New country, New Journey, Different Feeling

Just landed in JFK with a 9 hour layover then, I fly to Ghana.

Here’s to another adventure and another country. This trip will only last two weeks, but as the instructions of the flight began to crackle over the speakers, the flight attendant began miming the exits, and the wheels on the plane reversed, departing the gate- I had the same feeling of excitement, joy, nerves, elation, and a stomach full of butterflies churn I felt wrestling or during the start of my #5000milesfor500scholars journey. However, this time there was a tinge of gloom/sadness and the hardest one yet. I left my two nieces and my 3.5 year old nephew waving bye bye Uncle Jacob and him asking if I’d wave to him when I was flying in the big airplane.

I am no longer the oblivious, innocent blue eyed blonde boy that volunteered for the Peace Corps in Cameroon, 6.5 years ago. I am “aged”, more aware, and realistic. I saw on the news #45 declare a national emergency over something that isn’t a threat and also taking place during the latest mass shooting. There are many problems our country is facing and the least, I believe, should be building a wall.

According to the CDC in 2017, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was 6 times higher than in 1999 and on average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. To me this is a national emergency.

Or the number of school shootings in 2018 where roughly 113 people were killed or injured in the US. This equates to nearly one school shooting per week. To me this is a national emergency.

Not some fear mongering tactic and symbol of hate and division. I can almost guarantee nearly everyone in the US knows of somebody affected by gun violence or the opioid crisis and nearly nobody knows somebody affected by illegal immigration.

And to top it off there is another national emergency, the devastating effect Climate Change is having throughout the lands and seas. Which will affect our kids and grandkids drastically in the years to come.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46507514 https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

However, as always, I will try and stay optimistic and find the good with the bad. And, I can tell you there is a fire lit inside my belly that burns brighter and stronger than before, to bring goodness. I am more mature, knowledgable, confident, and determined to create bridges, love, and peace throughout the world.

We are all inhabitants of this beautiful world and only a spec amongst giants throughout the universe. I refuse to let one mans actions and rants stop me from being the best person I can be and treat every human with the equality and respect they deserve.

I am travelling to Ghana and starting another journey. The goal remains the same… putting a smile on the person in front of me and making their tomorrow better than what their today is. However, I have a little nephew and two nieces looking up to me and who will have to navigate this lovely maze we call life, and hope to make a better and safer world for them.

I hope your 2019 is starting of well and you will continue to follow my journey.

 

 

Birthday celebrationS!

I had a fabulous birthday weekend showered with gifts, well-wishes, and great news.  

To start off the festivities, I was showered with blessings (literally) while I camped out.  I pitched tent at Fort Cobb State Park in Oklahoma. The area hadn’t had a measurable rain since September 11th where they received only 1/100th of an inch. My neighbors knowing the rains were coming early morning gave me extra blankets and brisket with tortillas. It was DELICIOUS. The day before it was 85 and sunny and I tool my shirt off for 1 hour.  I didnt get burnt, but had an extremely irritated back that itched like crazy. Turns out it is called hell’s itch. Look it up. 

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The rains started at 2AM and didn’t stop until 11! I felt extremely blessed witnessing the joy in the locals’ faces when the rains started and saturated the farmland.  I thought if I became annoyed or upset, I’d be selfish only thinking about me and my trip rather than the farmers of Oklahoma who needed this rainfall. 

Turns out my rain jacket and weatherproof pants fell off the back of my bike three days before this rain.  I planned to buy new rain gear the next stop in Oklahoma City, but Mother Nature brought rains early, I guess to test my ability to still maintain my “happy go lucky, go with the flow” attitude. I packed my bike with all 80 pounds and went to the local store. The hosts were wonderful. Allowing me to dry my clothes on the space heater, giving me breakfast, and offering me a place to stay. I said I need to take the good with the bad. Luckily, I packed a couple extra heavy duty trash bags so I was able to make a makeshift rain suit. Now ready with my new rain gear on- I headed out. Special thanks to the place with the coldest beer in Fort Cobb, Stevie Rays, for taking me in as their own!  To my blessing- the rains stopped at 11:00 and I had a clear chilly ride with a tailwind the rest of the day to Norman, Oklahoma. 

