Monday, December 2, 2013

Leo is ONE!!

So this is not an adventure post, but I wanted to document some things, and since I seem to have lost Leo's baby book somewhere in our move, I wanted to write about him someplace that I wouldn't lose it. 
On Nov 29, Leo turned one! I cant believe its been a year since we met this little guy. Our lives are so different and so much better in such a short time.   

Picking one sprinkle at a time off his cupcake. He loves his pincer grasp :)
Here is a snapshot of Leo at one:
-He still loves to be outside. I can take him hiking, for walks, bike rides, or anything really, and I barely hear a peep out of him. He just stares around taking it all in and seems to love wind in his face.
-He loves avocado, peas, black beans, and banana. and ICE CREAM! he knows what it is and will crawl over hill and high water to get it. He will eat just about anything you put in front of him. Except chicken. We tried that and he blatantly threw it. 
-He likes to throw his food off his tray, but usually waits until you are looking. Or he will just hold it off the side and drop it. Many times he will whine to get down, just so he can go eat the food he threw. He likes to eat it off the floor i guess :)
- he loves music. Any toy that plays music is his favorite., especially the table that he can stand next to and push all the instrument buttons. He rocks his hips back and forth, dancing constantly. He often will pause while crawling to dance a bit to any music he may hear (the clock chiming, the radio, etc).
- he loves animals, always getting so excited about the chickens in the back yard or the dogs we see out and about.
- He is very much a momma's boy. He cries when i leave the room, and showers me with cuddles and kisses most of the day. He loves to cuddle. He also loves to bite. Many times, he will bite my arms, shoulders, chest, or knees, whatever he can reach. Hoping he grows out of THAT stage soon...
- he could walk, but seems to want to wait a little longer. He has taken steps back and forth with us, but wont do it on demand. however, he loves to push things around, using any object as a walker (stool, chair, bike, whatever will move forward across the floor).
- He has a temper! Anytime he hits a wall or dead end with said walker, he screams and pouts, and sometimes will just drop to the floor and throw a fit, depending on how tired he is. 
- he is always trying to fit through small spaces- under chairs, behind couches, he loves to tunnel through things and burrow. 
- Overall, he is still the happy and laid back baby that we've known since the beginning :) Even though I am looking forward to watching him grow and learn, I still feel a little sad that one day he will turn into a big kid 
:(. I wouldnt mind if he stayed one forever. If he would only sleep through the night....

Thursday, October 31, 2013

An anticlimactic finish...

Well, its been over a month since we finished our west coast bike tour. Apologies and all that for not posting since Big Sur. I guess it was just hard to beat that section. In the weeks since finishing, we have thought about what to blog, and how to finish the chronicle of this trip over and over, and just haven't come up with much. And strangely, that's kind of how the  last few weeks of our trip went. We didn't take quite as many pictures, or quite as many stops. It seemed we were just stressed about how to make it safely through the maze and traffic that is Southern California. The beaches were great. I actually got Brad to swim with me! The warm weather was nice- no more wet fog every morning. But we were constantly watching our bikes and backs, and it seemed the 101 was a death trap for a wide load and a bike trailer. That being said, I am glad we made it all the way to the end. It was a little anticlimactic  finishing the route, because we ended at a seemingly abandoned Border field State Park (we were literally the only people there besides a border patrol officer...) and once we made it there we had to turn around and head back the way we came to the condo we stayed at in La Jolla. It was a little disappointing there weren't even any signs pointing to Mexico/US... just a big menacing fence separating two worlds.
   After finishing, we headed back to La Jolla, bummed around the beach town for a few days, and bought a jeep, car seat, and bike rack. We headed to West Jordan, Utah to go see Brads folks and start a new life somewhere in Utah. That's the part we are still working on... but its another story for another day. Enjoy the last of our pictures :)
the worst hiker/biker site on the coast- San Clemente. We shared it with a homeless lady...

this baby loves bikes!

Some friends in Ventura let us stay the night on their sailboat- awesome!

