Smother my thoughts with asphalt, smooth my words with concrete, forgotten once settled among the wrought iron. Intuitive Moon rises with every footstep, heart beats outmatch each star overhead, chasing forgotten hints of wild desire. City lights hold you hostage, while the sea sets you free, if I had it my way you’d shine all day on me. Till the sun fades away, leaving room for marbled skies, I’ll wait all day in haste, look up once or twice just in case, you decide to show your lovely cratered face.
This title I could have uttered at numerous moments in the past two weeks. Close to two weeks ago, three amazing friends and I finished our summer job in Skagway, Alaska, packed our belongings and selves into two cars and drove through British Columbia to California.
You stole my heart British Colombia! Your landscape is beautiful, your voice is one of compassion, and your patience is rewarding. I wanted to float in your rivers and lakes, get lost amongst your golden yellow trees, and hike your jagged peaks. You also stole my bike. I was too trusting in our relationship and was hurt. My friends told me not to trust you, but i was naive. Still, may our love affair never end.
You stole my heart all the family we visited along the way! It’s funny, we managed to spend at least one day with each of our families on the drive down. First came Vancouver, then Portland, then Bend, then Chico, and finally Oakland. We were homesick, craving a special dose of family, and at each stop we were treated as such. It was easy to see why I was drawn to these friends in the first place, it was because they were raised in some of the most caring and loving families.
You won’t believe it, but a Seahorse stole my heart in San Francisco. It was a first for me, meeting a Seahorse that is, and I am yearning to learn more. Maybe she will let me and not swim away.
With my only bike stolen in Vancouver, I have been forced to run as a means of daily escape from the hectic world. I have not been having many bicycle adventures lately, and it’s even more difficult without a bike. I almost feel like I should change the title of my blog. When the temperature dropped with dusk, I set out on a run along the lagoon yesterday. My legs felt strong, my lungs managed to hang on, and my thoughts were lost in the pinks and purples of the setting sun. A rabbit darted across the trail in front of me and I about nearly jumped out of my skin. A whole summer running in Alaska with bears and I was never scared as much as I was by a rabbit in San Diego!
Where do you go to escape the billboards, chain stores, and crowds of people? How do you escape the ordinary, the boring, the predictable? For me, I head North to Alaska. This summer, Skagway Alaska was my escape from the clutches of what has become fate for those of us in the lower 48.
A small town that grows to just under two thousand people when seasonal employees roll in and to over twelve thousand when cruise ship folks dock in order to walk off a bit of the food they’ve forced down. Skagway has one road/highway that is even a further escape. This road is the secret entrance to landscapes, adventures, and cultures so pristine, incomparable, and interesting, that you find yourself letting out a sigh of relief when your are in the midst of it all.
This far North, people don’t care if you don’t own a car, how you dress, what was on TV last night. They care about you. It’s an amazing phenomena that occures when all of the unimportant distractions are taken out of the equation. This place enables your brain and heartbeat to slow enough to listen to your thoughts, the stream your hiking beside, and the creaking of the trees as you pedal past them.
In the end, I am thankful places like this still exist. At the end of my summer, I am saddened to leave them.
The days seem to run into each other and blur your vision as you try to differentiate one from the next. Wake up, eat, go to work,eat, try to fit in some physical activity, eat, realize you only have an hour or so to slow down and reflect on the day before you are setting your alarm and deforming that soft pillow, a gateway to amazing dreams you wish you could remember in the minutes after you snooze the alarm the next morning and fall out of bed to start the cycle all over again. I am a fairly calm and relaxed person as it is, but I find it very difficult to slow my days down and appreciate as many of the little moments that present themselves. There are way too many distractions and I could list them for days, but I am sure you could too.
I know I have always had it in the back of my mind, but today as I pedaled home from a yoga class I realized just how ugly asphalt and cars are. One of the reasons I haven’t owned a car in the last six years? Yes, definitely part of it. Two contributors for everyone’s day to go by a little too fast. It’s sad to see people sitting in their cars, isolated from the world around them. It’s sad to see the earth hidden under such a dark and suffocating color. Do you smile when you drive??? I know I do when I am coasting down a hill or wave at the person walking their dog on the sidewalk as I pedal past. Every day seems like an adventure that way, and helps to slow my day down just a fraction of a second compared to if I was stuck behind the wheel of a car.
