morning.  At 415 a motor of sorts turned on, and although we never figured out what it was we did need to head out early to avoid the heat.  Therefore, by 630 we rolled out of a gas station about a mile down the road and headed on our way.

65 miles later we are currently at a McDonalds.  We biked through headwind, very little relative heat, and wished our parents a happy 25 th anniversary.  Now it's time for a nap so that we can avoid some or the heat of he day.  Yay dessert with Sierra  mountains in the background for giving us an excuse to nap!  Goodnight all

Also I want to give a shout out to Donald Strachen for his route to cedar city which is saving us a ton!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grace community church


Well today has been great! We woke up on topaz lake in topaz CA, we casually woke up and were on the road by 10 after paul fixed a flat he got from a thorn bush. And after about 1 mile, we hit the Nevada state line. That was quick! So we snapped a few pics and kept on moving. We got some bottled water at the next gas station, we heard the water isn't great around here, but filled up and were fine. Our whole goal of the day was to make it to grace community church by 1:15, when their afternoon service started. 12:15 if we could, because their website advertised a lunch social. And we can't pass up free, home cooked food! So we biked, a few hills, some wind, nothin bad. We did stop about 9 miles from church and picked up Dave's birthday gift, he wanted to get a pipe on the trip and so we stopped, picked up 2 pipes and some tobacco, and went to church, haha.

We got to the church around 12:30 and there was still food left. So we ate and enjoyed the meal, but after a few minutes we began to meet people. They just came up and started talking, and then they would introduce us to someone else, and the conversation continued. We met so many people and they were all so nice and genuine, all were ready to talk or help in anyway they could, it was so cool. It was cool to see the body of Christ so welcoming. We are currently in the home of Don and Charlotte Stratton. We were complete strangers and they welcomed us right in, gave us a meal, washed our clothes, and  have been an absolute blast to talk with. we have enjoyed their company, and generosity. We also met Luke, a sophomore at cedarville university, and his family. He is interested in doing a similar trip, except from New York to San Fran. It was a lot of fun to share our limited knowledge if biking and touring with them. and Luke, we are excited for you! It'll be a heck of a trip!

But after a good sermon on psalm 15 and the "ideal man" we went on our way to the straton's. on the way, another Don, Don Strakon took Paul to the grocery store while Dave and I kept biking. When Paul and Don got back, Don showed us a route for us to take to get to Zion national park. So it looks like we will be on highway 6 and get to pass right by Area 51, that'll be cool!

We enjoyed dinner and conversation with the Straton's. and I also got some great info on a laptop for college, they own a company that builds custom laptops, so I think I know where I'm buying my next laptop! Their website is if you are interested. Other than that, we are headed to Carson city tomorrow to fix my broken spoke (finally!) and get all our bike needs for the next few weeks, as it looks like there's not another bike shop for a while.

And just to sum up, God has been answering prayers this whole trip, including safety and places to stay, unity between the three of us, and so much more! It has been amazing to see generosity from people that take just a moment to stop and talk. We have enjoyed sharing our story with people and spreading awareness about usher's syndrome the foundation fighting blindness, but we really enjoy talking with people beyond that and hearing their stories as well! They are so cool to hear. And lastly, we are loving all the beauty in creation, everyday is different, and everyday is incredible, and everyday is an adventure! 

Thanks again for all the prayers and support y'all are giving, they have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated or unanswered. 

And with that, goodnight everyone!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

8000 to 5000

Day 16 of the trip. Time is flying by, and the beauty of California hasn't ceased to amaze us. Today will be our last day in California, cause in about a mile we will hit Nevada. 

Here is the general route we have taken thus far...
We have logged a little over 800 miles! We have decided against the Death Valley route(going south) and have also decided because of our time frame we will have to miss the Grand Canyon. But we are still going to hit Zion! Super pumped for the days to come.

Today started off perfect. Food. Lots and lots of food! We went to Nicely's diner in Lee vining. I hope this picture captures what I am talking about....

French toast, waffles, hash browns, toast, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and a  giant cinnamon roll! So many carbs. We cherished every morsel(until we had to get on the bike, haha) but still it was great. We ran into a guy there who biked around in Jerusalem for an extended period of time. What?! I'm telling you, we are meeting some interesting people. 

