Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 47: Seattle, WA (Bremerton, WA)

We got up from the hotel this morning, ate some breakfast, and watched a little bit of "GoldenEye" on TV before we took off. James Bond is too cool. :)

The trip was great. We had about 50 miles to do and we made great time. We arrived into town with the view of four aircraft carriers to our right.

I'm SO HAPPY!!! We're finally in Bremerton!!! I've been looking forward to this for so long, because now I'm able to spend time with my Uncle Jim and Aunt Eileen. They've been so kind.

Eileen drove us into town so we didn't get lost, and got us lunch. When my Uncle Jim got home, on his very cool Harley mind you, we talked for a little bit and then all of us went out to Olive Garden for dinner. We had pasta and then Tiramisu. It was incredible.

It's been so long since I've seen extended family, I forgot how great it was. It's great to be on the road, and get the chance to meet so many people, but it makes me see how much I miss my family... it's good to know that we'll be staying with family for the next few days.

Uncle Jim hooked us up with a tour tomorrow through an aircraft carrier that just came into port a few days ago, and then we may go through the city of Seattle.

We're loving our downtime and the Mitchell's hospitality.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 46: Olympia, WA (Lacey, WA)

It is typical for a college student to not hit the sack till 2am, I mean we have tons of things to do, with all that web serfing, phone conversations, and late night Ihop runs... but soon that college student will learn that going to bed early is actually a good thing. One thing that I have learned on this trip is the importance of sleep. Once we get to a new location instead of wanting to explore the town we usually head straight to bed. Sleep is known to heal the body and mind, it cleans the system and allows the immune system to fight disease, without it your metabolism slows down, you become more irritable, and health deteriorates.

Last night was hard. We cleaned the entire van, organized the boxes, labeled water bottles, and repackaged flyers. It became a van that would make our mothers proud. Although we were plagued by sleep and were tortured by mosquitos we couldn't live with the van as messy it was. Sadly sleep took a back seat. Returning to our college habits, we took advantage of the available Wi-fi, and caught up with our online messages and facebook stalking (I mean surfing). When we awoke the next morning our bodies begged us to stay in bed. Usually the body wins, and it almost did, but we had to get a start on a long day.

Our mind beat out our bodies but not without a fight. We began riding and our legs felt wobbly as we pushed down on the pedals. We were so tired.

As the day ran on, and our legs warmed up so did the temperature outside. In Washington we have seen the hottest weather so far, who would have thought the north beating out the desert. Its 101 on the black streets, we stink of the heat.

It wasn't the best day especially trying to find our way through the busy streets. Alyson got lost as we began to ride, she was going the opposite direction, having to return on the right path. Unfortunately getting lost on a bike is not like a car, you lose valuable energy having to return on course. This reminds us how important it is for us to stay close together. Because when you make a mistake it will cost you. Its just like life.

Alyson is so excited about heading into Seattle tomorrow. We will be staying with her Uncle, who she keeps bragging about. We're happy to get more rest days. But right now we're going to learn from the mistakes of yesterday and we're going to get some sleep and thanks to our hosts we'll be sleeping in beds, we can't let those go to waste. Night.

-Justin Brown

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day 45: Longview, WA

Last night, we had an awesome time in the city of Portland. We saw "Get Smart", which was very entertaining, and went back on the train. We, once again, fixed the connections on the van, and went to bed late.

This morning we had breakfast with Marta and her daughter Madeline, who is 4 years old. She is adorable, and so grown up... I mean, she can write her entire name already, and she loves eating broccoli, hummis, and other veggies!

We were off and made good time, so we stopped in at a Walmart along the way... seriously, we haven't seen a Walmart in several states!

As Nate was biking the last stretch of our very hot day to Washington (it got up to 101 degrees), he met a bicyclist named Paul from Paris, who was biking all over the world. They ended up biking about 10 miles together! He was so nice, and he let us film him and Nate biking across the bridge that separated Oregon and Washington.

