November 24, 2009

Eleven hundred miles down...

So, the day has finally come. After 1,100 miles I was in need of an upgrade. Let us start at the beginning. I, with the help of some others, built the Rick that you have all come to know and love! It was a tank with Coop, myself, and all the gear weighing in at some 700 lbs. It only had three gears which meant at every uphill battle I would have to hop off to either push it up while walking along side it, or harness myself to the front so that I could pull it behind me. True to the definition of a Rickshaw; something pulled or pedaled! Before I peaced out of the NYC I was trying to line up some sponsorships that would aid in our completion of this monolithic journey. Surprisingly none were interested, so we've been doing it by ourselves. Just like every on of those uphill battles that are now behind us. Upon our arrival in Annapolis a friend of mine, Katzander, gave the heads up to a company in Colorado known as Main Street Pedicab. Getting to the phone I was able to reach them through a representative named Dan. He gave ear as I got him up to snuff about all that Cooper and I are setting out to do. I asked if he could help me out in any way. Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm happy with what I built. I'm proud of what I built. It's just that it weighs in at an amazing 700 lbs.! I'm not training for the worlds strongest man competition. I'm just trying to make it around the United States. So after giving ear, Dan told me that he would look into it and run it by the owner of the company. It didn't take long to hear from Main Street Pedicab. They offered up a used floor demo peditruck for a deposit and all I would have to cover is the shipping. They told me that once I was done with peditruck, upon returning, they would give me back my deposit. While talking to them over the phone I noticed that my head was nodding that it was good deal. The only thing was that the deposit was over a grand and the shipping cost to the east would be five hundred dollars... At that time my head was doing the numbers. I only had three hundred dollars to this name of mine. That's where the photo contest came into play. With that first place prize money and some big loving help from my parents- I was able to bring all of it together. I had the replacement in route being shipped to Wilington, NC. As I was heading to Wilington I posted an add on Craigslist to see if anyone was interested in my original Rickshaw. As it turns out one person was interested. His is name was Seth. He was looking forward to starting a new business in the downtown area, a delivery slash courier service. How surprised was he to see that his ideas were going to come to fruition. Now my Rickshaw, or rather his Rickshaw will be his main star vehicle. For over eight months I labored on that three wheeled notion sinking over a grand into its creation. Seth as a young business man was only able to afford a couple hundred, some dinner, crunchy dog food, and a comfortable spot to pitch my tent in his back yard. It was all good enough for me. The following morning I loaded all of my gear and my good buddy Coop into his truck so that we could head on over to the Two Wheeler Dealer where my enormous package would be awaiting us. Like most things there was a bit of a wait. I sat outside for a couple of hours with all my belongings and the memory of my original Rickshaw who helped me get this far. At ten, the doors opened up and an army of employees came outside one at a time to put out all the bikes for sale today. Coop went to each one of the employees to say his hellos. I was looking for Camron the receiving guy, but he wasn't in yet. Waiting for his arrival, I started fielding every ones questions about what it is that Cooper and I are doing. For the rest of the morning and early afternoon I chatted with employees and customers about our adventures and where it was that we were intending to head towards. Get this, a woman named Kim was so smitten over Cooper that she kept asking me if she could have him! At around two o'clock it arrived. One of those familiar looking delivery trucks pulled up to reveal an enormous wooden crate. I jumped up runningly to get to the busting of it open. The time had arrived! Busting it open I was amazed to see that it was fully assembled and ready to roll. After we got it down I gave it a good once over with the staff in tow. I loaded up my gear and got Coop situated as I said my goodbyes, hitting the pedals, and getting to what I have set out to accomplish- 10,000 miles, excuse me, now only a mere eight thousand nine hundred!

So, a little about the new one. It is bigger, but it is so much lighter. It isn't waterproof, but it can hold so much more. It's even aerodynamic. Coop is now fully contained which relieves a lot of unnecessary stress for me. The frame is less than 200lbs which makes it about 200 or more pounds lighter than the original. This new one has 21 gears! The old only had three. I'm over the pedals more versus the being behind them like the old one. It truly does give more leverage by being over them. All in all, it's an important upgrade. I only have two more days to go until Myrtle Beach, South Carolina! I'll be staying with an Army buddy for the whole Turkeyday Weekend. While there I plan on putting my own personal touch and style to the new ride. Till next time,
Love and Licks,
Sean and Coop!