Very scenic again today. And all of the landscapes have been different throughout california. Coastline, to farmland, to redwood forest, to the Sierras.

After we gorged ourselves for breakfast we sllllloooowwwwly climbed 1000-1500 ft. This was the first of only two climbs of today. We descended the rest, going from our highest point of 8000ish ft-5000 ft! Twas a great day.

After our second climb, we met another biker touring, going the opposite direction. Stopped and talked with Chris for a second and found out he is from NC and might be in charleston SC the same time we are, small world. He had just ascended the 3000+ ft we were fixin to descend and is goin up tioga pAss in the next couple of of luck to ya brother.

About to call it a day, but we realized we had to fill up water. Ran into a guy named Red. This guy is awesome, he had just recently come from Alaska and Puerto Rico  to california serving as coast guard. so cool! well we asked him a place to fill up. He started to tell us how the area's water was not safe and had arsenic in it. Say what? Another testament to the Lords protection over us. 

We are truly blessed to be on this trip. It has flown by so far and is a little hard to process all that goes on in a day. But we are loving it. 

Also, we have raised over $1000 for the fighting blindness foundation!! I can't thank you guys enough for your support. It means a lot for me and my family! 

I am heading in for the night. Within the next couple days Tom won't have to ride on a broken spoke any more, we will be crossing from California into Nevada, and   Have an outside chance of riding over 1,000 miles for our trip!

Our view tonight on topaz lake...
We feel small and humbled going across these areas. A beautiful creator we have.

Joy and peace,

Spokes, tubes, and tioga

How do you begin a blog post about Yosemite?  Neither words nor pictures can capture the beauty that we were able to see these past two and a half days.  We started of our Yosemite adventure in a small town roughly thirty miles from Yosemite.  It was pretty day with an early morning ascend of about three or four hundred feet.  The climb itself soon turned into an awesome descent.  We probably got up to speeds of about 30 or 35mph!   About two thirds into the descend I was riding behind Tom and all off the sudden I heard a pop.  Toms spoke had snapped mid-descend.  There really was nothing we could do sows wrapped it around another spoke and kept going.  About another mile later David's popped.  This Yosemite adventure wasn't really starting off so hot.  Our luck however soon changed as we approached the Yosemite sign.  After climbing close to a thousand feet on a broken spoke.  Joann and Ruby, who work at the park, drove by and picked up Tom so that he could go the Yosemite Valley in order to fix his spoke.  Tom got a free ride into the valley. 

Dave and I decided to bike into the park.  Along the way we got to see views like the picture above, clear pristine streams, and a good many signs about bears.  It was a tough climb but absolutely gorgeous and absolutely worth it!

We arrived in the valley and set up camp in the north pines hiker biker camp site.  Behind us was a stream clear as can be along with a perfect view of Half Dome. Which if you've never seen it before is the blueish mountain the the picture below.
The only difference is that we were probably several miles closer and it was sever times bigger than the picture shows.  In the valley we were literally surrounded by mountains like that on every side.  

At the hiker biker site we also met a dude named Per.  He was incredibly helpful and a lot of fun to talk with.  He has done some bike touring in Europe, South America, Canada, and is currently touring the States.  He gave us some tips on touring, bikes, and shared some of his food with us.  We all really enjoyed talking and swapping stories with him.  He's really he first bike tourist we've gotten to talk with.

The next morning we left to finish fixing Tom's bike and to head up to White Wolf road a 5000 foot climb over 34 miles.  it was hard but we finished strong.   It's crazy to think that in comparison our first real climb of this trip was roughly 1000 feet and rocked us.  We really have gotten stronger.  

Today we woke up and left White Wolf camp grounds to club an additional 2500 feet to see the Tuolumne (pronounced twalumee) meadows and to cross Tioga Pass.  The meadows themselves were gorgeous.  It was similar to what we had seen in Yosemite Valley except a lot more grass. We hit hem about lunch time and had only nuts left to eat and so we decided to hit up a convenience store.  While at the sports side of the store we ran into some friends of the Chesneys (talk about a small world).  They were very helpful and gave us some biking tips and even paid for our lunch( and then some)!  People's just blows me away ( while I'm on the topic thanks Mr. Cutchin for your help!  We got to have REAL showers tonight for the first time in about four days.  We really appreciate it!). 