When we arrived in Longview, we met up with Pastor Charles and his wife, who had pizza for us! Yum. We had fun telling stories, and enjoyed their beautiful view on their balcony before we got to work.

After dinner, the team did laundry and reorganized the van. We literally took everything out and put it back in. We started around 8 something this evening and didn't finish until 10:30! We're so tired, and the mosquitos were awful! We look forward to sleeping tonight.

Kyle left me a voicemail that said he made it home safely. It feels weird having 4 people... we went to Subway for lunch today, and accidentally got 5 cups of water because we were so used to that number! :( We miss you Ky-le! (pronunced "key-lay"... I don't know how, but I just started calling him that during the trip).

Oh, also I'm up to 820 miles... and I'm SO excited to see my Uncle Jim and Aunt Eileen in Seattle!!! Can't wait!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 44: Portland, OR

It was hard waking up this morning, knowing full well that you are going to have to say goodbye to a trusted friend and member of the Alive Campaign. Kyle had to leave for medical reasons, which goes to remind us at how dangerous this trip is, and how fragile we all are. It really gives us a time to reflect on all the memories we shared and how far we have come. It wasn't long before we were leaving from Baylor University and hitting the desert road, climbing the steep cliffs, and fighting for "shotgun". Kyle will be missed dearly.

Yesterday was a big day, we got our van fixed, which turned out the battery wasn't properly connected...Nathan couldn't believe he didn't think of that.

We had fun chilling with Lane, our Baylor reporter, who shadowed us our entire way to Portland. He was able to find out just how much of nut-jobs we really are, maybe some of it rubbed off on him..He also was able to bike some...which after riding said "Biking is a lot harder then I thought". We also spoke to the Suicide Prevention Coalition, little did we know that they had a surprise welcoming. We were very humbled by their offerings and words of support. People like them keep us motivated.

We were also greeted by another biker, Mark, who took me and Andi on our bike tour through Portland, OR. You would think we had enough of biking but seeing the bustling city and the many avid bikers ride through the streets we felt at home on the road. Did I mention how many bikers there are in Portland. Its like nothing we TEXAS folks have ever seen. Up here in Portland the bike is just like another member on the road. Bikes rule.

We're excited to be in Portland. We have a wonderful host, Marta George, a Baylor Alumni who has offered her home and given us some great food. As the rest of the team knows I'm a health freak, you know the kind, the organic, granola, 100% fruit juice kind of person, well here in Portland I'm not the odd man out. Nathan is the opposite, he is what we like to call the "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. Its been fun trying to get him to eat his vegetables...

We're our now in the middle of a bus stop trying to get Wi-fi. Its been difficult for us to get connected. We walked all around town to find just a hint of wireless. We walk through streets, get behind hotels, we're the modern day pirates, at least that what we like to think of ourselves. We're on a mission and that mission is to steal "free" internet...that's dedication. We love all of you out there that read our blog, and we love the comments, we read them everyday, so keep them coming, and we'll be sure to make Kyle proud.

-Justin Brown

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 43: Portland, OR

Well for me this trip has unfortunately come to an end, do to some medical problems I need to head home. But before I leave I wanted to write one last blog for all of you.

Well it’s hard to put in to terms what this trip has been for me as it comes to an end. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of trouble at the same time but it was all worth it. I’ve learned about myself and other people and at the same time been able to help spread the word about suicide prevention. As I look back on the last month and a half I feel so grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me.

If I had to pick one good memory out of this whole trip to tell you about it would be very hard, each day was filled with new people and experiences and challenges. One of the best memories I have though is traveling up the coast. I’d never seen the Pacific Ocean until I came on this trip and seeing it reminded me of a couple things. First and foremost it reminded me of this world God created and put before us. At the same time it reminded me of the endless possibilities that lay out there for each of us to fill our lives with.

As I leave this trip and go home to my family I have the same bittersweet feelings I had when I started this trip. When the group reached 250,000 people, I only begun to realize what I had committed myself too. There were times along this trip I wanted to throw in the towel and stop, but the one thing that kept driving me was my faith in the fact that God had some sort of plan. As I leave now, despite my injury, I still feel God has a plan still. And as usual I’m not quite sure where he’s leading me, but I will follow.

