Hello! This is Ann and Bill's daughter Shelly at the keyboard. As an experienced Blogspot blogger, I offered to be Mom and Dad's technical support for this blog so they can focus on pedaling, not picture formatting.
Did I mention I'm incredibly proud of my parents for undertaking a journey like this? It's not just their stamina -- although they're some of the most physically fit people I know -- it's their attitude. They decide on a goal, usually a big goal, and then they are resourceful and dogged and willing to seek help from strangers to make it happen.
When my parents were partway through their first big bike trip -- a tour down the West Coast, from Anacortes to the Mexican border in 2005 -- I asked my mom in a phone call just how they did it. I mean, they didn't really train before setting out on this particular adventure. "Well," she said, "We just start pedaling, and when we're tired, we stop."
So there you have it. The proverbial "one foot in front of another." And when you're biking up a hill, at least you know you get to coast down it.
So, back to my role in this blogosphere. If you are browsing past posts, you might notice I'll occasionally go in and tidy up an entry or re-order the photos. If I feel an editorial note is in order, I'll add it in brackets [like this].
I may occasionally write a post after a phone call check-in, if Mom and Dad haven't been able to get to a computer.
And I wanted to share with you some helpful websites for understanding this trek. The first is Adventure Cycling's map and summary of the Southern Tier bike route that Ann and Bill are taking. They haven't just set out with any old road map. They are following a well mapped and documented route, the southernmost of three well-traveled routes across the U.S., and the one best tackled (weather-wise) in the late fall as they are doing.
The website's route description offers this: "The route offers challenging terrain right from the start, with some longer climbs leaving San Diego all the way up to In-ko-pah Pass, about 70 miles east of the Pacific coast." That pass (4,000', I think) is where Mom & Dad were camped when I spoke with them Saturday night. They were definitely feeling fatigued from all the elevation gain and loss, which they said was more challenging than their recent shake-down on the North Cascades Highway! They were also noticing it got darker earlier than it did in our more northern latitude.
Their other piece of news was that the temperature in the desert (which they were about to enter on the other side of the mountains) was predicted to be a high of 100 degrees for the next few days. So they were planning to bike early in the mornings and find air conditioning midday. Yikes, that's HOT.
If Ann or Bill throw out a cycling term that baffles you, reference Wikipedia's Glossary of Bicycling Terms. Hopefully they won't be complaining too much about chain suck or false flats or -- heaven forbid -- endos.
And when they praise their Warm Showers Hosts, know that these "angels" are not just providing free bathing opportunities, but also home-cooked meals, soft beds, computer access, and peer support for Ann & Bill's bicycle journey. Read more about this web-based hospitality "community" here.
Lastly, if you're interested, you can check out my two family-related blogs here -- not that they're all that up-to-date, but with a two-year-old, what in my life is?!?