After getting our belly's fill we headed to Tioga Pass and climbed to 9945 feet above sea level
Which had snow 

The pass then led to a 3,500 foot descend over 12 miles with 8% grade for six miles.  Tom set the record of 50.5 mph.  And we all flew down that hill.  The descend led to Lee Vining a smaller town and a hotel where we are all about to turn it in for the night.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The mother load!

Hello world,

Today we woke up to the smell of bacon, eggs, pancakes, and coffee! That's a great way to wake up even when your not on a cross county bike trip! We enjoyed our breakfast with Dean and Elizabeth Doerksen (Thanks so much for letting us stay with you, we had a great time!) and got on the road by about 10. We made fantastic time most if the morning to the town of Merced, pretty much all flat or very gradual hill with lots of tail wind, and it wasn't too hot either. We stopped for lunch outside of a best buy in Merced and got back on the road around 1 I think.

We got back on he road and headed toward mariposa, our proposed stopping spot for the night, but after lunch it seemed like all that happened to me was, it got steeper on the hills, it got hotter, and we hit lots of head or side wind, no tailwind anymore. But we kept moving and it was pretty uneventful through this leg of the trip. Just slow going up the hills. I think we were movin around 6 miles an hour up em (flying, I know). But we got to mariposa and we saw a billboard for a restaurant called happy burger. It almost had a waffle house feel to it, but with a dinner menu you feel safe ordering from. So we decided to stop in and grab some grub. David had a guacamole burger, Paul had a signature happy burger, and I got some mammoth called the Mother load burger. When this thing came out, I couldn't believe it, it was four parties, bacon, and lots of condiments stuck between a bun. the waitress said it weighed a pound. In addition to that behemoth, it came with a bowl of fries, and I stupidly ordered a Reece's pieces milkshake, which wasn't small either. She also said the only person she had seen eat the whole burger, fries, and a shake had been some 95 pound girl.

Well now the challenge was set, and there was no backing down. The people from the booths next to us wanted to see If i could do it or not. So taking advice from my cousin, When he had eaten a monster burger, I took the burger and just kept eating, I never set it down. Well i finished the burger, not with ease, but it was doable. Bu I still had the fries and shake left. So with Paul and Dave waiting patiently, since they were long done, I finished the fries and shake. And you know what, that was one of the best burgers I've had in a while. The bacon added some nice flavor. However, as I'm writing this in my tent, it's all settling, and it doesn't feel great. My stomach is making all sorts of noises. Nothing bad, it was just a lot more food than I'm used to. 

Anyways, after we left happy burger, we started on our way to a campsite. However, we took a left when it should have been a right and ended up going two miles uphill. In the wrong direction. So we turned around and headed back and on the way, we passed by a fire station. We went up and asked if there was a spot to pitch our tent, I guess I didn't word it right, because we were trying to pitch a tent in the firemen's woods behind their building, but they directed us to the county park saying that no one should bother us there. So that brings us here to my tent, total, about 70 miles today. 

All in all a good day, no breakdowns, not unbearably hot, and we aren't exhausted so we are all prepped for our climb tomorrow into Yosemite. We should be able to sleep right in Yosemite valley, which would be awesome!

Other than that, it's still super cool to see how diverse the land can be from day to day. From rolling hills, to redwoods, to coastline, to flat, to mountains, the beauty of all of it is astounding. Everything is so beautiful and different from what we experience on the east coast. God's creation thus far is awesome, and tomorrow should be a special view of that in Yosemite. And his blessing and protection are very evident on the trip as well, from generous donations from people to lack of injury, to bikes breaking in areas where people are able to fix them, it's all very cool to be a part of.

Alright, we'll goodnight everyone, I hope you've enjoyed the update! 


P.S. here's some pics from today.

Here is our breakfast (Dean took the pic)

Here's Paul on the ride

And here's the mother load!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Today we are Yosemite bound.  What an exciting and yet terrifying day.  We will be tackling a total of about 70 miles much of which will be uphill.  We have been very thankful for the bed, directional help, and especially  the food that Liz and Dean have blessed us with. It's been a real treat!  