If there is one thing I hope all of you take away from this trip it is the fact that endless possibilities lay out there for everyone. Determination and faith are all that is needed to succeed in life. If there is one thing I have taken away it is that the world is not as bad a place as I once thought it was. The kindness of people in feeding and sheltering us still amazes me, I would like to thank every single person and family that has helped with this trip, without you it would not have been possible.

PS: The team is really sad to see me go....who else is going to keep them on their toes.

-Kyle Ferguson

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 42: Lincoln City, OR

This morning we left the Daughtery's house, after having pancakes, sausage, and eggs. Tim, Debbie, Jason, and Thomas were so kind and we enjoyed being a part of the College and Career Bible Study last night. Thomas, Tim and Debbie's son, led the bible study and he did an incredible job. We loved chatting with people our age. I had fun playing with Tim and Debbie's grandson, Jason. He loves the movie "Cars", he's 3 years old, and has the car noises down to a science. So cute.

We biked 70 miles into Lincoln City today: Nate started out with 20 miles, Justin and I biked 30 miles together, and Andi rode us into town with 20 more. Awesome teamwork today in the wind and cold weather- it's crazy to be in a sweatshirt in the middle of the summer.

When we arrived in Lincoln City, at the Church of Christ, we settled in and met with Pastor Mark. He brought us dinner and made coffee. My caffeine fix was filled today. Yeah! :) At 7, we had bible study; the men went upstairs for their bible study, and I stayed downstairs for the women's. I loved being able to get into the word with new people, in the middle of the week. It helps me get centered since we've been "go, go, go" since the beginning.

Right now, the team is sitting in a motel with Lane Murphy, writer for the Baylor Magazine, taking showers in turns and discussing tomorrow. We'll be staying at the church tonight.

We now have another kink in the system: the van won't start because the connection between the battery and the rest of the van is out of commission. That's what happens when you decide to push a 10-year-old vehicle to the max for 42 straight days. I guess she's still sick.

Pastor Mark hooked us up with a place for breakfast, where we're able to order whatever we want at no charge. How awesome is that? We're hoping we can get the van fixed in time for a sit-down breakfast, and in time for our speaking engagement tomorrow... at least it makes for an interesting documentary. :)

But for now, we're walking home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 41: Florence, OR

So I'm hogging the computer right now...poor Alyson she wants to check her email real bad (don't worry I'll let her). Not having internet is like not having an arm, when it goes missing you can feel it. I guess that's the way it has been on the road now reaching day 41 of our trip, trying so hard to communicate to the outside world, what we feel, what we believe, and the message we want people to hear.

I feel a little homesick. I miss my friends at school and my family in El Paso, TX. When I first entered college I had moments where things would remind me of the family I left behind. I remember one inparticular moment when I was walking the River Walk in San Antonio and thinking to myself all the times I shared the moment with my mom and dad. It was like going on an exciting summer trip without them, not being able to share in that happiness. I think all of us here feel a sense of longing, a sense to share our experience with all of our friends, with all the great people that helped us, and all the people rooting for us. Its like taking that trip in San Antonio and wanting to share this trip with my family we want to share this trip with all of you. To show you the amazing things we've seen, the amazing experiences and friends we have made, to share the inside jokes and the mishaps, to the flat tires, the broken van, the speeches, and times when Nathan had to walk up a hill, to watch the sunset hovering over the pacific bay, staring at the black waves moving ashore, the towering bridges, and the purple and redish sky. These things we can't share with you through a blog or through a retelling of the tale, they are things you must experience. There are somethings you just need to go out and do, and do with all your heart.