My hosts in Norman were Kwame and Natalie. We met in Cameroon while Natalie was working on her PhD research.  They stayed with me in Cameroon, for a couple of weeks, while looking for a place to rent. It was wonderful to see them again after 3 years and they were very gracious.  We bought tickets to the OKC- Utah game 5. Before this game started, sadly, I watched the Pacers lose on a buzzer beater by Lebron, so it put a damper on my mood. However, the atmosphere in the gym was unbelievable and the comeback led by Westbrook’s 20 third quarter points was a site to see and a roar to hear! I stayed a few days to rest and enjoy my birthday.  Two days of grilling out and listening to music in sunny 80 degree weather was what my body needed! For those of you who know me grilling out and listening to music are my favorite things to do. The first two days were about me and I treated myself.

I got back into ScholarShop mode, checking emails, talking to my counterparts, etc… I received WONDERFUL news. Sean, co-founder, of ScholarShop Africa welcomed a baby boy into this world the day after my birthday on April 27th.  Baby, momma, and pops are doing well and I cannot be happier for two people so near and dear to me.

The weekend of celebration continued as I chose the winner of the “name the BeachFlyer competition” and was able to give the news to the young lady herself via webcam.  A student in my sister’s first grade class came up with the name, Dragon Wheeler. I named the bike Cliff the Dragon Wheeler which is a hybrid from another student in a 7th grade class.  The first grader chose the name because dragons are her favorite animal and bikes have wheels so she put the two together.  I chose Cliff because I rode close to a lot of cliffs on the west coast and I thought that was appropriate. After talking with the winner we held a Q&A session about my ride.  I am trying to figure out how to upload that and when I do you will be able to see questions first graders can ask! Or add me on Facebook and you can see it there! They were quite good and comical too.

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BUT the competition isn’t over! Cliff the Dragon Wheeler retired itself in Los Angeles.  So, a new competition has started, I am still accepting names for my current bike!  

That same very day, April 30th, while visiting the wrestling HOF I received more great news! One of our ScholarShop students was accepted into African Leadership Academy in South Africa (ALA).  ALA is one of the most prestigious 2 year academies in Africa and less than 150 students throughout the continent are accepted each year.  Yoland, is a very gracious, humble, intelligent young lady who has huge aspirations for her future and community! Yoland could not have been a better choice for ALA.  You can read her story on the ScholarShop website.  Her hard work, determination, volunteering in her community, continually being top in her class and her dreams:  she will be a great student at ALA. Scholarshop helped Yoland reach her dream to stay in academia! Your donations helped us help her stay in school, purchase necessary items, register for exams, and taught her volunteerism, community awareness and giving back.  The cost will be high to send Yoland to ALA, but if I have found anything on this trip the world works in wonderous ways.

Through ScholarShop Africa, donors like you will continue to grow the program, send Yoland to ALA, educate more youths and supply them with necessary school supplies and help change the next generation one youth at a time.  

Please consider helping ScholarShop Africa to help students like Yoland achieve their dreams and go farther than even their dreams have went.  Visit Scholarshop’s website and help  ScholarShop to expand beyond Cameroon.  

Thanks again for the birthday wishes and I hope everyone has a wonderful May!

Thank-you!!!

TEAM!!! Thanks so much for the Birthday wishes and thoughts! The amount of love and support being sent my way is astonishing and makes my heart full!! This bike trip could not be possible without the support from yall!

I recieved messages from more than 10 countries and 4 continents!

My birthday celebrations started off a day early attending the OKC game where the atmosphere was electric!!! The day of my birthday started out with a haircut, followed by some kabobs on the grill and brewskies. The night ended early and I slept around 9AM.  Special thanks to my hosts Natalie, Kwame, and baby Ama for allowing me to stay a few days and ringing in the big 2-8 with me!

If you know me, the celebration keeps going! Today more grilling, more brews, and some live music at the Norman music festival. Back on the road headed towards Tulsa tomorrow. Have a lovely weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

COME ON DOWN!! YOU’RE THE NEXT CONTESTANT…..

