Thanksgiving!

I am very thankful for all of those who helped us raise just under $7000 for education around the world! Thanks to two of my best friends Jackson and Seth for the wonderful adventure this past summer! Thanks to all who helped support us along the way!

Here is a short compilation of some of the videos we took throughout the trip!

 

Peace and Blessings! Happy Thanksgiving All!

-Caleb

Advertisements

Thank You from The Chamois Butter Boys

We would like to thank everyone who helped make this trip possible!! We couldn’t have done it without the family, friends and strangers who we met along the way.

  
(Pacific Ocean)

  
(Atlantic Ocean)

We had so many people help us we can’t possibly name them all but we want to try to acknowledge our hosts, some of whom are family and friends and others who were just gracious strangers who opened their homes to us. And everyone else who met us to ride with us or provide us with food and water, lunches, snacks, sunscreen etc!!

Andrew Glick – Portland, OR

The Aeschliman Family – Salem, OR

The Lehman Family – Albany, OR

The Martin Family – Eugene, OR

Will & Julie – Bakers City, OR

The Miller Hassinger Family – Boise, ID

The Black Family – Idaho Falls, ID

Peggy and Glen – Driggs, ID

Steve & friends – Dubois, WY

Kirt – Silverthorne, CO

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp – Divide, CO

The Miller Family (Seth’s fam) – Colorado Springs, CO

Kaedi and Jesse Baer – Hesston, KS

Cliff – Emporia, KS

Erin and Eric – Ottowa, KS

Goshen College – Kansas City, MO

Barbara and David – Warrensburg, MO

The Liddle Family – Columbia, MO

The Smith Family – St. Louis, MO

The Moyer Family – Monticello, IL

The Caskey Family – Goshen, IN

The Graber Family – Stryker, OH

The Bush Family (Jackson’s fam) – Bluffton, OH

Aaron & Elise Bontrager, Jenna and Mary Ramseyer – Wooster, OH

Ruth Anne & Claire – Lisbon, OH

Abe Stuckey – Pittsburgh, PA

The Longenecker Family (Caleb’s fam) – Capon Bridge, WV

The Weaver Family – Lititz, PA

The Bush Family – Souderton, PA

Jim and Kay Derstine – Souderton, PA

The Fund Family – Sea Isle City, NJ

Thank You!  

-Caleb, Jackson, Seth (aka Chamois butter boys)

Atlantic Coast!!

Wednesday we arrived at the Atlantic coast! We decided to go to Ocean Grove, NJ because it is straight east from Souderton, PA where we stayed and only 85 miles rather than the 100+ to Ocean City, NJ.

I stayed with my uncle Preston and aunt Lynelle, and Seth and Caleb stayed with Seth’s Grandparents. We had left most of our gear behind so we could ride light to the coast, so when we took off our spirits were high. There is nothing quite like going from lugging around 40 pounds to not carrying any weight. It makes you feel like Lance Armstrong! This feeling was soon crushed, however, as we ran into rush hour traffic on the narrow roads coming out of Souderton. We ended up having to take some detours in order to stay off those busy roads, since we all agreed that getting hit by a car on the last day would be a pretty disagreeable event. After a while we were able to get into more back country roads and traffic calmed down. Overall the day was relatively uneventful. We crossed over the George Washington memorial bridge and into our final state!

  
From there we took a bike path along the Delaware river for a while that was sunny and beautiful. As the day wore on we grew closer and closer to our final destination, something we had been looking forward to and thinking about for the entire trip. Aroudn 15 miles away from the ocean we got on 33 east which had a solid shoulder and a great tailwind to boot. With light bikes and the prospect of swimming in the atlantic ocean to fuel us we were flying towards the coast. Our arrival on the coast was to be prolonged, however, because in some cruel twist of fate I got a flat tire with no more than 5 miles to go.

  
So there we were, with Caleb happily sitting on his buns while either Seth or I fixed a flat for the last time. This whole trip Seth and I had been saying we we’re going to slash Caleb’s tires if he made it the entire 4000+ miles without getting a flat. However, since Caleb didn’t seem to want to cooperate with that at the time, we’ll just have to wait.

After fixing my flat, we flew those last few miles to the ocean. AS we were cruising into Ocean Grove we crested a small hill and could finally see the ocean in the distance. We of course started whooping and hollering and just generally disrupting the peace. When we reached the ocean we turned and biked alongside the boardwalk for a while until we met up with my uncle Preston, cousin Clara and our friend Sam Weaver.