Like sharing our story to people that have experienced loss from suicide and seeing tears run down their face, to the 14 year old boy sharing his struggles with depression and wanting to take his life, to the families that have been rocked to the core with the loss of a loved one. These are the moments that you want to share your heart with everyone you know. Because you know that these are the most important fascets of your being. When we come back we will have plenty of stories, plenty of telling tales but they are only a shadow of what is the sunshine.

-Justin Brown

Monday, June 23, 2008

Day 40: Bandon, OR

What a great way to start our trek through Oregon! We did 110 miles today, and let me tell you, the team dominated them! We had breakfast and then immediately began our biking for the day, without complaints or delays. The weather was so cold, but that didn't stop us from making record time: 6 1/2 hours for 110 miles!!! Our team is stronger than ever.

As we came into Oregon, we were welcomed by other bikers headed south. It was cool to see fellow bikers on the road. We're like our own little community, waving from opposite ends of the road, checking out each others' bikes, and talking about our journeys with one another.

We arrived at St. John's Episcopal Church in Bandon, and were so grateful to have 40 people eat and talk with us about our cause. Justin, Kyle, and I gave an amazing presentation and opened it up for questions. There are so many people who are affected by suicide, and the stories keep on rolling. It really touched us to hear such personal accounts.

After, we went to the Sunset Motel, where a lady named Denise Skillman gave us a place to stay for the evening! The motel overlooks the beautiful Oregon beach!!! On the way back from our dinner presentation, the team stopped and walked down to the ocean while the sun was setting. We saw seals and gulls, perfectly smoothed stones, and huge cliff-rocks out in the water. The rest of the team went back up to the van to drive back to the motel, but Justin and I decided to walk around the shoreline to our motel. We saw the sun literally disappear behind the ocean. We wished we had a camera, but the batteries were dead. Maybe tomorrow morning we'll get a picture, before we leave.

I think I truly understand the phrase "Se la vie"- so is life. Before today, I'd wake up almost regretting getting out of bed. I knew the day would be filled with a challenging, athletic feat that appeared to be a year-long process. After that, we'd have to go through hours of settling into a place, just to wake up and do it all over again.

Today, however, was different. I got up, without complaints. I helped pack, without yelling. I offered to bike first, without negotiations. I set a high goal of 50 miles and when I only did 30, I was still proud of myself. I walked on the beach in a part of the country I've never been before, watched the sunset, and didn't have a camera... but I took it all in and was happy anyway.

I think sometimes we forget what we're doing on this trip. We're caught in a routine at times, and I realize it in the middle of the day. That's what's so great about biking... it slows life down to a point where you HAVE to stop and smell the roses. You HAVE to look around you and appreciate that life is so much more than the daily routine.

What a great way to start our trek through Oregon!

On another note I just want to say, on behalf of the team, we miss our families and friends. Hi to everyone back home, and thanks for the support!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 39: Redwood Forest, CA (rest day)

Today came and went. After finishing 20 of the miles that we didn’t complete the day before, we decided to explore the Redwood forest.

Right off the bat, not hidden from the public road, we came to a giant statue of Paul Bunyun and his valiant steed, and friend, Babe, the blue bull. We took some pictures and bought some gifts and spent the day going our separate ways.

Andi and I (also known as team Okinawa) decided to hike through the giant Redwoods as well as some strangely shaped trees, one in particular shaped like a lightning bolt. Many of the trees are on record in the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not archives. They were massive. We took a skytram through the trees and were able to get amazing shots for the film.

Back at the camp Alyson slept…she sure can sleep.

Kyle and Nathan wanting to see the ocean so they took off towards the coast and were able to later take us to an outstanding view.

I’m at a seafood diner with the rest of the crew. We all had some fish and chips with some homemade clam chowder. Today we were able to experience the Redwoods in our own unique way but we are all happy to come together as the day comes to a close. You sometimes need that alone time to think and reflect but you always need to come back to your friends in the end.

-Justin Brown

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 38: Redwood Forest, CA

The van is our home, its our lifeline, and its part of the team. Our van, also dubbed the Mystery Machine (Kyle and Nathan's idea), was taken to the mechanic to get some brakes fixed. When one team member's down all the team is effected unfortunately the van is in-expendable.

