It is January 2014, 7 months after I finished the Bike to Be Free tour.
If you want to follow what I am doing now with the World Race, check out
Let’s make a difference, ya’ll.
It is January 2014, 7 months after I finished the Bike to Be Free tour.
If you want to follow what I am doing now with the World Race, check out
Let’s make a difference, ya’ll.
When I started Arizona, I was already still wearing down my knees, and have already lost weight at this point. I’m down to like <1% body fat it seems, and I’ve had cuts on my legs and arms that were from the first few weeks that still haven’t healed up. They scabbed over quickly, but because of the extreme exercise my body is too focused on healing muscles than it is to heal minor cuts and inflamed knees.
When talking to John Deustch about tour, he remarked that he rode only 3000 miles in 4 months, while I did over that in 2 months. Majority of people touring will ride 50-60 miles a day, with 3-5 days off in major cities or when seeing friends, while I was pushing 70-105 mile days, with only 1 or 2 off days each day.
I finished the tour last night, and slept all night, but still feel exhausted and tired. My knees constantly hurt for the last few weeks and continuing now, I’m always hungry (and I have been eating as often as possible, once every 2-3 hours), I just feel worn out. But it’s finished.
At this point now I just started my first round of calling people to be true to their pledges they made in March of donating a penny per mile, or $35 to rally.org/biketobefreetour, but I have little hope people will be true to their word. Talk is cheap. That doesn’t mean the tour didn’t have meaning or purpose though, raising awareness of human trafficking is extremely important and we did that. Ya’ll helped me do that, and I am very thankful.
By the time I got to Phoenix, my knees were shot. I met up with Jonny Brown of the band Papertowns.
I only met him through my friends in Creations. They’re coming out with a new EP in a few days, check them out!
So Jonny and I become instant bros. That evening we got our meal sponsored by Chipotle (thanks!) and the lunch was sponsored by Chic Fila (thanks!).
I typically go to sleep on this tour around sundown, between 8pm and 10pm, so at 11pm Jonny wants to visit friends so I tag along and soon realize it’s a party. And by midnight I’m passed out on the couch while a gaggle of Phoenicians (phoenixites? Phoenicians can’t be right, but lets roll with it) played beer pong. I woke up around 130 and sat outside on the porch with everyone smoking, and Jonny wasn’t drinking that night, but there were a few drunk girls going on and on about drama and just being drunk girls. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.
Being a drunk is one of the saddest characteristics someone can have. You have so much worth and you waste it on a bottle. I’ve been there. Strive for value, because you’re worth fighting for, and the pain may temporarily be numbed and you might find attention from the wrong crowd, but seek respect. It lasts longer and there is honor in respect, there is no honor in drunkenness. That night made me want to edge, and I might. Still debating it. I just have found as this tour went on the more and more I don’t want to drink. I had a beer with Justin last night and only took a few sips, I just have lost interest in it. I’m not against people drinking, and I think it’s biblical, but I just think it’s something for now at this season I just don’t really have interest in. And I know when I turned 21 for a few months I would often drink to get drunk and make a fool of myself with my friends, whether dropping someone while two-stepping, or being pretentious and obnoxious. I haven’t been drunk since March, and I don’t really plan on it again. I just made a fool of myself and I was actually on tour with MOTS at the time, and really disappointed them and gave a bad representation to the band I was merching for on that tour. So I don’t drink on music tour anyways, and it’d be a way to set myself apart, even for just this season.
Edge, or sxe, or XXX is short for Straight Edge. Which is a lifestyle choice where you abstain from alcohol, drugs for recreational use, and smoking. Typically in the hardcore scene it is seen as arrogant pride, but not always. There’s a sect of sxe thats called POSI, or positive, which is just abstinence of those substances without judgement of others who use them.