November 12, 2009


Q. Are you a trust fund or rich?
A. No not at all at this point just over 1 month in I only have $50 dollars to my name.

Q. What are you going to do when you run out of money?
A. Well being a chef and a pretty handy person I plan on getting a job doing whatever will pay. I hope to get some cooking work to learn some more. I have also realized that when I don't stress about the money than it seems to come my way.

Q. Why are you doing this, what is your cause?
A. My cause is because. I was living in NYC for the last 5 years and the concrete jungle got to me. And after hearing about my friend Pierre's trip from Las Vegas to Southern Mexico on a bike, that really got things going for me

Q. Are you going to shave or cut your hair.
A. No I don't plan on doing either until we get back to NYC. And then I'm going to rock a mullet for a wk or so!

Q. What is your route?
A. From NY I headed over to DC area and then headed southeast to the coast and plan on riding the coast south to Savannah GA. From there I would like to go to New Orleans for Christmas. I hope to make it there in time but with all this rain and having to stop for a week at a time is really slowing me down. From the Big Easy we are going to head West across TX, NM, and AZ up to Vegas then over to Cali. Up Cali and try to go as north as possible depending on the terrain then head east thru Montana ( one of the states I'm really looking forward to riding thru, Big Sky!!) Head into the Dakotas, stop off at my brothers in Sioux Falls. then hit up my home state of Iowa try to meet up with Ragbri. Hang with my folks for a week or so. And then haul butt to NYC.

Q. Where do you sleep?
A. Mostly it is off the road camping. Campgrounds and state parks run from $20-$30 a night But I can use the shower at a state park for free even if I don't camp there! Mostly when its about an hour before sunset I start looking for a quick easy pull off into some woods and try to set up as far away from the road as possible. Sometimes if its slim pickn's I'll chose a abandoned house or a church and sometimes a cemetery. If I know I'll be in the area more than a night I'll ask the local cops or sheriffs where I can camp and not be a problem. Sometimes they direct me to a common area and I have camped behind a cop shop and a fire department. Every once and awhile some great stranger will take us in to their home or let us camp on their land. Also as I have gone I have picked up places to stay from other people. Karma baby!

Q. How many miles and how long is this going to take you?
A. Its going to be over 10,000 miles and will take some where around a year or so.

Q. What did you do with all your stuff in NY?
A. A week before we left we became voluntarily unemployed and homeless. What I couldn't sell, or give to friends I pushed to the curb. What I carry with me on the Rick is what I own. Nothing more nothing less.

Q. What does your family think of this?
A. At first 8 months before I left when I told them of this idea they didn't get it and didn't approve of it at all. The second day on this trip they were all behind me!

Q. What do you want to gain from this trip?
A. I am challenging my mental, physical and emotional state. I hope to find kindness and unasked for hospitality. I would like to find a new place to live at the coolest chillest spot that I can ride thru.

Q. How far do you ride in a day?
A. We do any where from 30 to 45 miles a day. It all depends on the weather, wind, terrain, and my legs. Our average speed is about 9 miles a hour.

Q. Do you workout, are you in good shape?
A. Um, well, lets see I pedal everyday so yeah I guess so.

If there is a question that you have for us please feel free to leave it below.