Riding yesterday had to have been one our faster paces of the trip.  For the first leg of the ride we were averaging a pace of about 15 mph.  A pace we were able to keep up until we hit the last fifteen miles of yesterday's 70 mile ride.  I know that this may sound slow but on a bicycle especially a loaded bicycle this speed was awesome.  
The entire day truly  was a joy.  In the morning, after spending the night at a dirt biking camp ground, we were approached by the park rangers.  They enquired about our journey and gave us some  water and also some very useful tips.  Tips like: where to find the nearest bike store, and when we would get Internet and cell service again.  
Once we left the campsite we biked to a town about 15 miles away named Tracys.  In the town, after getting groceries and checking with the local bike shop, we went to Silva's to repair Tom's broken spoke.  They were extremely helpful in fixing Tom's spoke and also giving us directions.  I highly recommend them.  
Anyways after leaving Silva's, we headed to Dean and Liz's home in Turlock,Ca.  Dean and Liz own a beautiful home with pecan trees galore.  When we arrived yesterday they greeted us and took us right in.  We had a superb meal which consisted of grilled chicken and veggies, salad, and bread, topped off by a strawberry and whipped cream dessert.  Probably one of the best meals I've had to date.  One lesson that I am experiencing first hand is that when you take the time stop your life and take an interest someone else's story...really just take some time to care about someone, it really makes a difference and means so much to us.  So, once again I want to thank you guys for your support, prayers, and the time you've spent on our behalf.  It means the world to us!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Budget Inn, San Fran, Jim, Walnut Creek, Wanda...Best day ever.

We departed today from our luxurious stay at the Budget Inn.  I don't know if we will ever be able to beat the clogging shower, rotting wood, and questionable bed(I gladly took the floor).  Despite showering(fastest shower of my life), I felt dirtier leaving.  It was memorable.

In light of all of this we knew a place we could stay for the night that was only 20-30 miles outside of San Fransisco in Walnut Creek.  Wanda, our Grandma's friend that she has known since high school lived there so we gave her a call just to make sure.  Thrilled to get our call she gladly invited us to stay for the night, which gave us the freedom to explore the city for the day.

As we got closer and closer to the city (cause we were still 5-10 miles short of San Fran), there became more and more bikers.  I was saying hey to them, and I could have sworn there was a race or biking convention somewhere because the area was packed with bicyclists.  We eventually met a guy named Jim.  As he was biking by he said hey and asked us some usual questions about where we were travelling to and I asked him what bike routes connect to the bridge so we could ride across it.  He said he would show us and to meet him up and around the corner.  He flew up the hill at an unreasonable speed and was gone.  Eventually we got to him and started talking to him and he said he would be happy to show us around.  This was more guessing where to turn, which areas to see, etc.  We were with a local, and us being new to every area we go through were more than glad to have someone show us around.

We quickly found out how he was able to climb the hill so fast. He has a bike that is battery powered.  It made climbs a bit easier yet still allowing him to get some good exercise in.  He made it himself and it peaked all of our interest. He was telling the ins and outs of the bike, the science behind it, and the kind of time and effort it took for the project.  It was really cool.

The thing that really floored me about Jim is that he took time out of his entire day to show us around the area.  We biked across the Golden Gate bridge, went to Fisherman's Wharf, experience an area celebrating Black History, and stop in a few shops and get Pizza and Ice Cream. We packed in a lot for one day.  He had no agenda, he simply wanted to show us around and help in any way he could and we would share things about our life, and vice versa. He seemed very free. Jim said this sort of thing happens to him a lot and he meets people from all over the world.  Haha, so cool.  Jim I hope you are reading this, you really blessed us today.  Personally I have learned a lot from you.

Side story.  I completely ate it today.  I have had minor falls just being a bit clumsy and waiting too long to unclip my pedals, but today takes the cake.  There wasn't even anything that led up to it.  It kinda just happened.  We were weaving in and out of traffic, as all safe bicyclist do.  And there are areas on the road that have tracks for the trolly system.  Well my wheel found its home inside of one of those slits in the road and I flew.  My hand swiped down the car next to me, I couldn't brace myself in time and rolled in front of the bike.  This all happend in .05 seconds.  Everyone in San Fransisco aparently saw it cause for the next few minutes I had too many people coming up to me asking if I was ok.  ( I am fine by the way).  My front wheel got out of true and Jim had the tools and the mechanical skills to fix it up.  I am telling you, this guy is the man.

