Day 89: THE LAST DAY

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Off to the BEACH!

Today was the big day. Why? Well, you know. It is our final day of Trash Freeway. Our final day of BIKING ACROSS AMERICA. Holy–we could hardly believe it, but got ready for the day just like would would any other. Dan made us coffee, we had cereal, and were pumped to head out and experience the ride to the finish line: The Pacific coast.

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JAIME IS A DARE DEVIL!

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Dan built a sound system for his bike!

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Dan is the man on his homemade tall bike.

Before we left, though, Dan wanted to show us his “tall bike.” It’s a bike with two frames stacked on top of each other that he built himself. He wanted us to try it, and we were a little hesitant, but Jaime eventually hopped aboard. She did a loop and promptly jumped/fell off. No injuries, though. Dan also showed us his electric bike, but we said no to the ride. Don’t want to risk any injuries on our last day!

Eventually, we began our last ride. We zoomed past the Rose Bowl, through parks, under bridges, and out of Pasadena. The whole time, we were jokingly saying to passersby, “You don’t even know!” As in, you don’t even know what’s happening right here! We just biked across America! Everyone around us was unaware of our feat, just as we were to theirs. We tried to take in every moment of the ride, even though we were mostly unable to fathom that this was our last one. We spent a lot of the bike ride looking at each other and silently communicating our amazement.

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The final gas station water and rest break.

Before the ride, Naomi’s dad had contacted a local news station to see if they wanted to capture our last moment. They contacted us about it, and we decided it would be great to talk to them after we arrive, that way we could really, truly, and authentically experience the moment of finishing. We weren’t sure if it would work out, but we kept it in the back of our minds for the rest of the day.

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Trash Freeway ladies on our final stretch!

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Doug with the good luck hello and hug!

We biked through different parts of the greater LA area — the neighborhoods, the famous street names, the shnazzy houses and cars. As we were riding, one of Naomi’s dad’s friends pulled up behind us. Naomi’s dad had been tracking us on an app and told his friend to catch up and say hello! It is so fun to have a good luck hug and have someone around us know that there was quite the milestone taking place!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No words for this.

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Proud Jaime with Bike!

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Proud Naomi with Bike!

We counted down the miles ’til the Santa Monica Pier. Three miles…two miles…one mile…none! We ended up at the pier, and spent awhile trying to find the ramp to take us down to the beach. Once we did, we hit our next obstacle: pushing our bikes through the sand. Oh boy. This was probably the hardest part of the whole tour. Because our bikes were so heavy, our wheels sunk in the sand and caused us to use every last ounce of energy we had left from these past three months. We pushed for ten seconds, stopped, caught our breath, then repeated until we finally made it to the water.

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Did we actually bike across America?

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Joy. Happy. YAY!

We dropped our bikes, grabbed hands, and ran right in! Had we really made it to the Pacific Ocean?! We were in shock. Amazement. Speechless. We let the water wash over us and looked around with permanent smiles, hugging, and trying to fathom what had just happened.

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The “WE DID IT!” Dance

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Pure bliss.

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Smiles to last days.

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“WE DID IT!” Dance II

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Wow.

We had a lil’ photo shoot, called our family to let them know we did it, then began the task of pushing our bikes back through the sand to the bike path. Once we made it back to the bike path, we were absolutely pooped. We needed some food! To celebrate, we biked to Café Gratitude, an awesome vegan restaurant in Santa Monica. We ordered to our heart’s (and stomach’s) content — sandwiches, wraps, chocolate cake, milkshakes, juice, tacos, and we even got a free muffin! A waitress at the restaurant, Marianne, had told some of her friends, who were dining at the restaurant, about our trip. They came over to shake our hands and gave us a muffin to congratulate us! We were so happy. Will the kindness ever stop?!

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Our “congrats” muffin! THANK YOU!

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Cafe Gratitude heaven! Just a preview of the meal.

After our celebratory lunch, we biked down to Venice Beach, hung out in the sand and relaxed. We then headed to LiMor’s house, who used to work with Naomi’s dad. LiMor and her daughter weren’t home when we got there, but we settled in and got ready for bed. We also did something we were extremely excited about…shaved our legs! We won’t go into the details.

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These tan lines might last forever.