November 9, 2009


What a great couple of days. After hitting the road out of Hampton VA, I have had 3 flats, 2 hellish bridges, and a 40 mile day!
1st flat. Got it about 10 miles from Ennis house at the beginning of the James River Bridge. I had used my spare tube earlier and had to call a bike shop that was about 1.5 miles from the James River Bridge to come and bring me a couple tubes and a new pump mine had broken that day. The guy came and helped me change the tire out and I was on my way.
1st bridge. That was the James River Bridge. This Bridge is about 4.5 miles long about a mile in is a climb to the draw bridge part. I tried to inquire about a shuttle service or something along the lines as a friendly lift. None to be had. So we did what we always do just pedal our way over. About a half mile in a car came up behind us and told me I need to pull over to the side right before the draw and he was going to call me a tow. So I did as I was told and 15 min later there was a flatbed pulling up to give me a lift. All paid for by the great state of VA! After we unloaded the Rick and talked to a cop about what we where doing we where back to the push of the pedals.
After that we had good riding thru the rest of VA on our way to NC. Once we got past Suffolk VA, we where in some pretty big swampy area referred to as the Great Dismal Swamps. It is pretty dismal. Camping was a lot harder due to the fact that all the wooded area was mostly in the swamp so we found ourselves camping behind old rundown abandoned houses and one night slept next to a old gas station that was now a church. Price of gas was still on the sign at $1.73 a gallon but the sign on the building was for the church. The beginning of NC we had a couple nights of frost and developed a lot of condensation in the tent, luckily I got the tent and most of my supplies at REI and they sent me a new tent for free! Thanks REI for supporting people and their adventures.
After we got into NC, we got out second flat on the other back tire. We rode for about half a mile before I saw a car in a driveway and a lady working in the yard, I stopped to ask if I could use her car jack so I could change this back tire with ease. She said yes and kept Coop occupied while I changed the flat all done in less than 30 min. Back on the road.
As we neared the Outer Banks we got out of the swamps and closer to the shore. After the night outside the Church Gas Station we decided to do a 45 plus mile day. We hit the road bright and early and where making good time. Until...
...we hit the 2nd hellish bridge. This wasn't a long bridge but it was a big climb with no shoulder. I had taken pics of this bridge and decent but am unable to find the card. It took about 4 min for me to hike up this bridge and about 1 min to come down. After that we went about another 20 some miles before getting our third and final flat of this leg. Luckily we had been able to make a hook up thru Dolly for a surfer friend of hers that lived down in Nags. Luckily he had a big ol truck and was able to come and pick us up with his friend John and give us a lift the rest of the way in to his house. He and his girl have a guest cottage in the back that Coop and I had all to ourselves. The next day we woke up early and got to the beach.
I wanted to give surfing a try but the waves where a little to big for me so I stuck to body boarding. I only did it for about 30. min or so, the waves were really starting to pick up and I wanted to get some good pictures of the surfers.
The next hour or so I ran up and down the beach to different beach front houses to climb their multilevel decks to capture these great locals shredding and riding the barrels. I took over 1,200 pictures and they all turned out great. Afterward we ate some food and headed to another beach to do some more surfing and picture taking. It was a great day of great waves beautiful weather and new friends. Off to bed I luckily got some work the following day.
After finding Johns house I got to it doing some landscaping work he had a couple of paver paths that had become over grown with weeds and beach grass with sand burrs. It took a couple hours and when John got home we took the dogs to the beach and he grabbed his stand up paddle board. Raglan Johns black lab is a 2 yr old big goof ball. Cooper and him got along great, and gave me a lot of great shots. Watch John out on the calm water with the sun setting behind us was a great sight. I will be coming back here during the summer months once this trip is over. The rain started the next day. And hasn't stopped!
The beach across the street from where I am staying is rapidly getting eaten away from all the wind and water. I have never seen anything like this. I went out there last night during high tide and the stairs going down from the pier we were standing on where getting water up to the 3rd step or so and today when I went back over there during low tide the stairs where completely gone! Just a 15 foot drop to the beach. There was also a house not to far from here that the stilts got washed out from under it and it fell to the beach. Mother nature is a amazing bitch!
I want to leave Saturday but its looking like we won't taking off till Sunday there are some roads that have water or sand blocking them.

Till next time
Love and Licks from the road
Sean and Cooper.