“ON THE PRICE IS RIGHT!” A childhood dream came true! I went on the set of The Price is Right. It was definitely a unique experience and one I will never forget. 

That morning started off with a rush and never slowed down.  First, I was riding to meet a friend for breakfast when a bolt on my chain fender broke and instead of removing the other screw, I just mangled the fender so it would not rub on the chain.  Luckily, the Pedal Assist still worked and I made breakfast on time.  After, I put my gear in her car, got on the bike, the motor went out! Which means the PAS (Pedal Assist System) wouldn’t work, so 100% leg had to be used. It’s harder to pedal than a normal bike because the hub is in the rear tire. I got to the bike to the shop and they told me there was nothing they could do unless I changed the rear tire out. Thus, I left it with them while I found out logistics for the rear tire. 

No worries its The Price is Right day!! I went to print my ticket for the show and while re-reading the fine print I saw white shirts were frowned upon…. guess what?!

Yep, you guessed it!

My shirt was white.  White attracks more color so it doesn’t show up as well on TV, is what I was told.  I frantically called around for a t-shirt company that could do a print in 1 hour. $50 later I had a black shirt with my design and phrase! Whew, problem solved!! Nothing like an adrenaline rush starting at 10AM.

Also, stated on the ticket: it says no phones, smart watches, etc. are allowed during the taping. Being a rule follower and not wanting to be turned away from the taping, I left my phone at the t-shirt shop. The time they gave me to arrive on set was down to 1 hour and I had a 20 min drive in LA according to GPS. But it is LA.

I ordered an Uber left my phone at the shop and took off.  Oh no!!! I forgot my jacket at the shop with my business cards.  The Uber driver stoppee and I git out and started running back to the tshirt shop. When I dropped weight from my gear- earlier in the trip, my belt was amongst those items. Down 10lbs in 3 weeks my pants were dropping like its hot…  I  am now half sprinting half holding my pants up while looking for the shop. After the 2nd block fatigue sat in and sweat began to flow. Running down the streets of LA is different than driving. I figured it was just a couple blocks….about 7 blocks later I arrived at the store. Fortunately, my Uber driver was smart and kind and met me at the shop.  I grabbed my jacket and business cards and off we went- with less than an hour for my arrival time.

I arrived in the 20 minutes!!  Everyone in line had their phones. UGH!!  Taking selfies,making calls, etc. I was like what is going on? Turns out you are able to check them in before entering the showroom. 

Growing up my mom had a picture of Tweety Bird on her laptop with the quote

           If anyone speaks badly of you,                   live so that none will believe it.                 Do what you can, for who you                   can with what you have and                       where you are. Wishing your                     day be filled with love and peace!

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I fail at this often, but that is a motto I carry around whenever I travel. This leads me to being a rule follower having both pros and cons. This instance being a con. Again, double UGH!

Back to the show….  I had to sign a waiver form etc. I was being pretty loud starting Drew chants, cheering, shouting, and carrying on. To the mother/daughter duo next to me, I apologize.

 Valerie, the mother was on the show in 1975 and actually made it up on stage and met Bob Barker. She wore a shirt with a picture she took off of her TV. (Different era then) Sadly, no pictures were taken… you know no phone :/ Going through two more stages one being interviews, we were finally outside the room! Waiting an hour, they had some past shows playing getting us pumped up before starting the show.

There are roughly 270 people in attendance and you CANNOT hear anything especially George, the announce, talk about the products. The contestants are pretty much in the dark.  One contestant I met earlier in the day went on down to contestants row and had to bid on 2 hiking bags. He looked right at me and I told him $600. I looked at the screen and saw there were 2 GPS units as well. I tried to get his attention and change to $1000, but he didn’t hear and said $600 😦  I apologize for letting you down Boy in Blue that will haunt me for awhile.

During the show there were quite a few bloopers which delayed the taping and will definitely be on a blooper reel one day. There was a hype girl who was jumping up and down, miming to be louder for the ENTIRE SHOW! She wore me out with how much energy she had and I have quite a bit of energy. That being said, being loud and boisterous for an hour straight is tough work. We did have the commercial breaks where Drew would talk to us and boy is he a funny man.  