This one time I was trying to look up the XXX hardcore symbol for edge, and I just googled “xxx” and I got some surprising results, not what I was looking for. So I tried looking up “hardcore xxx” trying to look for the hardcore punk symbol for edge. Even worse results!! (don’t do it!) Finally I had to look up straight edge xxx to find it. That was an interesting little search.
Since I dropped my iPod in the toilet at Lawton, I have only had a few albums on my iPhone to listen to. Including 1 sermon. And I listened to that 1 sermon over and over again over the last few weeks. It felt like a first century church, where they didn’t have any scripture except like 1 letter that Paul to wrote to them in Corinth, but man they read that 1 letter over and over again and studied it and memorized it. How often do we take for granted the access to scripture or sermons? It’s humbling. I feel so small sometimes in the scheme of things. As Americans we don’t have many problems, we get upset if our iPhone YouTube videos don’t load fast enough. It’s going into space and coming down from a satellite into your phone and I’m upset it isn’t loading fast enough? There are people without water and I complain about not having fast enough wifi. It’s silly in perspective.
So the next day while Jonny was at work I left his apartment looking for a church. I’m wearing short sleeves at the time, and man it was so stinking hot in Phoenix! I quickly realized the next church was miles away and it was too hot to walk, so I asked the first person I saw (on her way to work) to give me a lift to a church, she asked why, I laughed and mentioned the tour and that I just really want to attend church it’s Sunday and she declined quickly, so I just went back to Jonny’s apartment and cleaned until he got home.
Jerome texted me Saturday night and said he’d be passing through Flagstaff if I needed a lift, but I was in Phoenix. Jonny was actually already planning on visiting his parents in Flagstaff Sunday evening so I just went with him to Flagstaff, where his parents blessed us with a nice dinner, a fancy lunch, and financial donation to help the tour. Thanks!
Now this might seem a little weird, so let me explicate. Joe Kurmaskie writes in the Metal Cowboy, that it’s perfectly acceptable to get rides. That it is better to enjoy the experience than to do something that is dangerous, stupid, or completely against your wants. Life is too short. Some more EXTREME riders will say that is extremely taboo, while most tourists, like Chris Clabundy, Kim Yung Sun, John Deustch, don’t have a problem with it. And neither do I. Me riding through the Arizona desert, where it’s 80 miles in between gas stations or stops, in the desert in 90+ degree heat, alone, is too freaking dangerous. Especially with my knees and body the way it is. I probably had about 1 last good day of riding in me before I had to stop.
I should’ve stopped in California, honestly. But despite the pain I pressed on.
Jerome canceled, so I just decided to go to the gas station. I was wondering whether or not to do this, if this was of the Lord, or if I should keep going on what to do, but I don’t think all these opportunities that line up perfectly would happen without a reason, and the fact that Mr and Mrs Brown blessed the pants off me wasn’t coincidence either, and I took it as affirmation that this was the path I needed to choose.
So I ride to the nearest truck stop, and immediately sharp pains shoot through my knees. I ride for another mile, and I actually turn back to just ride to his parents house. They offered to just give me a bus ticket to Albuquerque and at the time it seemed pretty tempting. I get almost to their house and turn around and decide, no, I need to finish this last leg. I ride through the pain to the nearest truck stop a few miles away and the first people I ask are on their way to ABQ and offer to let me ride in the bed of their truck. So I took that as a providence sign of the Lord that this was what I am to do.
They drop me off in Sanders, AZ. and I ride from Sanders to Gallup, NM that day. It was the first day I had to ride off a paved road onto a dirt road, it got really chilly really fast and had to wear all my northface jackets and gloves and pants to stay warm.
Often on the road when riding across America, I would turn around and see the “WRONG WAY” signs, and it would actually be really encouraging, wrong way, don’t look back, keep going. When I ride at night it has become habit to take the reflective flag off the front of my hat and stick it on the velcroe on the back so lights can be reflected off it. Lights reflected off my jacket, wheels, and bags too. My lights are so bright I can see signs 2 football fields ahead. When cars pass me, they gave me plenty of room often going to the far left lane to do so.
