Miles and miles

Ok folks, this will most definitely be the last blog about the bike ride and just to wrap up, after the video in the previous blog, we wanted to share our mileage chart with you.

It ain’t no Strava and we didn’t record the route, times, distances to the nearest meter online, but this is pretty accurate from google maps, state park campgrounds to Warmshowers hosts to friends of friends addresses.

63,460ft of climbing from Vancouver to Tijuana apparently, just googled it.

By the way if anyone has been inspired to do this trip then we recommend getting the Bicycling the Pacific Coast Highway book also on Kindle, which was helpful to us finding campgrounds, knowing the nearest supermarket was x miles away, or getting onto a quiet shortcut. Of course too if y’all have any questions about the trip jut drop us an email to toesoverross@hotmail.co.uk or alice_carrie@hotmail.com

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Vancouver to Mexico: DONE!

2100 miles, 3 flats, one fall (Ross stuck in his kleets at a traffic light), a few tears (mostly Ross’s when he fell at the traffic lights), 38 packets of trail mix, too much coffee, and a few tails to tell the grandkids.

It’s not about the numbers though. It’s about living in the moment, about the stories, about the adventure. Being on the road with someone you love, with nothing more than a bike, a tent and a few spare t-shirts. The simple life is rewarding.

The road treated us well and the final ride was both a sad and happy trail. We’ll miss the people we have met, the wind in our faces and the ever changing scenery evolving in front of us. We’ll pack the bikes away very grateful for the dreams they helped us discover. On to the next chapter now though, a winter surfing in Costa Rica awaits. We will continue our blog so stay tuned and thank you to all our followers so far.

Here is a little 3 minute video highlighting the best bits from our adventures. http://youtu.be/b1cMvFjSCIM.

The cookie was right

We’ve never really been into fortune telling so when we cracked the fortune cookie open 50 miles north of Santa Barbara we laughed at the message inside. “Your road to glory will be rocky, but fulfilling”. Little did we know this little cookie was telling the truth.

That afternoon after a sweet and sour lunch at Panda Express we had a real tough climb up through some big hills with no shoulder. We were rewarded though with sweeping views from the top of the mountains and the best downhills of the trip. Further south again the hills disappeared and we cruised through Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Muscle Beach, and Huntington Beach. There were smooth, wide, Tarmac cycle paths right along the beach taking us to to our resting place for the next couple of weeks. So it was just like the fortune cookie said, “rocky, but fulfilling”.

For those of you who are interested in our current whereabouts, we are staying near a surf spot called Trestles in San Clemente, California. We are working on a project with the Surfrider Foundation and are here for around 20 more days before we head to Costa Rica for our winter there in Nosara. Before we fly though we will finish what we started and complete the ride to Mexico. We are about 90 miles from the border and are heading down to Tijuana next weekend, without our luggage. Since it is our last day on the road we invite anyone who would like to join us to tag along on Saturday 2nd Nov. So who’s in?

Surfing for Change

When we were in Capitola, just south of Santa Cruz we met up with professional surfer and Patagonia Team Rider, Kyle Thiermann.

Kyle first caught our eye doing his TED talk, on stage in a wetsuit, surfboard in hand campaigning on environmental issues. We have been following his work ever since, we knew he was based in Capitola and since we were stopping for the night we got in touch and met up with him for some dinner and drinks at Suda.

Kyle founded Surfing for Change to educate the world and specifically the surfing community, about environmental issues. His angle is not to preach but to tell stories that are entertaining, informative and grab the attention of an audience that often times tune out.

He recently released a film ‘Indonesia Trash Tubes’ that has already had over 30,000 views.

Kyle is only 23 and is engaging thousands of people with his projects, his passion and enthusiasm where infectious. With huge respect and admiration we left Capitola encouraged that his Outstanding work is really making a difference around the globe.

It’s about the people

Five months ago we left our home in Wales and the journey that ensued has turned out to be the most incredible journey of our lives. We have had more adventures and given birth to more stories in the last five months than many folks do in a lifetime. We feel so privileged and utterly grateful to have been to the places we have been, met the people we have met and played in the oceans we have played in, it has been a dream come true.