The t-shirt shop closed at 5 and when we left it was 5:20. I had to borrow someone’s phone to call my friend and then learn the bus system to get to her work. It was a process, which I loved, and it’s crazy to think people lived that way a mere 15 years ago!

Watch the show June 18th and you will see me in the middle of your screen about 10 rows right behind contestant 4!


Sadly, I did not get called down. I believe it was because I told them I lived in Cameroon rather than saying I operate remotely most of the year from the US.  Ah” But the silver lining is $1 million!!  Survivor and Amazing Race are more up my alley, as you perhaps have figured out- I love adventure and $1 million dollars can help out a lot more children in Cameroon, Africa and the world at large than a brand new car.

A childhood dream to an adventure of a lifetime is unfolding and though there may be pros and cons/ ups and downs/ highs and lows I am having a blast seeing the US and doing things that will benefit the education of the youth of Cameroon.  

If you have the desire to donate to the youth in Cameroon visit scholarshopafrica.org and click on the donate page.

 

 

HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY!!!!

I thought I posted this on St. Patrick’s day. Just found it in my drafts :/ I’m still learning technology hahaha. However, the blessing rings true today, tomorrow, and forever after.

 

My ancestry on my mother’s side hails from Ireland. I have recieved this blessing many times and thought I’d share it with you all for today and for the days to come.

 

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BeachFlyer

20180328_120309Electric Beach Cruisers, LLC began in 2014 and after 2+ years of testing prototypes and different designs the BeachFlyer was born.  The founder, Cory Shumaker, is a friend of ScholarShop Africa starting  roughly the same time the BeachFlyer was released.  Electric Beach Cruisers, LLC donates 5% of gross revenues to Scholarshop Africa.  I am currently riding the BeachFlyer 2.0 across the country #5000milesfor500scholars!

Meeting the bike in Washington I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Upon arrival I charged up the battery and took off for the 20+ miles to Seattle.  I did not know anything about the battery, how to preserve energy, use the throttle, or how to read the monitor. BUT DONT FEAR YOU WONT NEED TO EITHER!!! The BeachFlyer’s  design is extremely simple and easy to use.  After the first few miles I had it down and was pedaling away with the assist!

I am telling yall, this bike is PHENOMENAL.  Extremely easy to manage, use, and affordable.  With The 6 PAS (Pedal Assist) settings and 7 gears one can easily ride 20+ MPH. Albeit the battery wont last as long, but thanks to the easy to read battery usage meter one can tell how much input is from pedaling and how much input is coming from the battery.

Along with the bike, Cory, sent me an extra battery of 8AH (AmpHours) twice the size of the original 4AH battery that comes with the model.  Depending on the hills (mountains) or flat lands drastically determines how many miles I can ride with the battery.  The least amount I have gone with the 4AH battery is 22 and the most is 37.   I have learned a few battery saving techniques by using more leg power and muscle strength I try to maximize the mileage from the battery (lower PAS, higher gear). Regarding the 8AH battery I have travelled 45 miles up to 65 miles.  I have been on the road for nearly a month and after my stop in LA I picked up a 3rd battery.  My last day riding down the coast, April 1st, with 2 batteries I met Cory at 9:50PM. I had a 10PM deadline as he had to fly out to France the next day… 12 hours riding, a flat tire, and an hour to charge the batteries making 14hours on the road I made it 140miles! Recently I went 130miles on all three batteries without stopping to charge!!!

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The BeachFlyer 3.0 is coming soon with hydraulic brakes, a bigger battery, and USB charging port in the monitor. As the weather is warming, more sun is shining, and birds are singing, you too can prepare for spring. You will not only be getting excersize and toning them legs, you will be helping the environment by producing less toxins in the air from your vehicle… oh and you will be saving MONEYYYY. If I can go down the Pacific Coast 1200+ miles you can go the 30 miles to work!!

Be on the lookout for the release date of the 3.0!

 

If you mention me or ScholarShop or #5000milesfor500scholars you will recieve a discount off the total price.

 

GO GREEN AND GO CLEAN!!!! GET YOURSELF A BEACHFLYER TODAY!!!