We got cozy in bed pretty early. We know we don’t have to wake up early to bike anymore, but we were still so physically (and emotionally!) exhausted from the day that we couldn’t wait to close our eye. Plus, Jaime’s feeling a little sick. At least her body waited ’til the trip was over!

For the next week, we’ll be visiting friends and family in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Then, we’ll be flying to NY and NJ! Wahoo!

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Pretty much sisters.

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The journey filled with memories for a lifetime.

We still can’t fathom that the trip is over, and thank you all soooo much for being so supportive and joining us in this adventure. Stay tuned for one last post where we will share our reflections and more!

We did it!

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Feet in the Pacific: The final picture.

October 24, 2015

Starting Point: Pasadena, CA

Destination: Santa Monica, CA

Today’s Miles Biked: 40

Total Miles Biked: 2,710

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Day 88: Inspired by Bike Touring Kids!

We knew today was going to be a long day. Not only because the mileage was long, but because there was no direct route to Pasadena. We couldn’t bike on the freeway, so we’d be biking through cities. That meant lots of stops and traffic lights, but it was no big thing. We’re used to biking in the city! Us New York City girls have this one in the bag!

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Check out those shorts tans! Ready to take on the day and perfect them even more.

After a delicious granola breakfast with John, we began our day of riding. It looked like it was going to storm, but luckily it cleared up throughout the day. Most of the day consisted of riding through neighborhoods and seeing the houses change along the way. At one point, we were riding on a really cool bike path called the Pacific Electric Trail. It follows the route for the old Pacific Electric Railway, so it was a straight shot and very refreshing to be in a car-free lane!

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Jaime on the bike path!

The ride was smooth and flat, but we were still working up an appetite nonetheless. We made a stop at a Mexican restaurant and devoured some guacamole, our old bike trip standby. We met a guy named Alan outside of the restaurant, who gave us high-fives and wished us well. He found our website later and sent us a really nice message! We love when people who we meet keep up with us, it’s the best!

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Pretty flowers.

Back on the road, we couldn’t believe we were so close to the end. When we’d stop at a gas station for water, we’d think about how after the trip, it won’t be exactly normal to just sit around gas stations, which we’ve become so accustomed to doing. We joked that in the future, we’ll meet up at gas stations instead of coffee shops to hang out.

It was a long day of riding today, and the last 15 miles were tough. The neighborhoods we were biking through at the end were absolutely beautiful, and we marvelled at the houses while steadily climbing uphill. After about an hour and half more of riding, we made it to our Warmshowers host, Dan. He was super nice, and welcomed us into his home with a meal of couscous and vegetables waiting for us. We met his kids, Celeste and Aaron, and heard stories about their family bike trips. These nine and ten year olds had done a bike tour with 35 mile days! We were quite impressed by these kids. The family is even planning another one for this upcoming summer. Celeste and Aaron, you two are beasts.

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Orfos lights keeping us safe when we finished our ride well into the evening!

Celeste played us her violin followed by Aaron serenading us with his flute. After a fun night hanging out and talking on the deck, we headed inside for our last sleep before the big day to Santa Monica! We can’t believe it. Not one bit. Won’t be easy to fall asleep tonight!

October 23, 2015

Starting Point: Redlands, CA

Destination: Pasadena, CA

Today’s Miles Biked: 67

Total Miles Biked: 2670

Day 87: John The Vegan Chef

We woke up and were feeling pretty exhausted, but knew it was time to get going. Our Warmshowers host, John, is also vegan, and he had texted us asking if we could arrive by 6 PM in time for dinner. So that meant we better head out as soon as possible, because there was no way we were missing a home cooked vegan meal after a long day of biking.

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Goodbye Rancho Mirage!

We had some sourdough bread that wasn’t so good, but we toasted it and dipped it in olive oil, and suddenly it was a whole lot better! We said goodbye to the wonderful house, set the alarm and left the key as instructed. Thank you to Aunt Ruthie for setting us up to stay at her friends’ house! Tt was perfect. We began cycling and soon realized that we had gone about 20 miles off of our route to get to Rancho Mirage, so we had about 20 miles extra ahead of us. We were bummed for only about half a second because the house we got to stay at was so worth it!

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Wind energy!

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Solar panels too!