We sat at Calvary Baptist Church in Eureka, CA waiting for the van to undergo it's treatment. Thankfully, relaxing at the church with the youth pastor, Adam Hurley, wasn't a bore. We were able to clean the bikes as well as play some Rock Band. It was fun hanging out and not having to leave great friends so soon.

Last night Alyson didn't get a lot of sleep, she stayed awake playing with some of the teenage girls that slept over. She paid for it in the morning trying to catch the little bit of time we had waiting.

We didn't leave Eureka until 5pm. Since it was so late Andi and I were able to complete half of today's scheduled milage, leaving the rest for tomorrow.

Coming into Redwood forest was a sight to behold. Fog has settled because of the coastal line, casting an eerie presence as we entered the forest. It reminded us of old horror films, seeing the elongated trees blurred behind a wall of mist. It also gave a new meaning to our "Mystery Machine"...all we need now is a dog.

Not much happened today, but we sometimes appreciate the mundanity, especially after days and days of constant momentum. We need the rest days even though it wasn't on purpose. Tomorrow will be a catch up day as well as a day to sit back relax and enjoy our time...because time, especially ours, vanishes like the fog. See you tomorrow.

-Justin Brown

Friday, June 20, 2008

37: Eureka, CA

Today I got a knock on the hotel door around 10:30 this morning... the boys apparently woke up later than they expected to. Oh well, I loved watching the news and a little bit of 'The View' before they came to pick me up. :)

We went to a local diner in Garberville for breakfast, and then started biking. Hwy 101 is so much more forgiving than Hwy 1. We enjoyed the smooth roads and shallow hills. The sun still beat down on us a little, though.

In the van, while Andi biked, the rest of us listened to the new Coldplay CD and discussed government regulations. It was actually very interesting, as Justin had an opposing view to Kyle, Nathan, and I. Oh to be a college student. Lol.

When we got to Eureka, we went to the Calvary Baptist Church, where we met up with Pastor Don, Youth Pastor Adam, and his fiancee Hannah. We also met up with the Pastor of Pine Hill, Pastor Darold.

This is definitely one of the most rewarding nights ever! We had about 12 kids come to worship, and hear a message from our team. Then all of us enjoyed some homemade pizza and a night of fellowship: Scrabble, Halo 3, Rockband, and a movie! The kids are so much fun, and they're wearing all of us "old people" out! :P

The van has a scheduled appointment at the local Ford dealership tomorrow morning... it's going to the doctor. Hopefully I didn't get the van sick. Lol.

I'm feeling a lot better now. I think the 24-hour bug that's been going through our team hit me yesterday... the rest of the team is feeling good (except for Kyle being out still) and we're excited about Redwood National Park.

Oh, and I hit 703 miles now!!! Yeah!!! :D

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 36, Miranda CA

The alarm goes off sharply at 7am, I rise up like always, half startled but my mind racing and filling up with things that need to be accomplished. I need to brush teeth, get dressed, stretch, clean the water bottles, and wake up the rest of the team. We slept in a bed last night, a luxury we no longer take for granted. Its sure cold outside, the dew is over everything and the town of Fort Brag is cool with the ocean air, locals call it the Air Conditioned Coast. I was pleased to have a warm breakfast, eggs and buttered toast, and a local tea called Mendo Tea, stronger then coffee some might say. Me, Kyle, and Andi sat with the pastor and talked for 2 hours of politics and current events, all the while I kept calling up Alyson and Nathan on my cellphone hoping they would answer, they never did. It was 9:30am when we left the house (Kyle talked a lot and knew a lot, I think he should be a professor someday) we drove down to Nathan and Alyson's home for the night and found them still sleeping!!!

