After the 12-hour flight we were about to arrive in La La Land. I was looking out from the small airplane window and I had so many feelings that I felt as if I was about to explode. America is like my second home. I have been to the states five times in the past. Last time, four years ago, I was living and working in DC for a year and I have relatives as well as friends that I haven’t seen since then. Lovisa was also very excited as her boyfriend, Love, was on his way to LA from Sweden. While they got to spend some time together, Calle and me went to Riverside where Diane, one of my relatives, lives. I was so happy that I got to spend some time with her and her friend Flo before we started pedalling again.
So far we have been biking for two and a half weeks. We have had snow, rain, cold, freezing cold, warm, headwinds, tailwinds, uphill, downhill, basically a mix of everything. We have also cycled 10000 km now, one third around the world, how amazing is that? During this time we have had the opportunity to meet a bunch of amazing people.
One week ago it was very gray, cold and rainy. Calle and me were cycling through a reservation, and I wanted to share what keeps me motivated when the weather is crap. One afternoon it started to rain and the wind became very strong. In the middle of nowhere a car pulled up in front of us and welcomed us to spend the night on their farm. We were sitting around their kitchen table for hours, felt the heat from the fireplace, received food and Lorenzo told us stories about his life, experiences from working in the Air Force in both the US and overseas as well history about Native American cultures. Lorenzo also played for us on his hand-crafted Native American Drum, and he sang a song in their language. I almost burst into tears of emotions. Lorenzo and his wife Marilyn also did some rituals as well as prayed for us. In the morning we received breakfast and coffee before the family waved us goodbye. I know I will come back there one day to go horseback riding in the mountains.
Some nights we have been invited to stay in Hogan houses. The Navajo Native Indian tribe uses Hogan as a home as well as for religious ceremonies and rituals. The fireplaces warmed our bodies during the nights. One night we stayed with the lovely couple Justin and Katie. We received coffee and they treated us as if they were our grandma and grandpa. Another night we stayed with Roxette and her family, a very fun and easygoing family who took good care of us. In the morning we received burritos and coffee, and they also showed us the famous Window Rock. One night we pitched our tent in Mickey’s yard. He lived in a house with his daughter, Gwen, and her daughter. They took us to the world famous burger place called “Laguna Burgers” at Pit stop 66. Mickey was a very inspiring man. He had been running about 50 marathons and he was running every morning around 4.30 am. When we woke up in the morning he was already back from his two hour run. He shared lots of good stories with us. All these people are American Indians and they all have certain things in common: they take care of their families and friends, as well as taking great care of us while sharing their culture. We really enjoyed hanging out with all of you amazing people.
We have also been fortunate to meet two amazing couples through the community “Warmshowers”. In Flagstaff we stayed with Andy and Sara who was not even home when we got there. They left the door open, and Thai-food, beers and chocolate were waiting for us. We had one rest day in Flagstaff and in the evening Sara and Andy cooked enchiladas for us. I made Lovisa’s and my lemon and white chocolate sticky cake for dessert. Lovisa and me made it for the first time in Australia when we stayed with Ross and Angie, and ever since then we make it when we stay with people and have the opportunity to use an oven.
A couple of days ago we stayed with Daniel and Susan in Albuquerque. Dan welcomed us with burritos for lunch. Then we were off for some “Breaking Bad” sightseeing. Calle is a huge fan of the TV-show which is filmed in Albuquerque. In the evening Dan and Susan invited their friends for dinner and once again I made the lemon and white chocolate sticky cake that we are trying to spread around the world (we are doing a great job)! The people we meet through “Warmshowers” also have something in common: they all have some relations to long distance cycling, they are easygoing, happy, open-minded, like to share experiences and stories as well as being good at hospitality. They know how nice it is to get a warm shower, a bed and some food after sleeping in a tent and eating canned food for days.
The list of amazing people can go on forever. Right now while I am writing this I am laying in a bed. Me and Calle biked 130 km today and when we arrived in Melrose, a small city with 500 inhabitants in New Mexico, a nice lady, Mary Penny, began talking to Calle. And here we are now, invited to stay the night in her house. Mary Penny invited us for dinner and we had showers, did laundry and we shared stories with her during the evening.
Wow, this post became very long. I just couldn’t help sharing all of this. All the people we get to know is all by coincidence and that’s what make this trip so wonderful. I am so grateful for the experiences I get through meeting people around the globe. Love is everywhere, you just have to be open-minded, smile, talk to strangers and to have no expectations and judgement.