We climbed lots of hills, but it was incredible because we were surrounded by solar panels and wind turbines the whole time. The wind turbines towered above us and seemed to grow in size the closer we got! Rows of solar panels were beside us as well and during a windy and hot day, we were thankful that those elements were being translated into efficient energy.

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Biker chick

Google Maps instructed us to get on I-10 for a bit and we weren’t as nervous as maybe we should have been. After all, we did bike across Arizona on I-40. But I-10 was different. The shoulder wasn’t as wide and there were no rumble strips in sight. We biked cautiously, wearing our reflective vests of course, and tried to stay as far to the right as possible. We got off at the nearest rest stop to refill our water bottles and take a break. The construction workers there were extremely excited about our journey and about how close we were to our destination. They took us to their water supply and let us use their filtered water. After some handshakes and well wishes, we took the ramp back onto the freeway.

The GPS directed us off the freeway and onto the I-10 alternate for about 6 miles, which runs parallel along side the main highway. And we hit some of the worst headwinds of our trip. Not only were we gradually climbing, but the wind was causing us to go probably somewhere around 4 miles an hour. If that. The wind was relentless and brought out a bit of frustration. We pushed ourselves to keep going. The only way around is through.

Then, we ran (or should we say biked?) into a predicament. The next stretch of the ride wasn’t possible. We had three options that weren’t actually options. A dirt road (no way Jose!), the freeway (which wasn’t really legal to bike on in that area), or through an Indian reservation (that doesn’t allow bikers on their roads). We immediately knocked the dirt road option off the list. Next, we called highway patrol to see if we could bike on the freeway. They said we could for that stretch, but looking at it, we were freaked out. It seemed as if the traffic was flying faster than ever, and safety first, always. So, we knocked that off that list. Lastly, we called the municipality of the Indian Reservation, and they responded by saying we couldn’t pass through. So, that too, was knocked off the list.

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Our lives. What will we do without you?

What a strange situation. We had no way to get from point A to point B. This had never happened before to this extent. So it was time to hitchhike. And by now we really are pros. We asked many cars at a few different gas stations, and finally Victor drove back to help us out! He wasn’t headed west, but detoured a few miles to get us through the stretch of biking that had no route for us! Thank you Victor. He is a biker too and loved hearing about our trip and we heard all about his work in regards to water irrigation. Soon enough, Victor dropped us off in Beaumont! Jaime found a vegan burrito in about three seconds, and after refueling our engines, we worked our way to John’s house. Thanks to Victor we were going to make it in time for John’s unbelievable vegan dinner!

We biked through some cute neighborhoods, and ended up on a road that took us on a gradual downhill for about 7 miles. It even had a bike lane! It was quite the contrast to the not-so-cycling-friendly earlier roads. We biked past lemon and orange orchards, wanting to stop so badly and pick some, but knowing that wouldn’t be right. So we admired from afar as we stopped at stoplights and soon turned onto a steep 1 mile climb to John’s house. We went as slowly as we could, and most of the cars patiently waited behind us (we did have one or two yell, honk, and zoom off around us), and finally we made it to the top! This may have even been our last steep climb of the trip. Let’s hope!

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John, Mike & Gay

John had out crackers, hummus, and guacamole for us! All of the biking essentials! We showered and soon, his college friends Mike and Gay came over for dinner. John humbly presented us with a top feast of our trip. A vegan roast filled with tofu, lentils, walnuts, zuchinni and more, brown sugar spaghetti squash, salad with fresh vegetables, and mango sorbet with berries galore. This whole trip, we have had an ongoing joke of a vegan chef appearing and cooking us an fantastical meal…JOHN! YOU WERE OUR VEGAN CHEF! Thank you! Mike and Gay are vegetarian and they have a daughter who is vegan, so we spent much of dinner talking about what made us all transition to a plant-based diets and our different related experiences! After dinner, we were completely exhausted, discussed our route for the next day, had some emotional conversations, and soon cuddled up (by cuddled, we mean that Naomi hogged the whole bed), and got some shut eye! Two days left. WHOA!

October 22, 2015

Starting Point: Rancho Mirage, CA

Destination: Redlands, CA

Today’s Miles Biked: 48

Total Miles Biked: 2,603

Day 86: Living Large

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Bike life, we love you.

