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Thank You!!!

9.12.2011 | 1 Comment

It’s been one year since we began our ride and Rob and I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to everyone who supported us!  We appreciate all those who donated, prayed, called, wrote and followed us along our journey.  A special thank you goes out to our team (Penny, Barb, Matt and Bill).  We couldn’t have done it without every single one of you!

Our ride into Coronado

11.20.2010 | Comments Off on Our ride into Coronado

I’ve had many people asking me when I’m going to “finish” the blog, so I want to sum up our last day and then do another entry with our thoughts about the ride.  There are so many things I want to say and it’s taken me awhile to process everything that went on!

We left the hotel on Wednesday morning and starting riding toward San Diego.  It was a beautiful ride, taking us through Mission Trails Regional Park and up and down some amazing hills.  We reached the water and bought tickets for the ferry which was leaving in about 45 minutes.  It was a quick 15 minute ride, which got us into Coronado earlier than we had planned and we were able to have lunch.  Coronado is a cute little town with a great main street and we enjoyed looking in the windows of the shops as we rode.

As we entered the bike path leading to the Hotel del Coronado, we saw many people cheering for us, along with a couple of TV cameras and newspaper photographers.  We saw Penny, Steve and Barbara standing near our banner and we stopped there to talk with everyone.

It was then that I heard my mother’s distinctive whistle – the one she used to call us home on summer nights when we were young.  I looked over toward the hotel balcony and saw my Mom and Dad, Aunt Rhesa, Uncle Gary and Aunt Phyllis, along with my cousin Doug and his wife Margie, heading our way.  What a surprise!  I had no idea that they would be there!  As we were hugging and crying, someone motioned back over to the balcony and there was Samantha, Rogan and my best friend Kathy!  That was the most amazing gift ever!  Rob had been working behind the scenes (with Penny) to arrange their visit and surprise me at the finish.  Unfortunately, Elias couldn’t get time off from his Marine Corps duties, but it was so wonderful to have two of my children, my very best friend and other members of my family to help us celebrate!

We walked our bikes down to the water and dipped the tires into the ocean.  We did a few interviews for local television and then headed into the hotel hoping that we could shower and change and start to enjoy the fact that we had accomplished our mission.  However, after waiting for over 4 hours for our room we decided to head over to the Marriott instead.  They were able to get us into a room quickly and we began to realize that we really were finished with the ride!  We got a call from Kimberly Dozier at the Associated Press and did an interview sitting on the balcony of our hotel, looking at the water and watching the helicopters from the Navy base.

We met up with everyone at a local restaurant that evening and had a great time telling stories and enjoying the company of friends and family.

Interview with Emily Rooney

11.11.2010 | Comments Off on Interview with Emily Rooney

Emily Rooney of WGBH radio will interview Kim today around 12:30pm EST.  We will be discussing the ride, our history as Marines and what it is like to be the spouse of a CIA officer.

Here’s the link!

Day Forty-Seven – Oct. 27, 2010

10.28.2010 | 11 Comments

We made it!!!  We officially dipped our tires into the Pacific Ocean.  What a day!  I will be blogging all about it tomorrow.  But first, we must get some sleep since we will be doing a live interview with Fox National News tomorrow – which will air about 8:40am Pacific Time (11:40am EST).

Thanks to everyone for their support and prayers!  We couldn’t have done it without you!!

Day Forty-Six – Oct. 26, 2010

10.27.2010 | 1 Comment

We had a great time at the Live Oak Springs Resort last night!  Sara was an amazing bartender/waitress and she brightened up a really difficult day.  And the chef (unfortunately, we didn’t get his name) made us a delicious dinner – and the dessert was incredible!  Thanks to both of you!

When we got up this morning, it was 45º so we got out all the cold weather gear – hats, gloves, knee warmers, jackets, etc.  We had quite a few hills to climb right away, so we were able to shed some of the layers pretty quickly.  There was no real wind today (especially compared to yesterday!), we had bike lanes almost the entire day and most of our ride was downhill.

We stopped in Pine Valley for breakfast at a 50’s style diner and we were really happy to have the chance to warm up.  We were on the Interstate again for just a short bit and passed through another border control station on our way down the mountain.  At one point, Steve got up to 40 mph!

We can already smell the ocean and are ready to end our ride tomorrow.  We are SO excited!!  We should be at the Hotel Del Coronado by 12:30pm!


