Two build days in Prescott!

Day 59 & 60: Two build days in Prescott, AZ!

We worked with the Prescott Habitat for Humanity for both days. We enjoyed our time working with them!

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On the second night of this two day stretch, we ate dinner and gave a presentation to the Prescott Habitat for Humanity staff. They invited other members of the community as well, including some beneficiaries of Habitat. The Constanza family had a word of thanks to say too, as the house we had worked on was the one they were going to receive! It’s always exciting to meet these beneficiaries. It’s a great reminder of the direct impact that our fundraising and building has on families in need.

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The Prescott Habitat for Humanity representative that evening also showed us a video that they had made of three families in their community that had benefited from a Habitat home. It was awesome to see these families and see the happiness that a Habitat home brought to their lives.

She gave us the opportunity to talk about experiences with working with Habitat for Humanity before our trip, as well as various stories of our biking journey. It was fun to recap some of the shenanigans that we’ve gotten ourselves into. It was clear that she had read our bios on the B&B website because she asked some people direct questions about them.

It was a night of phenomenal Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers, as well as delicious food!!!

And then… It was time for Bike & Build prom!!! Scott and I went with a “Jersey Shore” theme. Our Jersey accents are impeccable. At one point in the night, Scott was so in character that Aaron said “I thought he was legitimately going to slap me across the face”. We were THAT good.

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Scott and I continue to talk in that Jersey accent regularly. And we’re hilarious when we do it.

The next day, McWeens and I decided to visit the memorial site for the fallen firefighters of the Yarnell wildfires. Although I didn’t expect to get emotional, it brought me to tears.

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I’m very glad I got to visit the memorial site, and it was a great couple of days in Prescott!

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“We’re getting trucker hats.”

Day 58: Williams to Prescott, AZ… A short ride of 66 miles turned into quite a FLATastic day.

We woke up and did our daily chores. It was my turn to ask my date to prom!! I asked Scott by writing out “Prom?” with silverware and a beer can as the dot for the question mark… It’s an inside joke with the team that’s kind of hard to explain, so I won’t try, but I just wanted my readers to know what they were looking at in the photo…

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HE SAID YES!!!!

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Olivia and Marge were asking Daniel to prom (remember… Daniel won the massive rock, paper, scissors contest that allotted him two dates to prom). They stood at the end of the road that we turned onto out of the host that morning so they could ask him together. Since we’ve all been together for over two months, we have a lot of inside jokes… So again, this one is hard to explain, but they asked him and he said yes!!!

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In honor of the 19 firefighters who recently lost their lives while combating forest fires in Yarnell, a small town just outside of Prescott, we wrote “19” on our calves and arms. We wanted to remember them as we rode.

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It was Motherbird’s birthday, so coffee crew went on our daily morning coffee run. Then we headed out!!

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Interesting note about Arizona: it is NOT illegal to ride bikes on the interstate. While I can practically hear my mother gasping for air at the thought of me riding alongside I-40, it is in fact exactly what we did. It was pretty awful because there was so much, for lack of a better term, shit on the shoulder of the road that going downhill was not enjoyable. We had to dodge so many things that could puncture our tires or wipe us out that it was really not fun at all. Luckily, we weren’t on it for long.

We got to a gas station, where Meg had to change a flat tire she’d gotten along the way. That gas station flat tire turned into two flat tires for Meg, and then one flat for Claire. It was about a 2 hour ordeal. Unfortunately, this was not the end of it.

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When we finally got to lunch along with sweep, who had obviously caught up to us in that 2-hour time period, Meg had another flat. Three attempts at fixing her flat tires, which again kept blowing as she was pumping them up, and over an hour later, we finally left lunch. It was becoming a very long and incredibly hot day… Despite the fact that this was supposed to be an easy, chill 66 mile ride.

After lunch, we cruised downhill for a bit. It finally felt like we had gained some momentum and were cruising along. That is until Gerk said “uhh I don’t mean to bust up the party, but my back tire is flat”. And so it began again.

We stopped at a Pepto-bismol colored gas station to fix Gerk’s flat. She seemed to have caught the bad flat luck from Meg, as Gerk continued to lose more and more tubes to whatever had originally popped her tire. The thing about flats is that they can come from something as visible as a staples or as invisible as a very small hole in your rim tape. If you don’t cover the original hole in your tire, it could pinch your tube and cause yet another flat (I’m guessing this is what kept happening to us).