At one point I just turned off my front lights when on an empty state road (road 118 in AZ) and turned me hat around so the brim wouldn’t block the night sky. It was gorgeous. Thousands of dots in the sky, looking down at me. From front to back, side to side, complete darkness except the occasional car passing by, the dots in the sky, and the dim glow of city lights in the horizon encouraging me to keep going, that I’m almost to the city, glimmering signs of hope and motivation.
My knees are killing me at this point on the trip, but I just wanted to finish out this final leg.
A car last night actually flashed their brights on me and started to slowly creep behind me, and then next to me, and then finally drove off but because I was so distracted by them I missed my turn and ended up on I-40 again and quickly got off as soon as possible, but there were almost no cars/trucks on that trip (probably because it was memorial day) and it was really nice and peaceful. A good finale.
So Justin Lauer picked me up from Gallup, NM and we drove to Albuquerque where I am at now sitting on his bed typing this. He is on his phone, checking instagram, probably wondering how many likes his picture got and what hash tags to use next, and I’m just resting. About to visit friends we met in ABQ a few weeks ago. Then I’ll ship my bike out in a few days and fly home this week, then going on a weekend tour run with MOTS to Arkansas, then I’ll be home for 2 weeks, then volunteering at a special needs camp like I do every year, and then heading out on tour with MOTS June-28 til TBA. Should be back by July 25th at the latest though.
I’ll post a video talking about my final touring gear for Andrew Spurlin, who requested it and I’m sure other people would like to see that, and then I’ll keep you updated on what money we raise. There should be another 400 coming in from the Springfield, MO benefit show, and then all the pledges that people made are starting to come in. Let’s hope this works out, ya’ll.
I’ll keep you updated in a few weeks what is going on.
Thank you for your support.
Sunset in California mountains. Moments like this make me wish that nature had bass drops. Or dub step breaks. If you don’t understand that, don’t worry it just means you’re too old. But I still love you regardless.
So I just spent the last 2 hours climbing 500 feet on a steep 30 mile raise in elevation between Indio and Blythe. I had 5 liters of water on me, protein bars, tortillas and peanut butter, and fully charged everything to make my 100 mile trek from Indio Ca to Blythe Ca through the desert. No alternative routes. No cities in between just desert and mountains.
As I head out the temperature drops. I put on all my reflective lights and jackets and have a red bull and am pumped to ride from 8pm to 5am to get there. Really I’m stinking stoked to get there and feelin great.
This morning I left Palm Springs and ride to Indio but by 330 it was 95 degrees so I camped out in a starbucks for a few hours, and made plans. Starbucks gave me a free drink and I met a local producer from Mangatten beach who was in town for business, his name is Michael Patrick and he produces a tv show on nickelodeon that is based on children learning to go green. check it out here
John, a police officer, and a local bike shop told me to take i-10 and that if it doesn’t say bicycles prohibited then it is legal to ride on the interstate. All of them said that, including the officer.
I remember Rich and Geoff told me they had a rough patch of 90 miles to Blythe, but they came from San Diego probably through us-78 which is a hw, but I assumed they took I-10 also.
Regardless, after beast moding up 500 feet in elevation or 2 hours an officer pulls me over and I explain the whole situation, and that other officers and people told me I could, he said i have to get of the interstate now. So he escorted me (road behind me with lights on) to the next rest stop where I now have a ride.
Unfortunately because I was so freaking pumped to make a 130 mile day today. Wind was at my back, I had good food and water, and it’s a beautiful 85 degrees out here.
I got picked up by this nice older widow who is driving home from visiting her son in Palm Desert, she said it must’ve been a god thing because she never stops. She’s very sweet and I got in the car and she’s listening to Disney classic songs like a whole new world and under the sea. I’m genuinely loving the ride jamming to Disney, bummed I couldn’t ride but that’s ok. Roll with the punches, because ya know it isn’t ever supposed to be unforgettable.
