From New Orleans to Sunnyvale, aka Skipping Texas

Yeah, it’s been a long time. I’ve been busy. But today I’m going to catch up on sleep and do laundry, so maybe I can also include a little writing and reflection.

First of all, let’s flash back to when I got onto a train in New Orleans. The date on the ticket reminds me that it was November 11, 2015. My bicycle was stuffed into a bike box. I was happily congratulating myself on my excellent planning skills by not overbuying food the last time I restocked my panniers, so they were a little lighter and smaller than usual. That made it easier to stash them into the luggage racks! But after a few hours of sitting on the train, I started to feel a little hungry, and then realized that of course I would be sitting on this train for two days. With a dining car that charged $8 for a microwaved hot dog.

Oops.

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Mr. Lion feels a little queasy… it’s been a while since we’ve seen the world go by this fast!

Oh well, that was okay. Being in the dining car gave me lots of opportunities to mingle with the other travelers! And I have to say, these weirdos choosing to travel across the country by train instead of by plane are definitely worth talking to. Their stories and reasons for traveling by train range from the inspirational to the downright bizarre and mildly horrifying. Yes, I acknowledge that they may be saying the same thing about me. One girl I met found me such an oddity that she pulled out a camera and videoed our conversation as she subjected me to a formal interview.

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From Cookeville to Atlanta, aka Already?

The ride is officially completed! The coast-to-coast portion concluded in Charleston, South Carolina, where I dipped my wheels into the Atlantic Ocean at Folly Beach, appropriately known as the Edge of America. That wasn’t the end of my journey, though, since I still wanted to ride to Atlanta and conclude at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Oh no! Swallowed by the ocean!

Flashback to April and the unruly waves of the Pacific.

As you can see in the above video, I received an extremely warm welcome at Emory! My sister Cindy had done a lot to spread the word of my arrival. I was humbled to be greeted by the very people I admire, the doctors, nurses, and researchers who work tirelessly at providing the best care for patients in need. As they crowded around me and thanked me for helping raise awareness for bone marrow donation, it was only too obvious to me that they are the ones truly deserving of thanks. I am honored to be able to take part and make a contribution, however small it may be, to their life saving work.

The waves on the Atlantic side were much more cooperative.

The waves on the Atlantic side were much more cooperative.

Somehow, they allowed me to take Lutz up to the bone marrow transplant unit in the hospital! I was introduced to patients and their families, and it was another humbling experience to be included in their battles to regain their health. While I am glad to have had this opportunity to raise awareness for Be the Match and the need for bone marrow donors, I am also constantly thinking about how I could have done things differently, how I could have done just a little bit more to help the cause… well, I guess that just means I’m not done yet! My bike ride may be completed, but the mission, of course, is not. Possibly, given what I’ve learned from the first attempt, I should plan another ride… what do you think?

Oops, should I have provided a spoiler alert at the beginning? Sorry. But yes, in case you haven’t guessed already, the ride is completed safely! However, not everything went to plan. Much of the route was altered along the way. I guess I’ll flashback to how I came to be in Cookeville, Tennesse, which was where I left off the last entry, and retrace my steps back to Atlanta.

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From Sunnyvale to Eureka

It is surreal to think that I am currently fulfilling one of my childhood dreams while tragedy has struck Nepal. Events like this make me realize just how small we are and how brief our time here is. So grab your opportunities when they come! If anyone hasn’t made their donation yet to help, I am a big fan of Foundation Beyond Belief.

So today I am at Cal Courts in Eureka to meet the CrossFitters there and hopefully inspire them to join the Be the Match registry! I’ve been talking to people on the road about Be the Match and everyone has been incredibly supportive, but this is my first arranged meeting! Frances sent swab kits up, and I’m super excited to get them distributed to new potential marrow donors. Wish me luck!

But I suppose I should do a summary of the first week on the road. It has been such an incredible week.

Erik, Lori, and Sue accompanied me for the start of my journey.

Erik, Lori, and Sue accompanied me for the start of my journey.

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Coastal Trip Day 7: Lompoc to Santa Barbara (but really Carpinteria)

Day 7. Could it really be Day 7 already? Our last day?

The Chinese character for 7 is not as exciting as the one for 6.

The Chinese character for 7 is not as exciting as the one for 6.

I was so sad that our trip was coming to an end. Erik had predicted that by the end of the trip we would be debating continuing on to Los Angeles. I was all for it! Unfortunately, things like “work” and “money” kept us from being too impulsive. Continue reading

Coastal Trip Day 6: Pismo Beach to Lompoc

SIX!!

SIX!!

Everybody dance! Or at least do a jumping jack. Six is here!

Everybody dance! Or at least do a jumping jack. Six is here!

I’m half Chinese. I don’t speak Chinese, I don’t read it, I don’t understand it. I know more Thai words than I do Chinese, which slightly irks certain members of my family. But thanks to playing Mahjong, I am at least familiar with the Chinese characters for numbers one through nine. And as my sister said when trying to teach the numbers to her son Logan, the Chinese character for six looks the way it sounds. You know, six!! It’s an exciting word, it deserves a little dance! Cortney and I struck the six! pose at the beginning of Day Six. Sue was less enthused. Continue reading

Coastal Trip Day 5: San Simeon to Pismo Beach

On the morning of Day 5, we woke up in San Simeon thinking about breakfast. Real, hot breakfast, with eggs and toast and hashbrowns and bacon and pancakes. However, there weren’t any great breakfast options in our immediate vicinity, so we did what we always do: we got on our bikes.

Let's go find breakfast!

Let’s go find breakfast!

About six foggy miles later we were in the cute, sleepy town of Cambria. We wandered down Main Street until we found the local breakfast joint, where we burst in on the quiet scene with our neon windbreakers and sniffly noses to bask in the warmth of steaming mugs of coffee. Continue reading

Coastal Trip Day 4: Big Sur to San Simeon

The dreaded day. Day 4.

This was going to be our most difficult day. There isn’t a whole lot of lodging available in Big Sur, so we just had to keep going until we reached San Simeon. That’s about 65 miles. 65 miles with lots and lots of climbs.

Of course, it was also a ride along the coast of Big Sur, so the scenery should be plenty of motivation.

The coffee shop at Fernwood didn’t open until 8:00, and we didn’t bring the JetBoil, so there would be no coffee for us if we wanted to get on the road at a reasonable time. This distressed Cortney and myself, but Erik promised to bring coffee to us at the top of a hill. There was some Coke for the caffeine-desperate to chase down our light breakfast of trail mix, and then we pedaled off into the mist.

day 4 wake up

No coffee just yet this morning… but there’s Coke!

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