Plan B

We have some big news in Freedom Pedaler world!

Recently, our floppiest-ear team member has started having some challenges riding in his puppy hauler.  For most of this trip, Biscuit thought trailer riding was on par with squirrel chasing and treat eating (ok, maybe not quite as good as treats, but close).  You know, really good stuff.  His little dog brain tells him that his job is navigation, and he faithfully watches where we go, all day long.  It’s always been that way, even in vehicles back in our previous life.  In the cart this causes him to stand all day and it’s constantly shifting.  Because he is no longer a young pup, all of the active navigation is starting to impact him enough that we have decided to enact a Plan B (B for Biscuit).

Plan B means we continue our journey and adventure, but in a modified manner so that all members of the Freedom Pedaler team can enjoy it to the fullest extent.  So, we purchased a 14-year old Ford passenger van with low miles and a good engine.  It will be used to haul gear and dogs while we will take turns riding each day.  The person driving will scout out the road ahead, and also pass off to the rider important things, like sandwiches.  We won’t get to ride together, but the days will be shorter because the rides will go faster and that will leave more time for all of us to spend together after the riding is done.  We are excited for this next phase of our trip!

And look, taking dogs on a bicycle tour hasn’t been easy.  The dogs plus all of the dog supplies is a lot of weight.  There have been fun things to do along the way that we couldn’t do.  Potential hosts have turned us down because dogs were not allowed.  But, and this is a big but (a big but, ha), we wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Even now, there are people in our lives who would take them both in and care for them while we finish this trip.  That wasn’t even considered.  We started this trip together, as a team, as a family, and that is how we will finish it. Perhaps it isn’t how we imagined it, but we will still have plenty of adventure in our future.

Something like an adventure van was part of our plans for after the bicycle trip anyway, so we just sped up the timeline a bit.  It does shave off a significant portion of our trip funds, so in order to avoid shortening the trip we are looking at options to work a little along the way.  All of you that know us well, know that we’ll figure out how to make this work.

To us, this is no different than if either one of us people had some kind of issue and couldn’t continue the trip as planned.  We would evaluate, adjust, and continue.  Because Biscuit is a dog, it’s not any different. One of the basic ideas behind this trip is “freedom.”  We are free to ride, rest, turn left, right or when we come to a fork in the road, take it.  Yes, the outline of our trip did not go as planned, but we are not packing up our bags (literally) and going back.  We found a way to adapt and move forward.  Please wish us luck in the newest phase of our adventure! Two people, two bicycles, two dogs, one trailer van, 6 months, 6,000 (more) miles!  One revolution at a time…

Mark, Georgia, Junebug, and a very happy Biscuit



In Living Color



Over 3,600 miles and still smiling!

A quarter mile from the Mexican border, in a land where towns are 60 miles apart, and with three cell carriers aboard the Freedom Pedaler train, we still had no service for about a week. That disconnect turned out to be a pleasant surprise to allow us to be fully present in the moment. There are storybooks, and there are picture books. In west Texas, the landscape is breathtaking and photos don’t do it justice. Still, allow us to show you a glimpse into the journey since we lost connectivity, yet found it in a different way. A picture book blog post…



We have recently put in bigger mile days, combined with some uphill.  Out of all of that, we have a new official “most difficult” day.  We covered over 60 miles with 3,000’+ of climbing.  That ride took us almost 11 hours.  We were four tired puppies when we finished!



Once in the mountains, the temps dropped.  A few days ago, it snowed at night and our morning started with a windy 40 degrees.  That means wearing almost every single piece of bike clothing we own!  By the end of the ride however, it had dropped to 37 and we were in shorts and t-shirts.  Climbing those mountains warms you up!

We sure have met some nice people!  Here is a small sample.


Fred and Janice are Warmshowers (a bicycle-related hosting program) members.  They are not only fantastic hosts, but wonderful people.  We enjoyed the meal they prepared and our stay with them and their two dogs very much, and were sad to leave.  They helped us with route planning to avoid some big hills! Thanks Fred and Janice!



He said, “Do you drink beer?”  Why, yes.  And later, his wife brought cookies to our tent.  Yes, we eat cookies too!  Thanks to you both!




At a recent stop, the manager of the hotel showered us with hospitality.  Danny is a kind soul and a new friend of ours.  He not only brought snacks, but an entire meal.  Twice!  Thank you Danny.