I just want to thank Chipotle for sponsoring my meals time and time on this bike to be free tour.
Palm Desert, Tulsa, Hollywood, Albuquerque, and I’m sure there are more I forget! Never hesitating to help me out. Chipotle rocks and cares.
Jesse at the Palm Desert location has a big heart, pompadour, and a big smile. He was friendly and is encouraging to me and the employees he manages. I’m sitting here eating and he’s just motivatin and encouraging his workers with respect and love. Such a solid and humble dude.
Palm Springs ca
Yesterday was a wild ride of a day.
In the morning, John cooks me a big breakfast, oatmeal, fruit, bacon, toast, coffee, juice, more fruit, eggs, he is a chef. We talked about jesus, religion, service work, being a chef and tour life.
John took off with me on his light as a feather canondale aluminum frame, it’s not a touring bike but it makes me jealous! I miss my lightweight aluminum/carbon fixie back in Texas. I stripped more weight off my bike so I’m now down to only my back penniers and a tent.
So we take off and ride from Upland to Highland Ca, takes a few hours and then say our goodbye over tex-mex. I went to the next town and there was a strip of 10 miles that I couldn’t cross bc riding on the freeway was prohibited there.
And the only other way around it was a 100 mile loop. So I went to the gas station for an hour, asking people with pickups if they could help me out to the next town but everyone declined. I actually made a new friend with the cashier, Chris, a slick haired pompadour and half sleeve.
So then I call Chris Clabundy for advice. He says make a sign. I stood on the corner for half an hour with the next town name, then went and got a new paper from Chris and made one that just said “east.”
I stood at the corner again for half an hour, no response. I moved a few miles away to a different ramp and instantly two people stopped. The first one had hand tattoos and a small car but was only going a street up, the second was a dog trainer middle aged woman named linn with a heart of gold, a judgment against fanny packs, and some beautiful pups. She took me to her house, gave me fruit and then took me a few miles down the road. She offered me a place to stay but I kept going, there were still 4 hours of daylight left!
So I get to the next town and hold up my sign for 15 minutes until I look at the map and find a route through an abandoned service road that isn’t accessible with a car. Luckily I’m on a bike.
So I take off, and all that wind that was against me is now on my back. If I Stand still I can barely hold my balance bc of the 25-30 mph wind on my back! I went 30 miles from 6pm to 8pm and stop in Palm Springs to put on my lights, it gets darker faster here because of the mountains.
I was planning on going to Indio the next town but I was warned not to because of the crime. Locals told me there was a really safe park I could camp at, and several several people recommended it in town.
So I go to the park and set up my tent and right as i lay my head down to go to sleep the sprinklers come on where I’m at. Everything is getting soaked so I quickly hussled to a new location in the park. I slept for about an hour until the sprinklers came on again! Everything getting even more wet now.
My tent and sleeping bag are soaked. I start packing up to leave this forsaken park, and a police officer drives his car out to where I’m hidden. Normally no one could see me but my jacket has reflective material on it and I wasn’t necessarily hiding since I was packin up to leave.
I explain the story and that I’m just leaving, he leaves me with a warning and explains that it’s illegal to camp anywhere in Palm Springs. I can’t camp anyways now because all my stuff is wet.
I haven’t done this before but seeing the circumstances I went to the nearest and cheapest motel and got a room and passed out with all my wet articles hanging up all over the bathroom by the vents. It’s now the next morning and everything is dry mostly and I’m getting ready to be on my way.
The next town is Indio. Then the only town after that is 100 miles, and it’s Blythe. I will probably ride to Indio, simmer down until nightfall and start headin towards Blythe in the wee morning hours to avoid the heat of the day on that trip.
Just 4 days left of riding.
So on this trip so far since April 1, I’ve gained 5-10 lbs but now I’m at my lowest weight since highschool, at 150 -160 lbs. I think it is because of the wind, it really made me feel weak and fighting against it for a few weeks really took a lot out of me, and now I realize how evident that is. Normally I’m 165-175.