Time: 04:08:41
Distance: 52.05 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,367 ft
Calories: 1,692 C

Live Animals:  Horses, Dogs

Dead Animals:  Rabbit

Day Forty-Five – Oct. 25, 2010

10.26.2010 | 1 Comment

Our day started with a small downhill out of the parking lot of the hotel.  That was the only downhill of the day!  The wind was very strong and we were hoping as the day went on that it would let up.  It didn’t.  By the time we reached Plaster City, CA, the wind was at 30 mph sustained with 40 mph gusts.  (You can see the video here.)  We felt like we were being sand blasted!  After all 3 of us got blown off the road, I made the decision to get into the van and reassess the situation after Rob and Steve rode the 10 miles on I-8.

I think I made a wise choice.  It took them 3 hours to go 10 miles!  Granted, they had to go from 1,900 to 3,200 feet, but it was at the blistering fast pace of 2-3 mph!  The wind was 35mph in their face, with gusts of 50 mph.  They both commented that maybe they should have quit when they saw the 18 wheeler that had been blown off into the canyon – but, of course, they kept on.

We stopped for the night at the very top of the mountain in Live Oak Springs.  There’s only a small climb tomorrow and then we start our descent!


Time: 07:02:24
Distance: 63.39 mi
Elevation Gain: 5,235 ft
Calories: 3,206 C

Live Animals:  Cows, Horses, Chickens, Sheep, Herons

Dead Animals:  Snake

Day Forty-Four – Oct. 24, 2010

10.25.2010 | 2 Comments

Penny took us back to Palo Verde early this morning and we watched the sun rise over the mountains.  It was a little chilly (about 55º) but we had quite a few rolling hills right away, which warmed us up quickly.  We saw a bobcat run across the road in front of us, so we stayed away from the shoulder for awhile!

We rode through the Chocolate Mountains where there is an aerial and gunnery practice area for the Navy and Marine Corps.  They also contain gold which is estimated to be worth between $40 to $100 billion!  We also saw a protected area for the desert tortoise (they are listed as a threatened species).  We also passed the Mesquite Gold Mine, one of the largest gold mines in the country.  We climbed for the first 30 miles of the ride and as we started to descend we could see the Imperial Sand Dunes and the town of Glamis.

We stopped in the only restaurant and learned that they are there to support the hundreds of thousands of people who come to ride off-road vehicles in the dunes.  And, I think there were at least a thousand people leaving there today!  After we left the restaurant, we were passed by many of them as they headed home.  The trailers they were hauling were very large and the shoulders weren’t!  Most people were very courteous, though.

(We’d like to say thanks to Steve for taking such great pictures of us these last few days.  It’s nice to have photos of Rob and I together!)

As we entered Brawley, there was no mistaking the smell.  Cows – and lots of them!  Brawley has a significant cattle and feed industry and hosts the annual Cattle Call Rodeo each November.  We had an early dinner at the “Aspen Inn” and headed back to the hotel.  We have a HUGE climb tomorrow so we need to be rested!


Time: 05:24:53
Distance: 67.07 mi
Elevation Gain: 1,669 ft
Calories: 2,664 C

Live Animals:  Bobcat, Herons, Quail, Cows

Dead Animals:  Coyote, Tarantula

Day Forty-Three – Oct. 23, 2010

10.24.2010 | 1 Comment

We got back on I-10 leaving Quartzsite this morning, which wasn’t much fun but luckily we were only on the interstate for about 18 miles.  We then crossed the Colorado River and the California State Line!!!

As we rode across the pedestrian bridge and back down to the frontage road, there was a small marina and park where there was a car show going on.  This area seems to be a haven for antique cars!  We looked around for awhile before getting back on the road.  We went through a number of small towns, but there was really nothing exciting to see.

About 30 miles into the ride we encountered a very strong headwind, which slowed us down considerably.  It was also a lot warmer, about 85º.  We stopped in Palo Verde for lunch at the “Lagoon Saloon”.  Penny picked us up here, as this was the end of our ride but there was not anywhere to stay.  She will take us back to this spot in the morning.

Rob and Steve got haircuts while Penny and I got coffee and then we hung out until we went to dinner.  At the hotel we saw a flyer for a dinner and concert at the marina, so we headed that way not knowing what to expect.  We saw that the entertainment included Paul Winer – yes, the naked guy from the bookstore!  The meal was chicken, baked beans, potato salad, rolls and beer/soda/water and the entertainment was amazing!  Paul played some great boogie woogie and blues music, with many of the songs he wrote when he performed as “Sweet Pie”.  (and yes, he was dressed, but when he performed as “Sweet Pie” he was not!)  He was accompanied by washtub player, Ralph Martin.  What a great evening!  We were commenting later that we were very quick to judge this “crazy” naked guy, but he turned out to be funny and talented and a wonderful entertainer.  It will definitely make us all think twice before we start to label others.  