Ingrained in me is a yearning desire to make the most of my days, to be on time, and to get things done. One of my pet peeves is being late (that might be the military training talking). It's the hardest thing getting the team up in the morning. I've tried everything, playing loud noises, pulling the blankets off their bodies, yanking the pillow from underneath them, and deflating the air mattresses, I've also tried kinder approaches, such as waking them up individually and nudging them quietly to get up or letting them sleep for an extra 5 min if they promise they will get up (they don't). I'm usually up and ready to go out the door in 10 min it takes the rest of the team an hour. You can imagine my frustration when we arrived at Nathan and Alyson's home for the day and finding them sleeping at 10am.

Now I try to be patient and that is one thing this trip has taught me is patience. So instead of getting mad and pointing fingers I sat softly in the van and listened to music keeping my mouth shut. You can't cry over spilled milk or take back time. It was too late to argue and i've learned to let things go. So because of this we were in late running for our 80 mile day.

It turned out that the roads were fairly easy going and we started to make good time,we said goodbye to the ocean (for now) and said hello to Redwood National Park.

The roads are a lot hillier and the curbs jump right at you. The smell of fresh cut wood is prevalent in the air and the sun cast plenty of shadows through the trees. It kind of looks like Planet Endor from Starwars, you know that planet with those little fuzzy creatures that live in the giant know the ones that look like giant teddy bears (again sorry for making Starwars comparisons)....but again....It's a new kind of beautiful. Nathan has especially been enjoying this part of the trip. He has definitely lost weight, I guess biking all the time will do that to you.

However our day was stunted when Alyson started to feel sick. Luckily we believe its nothing serious probably the bug that is being passed down from the rest of the group members, Andi had it, Kyle had it, I had it, now we think Alyson has it. It all has to do with the constant change in ecosystems and our bodies not being able to catch up properly. Alyson sat out and we had to add her load onto ourselves.

We worked the best we could and were able to make it to our 35th stop, Miranda.

Right now Alyson is in a hotel for the night (we take care of her) while me, Andi, Kyle, and Nathan are sleeping in a tent located in Giant Redwoods RV park. The night is cooling down rapidly so we will be cuddling the most manly way possible. Were all hoping Alyson will be feeling better. Andi is back on a bike after his great fall and Kyle is still holding off from straining his leg further (he should be better in a week). Until tomorrow, good day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 35 Fort Bragg CA

At the request of Justin and Andi I would like to inform all concerned parties and persons that this blog was written by Kyle Ferguson and the views expressed in such blog are in no way the expressed views of the Alive Campaign or its members. But seriously I'm not quite sure why they are so afraid of me writing a blog, it took me awhile to convince them it was okay. But anyways on to the blog.

The trip from Point Arena to Fort Bragg was fairly uneventful compared to some of the other days we spent on this trip. We spent the better part of the morning watching Justin attempt to fix three of the four bikes we have. Despite our doubts and ridicule, he did quite well and fixed the problems enough to get us to the next town and the next bike shop. Most of the rest of the day was spent biking until we got to Fort Bragg where we went to a bike shop and had three of the bikes overhauled. We then grabbed a bite to eat at a local pizza restaurant. Tonight we spoke at Fort Bragg Grace Community Church to a group of locals about suicide and depression awareness, and stayed with Pastor Greg and his family.

Now for the fun part, what I think of the trip so far. You know when you go on a trip like this you really don't know what to expect or what will actually happen. I came into to this thinking that we would be lucky to make it out of the state of Texas let alone get to San Francisco, so at the very least I'm very impressed and grateful to have gotten this far. When we started this trip we told ourselves that if the Lord provided a way we would go, and he has but what is unnerving from time to time is having to live day to day. As a guy always thinking 3 or 5 years in the future, the idea of having no idea what is going on tomorrow was never a real comfortable thing for me. But with a little help from my friends I've gotten by so far. Despite our differences and occasional arguments for the most part we get along most of the time and pull together when faced with tough situations.

On another note, it should be more entertaining as we get farther and farther north. It took us awhile to begin to deal with the heat in the desert but now we are faced with cold mornings instead of hot mornings. The southern boys and girls on this trip aren't to happy about the cold weather. But for a kid who spent the better part of four years in North Dakota and then two more in South Dakota, I don't think its that bad outside. Despite whatever we may face I'm sure we will find a way to overcome our problems. After all if you want to see creativity lock five people in a van and send them on a cross country trip with little to no idea what they are doing.