It’s funny how unfortunate events can jumpstart your life again. Ex: a near death experience, loss of job, death of family member. Thankfully, I only lost my job due to downsizing. Still, it’s tough! So, where will you find me now these days? Back on my yoga mat again. Yep, still pedaling around too. Of course, applying for that next job also. You can also find me starting up my own natural hemp yoga mat towel line called “BEYULtiful.” I won’t go into detail here, all of that goodness can be found on my ETSY shop called BEYULtiful. The point is, I am taking a risk and putting a product I believe in out there. We all have so many talents that we know and don’t even know we have, and if we don’t, they can be learned. It can be hard to realize them because our everyday lives fly by and most of that time is spent focusing on unimportant things. What do you want? Go after it! Do something different. Take a chance. You may fall flat on your butt, but you know what, you tried! Sure, it’s going to be scary as hell and you may want to quit. If you push past your comfort zone you may just be surprised at what you find out about yourself. “Tear up that ugly asphalt!”
Where will I find you?
When it comes to cycling, I am in fairly decent shape. I easily put in over a hundred miles a week commuting and mountain biking. When in comes to running, you better lay your bets on someone else.
This morning I woke up with a incredible urge to go for a run. I rolled out of bed, ate a couple pieces of toast (one with peanut butter on it), layered up for the 37 degree weather and set out the door at half past 5am. This time of day has always been my favorite time to run. How can you beat running under the cover of a well used blanket of night sky; as you run the blanket is slowly pulled away to reveal the most amazing colors of the dawns awakening. It is one of the most quiet times of day as well with only minimal traffic on the roads and the promise of another day.
I grew up running. My fourth grade teacher Mr. Saccone is to thank for that. He was a big runner himself and every morning he would take our class out to run around the baseball field area. This fun was enhanced by our keeping track of how far we ran each day, in turn, we would plot our accrued mileage to see how far we had run across the United States. He would also make us half of a sandwich with Laura Scudder’s peanut butter after our runs, probably why it’s my favorite peanut butter to this day.
My relationship with running has been off and on since I graduated high school. It has definitely been a rocky road since having turned 30. Funny how your body just automatically changes at that age. Joints begin to ache and you don’t heal as fast, you actually have to work at staying in shape. My knees have been aching lately when I run. I should say they ache if I haven’t run in a while. The first day back is the worst, which would be today. I had to stop and walk about ten times during my 3-4 mile run because of the soreness. If I continue to run, going no longer than 3-4 days in between so, my knees continue to slowly get better and get into running shape again. It’s a slow process and I need to stop going so long without running. I love to run, the hardest step is just getting out the door. I guess you can say that about many things in life, the first step is always the most difficult, but once you make it you wonder why it seemed so in the first place.
We are all not bike mechanics, but we all have a love for bikes! (If your reading this blog I imagine you at least have a crush on bikes.) With that love, if it is true, means that you actually pedal your two wheeled friend with a big fat smile on your face, acting in every way possible like a little kid again. Not like we need to act that hard. It’s medicine, I swear! Like every relationship, there are going to be times when you quietly curse at your partner: when the hills are steep and gears too high, the pedal teeth too sharp and the shins too soft, and inevitably when you get a flat. It’s all part of riding a bike, some will scar our spirits and our skin, but we should not let it scar our egos. So, I am going to cover some very basic flat tire repair and tools which every rider should carry with them. Hopefully, wiping away some fear for the new rider or the old. Continue reading
Two years ago I dreamt that all my worries were behind me (except for finding a place to sleep as night fell.) If no other place in the world injects a sense of freedom and exploration inside of you, Alaska will! With the season’s end a couple months out, my tour down the coast from the North end of Vancouver Island to San Diego was slowly creeping closer and becoming reality. I had planned to pedal alone until a up for anything, football loving, bike enthusiast co-worker, Bobbi, offered to join the adventure as nonchalantly as agreeing to run to the grocery store to gather ingredients in order to bake cookies (which she does quite well.) Soon one would become three as a new found friend from British Colombia (Martina) would join the exploration of the coast and of ourselves. Continue reading
I have owned a few Surly bikes over the past few years. All of them are personally groomed in my favorite black and red color scheme. Not only does it look good and catch the eye of all the single ladies out there, I am sure there is a bit of durability and speed added in there somewhere. I started my Surly relationship with the well loved Long Haul Trucker. There was plenty to fall in love with!