I rested and ate ate ate in LA with John, and got my strength back. So I left today towards San Bernardino, because that’s where Jerome lives and the girls that I met at the beach live nearby with their boyfriends and they offered me a place to say!
Riding through LA takes forever because there is a light at almost every corner and traffic was ridiculous. I wasn’t frustrated but it did take a good 6 hours to go only 50 miles today to Rancho Cucumungo. I called Jerome, but tonight wasn’t good, so I visited the girls at their work at a winery. They said they need to call their boyfriends to double check and while they do that they let me try a bunch of fancy desert wines. That were rad!
So Erica said her boyfriend said no, and Riya was a Disney land. Sorry Charlie. She kept apologizing but I wasn’t upset, it happens. So I leave to go find a church, it’s Wednesday night and surely there’s some church ican camp out at, I can’t find one despite where google maps says there is one, so I start heading towards the next town and was just going to figure something out. Hopeful.
Within 15 minutes of riding a guy tells at me on the street, I figured he was waving for a taxi cab. I pulled out my ear plugs and he asks me where I’m touring, I keep riding and say Dallas, then he tells while I ride off if I want a place to stay tonight.
This caught my attention.
I rode back and discover John Deutsch. John is a 21 year old man with awkward mannerisms and a big heart. His mother and him took me to eat at a vegan Thai restaurant and we discussed tour. Him and his brother had done many European tours and coastal American tours, his mother and John talked about how people took care of him and how they pay it forward.
Take care of the warrior.
So they buy me dinner, I had whatever John had, soy pork and noodles, but thankful for the meal. I’m currently at johns house having a drink with him, while he cooks a protein-dense second dinner. I’m still hungry, haha, always hungry. He took me to the store and bought me bananas and protein bars, also. How rad is that! Such a blessing.
He doesn’t have a job so I invited him to ride to Albuquerque with me, after about 15 minutes of thinking it over he declined for financial reasons. I like him.
So I showered, yeah that’s right I got to shower every day the last 3 days. No joke. I’m like a blessing target right now and The Lord is hussling St. Peter at a game of blessing-darts. Bullseye.
John is going to ride with me to the next town tomorrow and then we will depart as I head to Phoenix.
Some commentary on LA, I loved it. I loved the 70 degree sunny weather and the ocean and the fashion and really cool people. But not everyone was friendly. No one honked until rush hour which was nice, people were respectful of bikes, but there was an over amplification of female beauty and body. Emphasis on breasts on all clothing, all apparel being worn by girls, all girls in that town mostly had large breasts or wearing apparel that imitated the appearance of it. I talked to john and Erin about it yesterday and they said its just the over sexualization of this town. Everyone comes here to mask their insecurity, a modern sodom and Gomorrah, John w said. He mentioned how when he first showed up he went to a club where a gaggle of Disney teen stars were doing cocaine on the table and people were having sex in the bathrooms and in the booths at the club. That’s too intense for me, thank you very much, but from what I did see personally and not what I was told I really liked LA, except the smog destroying my allergies, people often going you dirty looks, and that every girl was a carbon copy blond/tan/immodest.
I just hate women being turned into objects, and that’s a big part of what I talk about on this tour. Ladies, you don’t have to dress a certain way to get attention. If you’re dressing that way, you’ll get it but in the words of Chris Clabundy, “we got what we wanted, but it wasn’t what we thought. We got what we wanted, but it wasn’t.”
You have worth and value simply because you are made with imago dei, the image of god. You are beautiful and lovely and to hell with anyone that tells you you have to be x y and z for people to approve of you. Jesus approved of you and loves you and likes you and died for you so you could live. He didn’t die for you to live like that, though, he died so you’ll have freedom. Free from approval or the need or the attention of men. You are lovely and deserving of authentic respect.