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Instead of being mad and frustrated with the situation, we decided to enjoy each other’s company and laugh about it. We’re not together for very much longer, after all, so we might as well take pleasure in the moments we have left as a team.

Meg decided that she would eat a Popsicle for every flat tire we’d had. At this point, the tally was up to 7, and she’d only had 5 Popsicles, so she had some catching up to do.

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Gerk ended up getting several more flats. We had run out of tubes, so we were attempting to use the patch kit to save the old ones. At one point the following conversation happened:

Gerk: “You guys! They have some SWEET trucker hats inside for a dollar each!! I will buy one for everyone!”
Claire: “uhh, Gerk… Your front tire is flat…”
Gerk: *pauses, thinks about it*… “We’re getting trucker hats.”

So we did. They all had terrible sayings on them, some of which were grammatically incorrect. Mine just said “I’d rather be fishing”.

We finally semi-fixed the problem and headed out. Shortly thereafter, Gerk got another flat. What’s comical about this situation is that Gerk hadn’t gotten any flats at all during this whole trip until about a week ago. “When it rains, it pours”. At one point, she had 12 Clif bar wrappers lining the inside of her tires to cover holes (this is the professional way of doing it while on the road). Things weren’t going well.

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Finally, Gerk just had to pull over and get picked up by the van. The rest of us got to the host in Prescott really late… Just as the sun was beginning to set.

Although it was a long and slightly stressful day, there were many times when someone would say: “ya know, if there was any group of people that I’d want to be with in this situation, it would be you guys”. We are a pretty hilarious group of women, and we found happiness in fairly miserable circumstances.

Even on tough Bike & Build days, I’m always incredibly happy!!

“I mustache you a question.”

Day 57: Grand Canyon to Williams, AZ, 57 miles!

We were sad to be leaving the beautiful Grand Canyon, but we were thankful for a day off the bike and some time to explore the national park.

We expected it to be a fairly easy day, but some riders decided to get to Williams a different way… By train. There was a train that ran from the GC to Williams, and was supposed to be really scenic. About half of the team decided to take the train instead of ride, which was actually hilarious. We can add that to the list of things we do (Bike & Build & walk & hitchhike & van & train & eat & sleep…). I rode my bike because I didn’t want to pay for a train ticket and I haven’t been vanned yet, so I’m pretty stubborn about finishing this thing the right way!

I was honorary sweep with Emerson and Regular Ryan. What I remember about this ride is that although we were fairly quiet as we were riding, I was in a fantastic and relaxed mood. We soared up and down the hills, with the downhills giving us just enough momentum to send us pedaling almost effortlessly over the next climb. It felt great!

At one point, we caught up with Max, Andrew, Leader Ryan, and Sam, who had gotten a flat.

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By the time we were ready to leave, I had gotten a flat. While changing my flat, Regular Ryan gave me a bike chain grease mustache. The caption to this photo is “I mustache you a question”.

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The best part of this day was that so much of the scenery reminded me of North Carolina. Although NC has more trees, Arizona was showing it’s good side that day. Oh, and did you know there are mountains in Arizona? Because I didn’t! Although it was a little sandier and a little less green than I would have liked, it was still so great!!

Williams was a pretty cute little town!

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We enjoyed our stay there that night and got excited to bike to Prescott the following day, where we’d have two build days!

Grand Canyon

Day 56: A day off at the Grand Canyon!

I woke up in my hammock after a delightful night of sleep under the stars.

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We went to get morning coffee at a cafe, and then we decided to go for a little hike in the canyon! The scenery was incredible! It’s so much more rewarding to see such a world wonder by getting yourself there with your own two legs.

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It was a great day of exploring and relaxing! It was a much needed day to rest our legs.

“Bike through the desert, they said. It’ll be flat, they said.”

Day 55: TO THE GRAND CANYON!!!

Many of us, including myself, had never been to the Grand Canyon, so it was going to be quite the adventure for us all! We’d have our final day off there, and we’d be camping out! We love camping, AND they had just lifted the fire ban the day before, which meant we could have a campfire!!

