It’s completely fair to say that the gods were not showing interest in lining up the timing for me and my homie to go on our Bike The West Coast Adventure and it’s honest to say that I didn’t give a damn. It wasn’t that the gods were against the trip. I had been asking for some sort of camp-outside/unplug-from-technology cure-all to reset my fucked up sleep cycle and get me out of the house. Then the opportunity appeared; a homie from back in the day said that she and her little family were going to live on bikes and ride up the West coast. My homie has an interesting blog Gutterhood To Motherhood.

The tricky thing was this, when I first started our podcast, I contacted them and harassed them to let me do an interview. Most of my friends live on some sort of fringe lifestyle but this homie seemed to be on a whole other wavelength. Gutter punks with kids living wild and free? I couldn’t imagine it. They declined the interview and it resulted in a fight with homeboy (my homies’ husband) so I’m going to keep everyone’s name out of this post.

So my homie and her little family are going to bike the West coast and I invite myself along. Even though I wasn’t on good terms with homeboy, I really did want to go. The adventure seemed to be the answer to my wish. They said I could go and I told Mark about the trip. He really didn’t want to go but he dropped his 2 summer classes 3 days before they started to accompany me on the trip. After the trip he told me that didn’t feel safe about me going without him. Protecting me was his motive for the trip while my motive was adventure.

We instantly hustled up all of the money we needed to do the trip. 2 road bikes, water bottles, water filters, bike trailer, saddlebags, finding the right seat for Marks bike, camping gear, instruments for busking, etc. We’re super poor but shit was coming together… with the exception of our schedule with the homies.

Because we’re poor and knew the trip would only be for 2 months tops, we bought things on the cheap. Our friends couldn’t afford to get cheap shit because they planned to be out on the road indefinitely which pushed back their starting date. Although we have a flexible schedule we did have a final day for the trip, a time when we would have to be back so Mark could start school.

We had everything but our bikes shipped to Los Angeles so when I felt the pressure to get on the road we bought 2 bus tickets and figured that since our homies weren’t ready we’d go on our own. The idea of going without them made me super sad. I wanted to get to know my friend since last time I saw her we were both very different people. I wanted to meet her kids and husband & experience life on their terms.

Greyhound was a train wreck, more so than usual, so after being up all night waiting on a bus that was cancelled we said “fuck it, let’s do this differently”. I wrote my friends and said “Just send our shit back to us. We don’t need to bike California since we’re not going together, we’ll just plan a new trip elsewhere”. She replied that her husband thought she was being overly cautious and that we should all roll out together and work the kinks out along the way. That was exactly what I wanted to hear. We’re back in the ball game.DSC_0560

We asked around, seeing if anyone had friends or family that would let us park our car in their driveway for up to 2 months so we could drive out there. That was a dead end. I looked up LAX a few weeks beforehand and the parking price was way out of our budget. Blah blah blah, when it was all said and done we pissed away so much time waiting on our trip, we could now afford to drive our car and leave it at LAX parking because we had 3 weeks left to adventure instead of 2 months. LAX charges $7 a day for parking.DSC_0477

We drove to LA and within moments of arriving I texted another set of friends to see if they were available for us to stop by and say hi. Turns out they were moments from shooting a reality TV show and we were randomly casted parts in the show! DSC_0478Mark was a fireman and I was the neighbor warning Jill and Nada about their house being on fire. Jill mentioned that we could park our car at her place which saved us a ton of money.

We spent the next few days with my homie and her little family while they tie up some loose ends. They know we’re only available for a 3 week adventure and had decided that they were going for 3 weeks and coming back to the garage where they live to get properly prepared for their upcoming lifestyle.


