Monday, July 11, 2016

Getting to the Start of the Reconnaissance Ride

In just a few days, I will be leading two Tetons/Yellowstone trips for Adventure Cycling. Each trip will be van-supported and will last for eight days. Having been to neither the Tetons nor Yellowstone before, I decided to do a "reconnaissance ride" on my own along the route. The reconnaissance ride would enable me to scout out the area so that I could provide a better trip experience for my riders.

My adventure began at the Greyhound bus station in Seattle. At 11:45pm, I boarded a bus for a 16-hour ride to Bozeman, Montana. Riding straight south from Bozeman would get me to West Yellowstone, at the far northern tip of the Tetons/Yellowstone loop. Note that Bozeman is 120 miles away from West Yellowstone. Though I could have taken a bus to Jackson, Wyoming, which is the official starting and ending point of the Adventure Cycling route, doing so would have meant arriving into an unfamiliar town in the middle of the night. Instead, I opted to ride an extra 240 miles roundtrip in order to arrive in the daytime.

This was my first long-distance bus trip in the United States. I had heard from numerous people that the scum of all scum took Greyhound. I was sorta looking forward to experiencing the scummy experience for myself...but sorta not.

Shortly after arriving at the Seattle Greyhound Station, a man named Reginold Smiley put my mind at ease. Sitting just a few seats away from me, we started chatting as he opened up his sketchbook to draw Greyhound's greyhound.

Meet Reginold Smiley, hobby artist extraordinaire.

It didn't take long for Reginold to draw the greyhound. We hadn't even left the bus station, and we still had many hours ahead of us. Reginold asked if he could make a drawing for me. Really? For me? I'd be flattered! Reginold asked what I wanted him to draw. I hemmed and hawed for a bit, and then I requested that he draw something related to my favorite quote: "Roots hold me close, wings set me free." (See Sailors, Whores, & Ink for more information about this quote.) Reginold started the drawing, saying that he likely wouldn't finish it until mid-bus ride.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Adventure Cycling Along the Columbia Gorge - 2016

In mid-June, I staffed Adventure Cycling's Columbia River Gorge Tour. This eight-day, fully-supported bicycle ride covered more than 325 miles of spectacular scenery in both Washington and Oregon. There were twenty riders and five staff members.

"Wait a second, Sarah, haven't you already shared this post?," you ask.

You may be remembering the post I wrote last year, Adventure Cycling Along the Columbia Gorge. This is the second year I've staffed this event...but this is the first year I donned a climbing helmet with my new bestie.

Me and my new bestie.

While I expect you'll recognize the goofy face on the left (it's mine!), there's a chance you may also recognize the lovely face on the right. The face belongs to a woman named Elle Steele. More about her in a little bit.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Plans for the Summer

Many of you have asked what I'm up to this summer.

You: What are you up to this summer, Sarah?

Me: I have a jam-packed summer full of housesitting, bike touring, and trip leading. My summer plans are as follows:

  • Housesit in Seattle (6 weeks)
My summer plans include housesitting for this lovebug, Ricki, for six weeks!

The summer is already well under way, and I'm having a blast. My summer plans sure as heck beat sitting at a desk!


Friday, June 24, 2016

My New Set of Wheels

Someone has a new set of wheels. And that someone is me!

Wanna guess what kind of wheels I got? Here's a hint:

My new set of wheels.

Yup, I got myself a Brompton! For those of you not familiar with Bromptons, they are the coolest little folding bicycles on Planet Earth.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reflections on My Patagonia Trip

My trip to Patagonia ended seven weeks ago. As with all my travels, I have spent time reflecting on the trip.

In Reflections on My Turkey Trip: What I Learned About Myself, I compared life experiences to the tiles in a mosaic. Just as tiles are combined to create a unique picture or pattern, our experiences combine to create a mosaic of our unique selves. And just as a mosaic becomes clearer with a greater density of tiles, our true selves become more apparent as we acquire more life experiences.

The individual tiles in this mosaic are photos from the Patagonia trip.
You may wish to enlarge the image to fully appreciate the mosaic.

The Patagonia trip added more and more tiles to the mosaic of my life. Though some of these experiences confirmed what I already knew, others revealed new insights about Patagonia, Chile, and myself.