I’m gettin fired up so ill end now before I ramble.
No, I gotta talk about it some more. It’s just my personality, how I was made to be.
I talk about this when I give my talk to churches, news stations, etc.
We see media stars like Taylor Swift, which I love her songs and how she takes care of her fans and other bands. Last summer at rocket town in Nashville she gave me and mouth of the south left over catering! Which was delicious except it gave Josiah and I horrible diarrhea.
T Swift, or t-swilly, as I like to call her, writes all of her songs about men, the need for their approval, and the heartbreak that comes from that idolization. People will always let you down. Putting your hope in a man or a woman will end poorly for you. We are depraved and broken, and in need of a savior. If as a man I need a savior how can I be a savior for a woman? Women need jesus, not a man. If you put all your hope and joy in a man, he gonna let you down. And when he does your world will be devastated. That shouldn’t happen.
This is more talking to the people of Faith in this following, not so much my nonchristian friends, but y’all can ask me questions on this anytime. I’m an open book,
Your hope and joy should come on Christ alone. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. If you put your hope in a broken and fallen person, you’re gonna have a bad time. You should be upset when things happen, that’s understandable and expected, but you should still have hope and joy through a god that prevails and adores you and who has shown time and time again that love.
Some of y’all need to hear it again, and some of y’all need to hear it for the first time. How many times does god have to prove his love for you? Was the cross not good enough for proof? How many times does he have to lay his life down? Before you buckle and throw down your crown?
Think about it. Youre worthy, not because you dress or look a certain way. But because God made you and delights in you. Just because you are his creation. His critter.
Find joy and hope in that. You don’t need approval of men, an I’m sorry that your father never gave you that approval so you now seek it elsewhere.
You’re worth fighting for.
Jerome drops me off on his way to the yard, and that happens to be on the side of a freeway. Beggers can’t be choosers, though. I’m 27miles from the coast. As I’m loading up my bike to ride an officer pulls over to check on me and even watches to make sure cars don’t come near me as I exit the freeway.
By the time I am ten miles from the coast it’s already 4 hours til sunset. At this point I’m kinda freaking out: Lord if you don’t provide I’m goin to have to stay up all night and ride out of LA. I’m not normally scared, but LA is known for its crime and I had no where to camp. As I text people I can’t seem to figure anything out yet but still have hope and to much prevail my friend Johnny Wolfe from the band the Hollowed calls me and offers his place to stay!
So I backtrack a few miles and head towards his house in a really nice part of LA called Burbank. Him and his lovely girlfriend Erin are most gracious hosts. They took me to a BBQ and I made a lot of new friends in the LA scene.
This morning I road 20 miles to Santa Monica beach, and it took about 2.5 hours with traffic. Such beautiful weather out here, all week it is 70s. At the beach I met some new friends, and they even turned me into a mermaid.
I then went to muscle beach and the board walk! I saw some fanny packs at American apparel for sale and I’ve been needing one, because my bike shorts are pocketless and when I go into stores I have to carry my wallet and phone in my hands. So I picked up a shirt and a fanny pack and threw my nasty fade gray shirt away.
Which was actually a really good thing because I left Venice beach around 5, and it’s 18 miles to Burbank from there’s but I ended up getting lost and didn’t make it to Johnny’s house until 8pm, I was actually booking it the whole time and probably went about 40 miles between 5 and 8, because I was lost and hurrying to get to his house before sundown. These hills and traffic and smog are rough!
Chipotle sponsored our dinner again! Thanks chipotle! During dinner I blew my nose and realized I had so much flem in my nose because of all the smog. I blew so much out of my nose it was disgusting.
I am staying again tomorrow to rest after burning my legs today riding all over LA, and then am probably heading out Wednesday morning towards Albuquerque.
Big thanks to Chic fila in Hollywood today for sponsoring our meals!
Tonight i went out for sushi with John, Erin, Andy and Pamela.
Keep on keepin on.