We wasted no time in locking up our bikes to the railing of the boardwalk and running into the ocean. We didn’t even bother to change into our swim trunks, we just ran in, taking off our cycling jerseys on the way. We dove right in and proceeded to cause quite the scene as we celebrated. Seeing as how it took us 3 months to get to that point I think causing a scene was the least of our worries. After frolicking in the waves like children for a while we lay in the sand for a bit, feeling accomplished.

  
(Feelings of accomplishment)

  
(Ceremonial front wheel dip. We dipped our rear wheel in the Pacific)

After all that nonsense, we decided to actually change into our swim wear and play in the ocean waves for a while. We grabbed food after, some Korean fusion tacos that were delicious, and then had a nice summer shandy at a boardwalk bar after.

  
We spent the rest of the evening watching the waves and feeling the sun set behind our backs.

  
From there Seth and I parted ways with Caleb, who is hanging out on the coast for a couple days. My uncle Preston was kind enough to take me to the greyhound station in Philly so I could catch a bus just after midnight. It was there that Seth and I said goodbye, and I said goodbye to Preston and Clara as well.

As I am finishing typing this in a greyhound terminal in Toledo, OH, it all just feels like a dream to me. I rode my bike all the way to the east coast and then got on a greyhound no more than 8 hours after we arrived. It all happened so fast that it’s hard to believe it actually happened. the whole concept of us being totally done with the trip is something that is a little hard to grasp. I think in a few days I’ll be itching to get back on the bike. I think, however, that for now I’m fine just to relax a bit.

-Jackson

5 days left.. $13 short

We are very excited to announce that we are 5 days of riding away from the east coast and hope to end this coming Wednesday, August 5! We are also excited to announce we are only $13 short of our goal of raising $5000 for Mennonite Central Committee’s Global Family Program, which supports educational efforts around the globe! If you wish to contribute to the cause you can follow this link below! Thanks to all for helping us accomplish our fundraising goal!!

https://donate.mcc.org/registry/goshen-college-students-bike-across-us-mcc-global-family-program

  

(West coast)

  

 (Adventure)

  
(Reflection)

  
(Joy)

Ramseyer Farm, Pittsburgh and Beatty Bike Co-op!

It was wonderful to have Perry Bush, Jackson’s dad, ride along with us from Bluffton to Wooster, OH. As a historian and professor at Bluffton college, I loved listen to him tell us stories about the land. He teaches a class on Ohio history and knew his stuff! It was neat to stop at a historic mill north of Upper Sandusky, one that Perry had never been to. Jackson’s mom picked up Perry in Wooster. 

  
  
(Taking some breaks along the way. Jackson and his dad Perry)

We spent the evening with some Goshen friends who live on a farm between Wooster and Smithville. We had fun catching up with Mary and Jenna Ramseyer and Aaron and Elise Bontrager. The women are the most wonderful triplets I know! They are all so kind. Aaron, Elise and I all studied abroad through Goshen College’s Study Service Term in Nicaragua for 3 months 2 summers ago together. They all gave us a tour of the famous Ramseyer farm in the evening after a delicious meal of homemade pizza and ice cream. Their farm is unique in that is draws on the niche market of Agro-tourism. Their main business comes in the form of people coming to pick pumpkins, feed goats, slide down slides, play in corn pits, or those who come to try and not get lost in their two large corn mazes, which Aaron designs differently every year. 

  
(Morning send off with the Ramseyer triplets, sorry Aaron had already taken off for work)

They sent us off with a large breakfast and fresh laundry! We met up with my uncle Mitch Mann outside of Canton in Canal Fulton for lunch. It was great to see him again and he always makes me laugh! He always tells halarious stories. 

Eastern Ohio was absolutely killer. Once we got out of Canton we were taking these back country roads that turned into crazy steep rolling hills. People say they started getting smarter about how to build roads once they got to the west. These roads were steep!  It made for a hard finish of the day and probably our hardest day on this second half of the trip. We stayed with more wonderful hosts in Lisbon, OH, who we contacted through warmshowers, Ruth Ann and her husband Claire. 