The previous night, we had discussed when we would be having Bike & Build Prom, which is a B&B tradition. We decided it would be Sadie Hawkins style, meaning the girls would ask the guys. We drew names from a hat so that each girl would ask a guy, with two girls having to go together and one guy being paired with two girls. We had a rock, paper, scissors showdown to determine who the lucky man would be, and it ended up being Daniel. We started thinking of creative ways to ask our dates.

Abbie got right to the prom-asking that morning. She had drawn Regular Ryan from the hat. For reasons I can’t remember, we’ve called Reg Ryan “ass eyes” from the first week. So the way Abbie asked Ryan was by biking around the parking lot of the church with her shorts down so that you could see the eyes as well as the word “prom” written on her bare butt. Unfortunately, the parking lot was a dirt lot, and she ended up falling dramatically off her bike. It was HILARIOUS! The bar was set high for the creativity that goes into prom-asking.

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I rode with Gerk and Amelia again because they are incredibly entertaining riding buddies. And I shlove them very very much.

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The ride started out easy. It was mostly flat or downhill. We were hopeful that our day would continue like this… And then it turned out to be quite the opposite.

We stopped at a touristy grocery/restaurant/Native American trinket store. This was my first inclination that the Grand Canyon would be more touristy than I initially thought.

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Right after we left, we saw signs for the Grand Canyon! So exciting!

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We got to lunch around mile 37 and hung out for probably too long. Sometimes we get caught up with hanging out together, jamming to tunes blasting from the van, eating whatever we can find. Our song choices usually consist of Taylor Swift’s “22” and any and all One Direction songs, with an occasional Justin Beiber song tossed in. Have I mentioned that we’re mature adults?

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We left lunch and almost immediately started climbing. I saw a sign that said Grand Canyon 14 miles, and I jokingly said “14 miles to the summit, ladies!” because we’ve already experienced a day like that in the Rockies. Turns out, my joking words came true. We climbed and climbed and climbed. We later joked: “Bike through the desert, they said. It’ll be flat, they said.”

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We saw the sign for the Grand Canyon National Park, and due to a miscommunication with the van driver that day, ended up waiting around at the sign for hours. It was kinda fun to hang out with everyone in the middle of the day though! Normally we’re all with our usual riding groups, so we don’t see everyone at once until we all make it to the host. We entertained ourselves by hiding behind the Grand Canyon sign and then jumping out when cars drove by. Some of them even stopped for a photo, which made it even funnier when we photo bombed it.

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We rode to lunch and then we had to take shuttles into the GC National park so we didn’t have to individually pay to get in… Which is surprisingly much more expensive than one van/trailer.

By the time we got in, we were excited to see the Grand Canyon, but my riding group had hit a wall. When you take too many breaks or too long of a break in the middle of the day, it makes it hard to have the energy to get back on the bike. Even though we’d made it to the park where we were camping, we still had at least 20 miles of riding to the campsite. We got coffee to boost our spirits and then we were on our way.

The last 20 miles turned out to be one of the GREATEST rides I’ve experienced on Bike & Build… Or ever, really. The scenery was beautiful, as we biked along side the canyon nearly the whole time.

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Amelia and I made a pretty hilarious video to show our enthusiasm for being at the GC!

We got to the campsite, and it was time for dinner and hanging beside the campfire. It was so relaxing and enjoyable to be under the bright stars in the middle of a beautiful national park! It was one of my favorite nights on B&B!

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City of Tubas

Day 54: Kayenta to Tuba City, AZ: 70 miles

We woke up knowing that SUS usually takes under 1.5 hours to get ready in the morning, from the minute they wake up to the minute they roll out. It takes us AT LEAST 2 hours. We might not be a group of morning people. But we like who we are and we didn’t want to change our routine… Except that we’re also competitive, so matching SUS step for step that morning was a challenge accepted by all of us.

We were done with chores, breakfast, and packing within an hour and 20 minutes! Never will this happen again. The best part of the morning was when SUS skipped around from the other side of the church, jamming to music and inviting us to a dance party, right then and their. We happily joined, and got PUMPED for the day!!… At 7am! We had a dance off or two as well.