After departing from Jim we took Bart Transit system(similar to Marta) to Walnut Creek to spend the rest of the day with Wanda.  We passed by so many roads that we were confident somehow we would mess up haha.  So we were thankful for the quickness and simplicity of this treck.

We got to Wanda's house and I instantly felt at home. We all did.  She took us out to dinner at an Italian restaurant which was super good and filling.  We are loving the constant eating, and it's nice to have a break from our regular diet of peanut butter, trail mix, sausages, and protein bars.  Snickers has been my "protein bar"  :)
Wanda has showed us incredible hospitality and we have loved getting to chat with her all night.  Grandma, you make good friends.

We are making a slight change in route, and I will share that with yall when I can.  But anybody who has people we could stay with that are near or along the map that we showed in our first couple of blog posts that would be phenominal.  We love staying with people, and we even clean up after ourselves.  For real, think hard if you know anybody and send me an email...

Much love,

P.S.- To all my Clemson peeps...freakin love you guys
P.P.S.S. Stats of the trip...Most miles in a day: 85
                                        Fastest Speed: 44.5 (Tommy)...its early in the trip and I let him draft.
                                        Highest Climb: 1,200 ft of pure hill...this stat will change in the next week or so.
                                        Most random place to sleep: Random park 60ish miles south of Cresent City
                                        Worst Hotel:  Budget Inn. there I said it.

Now we head East!

Golden Gate!
Cold, windy, yet glorious ride in San Fran
Taking us on a tour around the city on some steep declines
Dipping our rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean. We head east! Alcatraz in the back ground.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

San Fransisco! We are here! (Almost)

Hello again!

Well this past week or so has flown by! It has been a hectic pace, so fast! I can't even process all that has been going to. But it has been a great trip up to this point, full of growing experiences (aka frustrations/unexpected mishaps) and beauty that I have never seen in my life. From the redwoods to the coastline to today's rolling hills of farmland and vineyards.

Today we started from the hotel mom and dad and Lauren got us called the bodega bay inn. As we started, we were along the coast, but as the day went on, we started drifting away. It turned into little bays for a while, but then it was just all farmland. It was cool, because there was a smell in the air that reminded us of our grandpa's rabbits, and we would pass restaurants that advertised oysters and BBQ, a combo that we thought was odd, but made sense because of where we were. 

Well we followed highway 1 to a town called Point Reyes Station. We ate lunch there and bought some supplies. Paul and Dave had salmon burritos, it was pretty good, not my favorite, but an interesting combination. I had a Terri-chicken sandwich, which was very good! After lunch we kept trucking to Fairfax, but on the way, Dave had a few bike troubles.

His rack had broken the day before, like mine had, the metal piece that connected the rack to the brakes to hold the rack in place snapped, well we put a temporary fix on it, however on the way to Fairfax, the nearest bike shop, Dave hit a pothole and broke a spoke and bent up his back wheel. We did the best we coulda Paul and I took as much weight as we could and we got to the shop as fast as was cautiously possible. Once we got there, we got his rack fixed and his tire trued up (straightened) and we tried to book a hostel or hotel or campsite in San Fran, but every place we tried either was fully booked or had a single bed room for 250 bucks! We found a hostel north of San Fran and started heading for it. But we didn't realize how confusing all the roads were. So after literally going in a complete circle over an hour period, a man stopped and gave us directions. We did our best to follow his directions but we just couldn't do it. We were too unfamiliar with the area, couldn't navigate the roads, and we decided that at the rate we were going, we wouldn't make it to the hostel by the check in time of 10pm. So dave booked us a hotel where we are now. And the 2 mile trek from the gas station we decided to change plans, to the actual hotel still took about an hour. All the roads are so twisty and turny and I didn't get the layout of the city. But we got here, and we are very thankful hat God gave us safety to the hotel, an open room, and food to eat, as well as all the other things we got to seeAnd experience today. Even though getting utterly lost was very frustrating, we learned how to plan a little better, and can better read our maps! So that's good, and even though it ended on a rough note, today was a good day, beautiful, fun, and not too hard physically.