We had quite the rough sleep last night. With constant alarms going off in the fire station, we were awakened many times throughout the night. But hey, seeing the fire men hop up having to take their calls regardless of the hour was pretty inspiring. They are doing something pretty important, and yeah we lost some sleep, but it was also amazing to see their dedication and drive to help people in danger. The crew received a call for duty that rang loudly around 5 AM, which was just perfect because we needed to wake up anyway. We got ready, and the firemen escorted us out as they opened the bay door and waved us on our way!

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Taking in our last days chillin’ outside gas stations.

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The scene.

We began the uphill battle as we do on most days, but knew that we would have a drop in elevation soon, so that kept us pedaling! Soon enough, a fire truck filled with our buddies drove by and they honked at us! It was fun to see them on the street, even though the loud honk shocked us at first. Soon, we got some food, charged our bike lights back up and approached the start of some serious downhill coasting. So steep in fact, that we were feeling quite nervous, and took our time. This meant stopping every few minutes to cool our breaks, singing some tunes, going as slowly as possible, and really being aware of cars flying by because the shoulder was pretty narrow. The road began to make some sharp curves, and we took up the lane so that cars wouldn’t try to pass so close to us. We zoomed around corners, constantly checking for cars in our mirror and praying that we would come out of this stretch alive. AND WE DID!

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The bike glove tan situation.

As we turned off the scary road, we pulled over to sit on some sand, carb up, and relax from that tense situation. We were feeling very thankful to have our Orfos lights that work extremely well even in the daytime. We hopped back on our bikes and soon began to enter the outskirts of Palm Springs. And we didn’t need any sign to tell us that; the houses were making quite the statement. And it was a huge contrast from many of the towns we had previously been biking through. We biked past many gigantic houses, and soon arrived at the one we would be staying at. Naomi’s Aunt Ruthie had a friend who lived in Rancho Mirage. The friend wasn’t going to be home on the day we were stopping through, and they were kind enough to leave us their key to their house. When we pulled up, we couldn’t believe our eyes.

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Part of the living room.

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Backyard feelings.

The house was magnificent. It was filled with art, and centered around a bar, with gorgeous furniture and a kitchen to dream of. We took a wonderful hot shower, cooked our pasta, and felt like queens! The sprinklers came on the golf course that their house sits on the edge of, and we ran through them, feeling so silly and happy. We did our laundry, blogged for a bit, and got in bed around 8 PM. It was a glorious night, and just what we needed to pump ourselves up for the last few days of Trash Freeway!

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Feelin’ Fancy I

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Feelin’ Fancy II

October 21, 2015

Starting Point: Twentynine Palms, CA

Destination: Rancho Mirage, CA

Today’s Miles Biked: 64

Total Miles Biked: 2,555

Day 85: Through the Desert, California Here We Come

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Taking on a new day!

We had never been more excited to jump out of bed than we were today. Why? Well, because we were having vegan apple crisp and vanilla ice cream for breakfast. That’s right. And guilt-free too because we knew we had a day’s worth of exercise ahead of us!

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Tandem coolness.

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A team for the day.

And the day was already looking great. Rick and Lee had ridden across America a few years ago on their tandem bike, and decided to ride us about ten miles out in the morning. We have had many hosts talk about riding a bit with us, and it was fun to see this come to fruition. We warned them that we weren’t the fastest bikers, and they reminded us that we were a third of their age, so we wouldn’t have to worry about pace! They also know what it’s like to ride with extra weight, so we all related on that level too.

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Cycling couple takin’ over Facebook!

The four of us hopped on three bikes, and headed out just as the sun was rising. We sped down many hills, and paced ourselves up others. We stopped off at a grocery store to fill up our water bottles. Just as we were almost to the spot where we would part ways and say goodbye, Jaime began talking it up with a couple that was sitting outside drinking coffee. They were cyclists too and had actually started a cycling Facebook group with around 8,000 people! They took pictures of us and posted to their Facebook group, wanting to share our trip and also offering to hopefully help us find housing for the last few nights of our trip!

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Quite the ride.

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WOW! Keep reading to hear about our swim.

After leaving the grocery store, we rode a little more with Rick and Lee. We said goodbye, thanked them a ton, and continued on. There were clouds in the distance, which worried us a bit, but we knew the only thing to do was to keep biking. After a couple more hours of biking, we eventually entered Hawaii. What? Well, almost. Right before our eyes, the landscape transformed into a tropical resort. We’re not kidding. We were riding along in awe of the beauty surrounding us. Could we possibly be in the same country that also possessed Kansas?

