Monday, February 23, 2015

Here we go again!

It’s been over two and a half years since we biked the west coast and left our lives behind for SE Asia. Since returning, there have been some big events (see previous post) and we are all settled in to our new home. Our travel bug is still going strong though! And we're excited to update you on our next adventure...

For a couple of years now, Ethan has been saying that he wants to do a cross-country bike tour. It was never something I was really interested in even after touring the pacific coast. I came up with a whole list of reasons why I wasn’t interested - it would take too long, it would be too hard, it would cost too much, etc. I had made up my mind and the issue really didn’t come up again until a few months ago. Ethan came to me and said that he was intent on doing the cross-country trip and was going with or without me. Immediately I said no. But in the back of my mind I thought I would probably want to go eventually. And with a few changes to his original plan, I was on board! (I knew if I gave her an ultimatum that she would eventually agree to it. -E)

From the beginning Ethan wanted this trip to serve a purpose. He decided he wanted find an organization that we could use the trip to raise money for. Something that was close to our hearts and that we thought we would be able to actually see the money helping. Fairly quickly, he connected with a guy that we had gone to high school with named Corey. Corey and his mom had started a non-profit organization to aid those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. It was perfect. It was something that we both felt to be really important for people struggling with those issues and we had seen how helpful those programs can be through Ethan’s younger sister, Emily. We worked with Corey and decided that the money we raise will go toward a memorial scholarship named for Ethan’s late grandfather, David McLoughlin. He played an important role in Emily’s recovery by providing financial support for her stay in a treatment center and transitional housing. The scholarship will help pay for the first month’s stay in their RISE transitional housing program. You can read more about that, buy a t-shirt and donate at these pages: FacebookT-ShirtsDonate, Twitter and RISE Transitional Houses.
The tour will, hopefully, begin the second week in June and end in August. The start date is dependent on Ethan getting his final classes finished and we have to be back by the second week in August for my sister Stevie's wedding. Ethan is confident that we can bike the route in that amount of time. 

So far our preparations have included planning the ROUTE itself (and some alternate routes around seasonal roads, etc), locating potential places to stay (campgrounds, WarmShowers places, and friends of friends or family who have offered their couches or extra beds) and bike shops along the way. This can all be found in ETHAN'S NOTES. We also started training recently. Yes, it's happening! We've never trained for a tour before, but this one is definitely going to push our bodies beyond what we have experienced so far. We figured we might want to at least try to get in shape. We started with just doing the P90X3 workouts. They are only 30 minutes, but they are pretty intense. They focus on strengthening your core and preparing your muscles for athletic activity - and there is a once a week yoga session that is pretty stellar. 

So we did that for about a month and then decided to up the ante. We purchased stationary bike trainers from Craigslist and have decided to set weekly mileage goals. We are hoping this helps get our legs ready for the 3,100 mile journey. 
Along with the workouts, we are planning on doing some smaller trips leading up to the big one. The longest of those will be over Ethan's spring break the first week of April. Ethan found a trail that we could do in that time frame called the NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY. The parkway follows the historic Natchez Trace trail from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. It's about 440 miles and we are hoping it will take us about 6 days. 
If the weather warms up in March, we might do some smaller trips in Michigan, but I would say the chances aren't very good given the current temperatures! After the Natchez ride, we are planning to spend as much time biking as we can with weekend trips of about 100 miles. 

Well, that's where we are at now! We plan to keep this updated leading up to the trip and, of course, during. We'll always post our blogs to Facebook and Twitter, so you can follow along! Thanks for reading!

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