Pablo chased us down on the road during one of the coldest riding days yet.  He brought snacks and warm tea from Danny.  We talked for probably an hour on the side of the highway, and left fueled in mind and body.  Thank you!




We needed to do a little shopping, so were excited to see a Target out in the middle of nuttin’.  Turns out, they must have had a sale as the shelves were empty.  Yes, there are some strange things out here in west Texas.



Strange, like that Texas coats their lizards in tar.  For protection, we assume.



“A Mexican blanket and a bottle of tequila had a baby!”  – Shelly.   We think this might be the perfect vehicle for our next adventure.  It would make a horrible get-away vehicle for bank robberies.

And now, please take a quiet moment to enjoy some of the scenery…




















And of course, we have to toss in a few dog pictures!


JB:  “This is not funny guys.”




JB: I like to stick my back feet out of the blanket, for venting purposes, just like people do! I have been working on my cuteness.  How am I doing?



We hope you enjoyed our picture post!


Mark, Georgia, Junebug and Biscuit


Lone Star

Austin, Texas

Current Location:

West of Austin, Texas


Distance Traveled:

We crossed the 3,000 mile point!  In total, we are 3,148 miles along, almost 1/3 of the way.  We also estimate something in the neighborhood of 1,469,066 pedal strokes.  Each.  Amazingly, we both remain mostly injury free and healthy.  Also, on 85 days on this trip we have gone to sleep in a different location than we started the day.  That’s a lot of packing and unpacking of gear!  To date, we have really only “lost” one item, and it happened to be a washcloth at a hotel (assuming you don’t count the food stolen by varmints).  The Freedom Pedaler train keeps rollin’ along.


Some Recent Highlights:

The Most Challenging Day Yet

No camera tricks, it was steep!

Yes pardner, we are now in Texas.  Riding across the Lone Star state has been challenging in spots due to rolling hills and just two days before getting to Austin, we encountered our toughest day yet.  The morning started off with rain and 30 degree temps, changing to sunshine and warm.  Along the way, we had our third flat in three days. To shave off about 19 miles, we took what we thought was going to be a good shortcut but ended up on a washboard gravel road (thanks Google Maps).  The hilly country roads combined with fully loaded touring bikes and a puppy cart, forced us to push bikes on multiple occasions.  We were sure glad to return to pavement as we had only a few remaining miles and sunset was fast approaching.  The last section of road turned out to contain the steepest hills (although short) we have yet encountered.  There was simply no way to pedal up them without falling over, even with our super low gearing.  And listen, pushing a fully loaded touring bike up hills is no picnic.  We arrived exhausted to camp just before dark to find some of the nicest, warmest and cleanest bathroom facilities we have encountered in the last several days.  After a tasty meal of homemade soup (thanks Shelly!), all was right again.  Hopefully days like that aren’t common in our future



One of our planned stops was in Austin, where Mark has a friend he has known since he was four (a very long time).  Brett and his family showed us some amazing Texas hospitality and we left well-rested and well-fed.  We also had a lunch with a couple of friends from previous employment, and it was great to catch up on each others lives over a fantastic meal.  Over and over again, we are faced with the fact that the best part of this trip is the people we meet (the ones we already know and the new friends we’ve added along the way).  Austin was certainly no exception.


A location on a map, and…

Ladies and gentleman, meet Savannah, Georgia.

Savannah and Georgia


The New Barker

These Dogs are Rock Stars

While we were in Florida, we were interviewed by a Florida pet magazine called The New Barker.  Tina, our contact and interviewer/photographer recently sent us this snapshot of the current issue indicating that we’ll be in the next one!  Well, we say “we” but it’s really all about the adventures of Junebug and Biscuit.  Are they photogenic or what?!  Such cute dogs.


Where Next:

We continue to head west towards Phoenix and intend to stay south while the temps are low.  We’ll be in Texas for quite some time, as we are crossing at its widest point. We aim to time it right so that once spring starts to arrive and temps rise a bit, we’ll curl north and east and ride through Utah, Colorado and on to Kansas by late Spring.  At least, that is the plan which assumes that the mountains are rideable with the puppy cart in tow.  Wish us tailwinds and downhills, or at least minimally steep uphills!


Mark, Georgia, Junebug and Biscuit