1 0 Posts from: June, 2011
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Roller Coasters

Posted by on June 29th, 2011 11 Comments

Heidi down Hwy C 548x362 Roller Coasters

The hills of Wisconsin have not been the only things going up and down for us recently – our emotions have been too. Sometimes it seems like life on the road is an unending emotional and physical roller coaster.

For me, the high points of the roller coaster are great – where I realize that as I’m riding, playing with the kids, eating in a park, camping in a backyard somewhere or checking into a hotel – that my family’s lives are so free and relaxed right now.

But then there’s the parts of the roller coaster where things drop out from underneath me and I’m left questioning what I’m doing, whether I want to continue, wondering if I can make it through the mountains when we get to them or through another day of cold rain or strong headwinds.

The toughest part of this roller coaster ride is that it keeps going up and down every few days, and it’s difficult to predict where the lows or the highs will be. Fortunately, Reuben and I have been working to figure out a few of the triggers for the low points and are getting better at preventing them.

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Our time so far in Wisconsin

Posted by on June 13th, 2011 18 Comments
On the ferry 548x356 Our time so far in Wisconsin

On the deck of the high-speed ferry.

Since we last wrote, we have had a very pleasant four day break in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Time was well-spent with family: resting and relaxing completely off our bikes the entire time. A welcome break from 12 days straight of riding.

Nest1 300x224 Our time so far in Wisconsin

Enjoying time with cousins.

Following the break, we cycled our longest day yet from Grand Rapids to Muskegon (78 km, 48 miles), mostly on the Musketawa Trail – a paved bike trail. In Muskegon we had an enjoyable stay with our first WarmShowers.org hosts of the trip. Craig and Cathy treated us to delicious meals, showers, our own guest room, lots of toys (they are grandparents, afterall) and great conversation. Craig also road with us from the end of the Musketawa trail to their home – what a welcome!

We took the high speed ferry across Lake Michigan from Muskegon to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Due to the air temperature interacting with the cold water of the lake, there was a constant fog during the whole journey with about 100 feet of visibility – felt like we were lost at sea for a while!

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Enjoy the stops

Posted by on June 6th, 2011 8 Comments

We realized shortly into this trip that while we certainly have a plan and route put together for the next year, for the most part, we have no place to be at no certain time. We can stay in one small town or decide to get to another one — or just play at a park or library all day. We can take left turns, right turns or go straight where we please while still shooting towards a general destination. It’s freeing. It’s invigorating.

On the trail 548x366 Enjoy the stops

Traveling slowly off the beaten path

Snail Exploration 198x300 Enjoy the stops

Checking out the roadside snails

But what this also means is that we are moving slowly. Very, very, slowly. Even slower than we expected we would be carrying all the weight we have with us. Sometimes the kids want to play at the park longer or we come across another great stop a few kilometers away from the last one. Sometimes we want to hang out longer in the tent in the morning or chat with some inquisitive folks along the way. While we are definitely enjoying these moments, there is a nagging voice in the back of our minds that reminds us: if we are too slow, we’ll get caught in snow as we cross the Rockies, or we’ll have difficulty making it to a few of the family get-togethers we have scheduled months down the road in another state.

Our trip is linear in nature, so if we don’t advance, we won’t get to those people and places we want to see. So we’re trying to find a pace that we’re all satisfied and content with – trying to reconcile the mileage we need to make with the mileage we want to make. Finding the happiness in the rest breaks instead of in the distance, and taking time to stop and smell the flowers.

Lilacs 548x489 Enjoy the stops

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Adjustments to life on the road

Posted by on June 3rd, 2011 10 Comments

Puddles 248x300 Adjustments to life on the roadWe’re now two weeks into our big adventure, and as with any major change in our lives in the last few years, our children have adjusted faster and more readily than we have! After only a few days on the road, they’ve already learned to expect a lot of outdoor time, many parks and playground stops throughout each day, sleeping next to mommy and daddy in a tent at night and watching and engaging in the environment around them it slowly rolls by at cycling speed.

During those first few of days, it was us that struggled. Struggled as we adjusted to a slower pace than we were used to, struggled as we tried to find and pack things amongst the multitude of bags we are carrying, struggled as we tried to fuel our bodies with enough food and water throughout the day to avoid irritability and dehydration, or struggled as we tried to discover the joy in all weather conditions – be it wind, rain or sun. Through each struggle, we looked over at our kids who had bright smiles on their faces and realized that there is joy in everything, you just have to find it.

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