We took a detour into Beverly Hills to stay with Brad's aunt Maria. Yes, that Rodeo Drive we biked on.

Some lifesavers in Long Beach- old high school friends of Brads let us stay and tuned up our bikes, including fixing a spoke! They had perfect timing and helped us out a ton!

a break from the 101- a beachside bike path!

The end of the route...

the border patrol officer took a final family picture for us :)
Well, until next tour....

Sunday, September 15, 2013

That SURtainly was BIG!

elevation of Big Sur
Big Sur, is a section of the California coast that has little in the way of towns and lots in the way of long hills and windy (as in both curvy and breezy) roads along beautiful steep cliffs. Above is the elevation chart of what we slowly rode.  The shoulders throughout Big Sur were extremely hit and miss, but mostly miss, which is scary especially when pulling a trailer that is wider than your average bike on the side of the road.  We spent a good part of this section riding from pull out to pull out to soak in the amazing views, and to dance in delight that we just survived the last mile.  The roads were loaded with tourists in all shapes and sizes, from RV's pulling cars, to masses of Harleys and even a few other crazies on bikes, but everyone's eyes were having trouble paying attention to the pavement in front of them, making this even more scary for us. With all that being said I am excited to announce that I am typing this from the other side of Big Sur, therefore we have SURvived the treacherous SURoundings once again.  
This section of the trip was a SURprize to me.  I have heard of Big Sur, but living it is SURiously unexplainably aweSURme.  We had a great tail wind that gave a much needed boost up the mountains.  We camped a night at the Big Sur campground, and woke up in a thick fog that has been famous most mornings of this trip, but we quickly road above it to overlook a sea of clouds, pretty sure if you just add free ice cream it would be just like heaven.   
Tiger striped feet, courtesy of Keen 

You could turn this sign 90 degrees and it would describe the hills accurately

5 star picnic location

This would be way easier if she wasn't hauling all those makeup bags

At the Big Sur campground

Days like this we only bike about 30 miles due to roadside distractions.

Soaking up the views

We really wanted to play on the beach, but it was just too crowded.

after thousands of miles of searching, we finally found it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Peeps in da club

Stephanie and Ashley (bookends in the pic), who rode down the coast and ended in San Fran, Brad and Mary, headed to San Diego, and Scott and Sarah, who are headed to South America.
 Every tour must have its own unique qualities that set it apart from other rides. Our Canada tour was littered with random kindness from strangers at every turn. Although we have definitely had many blessings of kindness this trip, the thing that is standing out about this route is the social interaction, especially with other bike tourists. The west coast bike route is probably the most popular tour among cyclists in the entire U.S. Consequently, we see other cyclists making their way along different stretches of coast line most every day. Often, we see the same cyclists several times throughout the trip. We have befriended folks from Germany, locals from California checking off their bucket lists, college students out for an adventure, and hard core travelers who are headed to the tip of south America, making this section just a tiny drop in their bucket of miles. We end up making it to the same campsites every night, where we can swap stories about hills, headwinds, and hangry episodes (which is being so hungry you are angry, hence, HANGRY).  Many of these pictures are with a group of 6 that we have been trouping with, which makes the often stressful rides through big cities a little more bearable (we all rode to San Francisco together, and thus had safety in numbers, as well as photographers in numbers for the big bridge crossing!), as well as provides safety from the nightly raccoon assaults we have at each camp.
Leo has many fans along the route, and often he gets all the greetings and attention wherever we go. He gets his picture taken daily by amazed motorists and cyclists alike, who cannot believe a baby is on such a big tour.
For those who are concerned, our fears about riding through California have been abated. There is a surprising amount of bike paths, keeping us off the busy roads, and lots of quiet back roads as well. And bonus- no more logging trucks! We must have left them in Oregon. Wahoo!
We have seen a live and dead bobcat this week, which is a first for us!

lots of winding, coastal roads that make it hard to put down the camera

The Fellers, from Half Moon Bay, who took us in for the night after church. Awesome family!