   
 
(Covered bridge in eastern Ohio)

We met up with our good friend Abe Stuckey about halfway into our ride the next day and he rode with us the last 35 miles into Pittsburgh. We stopped at his parents house along the way and ate a large rice and curry lunch. Without him directing us through the city, we would have probably been really lost. It was so convenient to just zip along behind Abe weaving through the streets of Pittsburgh. He took us up to Mt. Washington where we had an incredible view of the city, and the three rivers. We stayed with Abe that night and were also able to enjoy the company of Michael Miller and Evan Grimes, other Goshen friends. 

  
(Wonderful meal on Abe’s back porch on east side of Pittsburgh)

For the Last year Abe has been putting a lot of work in opening and running a bike co-op out of the garage in his house called The Beatty Bike Co-Op. He got a grant for tools and other supplies and opens every Saturday and community members can come and use the tools to work on their bikes. People can donate parts or bikes to the co-op, or buy bikes there. If someone wants to buy a bike they can reduce the price by working on fixing up the bike. Every hour they put into the bike is $10 off the price of that bike. Abe along with other volunteers including Michael run a seamless operation there and a great community builder and bike advocacy program! Jackson also hopes to help out with the co-op next year when he moves to Pittsburgh. 

  
(Abe and Michael giving advice in the Beatty bike Co-op)
-Caleb 

Goshen to Bluffton via Florida (Ohio)

After a week off the bike and the gang reassembled at Jim and Lisa Caskey’s house before our departure from Goshen the morning of the 22.

 I had spent some time up at little Eden camp with my family and Jackson had returned from Pittsburgh where he had been interviewing with several nonprofit organizations which he hopes to be working with this coming year through the PULSE program. Lisa prepared us a great breakfast to get us on our way, I think I ate too much because I had a side stitch going after half an hour. We were finally able to physically ride with our fourth member of our trip, Emma Caskey. 

  
  
Emma has been with us the whole trip linked by an invisible string attached to jackson’s phone.  Haha I’m just giving the love birds a hard time. Actually one of my favorite times during the day is when jackson and Emma talk on the phone in the evening and jackson would be recounting the days’ adventure to Emma. Jackson is a great storyteller, And takes after his dad perry.  Seth and I would be listening like grandkids listening to a well known story told by grandpa piping up every now and again with corrections or additions to the story. Anyways, it was great to have our good friend Emma along with us for the first 50 miles leaving Goshen on our way to our friends Natalie and Luke Graber’s familys’ house in Stryker, OH.  Unfortunately Natalie wasn’t there but we had a great meal with fresh sweet corn and burgers with Luke and his parents joe and Karen. Thank you to Joe, Karen, Luke, Megan for being so hospitable! 

We had two unbelievably gorgeous days of riding first to the Graber’s and then on to Bluffton. We have heard the Midwest has been swamped with rain and only now are farmers here able to get into their fields to harvest the wheat, which was happening in Kansas when we were going thru there al,let a month ago. We have been really fortunate with weather and seem to be just missing all the rain. 

    
In between Stryker and Bluffton, we went through a town called Florida, OH.  We were joking around that we didn’t see many retired folk and wondering why this was such a popular vacation spot. The town had a bridge that we were going to take to get accross the Maumee river which was several hundred feet wide. The actual bridge across the Maumee was fine but the bridge was out where it crossed a smaller tributary running parallel with the Maumee. To give you a better picture of this there we were standing looking down into this ravine with a creek that at certain places was only 10-15 feet wide. There was a construction crew working on the other side of the creek on the intact portion of the bridge. Other bridges to get accross were another 7 miles in either direction according to our maps. We took a while to decide what to do. While we were standing there an older gentleman came up and was talking to us about our dilemma. The problem was it was a dirty muddy river and we couldn’t see the bottom and couldn’t tell how far we would sink in if we tried carrying our bikes accross. The man told us he wouldn’t cross if he was us and informed us that all the houses along the creek used to empty their septic into the creek until about 8 years ago when the town got a new system. 8 years didn’t sound like a long enough time for me when the creek seemed pretty stagnant. Jackson wanted to do it and save the miles and I wanted to do it but didn’t want the infection. Jackson and I decided it was worth it and convinced our wilderness guide Seth to do it even though he was not very inclined. I told Jackson he had to go first lol. So we got our sandles on and strip down our bikes and are prepping to walk across when a guy comes out of no where and tells us there is a dam we can cross less than a mile down and come up a tote path on the other side to get on the bridge. The older man who came back over to see us get muddy said “oh yeah I forgot about that one”.  Apparently the water was only a little over a foot deep but the mud on the bottom would swallow us up 3 feet. We were very glad for the alternative and I made the joke to Jackson ” I can’t believe you were about to walk thru that muddy septic river, ugh that’s disgusting” to which Seth said “oh shush you were egging him on!”.  

