Thursday, October 17, 2013

We would like to thank our amazing family and the good people of Seguin for coming together and raising 1,400.00 for this fundraiser. Thank you all for showing your support. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hey look it's the Pacific Ocean, awesome!!!

Beach, Beach, and more Beach.

We woke up this morning and something had changed.  Physically, the road was no longer taking a toll on our bodies.  The scenery was beautiful and all but we just felt as if we had seen the same Pacific Ocean yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.  Our enthusiasm for cycling 60-70 miles a day had seemingly evaporated overnight.  This sentiment had infected our whole group.  Jet was beginning to express some uncharacteristic aggression toward us and even bit Julie on a few occasions.  Rightfully we deserve any grief he gives us.  He has been a sweet loving dog as we toted him around America for the last 32 days.  So we decided we were going to do anywhere from 70-83 miles a day to reach the end as soon as physically possible. We started by lightening our load for the third time this trip. Typically we carry around 2-3 days worth of food and decided we would only carry breakfast and then eat out for our other meals. We broke camp at 630am, ensured Jet was worn out prior to putting him in his doggie trailer and sometimes were on the road well before 8am.  We actually stopped being the last people out of camp! We heard from other cyclist "it's all flat roads after San Francisco" and anticipated the rest of our miles to come easy.  I even texted my cousin telling her how easy the rest of our journey would be.  Let me just shine some light on these false statements.  If you are a cyclist and are reading this, know that the roads from San Francisco to Santa Barbara are the epitome of hills.  This segment of the trip was by far the hilliest of the entire trip.  It was a constant up and down for what seemed like days on end. Although the views don't get any more thrilling than they do along Big Sur.  We crossed over several historic bridges unsure if we should be excited that we crossed on something so old or terrified that it would collapse on us. You know because for some reason it can hold a car but not two cyclist and a dog. Despite a relentless leak in our sleeping pad, no pillows, the lingering scent of our sweat and a broken tent, we slept better the last few days of cycling than we had in the past month.  While sitting around camp chatting with other cyclist, Matt and I were often awarded the "best" tan lines.  After being made fun of consecutive nights in a row I called my big sister to see if she could pull any strings and come defend me.  After all she is the only one who can pick on me.  I sent her a picture of my legs and she replied with "Wow that's awful.".  The next day we were determined to fix them.  We changed into our beachwear, ate lunch at Pismo Beach State Park and set off to work on our tan lines. The further south we cycled, the less dog friendly things tended to be. This only compounded our desire to be finished as most of our remaining camp sites were state beach's where Jet was no longer welcomed to chase the waves.  No wave chasing for Jet meant no relaxing walks on the beach for us.  The more miles we put under the tires the more places and things started to blur in together.  We are not exactly sure when it happened but this trip had fairly quickly turned into a 9-5 job.  Punch in, cycle, punch out, sleep, repeat.  When we reached what we decided was our final destination it seemed as though it was meant for us to stop there.  We found a dog-friendly beach and three intact sand dollars! Like a child I lit up like it was Christmas.  Honestly, Matt found all three of them but he kindly pretended to not see them between his feet so I could claim them. We were so excited to not be on our saddles anymore Julie started doing cartwheels and drawing in the sand.  We have literally and figuratively come a long way since setting out on this little fundraiser of ours.  We had a great time, met some interesting people, and got to see some amazing country.  Most importantly, with the help of our "sponsors" we were able to raise over $8,200 for cancer research.  Obviously we were well short of our goal but we feel that we put our best effort forward.  We would like to thank those that followed us on our journey and also our sponsors that helped us along the way.  For those that still wish to donate, our crowdrise fundraiser page will remain open for a few weeks if there is any money burning a hole in your pocket.  Well we
got 99 problem's but a blog ain't one!  Peace beaches.

Thanks again, 

The Swallows 

Jet on a morning run.


Trying to convince Jet we're almost done.