Harvesting the strawberry fields south of Santa Cruz- I think these are for Driscoll

Leo's new friend Ophelia, who we stayed with in Monterey
our troop making it up a hill on the way to San Fran

We finally found the bridge! Now what?

so excited its clear!
Well, we are off to Big Sur tomorrow, hopefully it lives up to it's hype. Until then, may the winds ever be in your favor!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Come hill or high head wind.

The last week and however long its been since our last post have been great.  Before we left for this trip, the part I was most excited for was biking through the redwoods. That being said, they did not disappoint.  We first saw the massive trees the day we entered California. We had just a hint of the trees and it was enough to keep me pedaling for more.  The Avenue of the Giants is the famous drive through the redwood forest.  As soon as we rode into this grove we instantly became tiny.  Our jaws were dragging on the ground as we slowly took the smooth winding road a midst trees that were around to witness the birth of Christ, and the invention of the bicycle.  There was a quiet reverence within the trees, calling us to hop off the bikes and wander on foot.  One day was just not enough for us, so we decided to make camp and stay to play for an extra day.  When the sun went down, the backlighting from the many campfires surrounding us gave a show of tree shadows dancing the night away. The next day we bouldered redwood stumps, went on a hike, took a dip in the river, had a picnic in the woods and enjoyed our time out of the saddle.  The redwood trees lived up to every bit of the hype and almost left me not looking forward to the rest of the trip knowing we just biked through what I expect to be the climax.  But the rest is still unknown and yet to be experienced; who knows what will be the real climax.
As we ride we have been meeting several other bike tourists who are going the same route-ish.  Some start earlier or later and have different end points based on deadlines or budgets but we find ourselves running into several of the same bikers again and again.  Of all these we have met only one other touring with a baby, who we quickly befriended and then intentionally planned to meet up for camp three nights in a row.  Most of the State parks have "hiker biker" sites reserved for those who arrive on foot or bike.  Therefore most nights in the campground become a bike party, where we all hang around the campfire (with or without a flame) and talk about the big hills, thrills and chills.  The last several nights have been the same pack all traveling separately and arriving to camp at various times, but then we gather and socialize... its been great to share this with friends from all over.
We made our way out of the redwoods and back to the coast, now on the famous 'highway one'.  Windy, hilly and no shoulder adds a lot to the challenge but the extreme traffic we fought due to Labor day weekend will  not be missed.  
My brother Keith has joined us on his bike!  His bike goes a lot faster than ours due to its 1100cc engine, but he camps with us and then spends his day exploring, covering in a day what it takes us a week to accomplish.  It's his second time seeing Leo, and they are already good friends, which lets Mary and I set and clean up camp a bit faster.
Coming up next, San Francisco.... I hope its not hilly there.

Bike touring babies, Teddy age 12 mo, and Leo age 9 mo

There are two elk in this picture and only one is a statue.  I was terrified but "Just ride fast" Mary said.

An example of what we eat on the road

a diaper change with a view

Mary redpointed this stump she rated it a T2

Family of tree huggers

Avenue of the Giants.

This sign did not exaggerate, This was a halter top kind of road due to the lack of shoulders.

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Uncle Keith, has been super helpful playing with Leo around camp.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ore... GONE!

Well, today we expect to enter California or come darn close. Washington and Oregon kind of flew by faster than we expected. I guess we are just used to really big states and coastlines... Alaska does that to you. But, Oregon did not disappoint. Rocky shores and miles of beautiful beaches, mossy forests and well, lets just say Mary  could not put the camera down and got pretty good at pulling it out and taking shots on the fly. Yesterday was our friend Jo's last day on the ride- she headed back to school. It was fun having her and Kona, they sure kept us entertained. But now its back to the terrific two, er, I mean three! We are excited and nervous about taking on California, but we cant turn away the Redwoods or Big Sur, and hopefully the beaches will warm up!!! Anyway, we will make this quick and get on the road- perhaps we will get feeling a bit more creative down the road. For now, enjoy some pictures!

brad wants a new bike...

wee wee wee all the way home

tide pooling!

Kona loved it