We crossed over the small pedestrian walkway and came back up a small path on the other side between the creek and the Maumee and jumped on the bridge. 

  
(Seth’s new look)

We were happy to have Jackson’s dad Perry Bush ride out to meet us with about 25 miles to go. Jackson was jubilant about riding with his dad and continued to get more excited as we neared his hometown of Bluffton.

  
 We stayed with Jacksons family for a couple nights. Jackson gave USA small tour of Bluffton which is a great small town. It was funny to go about 5 blocks and Jackson had already pointed out several close friends houses, his elementary school, middle school, high school, his church, his bank, his local bike shop. It is a great small town and we have been enjoying my time here with Perry, Elisia, Kerry, and Cassidy Bush. We ate like kings at the Bushs’! Friday evening some family friends came over for an ice cream social at the Bush household which was fun too

-Caleb 

ERH MAH GERD! ER BLERG PERST!!!

*cough cough*

Excuse me. Sorry about that.

So after a wonderful week long break in Kansas City we were joined by Caleb’s brother and cousin, Isaac and Taylor. It was a difficult to get back on the road after the break. Our week off the bikes had left of soft, and the prospect of getting ¬†back on was a bit daunting. We left the city with our sights set on Warrensburg where we had a warmshowers host for the night. We wanted to get there quickly, so we could watch the Women’s World Cup final. We managed to make it before the game, even with two consecutive flats. First, I got a flat. We pulled off into a field and I patched it up. We got everything ready to leave, and then Jackson noticed that he had a flat as well. It made for a rough day of riding.

image

Once we made it to Warrensburg, we found the beautiful home of David and Barbra. They were kind enough to allow us to watch the match while we ate and give us access to their hot tub. The next day of riding started off slow as Taylor noticed his wheel was flat as we were about to embark. Half a hour later, I got another flat! Things were not going well. That afternoon we finally made it to the Katy Trail, an old railroad turned bike path which stretches most of the length of Missouri all the way into St. Louis. Hopefully we wouldn’t get anymore flats! We biked down the path a little ways to Pilot Grove where we camped under a pavilion which protected us from the rain that night.

At this point, I still wasn’t feeling back into the biking groove. We hadn’t settled back into a good routine, and having two more people in the group made things a bit different. The next day started off pretty well. The Katy Trail is a beautiful trail which runs along the Missouri river for most of its length. It felt like we were biking through a tunnel of leaves as we followed the river east. Sadly we did end up getting a flat. That made for five flats in the last three days! We ended our day at Caleb’s aunt’s house in Columbia and order pizza from a local place Taylor knew about. We got their signature pizza which weighed 5 pounds!

imagewpid-20150707_104327.jpg

When we awoke the next day we were greeted to a steady rainfall. The trail had been getting wet most of the night, so we got really dirty from all the mud and dirt. We sought refuge in a Chipotle for an hour or so while engorging ourselves on burritos. We decided to push on a little farther through the rain to a bike hostel we had heard about. There we meet four other people doing bike tours, all of them by themselves. It was a good night out of the rain and swapping stories with other tourers.

wpid-20150708_083256.jpg

I was nervous about the condition of the trail the next day, after all of that rain, but it turned out to be alright. We ended up biking some on the roads which paralleled the trail, and got back on the trail when they turned away into the hills. Two of the cyclists from the hostel, David and Andrew, were going the same way as us for a bit, so we made a large group. They were both had very little gear and were amazed at how much we were carrying, especially me with the trailer. With their light loads they could averaged a much larger distance per day. They inspired us to try and cut down on what we are carrying, especially for the last part of the trip.

The group had decided to make it all the way to St. Louis that day and stay at Taylor’s house for the night. Caleb, Isaac, and I were going to go 75 miles and get picked up by Taylor’s mom for the last stretch. Jackson and Taylor really wanted to bike all the way into town, so they ended up doing exactly 100 miles to Taylor’s. I knew there was a lot of biking yet to come and didn’t really want to kill myself, and Jackson was adamant on not getting a ride. That night we made the final preparations for the leg to Goshen; however, without Caleb. He had decided to go to Little Eden for a family event with Isaac and Taylor, so it would be all up to Jackson and me.

image