November 2, 2009

Ol Army days

Here I sit in Hampton VA, at my friends house on Monday Nov 2nd I have been on this adventure for just over a month. Things have been great so far. Once I rolled out of Pipers house we made our way south east thru Maryland towards VA. The roads in MD had ample shoulders but lacked a steady water supply so I was having to stop wherever I could to ask for water.
One such place was New Life Wesleyan Church just outside La Plata MD. There I was given water, food, a shower and a place to sleep. These folks are big believers in JC and want to let you know he is there for you. One thing they did bring to my attention was a project that they are working on its called the Jericho Project in coordination with Living Water they are trying to rebuild the community of Nanjamoy its about 45 min from our nations capital and it is a one of the worst areas of poverty that we have in this country. They have no running water, sewage, electricity, and very substandard housing. You don't have to go to a foreign land to find people to help.
After a delicious homemade breakfast Coop and I headed out to make our way to the Harry Nice bridge. This bridge is a toll bridge that is a massive climb and fast decent. Luckily the great state of MD gave us a lift over the bridge so as not to cause problems with ourselves and other motorist. Once over we had to get some more help from the road crew from MD to get some extra bolts for the freewheel gear in the back, after that we were on our way. Pedaling in VA is a little different than MD they have this thing they like to do. I call it the Disappearing Shoulder Act one minute I'm cruising down the state highway on a 4 foot wide shoulder then it goes down to about 6 inches. I know your worried family but this is all part of the journey some days are going to be easier traveling than others. We'll be fine. Anyway we didn't have any real problems until we hit the Downing bridge right outside Tappahonnock VA. This bridge is over a mile long and has no shoulder at all we got to highway 360 with a 2 mile ride to the bridge which also had no shoulder to speak of. This had to be the scariest part so far on this trip. I talked it over with Coop and we decided lets do it we can't have anything getting in our way, all a bridge is is a road over the water and since we own all roads then this was also ours. So Coop laid down and I hit the pedals with a furry. The first 1/2 mile of this bridge is a flat shot out over the water than shoots up at about a 45 degree angle for the next 1/4 mile before coming down at a 30 degree angle when we hit the up hill I had to jump off and start the uphill push to get us to the peak before I could hop on for the free ride down. The whole time I'm pushing I keep looking back at Coop and he just has is eyes locked on me saying "keep going bud you can do it" his tail was on the wag, he was really enjoying it to bad the huge line of cars behind us wasn't. Once we got to the end of this thing I fell to the ground in a parking lot to catch my breath and Coop hopped down to give me a face full of approving licks! Then we heading over to the local sheriffs office to inquire about a good safe spot for us to camp that night and the following day there was a big rain storm moving in and we didn't want to move in the rain if we didn't have to. They directed us over to the cemetery with a picnic area, we set up had some dinner and crashed out for the night. The next day was filled with light showers on and off and while sitting there reading a car pulls up to ask about us. Come to find out she had done the TransAm, that's Yorktown, VA to Astoria, OR. 4,200 miles, back in 76. And her daughter Dolly had just done it this last summer, She called Dolly and a couple hours later she was pulling up to see this rig and talk to us. It was good to swap stories with another traveler of the bike world and get some good tips. She and Coop hit it off and she told me she was going to be moving to NYC with her boyfriend in a couple weeks. Small world! Check out her web page got some really great stories and she put up some stuff about us.
The next day we hit the road it took a couple days for us to make our way down to the Hampton Roads area. Once we got to Yorktown we pulled into a bike shop Back Alley Bikes to get some much needed rubber. My tires were pretty worn and I was getting really worried about getting a flat. They hooked us up with some new tires, a used cushy seat for my tushy, and some new bike shorts. I left the Rick there and Staci came and picked up Coop and I and all our gear we returned the next day to pick it up. She took us back to her house where I was greeted by my extended family. Ennis, I was in the Army with him, Jermain 15, Ennis V 9, Will 8, and Maya 5. Got cleaned up and caught up with everyone. These kids are so big now. I am Ennis and Wills godfather and unfortunately haven't been able to see them very much over the past 8 years. My friend Nick and I came down here about 3 years ago for Thanksgiving. Coop and I have spent the last week resting up, and spending time with this great family. Cooper has become apart of this family more than me. He sleeps with Will every night and comes to their rescue whenever anyone plays rough with them! Halloween day we watched them dominate on the soccer fields and that night having fun trick or treating. Its been all to good to be here but once again its time to get back on the road.
One last thing. I am really trying to work on how I word these post. I am not very good at the writing part of communications. I wish I could talk to you all on the phone it would be more entertaining for you and easier for me! Also I am trying to free my mind completely for this trip but about a month before I left I met a unbelievable woman in NYC. We didn't plan on it really turning into anything but of course as it worked out I really developed some big feelings for this woman. For my own good I have had to cut off all communications with her until I can completely free my mind and heart. Hopefully that will be very soon I would love to talk to her again and continue on our friendship.

Until next time,
love and licks from the road
Sean and Cooper