- Kyle

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 34: Point Arena, CA

How many people can say that they rode down The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, across the Coast and ocean, and had fish and chips for dinner on their 21st birthday? I can tell you it sure beats drinking...

I just wanted to say thanks to all the people that sent me Birthday messages. It really makes the day feel more momentous and special then a typical riding day.

I also want to thank Bodega Bay Church for hosting us for the night. They bought me hostess donuts for my B-day and then woke us up with a well put together breakfast. We had to make up the miles that we failed to complete the day before so we set off in the opposite direction to redue the 40 miles we missed making our 50 miles day supposed "easy" day turn into a 90 mile "hard" day.

It passed quickly, but as we drew closer to the final milage of the day things went horribly wrong....

Andi, speedracer as we like to call him, thought it was a good idea to cruise down a deathly steep hill. Unfortunately the hill was unmarked as having a sharp turn. Andi flew off, misjudging the turn, falling off the embankment barely missing the 20 foot steep cliff into a river. Andi, thankfully was ok and happened to crash with a park ranger close by. Help was on the way and he was fetched from the bottom of the brush. It could have been a lot worse, thankfully the damage done was a crack in the tire and minor scrapes and bruises. Alyson was ofcourse very motherly with patching him up and then smacking him saying "Don't you dare scare me like that again!"

After that ordeal we thought we had all the excitement for today checked off the list, but nope. We ended up with a flat tire 100 yards from the entrance to Point Arena.

There was some good that happened today even with the near catastrophe of Andi's experience. The roads are very forgiving with very little traffic and we see plenty of bikers touring the country like us. We had a lot of fun conversations with several bikers coming through. By the way the roads are absolutely breathtaking. Everyone needs to see the ocean at least once in their lifetime. As we ride along the road we just look at the vastness of the ocean and feel truly alive. The air is fresh here and the smell of the pine trees and the sound of the waves crashing along side the rocks make biking a enjoyable experience. This is the best part of the trip thus far.

ps Andi is now under a watchful eye from Alyson aka Mom.

-Justin Brown

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 33: Bodega Bay, CA

First and foremost, Happy 21st Birthday Justin!!! :D

This morning we drove down Lombard Street in downtown San Francisco. It's known as the "Crookedest Street in America". We also biked across the Golden Gate Bridge...we just HAD to get some footage of that! Justin wanted to note that he felt fortunate to be one of the few to bike down Lombard and over the Golden Gate on his birthday.

We had a great time in San Fran and had a hard time leaving because we wanted to capture the city's grace and finesse. We also had a hard time leaving because of all the traffic we hit on the way out. We hit a new record today for the latest time to leave: 1 pm with 70 miles to bike!

It didn't help that Andi had an accident along the way. He bent one of his handlebars and his rear derailer when he fell. FORTUNATELY, he's OK! Luckily, we were only 15 miles from a bike shop and they fixed the damages for free...thanx Mike's Bikes!

We tried extremely hard to finish our mileage for the day but the cold, windy hillside road slowed us down. We were running out of time as we had to meet some people at Bodega Bay Church, so we decided that we would drive the rest of the way today and make up the mileage tomorrow. A lady at the church, Becky, brought us fish 'n chips and clam chowder from the local dive. She also heard that it was Justin's birthday, so she bought milk and doughnuts for dessert.

Now we're laying on our air mattresses in the fellowship hall of Bodega Bay Church, watching "Escape From Alcatraz". Some of us have not seen it yet and we have been dying to watch a movie, so it seemed appropriate to pick it up while passing through San Fran.

It's VERY cold here...we just saw a temperature gauge outside that read 45 degrees Farenheit!

Next Stop: Port Arena!

