Six months of meetings, five months of training, four travel days, 3 different homes, two states, and still one common mission: to care a little more.
I kept repeating this in my head on our first day of riding yesterday. Keep riding, keep peddling, because riding means caring, and caring means bringing back basic human needs to people who are living without them.
Sunday night we stayed in a surreal lake cabin in Florence, Oregon. It was a far off connection (the parents of an old friends parents) who fed us a three course meal, plenty of dessert, and the advice of a lifetime. Their names were Dorothea and Larry. They were the sweetest, most down to earth, hospitable people we could’ve asked for as we prepared ourselves for launch the next morning. Larry taught us how to night fish and Dorothea taught us to believe in the power of independent woman. If I could quote her exact words, “If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to remind you that you don’t need a man in your twenties to make you happy.” She told us stories of World War II and her experience as a Holocaust surviver growing up in Germany. She told us of the concentration camps while we sat around the table eating smoked trout that Larry caught the previous night. Their kindness is buried deep in our hearts, their hospitality engraved in our minds.
The send off was something special, too. The boys team drove up to Florence to send us off, renting an Air B and B so they could make it happen. There were family friends, the guys team, and Larry cheering us on as we backed our tires into the water and began our ride. Thankfully, Oregon gave us a full day free of rain and wind, full of rivers and serene beauty.
Yesterday, we rode 94.7 miles according to Strava. Dipping our tires and launching out of Florence, Oregon, we began our trek down the 126 headed east to Vida, Oregon. We rode on highways, back roads, some gravel (dang google maps) and through the beautiful lush parks of Eugene. With overcast skies and glimpses of sunshine throughout the day, we smiled and laughed and danced on our bikes the whole way down the roads. There was something divine that ignited our soul’s as we rolled through the mountains, alongside the rivers, and under florescent green trees mile after mile. We amount of times we yelled, “THIS IS LIVING!!” and proceeded to all cheer to one another far exceeded the amount of miles we road.
We met the drivers about once every 25 or so miles, it was a trial and error kind of day. It probably will be a trial/error kind of day for the first week depending on the road conditions, weather, and needs of each rider. They made us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, spread out snacks on the asphalt, and dined with us in the parking lot of a shell gas station. It was glorious. We are already learning about the joy of living simply. We smell bad, we look bad, but we’re feeling fully alive. To say the least, 95 miles in Oregon territory is quite different from the beach trail in Azusa-so much so that it distracted our tired legs and kept us fueled the whole way (well, and lots of snacks).
Last night, Monday night, we stayed in Eugene with our host family Jackie and Kim, the aunt and uncle of one of our riders Paige. They gave us lots of tacos, cuties, and warmth as we cozied up next to the wood burning fire place to roll out our sore bodies. It was a perfect night. They not only took us in and loved us well, but provided each of us a place to rest our heads and cover our bodies with warm blankets. We are so thankful for them! Thank you Jackie and Kim for the experience you allowed us to have. Your honey was impeccable.
We’re learning how to be flexible, how to get lost and laugh our way out. How to communicate and how to handle one another (though tired and exhausted) with grace and patience. We’re learning when to be still, when to refuel in our own minds, but also about the power in silliness and encouragement.
Thank you for following us, thank you for caring with us, and thank you for your constant encouragement and prayers. We are feeling every bit of them. More to come soon!