We turned off at a restaurant to refill our water bottles and met the lovely Claudia. She was enthusiastic about our trip, and wanted to get us on the radio. We told her we were trying to get all the way to Twentynine Palms today, and didn’t think we had the time. Our plan for the day was to get all the way over the California border to Parker, and then hitch a ride to Twentynine Palms, about 115 miles away. The reason we wanted a ride was because this would be a 115 mile stretch of desert – this meant no water, and no where to stop off for the night! While we are confident in our biking abilities by this point, we definitely do not want to get in a dangerous situation. We also knew we had a place to stay at the Twentynine Palms Fire Department, which we were really excited about. We told her this, and she offered to drive us if we needed it. We took her number and told her we’d call if we absolutely couldn’t find anything else! Before saying goodbye, she told us that there was a little beach spot just up the road, and we had to jump in the water before leaving.

We biked up a couple hills to the beach, and ran right in the water. Once again, we couldn’t believe our surroundings. We relaxed for all of twenty minutes before getting back on our bikes. California was waiting for us, and we could see the final state looking at us from across the water!

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Jump for Joy I

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Jump for Joy II

While biking to the border, we kept thinking we were approaching the bridge to California. We were wrong several times, but excited nonetheless. Finally, we reached the right bridge! Did really just bike to California?! After a photoshoot with the “Welcome to California” sign, we biked over to a convenience store that would be right before the turn to Twentynine Palms. We’d hitch a ride with a family heading to Twentynine Palms, no problem. What a great plan, we thought. Well, three hours later and still no luck. Not surprisingly, few people were heading 115 miles through the desert. Early on in our hitchhiking quest, a couple told us they were heading to Orange County that day, so they’d be happy to take us. However, they wouldn’t be leaving for several hours. If we were still here when they came back, they would take us.

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Did we really bike here?!

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In shock!!!!!!

While waiting for them to come back, we made several phone calls trying to plan lodging for the rest of our trip. We called fire houses, warm showers hosts, family and friends, and actually made some headway in our planning! Time well spent.

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Steve and Christine, saving the day.

It was around 4:30 and we still hadn’t gotten a ride. The couple who said they’d drive us still hadn’t come back. We recommenced hailing cars down, and still had little luck. One man couldn’t offer us a ride, but did offer us a place to stay in town if we weren’t able to find a ride by dark. Just as our spirits were plummeting to rock bottom, an RV turned the corner. There were road bikes on the roofs, mountain bikes on the back, two kayaks strapped on the top and a friendly couple in the front seat. We waved our arms and they came right over. They weren’t sure if we’d be able to fit our bikes, seeing as they already had four bikes on their truck. But they took the time to make it work! Steve, Christine, and their dog Howie were on their way back home, but went a total of hundred miles out of their way to bring us safely to Twentynine Palms. We had a great time talking with them in the car about their adventures and their family.

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THANK YOU!!!!!

When we finally got to the fire station, we thanked Steve and Christine profusely and went to talk with the fire chief. At first, no one answered. We were a little worried. We knocked again, and a man answered the door. When we told him we had spoken on the phone with someone about staying here, he didn’t seem to know what we were talking about. He called one of the firefighters and put it all together, and let us inside. He showed us around — showers, kitchen, laundry, TV, and where we could set up our tent for the night. Unfortunately, it started drizzling right when we pitched our tent! Luckily, the staff was nice enough to give us two cots to sleep on in the station between two trucks! We did a final round of bike maintenance, met the whole fire fightin’ crew, and hit the hay. We’re hoping for a good night’s rest, but who knows how many calls they’ll get throughout the night!

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Cots for us between the trucks.

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A great night, thank you 29 Palms!

October 20, 2015

Starting Point: Lake Havasu City, AZ

Destination: Twentynine Palms, CA

Today’s Miles Biked: 45

Total Miles Biked: 2,491

Day 84: Crossing The London Bridge

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Wake up and ride!