Camping in the Redwoods March 22nd

Blogging this now,  as I have sketchy internet and had many miles to ride.  Enjoy!

It is currently 8:45PM on March 22- very chilly and I am sitting by the fireside. The crackle of the red woods alongside the hoot of an owl makes one wonder why we ever developed and invented technology.  This is life. My eyes burn of smoke from blowing the fire, all my senses are on alert, the air smells of burning redwood, and my eyes keep gazing up at the marvelous amount of stars glittering the sky. There is a little opening in between the redwoods where I can see the heavens above and I’m thanking my lucky stars for beautiful weather. More on this in a few…

Today, as I was doing my morning routine I felt an Earthquake 4.6 magnitude about an hour South of where I am staying.  I hadn’t taken off on my trip and was startled by the house shaking along with the toilet. (TMI?) But imagine sitting down and there’s a pretty large rattle beneath you. The lyrics shake, rattle, and roll definitely popped into my head along with my eyes popping out for sure.  There is supposed to be a massive quake within my lifetime that will cause a tsunami and wipe out entire cities and cause massive flooding.  It amazes me people still choose to live here with that being inevitable, but if you saw the beauty of the redwoods, smelled the fresh air, and felt the cool ocean breeze from the coast brush up against your face like the flicker of a cats tail you’d most likely stay put as well. A new understanding of west coastal living, I suppose.  We have tornadoes in Indiana, but feeling the power of an Earthquake a few miles away makes me be in awe at how small and feeble we are compared to nature and Mother Earth.

As I set the camp fire,  the wind is beginning to change directions and the temperature is dropping.  A plume of smoke just danced its way under my nose bringing along the aroma of burning redwood filling the night sky which brought me out of thinking about this morning….I am sitting here looking at my shelter and belongings: a single man tent, BeachFlyer, and two panniers holding my clothes, tablets, chargers, and bike tools.

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What am I doing? I continually ask myself.  Not in doubt or uncertainty, but to remind myself why I am biking and who I am biking for on this trip.

I am traversing across the Pacific coast, seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, right in my backyard.  I have travelled thousands of miles seeing wonderful and gorgeous views ask over but the Pacific Coast, USA is among the top.

Some would call themselves lonely but how can you be when you have nature surrounding you and so many thoughts, prayers, and well wishes being sent your way? People from all over the world following your every step or pedal? I have 100% support from my family, friends, and colleagues. I have y’all who are amazing, supportive, generous, and every good- natured-word imaginable pushing me and following along my journey.

I ask again, with owls hooting, wind blowing leaves, and the branches playing a concert, with some cries of undetermined animals, how can one be lonely? Loneliness is a mindset. I have life and living nature all around me talking, interacting, and sending me good vibes I can never and will never be alone.

And….

Speaking of creatures and undetermined animals, I am really hoping to see Bigfoot or a fairy or possibly an elf maybe even a hobbit. Sometimes I feel like Bilbo Baggins. Just wandering off on adventures with no real aim in sight.  I have a goal and a destination, but looking for my preciousss, but this will not be my last journey.  I apologize for my tangents and thoughts quickly changing,  but that’s how my mind works. One second I am in fantasy land and the next real life hits.

Well,  real life just hit! and my fire went out and its beginning to drizzle showers of blessing. There is another couple camping here and I asked them for a piece of wood. I went scavenging for little twigs and branches, but nothing is dry.  I hope there will be enough smoke to ward off the pesky little creatures. But hey, if only I had  JackLinks beef jerky to lure in Bigfoot!!!! It is about bed time and my stomach is grumbling. Sadly, no fishing or hunting allowed here so I will dream of eating some jerky and lay a little path for Sasquatch!

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If you are reading this I survived that night and was not attacked by any hungry animals.  Hey maybe it was the fairies and elves looking after me as I continue on my quest down the Pacific Coast riding #5000milesfor500scholars!

This is why I am doing this. For the students.

Here is a little Haiku for y’all!

CAMPING:

Simmering red glow

Embers flickering in wind

Gentle fire fading

If you are enjoying following my #5000milesfor500scholars.  Please consider a small donation.

http://www.scholarshopAfrica.org/donate