All in all, I think we will begin to get the hang of this trip in about another week. But tomorrow we get to experience the one and only San Francisco, California!! We are planning on biking across the Golden Gate Bridge, seeing Alcatraz,seeing pier 39, and whatever else we can!!

We would appreciate continued prayers for rest, communication, unity, and well as continued support for foundation fighting blindness.

Thanks again for your dedicated support and reading! 

San Fran here we come!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

1 week in retrospect

So, as you probably have noticed we haven't been able to update over the past few days.  It's been a whirlwind of a first week, and we've seen and experienced so much already.  For me personally I would have to say that I have probably struggled the most out of the three of us.  It's been very humbling and for someone who considers themselves not physically weak to watch both of his brothers beast every hill climb.  The irony of it is that in the first stretch of the redwoods we started going through, I kid you not, Humboldt county.  Haha who'd have thought.  
That aside it's been incredible to see the beauty of nature which even when you have seen a thousand redwood giants it still doesn't get old.  Or even when you have seen a hundred fifty foot cliffs cascading down into picture perfect waves hitting little rock islets it still doesn't get old.  The beauty of the Lord's creation is incredible! 
This morning Dave asked me what was my reason for being on the trip.  I have to be honest in saying that probably my biggest reason is actually to pull back from the world and to take a sabbatical of sorts.   Although it is difficult physically and often emotionally, it already has begun to bring about rejuvination to my heart.    I am so thankful and blessed to be able to be a part of this, and I can't wait to see where we go from here!

460ish miles done
3740 miles to go
60 until San Francisco and then we head east


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

No wifi, but updates will come soon!

Y'all. We have tried updating, we promise. We have lots to share but for now I only have time for pictures. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What a day

First, hello everybody! Thanks again for all the interest and support you've given us!

Here are some stats
•85 miles done today
•started at 8~8:30
•ended at 8~8:30
•we are in as good of health as we can be after biking all day
•we are having a great time seeing all the creation God has displayed for us to see.

Alright, today we woke up at 6:30, had breakfast and were on the road by 8:15. We biked from grants pass toward crescent city. On the way however, one of my screws fell out of my pannier. This caused my pannier and all it's weight to be in the tire, stopping any motion I had. (Which wasn't much at the moment, we were biking up our first big hill of the day, and maybe our longest, I'm not sure. But we were about halfway up Hayes hill) we ended up taking a screw out of my headset (the part that holds my handlebar in place) and putting it in place if the lost screw until we bought another about 20 miles down the road. We cruised pretty uneventfully for a while after that though. We were doing fine until about mile 35. We were getting pretty hungry for lunch, it was about 11~11:30. As we kept going, we hit around mile 40, and all three of us were out of water. and it was 97 at that point, so its safe to say we were feeling it! But we wanted to keep biking till 1,then take a long break. Luckily about a mile after we were out of water, someone let us use their water spicket to fill up. After filling up, we were still really tired, but decided to get to the next rest stop. Over the next 5 miles, we left oregon and entered Cali! That was the first state sign of 13 we will see, so pretty exciting! After a 2 hour break of napping, eating, drinking, and talking with people. We got going down a 10 mile section that we were going 35 mph and hardly trying, it was great. And really, from the Cali border to crescent city, it was a majority down hill. About 10 miles from the coast we started seeing some of the HUGE redwoods, and I mean gigantic!! It was absolutely mind blowing how big they were, and they weren't even one of the biggest ones you see in magazines. We took our time in the redwoods, but eventually got to crescent city. Where we are at now. Paul is asleep, Dave's on his phone, and I am very shortly going to join Paul. We all have sore bodies that aren't used to pushing so hard, but it is good.

Speaking for myself and I'm sure the others, please continue to pray for healthy bodies and safety. We are vey thankful that God has kept us safe to this point and relatively uninjured, but continued pray is very very much appreciated. Thanks again for all the support, and I hope you enjoyed reading about our day.