We thought there’d be bad weather when we woke up, but the skies were practically clear and the forecast had only a 15% chance of rain all day. Before heading out, our host, Lea, made us some potatoes and onions. They were nice and filling before a long day of riding! After chugging some coffee, we got on our bikes and said so long to Lea. Today’s destination, Lake Havasu City, AZ!

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Bye Lea and Luigi!

The day was beautiful, hot, and we weren’t sure how many water stops there would be along the way. These days, whenever we see a gas station, we finish whatever’s in our water bottle and refill. And repeat, sometimes. We did that a couple times throughout the day, but all in all, we tried to stay on our bikes and really power forward! A lot of the day’s ride was downhill, and we were surrounded with what looked like the landscape of Mars. It was beautiful. With about forty miles down, we took a long rest at a Love’s Truck Stop. Fun fact: Love’s has become our favorite of all the gas station/truck stops. Maybe it’s the name. We sat there for a while, sitting and stretching, eating what food we had, and downing water. We were pretty tempted to buy a Subway sandwich, but recognized that we have a lot of food stuffed in our panniers that needs to be eaten in the next few days…before our tour is DONE! (What?!)

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Smiles while riding.

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Can’t believe how far we’ve come!

We got back on our bikes, excited to finish the last 17 mile stretch. Unfortunately for our high spirits, the headwinds started blasting us out of nowhere! (Well, most likely the Southwest.) On top of that, we were gradually climbing for several miles, so you can imagine our pace. Luckily, as with almost all uphills, there is a lovely downhill waiting for you at the top. We coasted for miles, in awe of the mountains around us. Then, we saw Lake Havasu in the distance. We dropped several hundred feet in elevation and entered a highly trafficked road. Biking on busy roads is often frustrating and nerve racking, but at least we had the jaw-dropping scenery of Lake Havasu City to distract us — but never putting us in danger, of course!

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Entering our destination city: Lake Havasu City.

We had gotten in touch with Warm Showers hosts in Lake Havasu City, Lee and Rick. When we turned into their neighborhood, we were in for some climbing. Lee had warned us on the phone that there was a short steep hill to look out for before turning onto their street. Well, the whole way to their house was a not-so-gradual climb, and when we reached their street, we couldn’t help but laugh. And cry. Simultaneously. We had been transported back to our Virginia days, confronted by a daunting hill that we had no choice but to climb. Well, we did it, folks. And we were still catching our breath as we knocked on the door to make sure we were at the right house. We’re happy to report that we were.

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Groovy Warmshowers hosts: Lee and Rick.

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Us at the London Bridge?!

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Are we at a resort?

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Even the local is snapping some pics.

We went inside, downed a glass of water, and spent some time exchanging bike tour stories. Lee and Rick had cycled the southern tier a couple years ago on a tandem bike and told us about all their crazy adventures! We chowed down on pita chips and homemade hummus all the while. After showering and resting (we were pretty pooped from the day!), we headed into town with Lee and Rick. They showed us Lake Havasu City’s claim to fame — the London Bridge. “Huh?” you may be thinking. Turns out the old London Bridge was shipped over to this lake and reassembled. Take a look at these snazzy pics:

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LONDON BRIDGE

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We biked to this beautiful place.

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…and the sun began to set.

After a brief tour and a grocery store run, we headed back home. Lee had prepared a vegan feast for us. Pasta with a creamy red pepper sauce, garlic bread and apple crisp and vanilla almond milk ice cream for dessert. She had picked the recipes from Minimalist Baker, one of Naomi’s favorite recipe websites! We ate ’til we couldn’t anymore, and thanked Lee again and again for such a delicious meal. (Lee, you’re an amazing chef! Thanks again! And again!)

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Can’t forget that we dunked our feet in the lake!

We headed to bed and fell asleep preeeeettttty quickly. Like we said, we were pooped. Tomorrow’s destination: California!

October 19, 2015

Starting Point: Kingman, AZ

Destination: Lake Havasu City, AZ

Today’s Miles Biked: 65

Total Miles Biked: 2,446

Day 82 & 83: Flash Flood Warning

Day 82

Last night, we joined Judi and Bob at their temple for Friday night Shabbat services with Rabbi Mindie and it was wonderful. Rabbi Mindie invited us up to speak about our trip, which was quite the honor! Thank you Rabbi!

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Walnut Canyon ladies!

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Some Flagstaff museum action.

