Monday, July 7, 2008

Yo, Cali!

July 4th & 5th-

SO the adventure begins...

with an 18 hour drive that seemed much, much longer. Our friend M held a goodbye party for our SAG wagon driver (he won't be back in Colorado for a few years) and we left around 11 PM. I discovered that I don't have a driving tolerance anymore. Anything that I'd built up is long gone. I also found out that the beloved Road Wagon is maybe a bit loaded down (the mud flaps scrape on steep driveways) but that's not gonna stop me from picking up a kayak (MU-WHAAA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!)


115 degrees- hot enough that the car didn't even want to drive and the air-conditioning was tapped out... The locals, of course, gave us the obligatory, "Well this is nothing... You should see what it's like in August." Uh... NO> Sorry dude... You're gonna have to enjoy that one all by yourself with all the other crazy people that choose to live with you. Just s we though it was over, we left Death Valley and the temp started dropping.

Around 8:00 PM we finally got to our hotel. We picked a Days Inn that had a kitchenette in the room and a pretty nice looking swimming pool. It was also under $150 a night. We checked in, unloaded the car, to find out that there was no stove, no sink, no microwave. There was a pretty nice granite countertop, though. The guy at the front desk said they were in the process of remodeling, but I said that didn't help us cook our meals. They made it good, however, and we had a nice break at the beach. CJ got the surfing bug and I found a bottom half or two for my bathing suit tops. Lauren was kickin' it in style, drinking wine out of a water bottle since they don't allow alcohol on Cali beaches. Fortunately we were warned before the bicycle police rolled by. :)

July 6th-

We start the ride! It's a really nice cool, cloudy morning. Well- if you call morning 11 AM :) we got kind of a late start, but It'll probably be better the next ride day. A really nice couple made sure we got through San Diego, but I managed to get us lost a few dozen times in San Diego, so we had an interesting inland tour instead of the beach cruise through Mission Beach and La Jolla. Then we joined Hwy 101 and met CJ and the Nino at the most gorgeous beach park. They had been playing in the waves all morning when we rolled up and the Nino was anxious to get back to the water. They had built an enormous sand castle, complete with
a moat. The text literally said, "We're south of Jack's, look for the giant sand castle.

The next portion of the ride was through Camp Pendleton, but we were to late to get access, so we waited for CJ to come and pick us up. Around dusk we pulled into our camping home-away from home, and started up an amazing seafood feast- Crab legs, an absolutely beautiful salmon filet, shrimp, and quinoa. I stuffed myself so much on crab legs I had a really hard time fitting much else in. We ate in the dark, and it was wonderful.

July 7th- Today we surf... the lesson starts in an hour... I can hardly wait to get my butt kicked by the waves.... Pictures to come later!!!!



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Off to a great start!

Many many thanks to both Ian (my first contributor) and Cory (Number 2!) for your support and quick- very quick- action. I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me to have your support!




Hello all,

As you may already know, my friend, Lauren Bookatz and I are in training for two cycling trips to benefit organizations that have a huge impact on the lives of many people. The first ride is organized by the Colorado Chapter of the National MS Society and takes place on June 28-29. The second ride stretches from San Diego to San Francisco, and goes from July 4th to July 20th.

We've already made a considerable amount of investment in time, money and pure sweat to make these trips a success. But what we'd really like is to give some deserving organizations a huge help up in the process. All of your donations go directly to the organization for which you earmark you funds, as we are paying all other expenses out of pocket.

A quick synopsis of the rides and the non-profits we'd like to support:

June 28-29: The MS 150

We're using this as a training ride for the longer California Coastal Tour. Both Lauren and I know someone personally that has MS. We'd really like to contribute to the research dedicated to ending the devastating effects of MS. The National MS Society simultaneously funds research for a cure while also helping people who currently live with MS lead more fulfilling lives. More than 400,000 Americans live with MS, and your support can and will make changes in their lives. I don't know if you know much about MS, but it can strike at any time, and often unpredictably, making it doubly difficult for people to adjust their lives to MS. Help by making a donation - large or small - to fight MS. or join me on the day of the event? Become a participant and side by side, as teammates, we can work together to raise the funds to make a difference . We will be riding with Team KBCO, and we need $300 each to qualify to ride. Click here to view my personal page and make a secure, online donation , or you can double the benefit by allowing me to make a contribution through my employer on your behalf. Lauren's personal page has a different link, to please contact her if you'd like to contribute to her sponsorship as well.

July 4-20: The California Coastal Tour

This is an event organized by Lauren and I, with much needed support from our friends CJ (as the kind and willing support wagon driver.) Josh (who's graciously donated time in training and getting our bikes in proper shape) Rick (who works at Rack Attack and did a fine job getting us set up for the trip) and Philippe (who has been helping me with my hydration issues.) We will begin our odyssey in San Diego, and finish up in San Francisco for a total trip of 625 miles. We've had lots of suggestions for great organizations, but the following three stuck out due the impact they have on the communities they serve as well as the impressively low overhead that they've managed to create. Our goal is a total of $2500 for this ride, and we know we can reach it if everyone contributes to these great causes. If you'd like to donate funds for this ride, please send them to either Lauren or myself, with instructions as to how you'd like it divvied up between the following organizations:

The Shelter Box program run by the Rotary- This organization provides shelter boxes to people in dire need of basic necessities such as a roof over their head and potable drinking water. They've helped folks from China to New Orleans, and are often first on the scene due to their dedication and effort. It's approximately $1000 to put together each shelter box, so that is our goal for this trip for this organization. Best of all, less than 10% of the funds generated by this organization goes to overhead while they literally save countless lives with their services.

Project Heart- This is an amazing organization that , like the Rotary, literally lives by the effort put forth by an almost entirely volunteer staff. They provide everything from employment to school uniforms to medical care for impoverished families in Africa, giving them a hand up instead of a hand out. By helping these families find a way to support themselves, they provide an invaluable gift to many in a community ravaged by AIDS and unemployment. Our goal for this organization is also $1000, as it will greatly help people in dire need of what we take for granted every day. I only have printed information at this time, but I will forward the correct link ASAP.

Lastly, a local charity, So All May Eat, is another great organization, providing hot, tasty meals on a sliding scale to all those who enter the door. Any hungry person is welcomed in with respect and dignity, and served nutritious, mouth-watering meals by their friendly and dedicated staff. The goal for this charity is $500.

Thank you for taking the time to read this rather lengthy email, and if you know of someone who may be interested in supporting us in this grand endeavor, please forward this email on. If you'd like to contact either of us, the best emails are :

Erin Nelson-, 720-495-2668
Lauren Bookatz- 720-320-6966

Most importantly, we'd like to stress how thankful we are for your support and encouragement in this trip. It's pretty lengthy, but we really believe in the causes we're supporting, and just want to do our part in giving back to a world that gave us such wonderful lives.


Erin Nelson