THE GARAGE AT NIGHT the kids are dancing in the picture to the right

While they lived more wildly in the past, they were now living in a garage rent free. I will say their set up was pretty sweet. The garage was tiny but they kept the garage door open and the amazing California weather filled their space.DSC_0551

Homeboy took us on a bike ride, 14 miles from East LA to downtown and back. The 2nd to 5th miles totally kicked my ass. I have endurance; I can go on hella long bike rides but I don’t have the capability for hills. We went up and down hills on the first half of the ride and my heart was beating so hard that death was around corner. The second half of the ride was very nice, not many hills and the weather was blowing my mind. Plus we were riding on the street the whole time and with homeboy’s confidence it didn’t feel scary in the least. He owned the lane and that was awesome. He’s really strong, definitely left me in the dust.

nollie clay story telling

“tell me a scary story”

After a few days, we hit the road. We biked 24 miles to Venice Beach. Along the way we stop to refuel our bodies and the 2 little kids, so smart, so lovable, kept asking with their cute little faces “Tell me a scary story”. Mark took a bunch of pictures of me trying to scare their little minds with stories that were variations of the ones I’d heard as a kid. We were too far to bike to a campground and sleeping on the beach is illegal but we found a spot behind a sand dune. Under the super moon, next to the ocean, hidden in a little spot, we slept on the sand. It was a very magical night. The sky felt so big and there I was with my husband and an amazing family.DSC_0584

When we left the garage earlier that day and got on our bikes it seriously felt incredible. Something about having our group together on bikes was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I can’t translate the feeling, it just felt amazing unlike anything else.DSC_0589

One huge appeal of rolling with them was that they have two little kids. The trip wouldn’t be like a college toga party. The fun would be within a spectrum that’s in my comfort zone. I have friends that drink and get fucked up and that’s not in conflict to us hanging out but I imagine that if we were to be together for weeks on end, at some point they may want to walk on the wild side and my old ass can’t hang. With these homies, I wouldn’t be abandoned for wilder, crazier times. Another positive piece is that they have way more experience living on the street than me which makes them overqualified for this adventure and someone to learn from.


where we woke up

The next morning, for reasons I wont go into in this blog, we went our separate ways. We woke up knowing this and it felt okay. We hung around in the sand for a few hours and chit chatted about life. When it was time to part ways my friend gave me a goodbye hug and I felt a feeling that’s hard to put into words. It was amazing to see her and sad to part ways but it was what it was.


biking to our car

We looked up our friends’ house where our car was and it was 17 miles from where we woke up. It was the best bike ride ever. 15 miles along the beach on the bike trail. It couldn’t have been any more convenient to get our car. Our new plan was to drive to the East coast, have Mark meet my family that I haven’t seen since I was 21, bike different cities along the way and enjoy the rest of the trip.

We got to Arizona and the weather was brutal. Over a hundred degrees and humid as hell. We biked a few miles and the scenery looked like a dump. The weather was too shitty to feel like I could honestly accept looking at this joke of a bike path. In the past I would have seen that situation as an opportunity to prove to myself that I’m down for dirty but before the trip I had some interesting “the map is not the territory” revelations. I shut down the situation and opted for something that was out of my current character. “Fuck this, let’s go to Whole Foods, eat some fancy food and really figure out what’s next”. We bought salads and lemonade and something in me shifted. My ride or die attitude about dumpster diving and shitty situations really dissolved. FUCK LOYALITY*LOVE HONESTY, I guess.

We got back in the car and headed for NY state. I called my mom and asked her to get a hold of her sister and let her know we were coming to visit and bike around the Adirondacks. We got to Oklahoma and we were sleeping in our car when I woke up at 3AM and realized that we may have enough money to pay the gas to get there and back but it’s a bit of a risk. Earlier that day we went to a food bank because we couldn’t afford food and dumpsters hadn’t been panning out on this trip. I focused on my feelings. The struggle to get this trip to come together and the simplicity of paying full price for my Whole Foods salad. Fuck it. Instead of driving to NY and back to come home broke lets drive home now with a pocket full of money and buy a bunch of food that I’ve been avoiding paying full price for (I need to write a blog post on that indulging feeling, it’s a complex subject).

I called my mom to tell her that we were heading back to Texas and that we’d go to NY some time soon but not now. She told me that my aunt was organizing getting the family together and I felt very sad about having to cancel that. Very sad. Hopefully we’ll see them within a year from now or even 6 months. That will likely be our next adventure; biking New York state.

Cancelling the trip was a relief and an ego blow and that’s okay. We’ve been biking a bunch since we’ve gotten back home. Mark likes biking even more now and is interested in bike touring in the future but wants his tour to include nice hotels nightly. This hobo married a king, not new information, blog post coming soon on what that means for our future as a happy partners in life.

My homie has an interesting blog Gutterhood To Motherhood.


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