-Tommy G

PS, here we are at the California border, and here is a picture of a redwood, not even the biggest we saw today

Saturday, June 8, 2013


So day one of actual biking is officially drawing to an end.  We got our bikes at about eleven, assembled them and were on the road by about 3 today.  Our goal was to go about fifteen miles to the first available campsite and decide from there what we were going to do.  Roughly ten miles into the ride both Thomas and myself were having a far more difficult time pedaling than we should have.  Little did we know until we looked at our rear wheels that our brakes were actually rubbing  against the wheel.  The scenery around us was absolutely amazing.  Mountains all around with plateaus covered in green trees.  A river off to our right as cars sped by...  Already we have been able to see such a beautiful piece of America.  About an hour and a half ago we reached Grants pass and began to look for a place to stay for the night.  We came across a campsite named Shroeders park and decided to stay there for the night.  Generosity is something you never really expect especially when you've done hard physical labor and are only looking for a place the rest and eat.  Well needless to say thats all that was on our minds as we pulled into the campsite.  In so doing we ran into Sally and  Diane sisters who both work for the Oregon state park and were our contacts to reserve a site.  As we talked they totally blew us away and not only paid for our campsite they also gave us each $20!!  Mind blown!  We honestly can't say thank you enough.  In addition as we continue this journey I want to thank you guys for all of your help and support that you give.  Each prayer, conversation, and word of encouragement means So much to us. So as I get ready to eat dinner I want to thank you dear blog reader for your generosity.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Plans and Logistics

Well...first lesson of our trip, which I think will be a foreshadow for the remainder of the trip(and now that I think as I type, rest of our lives). This is getting deep! But the lesson we are learning is that not everything will go according to how we plan. Today flying out to Medford, Oregon is a perfect example.

So we get settled in Charlotte  to fly out. Wake up real early to fly out by 730ish and get there with our boxes fully packed full of bicycles. The lady at the united airline desk instantly tells us that our boxes are too big. Great. Frustrating because we asked someone at GSP airport if we could ship such a box and she assured us that we would be good. No time to be frustrated though, we had to figure this out. Long story short we eventually just had to make the decision to go for the flight and our dad would figure out a way to ship it out to us. Somehow. It's kinda hard to start a bike trip with no bike haha.

Flew to San Francisco.landed. Immediately called Dad to get the scoop on our bikes. He went to like 4 different FedEx's to get someone who could ship our bikes. He's the man.

Originally had a 4 hour layover in San Fran, but that was extended to a 5 and 1/2 hour layover. Not a big deal, but when we landed in Portland to connect flights to Medford is where it got interesting. As soon as we landed we literally sprinted all the way across the airport to realize we missed our flight by minutes to Medford. 

The lady at the desk was real nice and helped us out as best she could. Currently the bros and I are lounging in Portland airport waiting our flight to Seattle, WA which will connect to Medford. It will be about a 23 hour ordeal when all said and done.

Although these circumstances keep coming at us, we are softly reminded who is still in control and to be thankful for the things we have. We have the bikes shipped, we have met some really cool people on the planes, the flight had beautiful scenery, and this will be just one of many memory to share as brothers. It's all about perspective, and thankful we can depend on a God who is in control. 

More stories to come, many adventures to share with you all. Would love continued prayers. 

Much love, 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Just a few more days!

Y'all... It's been a whirlwind for me and my family. My graduation, a friends wedding(congrats Boyer and Kelly deBoyer!), tom's graduation, everybody finishing up school, an interview with propel hr, Paul finishing up work, and all of the logistics that come with shipping our bikes via plane. 
But we have just a few days till we start!!!(June 6th)

Our last minute stuff includes a final bike maintenance workshop at the store we bought our bike from(Ride On), a final tune up, packaging up our bike in boxes that will ship with us, and a final check for all the items we need. 

Also, in other exciting news we have decided to ride across the country for a cause. Its called The Foundation For Fighting Blindness. Our Dad has a degenerative eye disease and this foundation helps research cures for these types of diseases. The way I understand it is the disease is called Ushers Syndome II, which degenerates both hearing and sight. The sight part of this disease is called RP(retinitis Pigmentosa) which slowly deteriorates peripheral vision and continues until near blindness. 

So we created a website to raise support and we posted the link at the top of our blog page. Our goal is to raise $10,000 and create any sort of awareness we can.All three of us are excited for the opportunity!

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement for our trip, we really appreciate it and need it! Also, shout out to my mom and sister. They have sat through many conversations of planning and looked for any way they can support us. These girls are awesome, and deserve a lot of credit for helping us make this whole thing happen. 

More later. Love all you people. Y'all are great.

Much love,