Preparation

Cycling to Break the Cycle of Poverty

Want to help break the cycle of poverty? Follow my ride from Virginia to Washington. I will be cycling for Niños de Guatemala, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Guatemalan children from low-income families. Learn more here

http://ninosdeguatemala.org

You can make a difference by donating here

Give whatever you can and share with others who are willing to give. Together, we can make every mile I ride count for children in Guatemala.

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Spread the Love

Parvulos class NF - 2018

This Valentine’s Day I am helping to SPREAD THE LOVE for the students at Niños de Guatemala. I am a dedicated sponsor at NDG and am passionate about the opportunity to help break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala through my support.

There are 50 new students in the youngest class in Primary school, Parvúlos or pre-kindergarten. Through this Spread the Love campaign, we want to find 50 people just like you to sponsor them.

Niños de Guatemala Padrinos (sponsors) provide not only an invaluable source of funding for NDG but also provide a unique opportunity for the students to gain a mentor and friend. Padrinos can write to their Ahijado as much or as little as desired to keep in touch and visits are encouraged as well!

To sign up to sponsor a student today, visit the webpage and fill out the application form at the bottom OR e-mail padrino@ninosdeguatemala.org with any questions! Thanks again to everyone who has already supported this amazing organization!

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Update

I just wanted to check in really quickly and let everyone know how well the schools are doing in Guatemala. I know many people that donated wanted to make sure the money is actually going where I say it’s going, so hopefully you will find this update helpful. Niños de Guatemala is an excellent organization that continues to grow and improve the lives of its students. I just got back from a visit and it was really great to see how much the kids have progressed since I left. I got to teach a workshop to the second graders about my ride and I got to attend the graduation for the sixth graders who will be moving on to El Basico (middle school) next year. It was really moving to see how proud these kids are of their accomplishment and how proud their families are of them. Only about 75% of kids in Guatemala graduate from elementary school and only about 40% move on to middle school. Niños de Guatemala follows their students throughout their education in order to maintain very low dropout rates. Next year will be a very exciting year because the other elementary school will have its first graduating class and the basico will have its first graduating class! Looking back on my ride, I am so grateful for all the support I had. It changed my outlook on life and, thanks to all of the donations, it gave hundreds of kids opportunities that they may not have otherwise had. Thanks again to everyone that gave their time, money, support, etc!

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We Made It!

Stinkpot and I rolled into Bellingham yesterday! We made it to our final destination! It feels really good to be done. We rode around San Juan Island on Wednesday, which was really pretty, and then we camped on Lopez Island. It was beautiful, but I was so amped up about finishing yesterday that I woke up before my alarm and caught the early ferry to Anacortes. There were some bike paths along the coast, which made it a really nice ride and I made it to my friends’ house in Bellingham at about 2:30. I just happened to pull up at the same time one of them was getting home and they both helped me celebrate. I feel relieved to finally be here, and proud of what we’ve done, and overwhelmed by the huge show of support from everyone that donated to Niños de Guatemala, or let me stay with them, or offered encouraging words, or all of the other many acts of kindness and generosity that got us here. Cycling is a great way to see the country and I love the simplicity of just having one thing to worry about everyday. You just have to keep moving and eventually you’ll make it. This was also a trip full of contrasts. I felt hot and cold at the same time (hot from working hard, but cold from the harsh wind), sick to my stomach and hungry at the same time, thirsty and full at the same time, and I’ve had a full uninterrupted night of sleep and woken up still feeling tired. There were also people that went out of their way to help me and people that seemed mad a me for just being on the road. Still, I just had one thing to do on this trip and that was to ride, so I just kept going and I saw some amazing places and met some wonderful people along the way. I read from multiple sources before this trip that bike touring is a great way to restore your faith in humanity. It’s true that many people supported this trip in ways that are very inspiring, but I found that they were far outnumbered by irresponsible drivers, fellow campers, and closed minded people I had conversations with along the way. The drivers were definitely the worst. By the end, they had pretty much taken the fun out of it for me. As I wrote earlier, a woman literally hit me with her car and then tried to argue that it was my fault when she was clearly in the wrong. People are so impatient that they don’t think twice about endangering the life of another human being in order to shave a few seconds off their drive time. That says something about our priorities as a society. They don’t know me, so why should they care about me? I don’t want to sound ungrateful because if you are reading this, you have probably made some sort of contribution to this ride, so, just to be clear, I have been totally blown away by all of your support. Maybe the most inspiring have been those people that didn’t know me, but decided to donate when they met me somewhere along the way. That spirit of giving seems like a good way to end this. Of course we need to be kind to the important people in our lives, but we also need to extend that to strangers. We don’t know them, we don’t know their stories, so I think we owe them the benefit of the doubt. On that note, I’m ending this trip with a challenge to myself and a challenge to anyone that’s still reading to be kind to a stranger. Be kind to everyone you meet. It can make all the difference.

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British Columbia

That’s it. I’m moving to Canada. It’s way too nice. Okay, I only saw a tiny little piece of it, but Victoria is awesome. I took the ferry over from Port Angeles, spent a day and a half in Victoria, and then took a different ferry from Sidney to the San Juan Islands. The San Juan Islands are also very nice. They’re crawling with tourists right now though. Also, I love ferries! The ones in the middle of the country were cute, but these are the real deal. Victoria is very bike and pedestrian friendly, has great food, and is just super beautiful. I enjoyed walking around, checking out Fisherman’s Wharf, and watching the float planes take off over the harbor. The ride to Sidney was very nice and included a lot of greenways instead of roads. I stopped and had a tasty lunch on the way at a restaurant right next to the beautiful Gardens at Horticulture Center of the Pacific. It’s still kind of chilly when it’s overcast, but, luckily, there hasn’t been more rain. These last few days of riding have been some of the most beautiful of the whole trip, but I’m still pretty excited to be almost done. Hang in there – my next post will be my last one!

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Washington

Washington didn’t get the memo that it’s August and it’s supposed to be warm… It’s actually really nice when the sun is out, but it’s pretty chilly in the mornings. The ACA route took me inland a little bit, but there was some very beautiful riding through the forests with views of the rivers, mountains, and straits. I stopped on Bainbridge Island and stayed with some friends for a day, which was really nice. They totally spoiled me and took me out crabbing, which was fun and the crabs were delicious. I can definitely tell that I’m getting tired and I ready to be done, but yesterday was my last full day of riding. I got cold in the rain, so I decided to check into a hotel room. From here on out, it will be a combination of riding and ferries. Don’t worry, I’m not counting the distance traveled by ferry toward my total riding distance. I’m headed to Vancouver Island, the San Juan Islands, and then my final destination of Bellingham, WA!

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Oregon

Eastern Oregon was very pretty, but very hot. Some friends drove down to visit me in Umatilla and it was really great to catch up with them. Then I met up with some other friends in Hood River, which was a blast. We went swimming, played on a rope swing, and walked up to a waterfall. The ride along the Columbia River Gorge was absolutely beautiful and the area around Portland was super bike friendly. Astoria is also really nice. I had a beautiful ride to the Pacific Ocean, an unpleasant encounter with a terrible driver, and a ferry ride across the Columbia River to Washington. I’m feeling ready to be done, but excited about the next few days of riding. I’m just taking it easy and enjoying the scenery.

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