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We rolled out and I became honorary sweep for the day (meaning I wasn’t sweep but I was feeling slow and lazy so I rode with them). SUS took the same road as us for a while on their way out of Kayenta, but they were headed to a different city. When they turned off, they left us some awesome chalked notes on the road, telling us they’d had fun with us and that they wished us luck and safe travels on our way to San Diego! I cannot emphasize how much fun I had meeting this new B&B team!!

Overall, the day was pretty boring and long. It was somewhat downhill, but not as much as we were hoping for. Occasionally, we saw windmills in fields of hay, and we had flashback nightmares of Kansas.

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I rode with Amelia and Gerk for most of the day, and we kept ourselves entertained by singing childhood chants, like “Down by the bay, where the watermelons grow, back to my home, I dare not go…” Etc. We’re really mature.

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We made it to Tuba City, had our weekly Town Hall Meeting, where we talk about our “highs” and “lows” for the week, and went to bed early. We had to get ready for our ride to the GRAND CANYON the next day!!

“It’s SUS or us!!”

Day 53: Crossing another state line… Bluff, Utah to Kayenta, Arizona! It was exciting to get to a new state for the second day in a row, but what was more was the prospect of meeting up with another B&B team!! The Southern US route (SUS’13) would be riding to Kayenta as well and would be staying at the same host site! As pumped as we were, we were also wary of the situation… We had heard that in years past, B&B teams had not gotten along well. I think this often comes from differing rules that each team chooses to follow (there’s a basic outline of B&B rules for all teams, but some teams enforce these rules more so than others).

We compiled a list of pranks & harmless lies for SUS:
1. We NEVER eat peanut butter and jelly. Ever. We eat gourmet meals every day.
2. Meegan’s parents are “high up” at Best Western, so we stay in hotels at least once a week.
3. Andrew was Ryan’s son -OR- Andrew and Ryan are not related at all (they are brothers and look like twins)
4. Emily would give them MRSA (she doesn’t have it, but it’s been a running joke that she does)
5. We ALL have MRSA.
6. We get 4 lunches a day because we have so much food.

There were many more, none of which we actually played on them. It turned out they had similar ideas for playing pranks on us.

So what we’re learning about our group on Navaho nation land (basically the desert) is that you either love it or you hate it. I hate it. It’s hot, there’s no shade, and it’s just mounds upon mounds of dirt everywhere. That being said, I did find some beauty in this day. I rode with Amelia and Gerk in the beginning, and we tackled some serious hills together. Despite the fact that we thought the desert was flat, it is most definitely not.

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We did get to bike through a town comically named “Mexican Hat”. This was because there was a rock on top of another rock structure that vaguely resembled an upside down sombrero. Amelia said “One day, that rock is gonna fall. Then what will they have?”.

I ended up spending the afternoon alone on my ride. I think I was able to enjoy the landscape more by myself, and it was good to have some reflection time.

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I later caught up to some of my teammates right before the Arizona state sign, which was not the most impressive that we’d seen, but a landmark nonetheless.

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I cruised into Kayenta alone, in search of a place to get some water and maybe an ice cream come after riding through the heat. As I rolled in, I saw a rider in Bike & Build gear. Normally, it is safe to assume that it’s one of your teammates, so I waved and said “yeah biker!” the way we do when we see one another. This time, however, it was not an NC2SD rider… It was a SUS rider! I was reminded that we would meet a whole new group of Bike & Builders, with a totally new team dynamic. It made me both nervous and excited to meet them. We’ve been in such a B&B bubble, always together, practically attached at the hip. None of us know what’s going on in the news, and we never know what day it is. So to have another huge group of riders to interact with felt a little out of our comfort zone.

But when we got to the host site, the chaos of so many people, so many bikes and bags, actually made me re-energized to meet some new friends!! …because everyone in the B&B community is awesome and adventure-seeking by default.

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We ended up going to McDonald’s for ice cream and socializing. We basically took over this small McD’s in Kayenta. We played card games together and talked about funny/weird/quirky things that our groups do. It was SO MUCH FUN to meet SUS! We had a great time with them!!

We crowded together in one room and slept side by side, packed like sardines.

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Oh yeah, and their trailer was named “Lil’ Kim”… They obviously named it after me. The painting on it is of one of their leaders!

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