March 31, 2014:
Today marks our one year anniversary for being out on the road. In 365 days we’ve biked 10,394 miles (16,728 km), in eight countries, including eleven US states. We’ve had 48 flat tires.
Here’s our year in review, in reverse chronological order…
We blew through four Central American countries (El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica). All beautiful countries that are worth a visit. The welcome we received was as warm as the climate. We spent most of the month looking for places to swim and drinking/eating coconuts. We’re spending our anniversary being pampered by my Mom who came to visit us in Costa Rica!
After spending a few days on the Honduran Caribbean coast we made our way back into Guatemala where we fell in love with Antigua. We took two weeks off to study Spanish at a language school and then spent a few days visiting the beautiful Lake Atitlán.
We rang in the New Year in the Lacandon Jungle of Mexico and were awed by the Mayan ruins of Bonampak, Yaxchilán, Palenque and Tikal. Because we were in the jungle, we spent much of the month wet and smelling of mildew. So when our friends Cait & Mark said they were joining us in Belize for an island adventure, we were ready to get out of the jungle and onto the beach!
December was a rough month for WanderWheels. We were treated to beautiful scenery in the Mexican states of Puebla and Oaxaca, but were wrecked by some dodgy rotisserie chicken in Chiapas. It had us stranded in a little lakeside community on the Mexico-Guatemala border for the Christmas holiday. At least we weren’t alone. We had met up with another cyclist, Heather, with whom we spent the Christmas and New Years holiday.
In November, we left the Baja and crossed over via ferry to mainland Mexico. After ants ate through our tent on the coast, we decided to head inland through the mountains, visiting Guadalajara and Guanajuato. We spent the Thanksgiving holiday in central Mexico, with the monarchs that migrate from the US and Canada each year for the winter.
Scott’s parents flew out for a visit in southern California before we ventured into Mexico. Then after 6 months of being on the road, we finally crossed the border, even though when we started we were only about 500 miles from Mexico. The transition for me was a little rough at first, but once I got the hang of it, I loved it! The Baja is a special place, unique from mainland Mexico; wild, isolated, desolate. This was the start of the tasty tacos! Nom, nom, nom.
September was spent cruising the California coastline, with tailwinds, and nicely spaced state park hiker/biker sites. As the summer drew to a close, we said goodbye to a number of cyclemates who we’d met biking south through Oregon and California. Gerald, Ashley, Stefanie, Brad, Mary, baby Leo, and all the other cyclists we met on the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route, we’re so glad our paths crossed and we shared in each other’s adventures! September was also the beginning of Scott’s Kaiser Franz Josef-look.
Our friend Ron joined us from Austin, Texas for a tour of the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood. Ron brought his enthusiasm for life, yoga and wine! We were also treated to a lot of delicious beer in Oregon. Come to think of it, Oregon was bad for our livers. There were quite a few photos of rocks in the water as we finally turned our wheels south and rode along the Pacific coast. Scott’s beard was at its peak.
We were stalled for much of July in Missoula, Montana while Scott’s wheel was shipped to California to be rebuilt. Missoula is a great place to be stalled. Once on the road again, we had a very scenic but punishing ride through the Lolo Motorway in Idaho. Then we descended into the oven of eastern Washington and battled the headwinds in the Columbia River Gorge. As a consolation, we gorged ourselves on wild berries growing along the roadside.
We spent June being wowed by nature in Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, our route taking us through the Great Basin, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
We met up with our friend Elliot who joined us on his recumbent bicycle in Phoenix, Arizona (he would later be responsible for convincing us to detour to Vegas). We toyed with the idea of a tandem, test-rode one in Vegas, and tried out a trailer for a bit. Neither were successful.
On our way through Austin, we picked up our friend, Rich, who joined us for a tour of the Texas Hill Country. Between the enormity of the state and the headwinds that kept trying to blow us back to Houston, it felt like we were never going to get out of Texas.
March 31, 2013:
Easter Sunday. We stood outside our friends’ house, bags packed, bikes ready. We had left our jobs, our house and car were sold, debts paid, last bit of stuff dropped off at Goodwill. I still remember the excitement, the butterflies of nervous energy, the sleepless night we had before. Years of planning and saving brought us to this moment, where the only thing left to do was..…leave.
We’d like to thank everyone who helped to make this year of travel a safe and wonderful adventure. Here’s to 1+ more!