The weather forecast was looking mean and unforgiving today. With little lightening bolts filling our weather app screen, we decided it would be the safest option to stay inside, especially since our route was along the interstate. Of course, the majority of the day ended up being beautiful, with the sun peaking through the clouds. Judi and Bob were so kind to let us spend yet another night at their house and Judi showed us all around Flagstaff. This included a hike into Walnut Canyon, where she volunteers every Thursday, a walk around downtown Flagstaff, a yummy Thai restaurant, and a walk through the local museum. It was so fun to have time to see the area that we were in, and we came home and all napped before a delicious dinner. We got into bed early, hoping the weather would be better the next morning!

Day 83

This morning, we knew we couldn’t spend time rolling around bed, debating whether or not to get on our bikes. We just had to do it. So we hopped out of bed and put our biking clothes on, packed up, and scarfed down some cereal. We gave big hugs to Judi, and turned out of the driveway. What a bunch of wonderful days it had been together! As we were biking up a three mile hill to I-40 (piece of cake), the sky was looking friendly. Not a storm cloud in sight. Knowing that a downpour was coming at noon in our destination, Williams, we took very few breaks — one being a Subway break — and put the pedal to the metal.  After riding on a long stretch of bumpy and unpaved shoulder, we finally made it to Williams!

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Trash Freeway leaves Flagstaff.

We couldn’t believe that we had biked over 40 miles by 11:15 AM — must be our new record. And it was time to hitchhike. Bob, who was just hosting us, had encouraged us to get from Flagstaff to Kingman in one day. He said the towns after Williams were unsafe. We took his advice — he works for search and rescue, after all! — and our safety is the most important. We decided the best plan would be to ride to Williams and get a ride to Kingman, where we had arranged a place to stay through Couchsurfing.

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Welcome to Williams!

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Biking past a pumpkin patch…must be October!

To get a ride all the way to Kingman, we thought we had better find the perfect gas station, which is the happening spot for westbound trucks. After biking and hanging out at a few, we finally found that Loves truck stop was the place to be. We got a bit wet in the rain, but only had to bike in it for a mile, so we lucked out. It’s crazy that we have yet to wear our rain pants (let’s not jinx these last few days)! As we stood outside Loves, we took turns running up to different trucks that rolled in to fill up on gas. An 18-wheeler truck driver stood next to us and had a ball pointing out different truck drivers for us to talk to. It was like having our very own hitch hiking agent.

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Rain motion with hands.

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Rain model with yellow rain covers.

After about 15 minutes, we met Spencer. Spencer was driving from Virginia to LA to move his daughter back home. Initially he told us he didn’t have space, but he actually came back up to us later and told us that, on second thought, he would be happy to make room and take us. We couldn’t believe our luck. He reorganized his truck, helped us lift our bikes in and actually drove us all the way to Lea’s house, our Couchsurfing host. We loved his old southern accent and enjoyed getting to know him in the car. Our hitchhiking agent actually drove by us in his semi and we all waved and laughed.

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Truck selfie.

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Lea and Spencer

Lea greeted us at her front gate and showed us around after we thanked Spencer. We rested for a bit and decided to check out a cafe and get some tea while working on our route. Lea told us the next town we were planning on going to was unsafe. We felt a bit frustrated…is every town suddenly unsafe? We called the sheriff to confirm, and she told us, verbatim, that “this town sucks ass and is not place for two girls.” WHOA! Well, time to revise the rest of our route. So spent some time trying to figure out the route, and decided to cut south to Lake Havasu City and then continue west from there. We mapped out the other towns we would stop in and felt excited to have a safer route.

When it was time for us to head back from Starbucks to Lea’s house, we got a flash flood warning on our phones and the skies began to light up with constant streaks of lightening. Scared, we ran back inside and Lea came to pick us up! Thanks Lea! She cooked us potatoes and onions and after eating and talking, we snuggled into bed hoping that the weather prediction of golf ball sized hail would be false and we would be good to go in the morning.

Oh, and we had a really good smelling apple that may or may not have wafted us to sleep.

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Weird apple dream picture I

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Weird apple dream picture II

October 18, 2015

Starting Point: Flagstaff, AZ

Destination: Kingman, AZ

Today’s Miles Biked: 44

Total Miles Biked: 2,381