Time: 03:29:26
Distance: 43.23 mi
Elevation Gain: 517 ft
Calories: 1,514 C

Live Animals:  Cows, Horses, Goats, Road Runner

Dead Animals:  Coyote

Day Forty-Two – Oct. 22, 2010

10.23.2010 | Comments Off on Day Forty-Two – Oct. 22, 2010

This morning we were able to walk out of our rooms into the motel kitchen, which felt very much like home, and gather around a breakfast table.  Randy made us all coffee and we had yogurt and melon for breakfast before heading out.  It was a little cold (about 55º) and looked like it might rain.  We had great big shoulders and little traffic for most of the ride.  We went through Hope, Arizona and as we rode out of town there was a sign that read “You’re Now Beyond Hope”.

We had to get on I-10 for about 12 miles, where there was very heavy truck traffic, but the shoulders were good so we were able to stay off the road.  That’s where we picked up a 20mph headwind, which is no fun, especially with all the wind from the trucks!  It was also very noisy, so we couldn’t speak to one another at all.

As we pedaled into Quartzsite, we all noticed what appeared to be a naked man standing in front of a bookstore.  He motioned for us to come in, but we were a bit in shock!  After getting to the hotel and changed, we all headed out for something to eat, telling Penny and Barbara we were going to stop at this cool book store afterward.  We had a great lunch at “Sweet Darlene’s” (along with some amazing desserts) and headed over to Reader’s Oasis Books.

The look on Penny’s and Barbara’s face was priceless!  Standing in front of the shop was an older gentleman with long hair and a long gray beard and leathery skin.  He was wearing only a strategically placed cod piece held by fishing wire and tape.  Once we got over the awkwardness of speaking to someone dressed only in their birthday suit, we found out that Paul Winer (aka Naked Paul) was the owner of the book store.  He had a very eclectic shop, with many different kinds of books (used and new), including some that were very rare.  It was so much fun to browse around and spend some time exploring.

We then did a little more shopping but we’re too early for the reason most people come here.  Nine major gem, mineral, and 15 general swap meet shows, held mostly in January and February, attract about 1.5 million people annually!

We had dinner at Silly Al’s Pizza and then stayed for the karaoke.  We had a lot of laughs, although we didn’t know most of the songs that were being sung!


Time: 02:51:04
Distance: 40.09 mi
Elevation Gain: 772 ft
Calories: 1,561 C

Live Animals:  Cows

Dead Animals:  Vulture, Snake, Coyote

Day Forty-One – Oct. 21, 2010

10.22.2010 | 1 Comment

We left Wickenburg this morning after having had a rain storm overnight.  It was a little chilly but the clouds were moving away and the sun was breaking through.  We had a gradual climb for most of the ride (in the first 10 miles we climbed over 600 feet) and there wasn’t much to see but the mountains in the distance and the cactus in the desert.  Steve spent a lot of time riding in the middle of the road (traffic was very light) and looking for dead bodies (thankfully, he didn’t find any!).

We stopped for coffee and pie at Coyote Flats in Aguila.  The pie was homemade and delicious!  We passed lots of melon fields and as we came into Salome there were pistachio trees, cotton and organic carrots.  Penny and Barb found a cute place to stay called “Westward Motel” and we cycled right into the parking lot.  After a quick shower, we headed out to the local sandwich shop, “Buckaroo Cafe”, where we had a great lunch.

We drove around the small town and found the tiniest little chapel and lots of RV parks.  Apparently, many people come here to stay during the winter.  We went back to the hotel to read and relax and answer emails.  This was the first time we really felt “at home”.  Randy, the owner, has done a great job of fixing up an old motel with 5 rooms and making it very comfortable and welcoming.

We walked across the street to the local market for bread, drinks and the makings for s’mores.  We used the motel kitchen to make peanut butter sandwiches for dinner and sat outside with Randy and his friend, Janet Leigh.  We had a great night talking and laughing and making s’mores.


Time: 04:09:03
Distance: 54.07 mi
Elevation Gain: 781 ft
Calories: 2,247 C

Live Animals:  Lizards, Dogs, Horses, Cows, Sheep, Rabbit

Dead Animals:  Coyote, Tarantulas, Rabbit