Day 32: San Francisco

We woke up early today, to enjoy a Sunday morning church service and were welcomed by the congregation. After the sermon we were treated to a Father’s Day lunch at the church. We talked with several members about our journey and they gave us advice about the trip that still lies ahead of us. We have a whole new set of challenges with heading down the coast.

After lunch we chilled out at the house to watch the tube and take quick naps. How we miss naps… : )

While we stayed at the apartment Alyson and me were featured on Alyson’s dad’s (Karl) radio show, a father’s day special. We talked about our journey thus far and spoke about suicide prevention. It was our first time every doing a live radio show. We didn’t think that we would have a lot to say, especially when Karl told us we would have an hour. We were like, a whole hour! What are we going to do? But it went well, we found that we had a lot more to say then we thought. After the show Alyson and I shared a couple of hi-fives for a job well done. Here's the podcast:

After the show we took another nap…..did I mention how we miss naps? We woke up at 5pm to head out for dinner.

It is our one-month anniversary on the road!! We decided to celebrate. Thanks to my uncle, Victor Blanco, he bought us a fancy dinner to accommodate this special occasion. We dressed up and headed down to the Crustacean, a three star restaurant in the heart of San Francisco, known for their Dungeness crab. Thanks to him we were able to spoil ourselves.

While this was our final night we had to ride the trolleys. It felt like a rollercoaster; good think we weren’t riding our bikes down the hills….

Before I call it quits for the night, I would like to say to all the fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day! We wouldn’t be where we are today without our dads. I am blessed to have a good relationship with my dad, even though I know a lot of people out there aren’t as lucky.

I was born a day before Father’s Day. My dad tells me the story every Father’s Day about the day I came into this world. He recalls being at a Burger King in El Paso, TX feeling both the fear and excitement at being a new dad. Asking the questions “Am I ready”, “Well I be able to do this”, but his fear dissipating when he thinks to himself “I am a Father”. I don’t know how that could feel; it scares me to think about it. Could I raise a new person in this world? But I think that is how the best things happen in life. They are mixed with both fear and adventure. I’ve learned on this trip that the hardest days, the hardest routes, are often my favorite. Whether it is having a child come into this world and feeling inadequate or biking to Alaska without any clue at what to expect or just stepping into the unknown I think it can be said that that is where the best rewards lie. So to top off our last day in San Francisco I would like to say, I love you DAD! Have a good day.

-Justin Brown

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day 31: San Francisco

Last night we discovered the streets of San Francisco the best way, by getting far the sunny state of California has been far from sunny, fog settled in on the streets and we lost our way. It's rather humorous now, but after our dinner at Japan Center we wandered the streets for about 3 hours, going across the Golden Gate twice.

You know your going the wrong direction when you cross a giant red bridge. After settling into bed we slept through the night hopeful for a sunny day.

Thankfully we got that sunny day and we woke up late in the day...FINALLY! After waking up at 5 in the morning for the past week we needed the sleep. After waking up we headed back to Fisherman's Wharfto enjoy the sunny San Francisco bay.

Like the military nerds we are (Alyson and Kyle military brats, Andi's mom was in the Air Force, and me being in ROTC...nathan is the odd man out) went to tour a WW2 diesel submarine.

say hello to my little friend!!

It was an interesting experience. Back then submarines were not the most reliable things in water...I sure felt it after being a little sea sick..thank god i'm going into the Air Force.

We are now settled into our apartment enjoying the tv and participating in what we like to call "Normal Life". When I started this trip I was excited about meeting weird and eccentric people it turns out we are the weird ones...I guess biking to Alaska isn't considered "normal"...

Kyle is still not feeling up to stuff especially after the tire fiasco yesterday...he might have pulled the muscle further then it needed to be. We're letting him take it easy so he can get better. We're a family, we're all that we have. When one person is sick the whole team suffers. We rely so much on each other, learning a little more about each other each day. I'm learning more about these guys then I ever thought I would. We come from so many different walks of life, different family situations, different ways at handling emotions and problems, this is what you call community.

-Justin Brown