We have learnt that behind any outstanding organisation, are outstanding people, full of wisdom, humour, patience, love, courage and kindness. We have been so lucky to spend time with these people and many have become life long friends and mentors. They have taught us things that neither of us will ever forget.

Below are a bunch of people that made our trip so remarkable, and we’ll leave you with a thought; the most courageous thing in the world is to love yourself. Thanks Duke.

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Thank you Alcatraz, you were amazing!

A famous quote from Alcatraz Warden James Johnson;

“Alcatraz was built to keep all the rotten eggs in one basket,
and I was specially chosen to make sure that the stink from the
basket does not escape. Since I’ve been warden, a few people have
tried to escape. Most of them have been recaptured; those that
haven’t have been killed or drowned in the bay. No one has ever
escaped from Alcatraz. And no one ever will!”

Well guess what Warden Johnson, we made it!

We woke at 5.30am, the city was asleep and we were nervous. The air was crisp, it was going to be a beautiful day. Aquatic Park was alive with nervous excitement as we arrived and checked in. Numbers 719 and 720, we listened nervously to the final briefing.

“Just make sure you keep the Fontana towers on your right shoulder and the current will ease you gently into Aquatic Park and the finishing point” said Pedro, who has swam from Alcatraz nearly 1000 times. “If you’re tired or need help, stick your hand in the air” he added. We donned our swimming caps, cleaned our goggles and started warming up.

At 7.20am the park fell silent for the American National Anthem. People cried, well not quite but it was emotional for the yanks.

It was time. We walked half a mile to the ferry that would take us to the Island. Hoots and hollers went up as we boarded. There was no turning back now. The thought definitely crossed our minds as we saw how far the Island was from shore. It was squeeky bum time.

The Island approached and the boat slowed, Alcatraz was looking daunting but beautiful. The sun was warming us through the ferry windows when the doors opened.

“Yeeew”
“Let’s go”
The boat grew loud, the nerves disappeared as we entered the door way, we leapt together, the cold water took our breaths away. We started swimming.

We were one of the last to jump and during the wait the boat had drifted over 100 metres further from the city and around the east side of the island, the currents were stronger there and we had to swim hard to get back on track.

Ross recalls the swim; “I remember looking back after about 15 minutes of swimming and the Island had hardly moved out of sight, the thought crossed my mind to stick my hand in the air and call it a day. I started counting my strokes instead, 100 strokes, take a 3 second breather and look around I told myself. Head down, 1, 2, 3, 4,… 100, I was a third of the way but I was in the middle of the bay on my own, there was a small group 50 metres ahead and a bigger group 50 metres behind. The boats created wakes that during my breathing looked liked fins and sea lions, my heart raced and I started kicking a little harder.

Catch the group in front I told myself, keep the Fontana towers on my right, they still looked a long way away but they were on my right shoulder. I was in a good spot. I started pulling harder and the group got closer. I approached half way and reached the group. I settled into a rythmn, I was singing “why do birds, suddenly appear, every time you are near” in my head over and over, must have helped with the rythmn!?

I felt strong and the opening to Aquatic Park approached and the current started easing me into the opening. I kicked harder for the final 400 metres and the noise from the crowd on the beach grew louder and louder.

46 minutes after jumping from the ferry my hands hit the sand and I stumbled to my feet, a little dizzy and disorientated a girl handed me my medal. The cold really kicked in as the adrenaline dropped. I wrapped up warm and shivered on the beach as I waited for Alice and Jeff. I recognized Alice’s stroke as she came into Aquatic park, she approached the beach zig zagging, she was tired, had white feet and a cracking case of claw hand and she’d made it in 55 minutes, what a girl. Oh and she did it in her swimsuit #hero.”

It was an incredible experience and another wonderful memory and story for the grandkids. Thank you Alcatraz, you were amazing!

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