"On the road again..."

Jet taking a break out of the sun.

The endless hills we climbed.

Matt checking out a bridge we just crossed.

Big Sur, CA

Working on my tan lines.

Elephant Seals

Hearst Castle

Cali is not dog friendly.

A dog friendly beach!

Matt dismantling our bikes :-)

We are done!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 29-31: And we are still biking

Day 29: Getting too comfortable is dangerous.  We never realized how much we missed a restroom with running water or a toilet without spiders crawling everywhere and as always it's hard to leave a warm bed.  We had two options; pay for another night at the B&B or head out in the cold, misty morning.  So we mustered all our gumption and hit the road, rubber side down.  Three minutes into our ride we were gifted with what we later found out to be the steepest or highest percentage grade along the Pacific Route.  It was by far the most insane hill this side of the Mississippi.  No pictures could do it justice.  Just imagine climbing Mt. Everest on bikes times 10! We'll maybe not that hard.  I felt like I was going to pass out once I conquered it and gravity won this round with Matt as he had to push his bike, Jet and the dog trailer the last little bit.  We collected ourselves and pedaled on.  We were so full of food and good rest that we biked 58 miles without a break and in less than 4 hours. We made it to camp before 2pm and contemplated cycling more.  Jet cast his vote and we ended up setting up camp.  That evening we met two girls who had cycled from the East Coast to the West Coast and decided they wanted to cycle down the coast to San Francisco.  They had been on their bikes for over 6 months. We hit the sack and decided we would be cycling a minimum of 65 miles a day from here on out.

Taking a breather after our "welcome back to the road" hill.

Day 30-31: We left our campsite by 8am, surprisingly still the last people out of camp.  For some reason everyone seems to wake up at 6am and be out of camp by 7am. Getting up early may be for the birds but not these two.  It turned out to be a pretty tough day for us with super windy roads, little to no shoulder, constant ups and downs. All in a days work I guess. The ocean is a mighty beautiful yet terrifying thing at a thousand feet above sea level. Looking over the edge of a cliff as you cycle can be a wee bit nauseating. We've since learned to admire its beauty looking ahead and not down.  It was a full house when we arrived to Samuel P. Taylor State Park.  We ran into a familiar face that recognized our pink bikes as we dragged into camp.  Just south of Bellingham we ran into a cyclist that was training for a tour himself. We chatted in a parking lot for nearly 30 minutes and he said he would be keeping an eye out for us.  He found us and then left us in his dust the next morning when per usual we were the last cyclist out of camp.  We have began to get a little road weary and since deciding to stick to a strict 65+ mile a day regiment we would not be spending the planned visit to San Francisco and aside a few photo stops we would be blowin' through town and staying the night in Half Moon Bay State Park. 

The ride into San Fran was great albeit hilly, but we were expecting that.  Maybe it just smelled delicious to our empty bellies but something about Fairfax just seemed right. We cycled into Sausalito and were shocked to see hundreds of cyclist.  Cyclist may be too generous of a name for them but non the less tourist were renting bikes on the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge and then riding down to Sausalito.  Thats right it was all down hill if you were riding south to north but eventually they would have to turn around and cycle back up hill.  Not little Texas hills but continuous false summits that got steeper with each turn.  We had a good laugh as we were sure some of the women in dress shoes didn't know what they signed themselves up for.  The Golden Gate Bridge was chaotic but still fun to ride across with it's gorgeous views of the bay, the city and Alcatraz.  Per usual, we ended up lost and taking our own route through Golden Gate Park where they have a stash of bison just hanging out in the park.  We snapped some photos for proof, Jet barked and off we went. Obviously the further south we have come the hotter the days are and today seemed to be the hottest of them all.  Exhausted from the sun beating down on us, we set-up camp and passed out. 

We're headed the right way.

Matt doesn't like standing on bridges...

but has no problem cycling on them.

American bison in San Fran