Bees, 97 Miles, and Overcoming the Darkness: Day 24

“So much inspiration churned inside my body that on the surface shivers erupted and my eyes were on the brink of exploding with tears all throughout the day.”

05/14 (Day 24)

Shivers of inspiration ran through my body from head to toe all throughout the day as I pedaled up and down the green Colorado hills. On multiple occasions tears formed in my eyes, more often as I was flying down hill or jamming out on flat land then when I was climbing the grueling hills. Jack JohnsonTrevor Green, and Xavier Rudd along with educational sustainability podcasts inspired me to keep on pedaling through the intense heat and in turn to keep inspiring others to live a happier healthier life.

The tears came as I thought of the amazing changes that are to come and the people out there doing good, bettering their lives, and inspiring others to do the same. Not for the sake of religion, or government, or any organization, but solely for the sake of us as individuals, community, and the planet that we have made home.

When I awoke this morning the sun had already graced the land with warmth. I prepared myself a dish of eggs, beats, rice, and garlic over a fire as I took down camp. I was on the road early this morning, around 9:20, and even with large hills to climb was making great progress. The morning continued to heat up as the sun moved overhead and the rolling hills continued on as far as the eyes could see. By 2:00 I had pedaled 50 miles and was exhausted. I stopped in a cool building in the town of Craig, Colorado, as I could not bear the heat any longer.

By 4:00 I moved on still feeling lethargic from the heat. Out of water and quite thirsty I saw a grouping of about 30 bee boxes that I couldn’t resist but investigate. I sat amongst the bees as thousands buzzed around me going about their own business. Occasionally they would fly into me, or land on me to clean their bodies but they had no qualms with me being in their presence. I’ve wanted to do this for many years and to finally spend time amongst masses of bees was a dream come true. Not to mention all the honey I ate while they buzzed around me.

After an hour I pedaled on in search of a river to quench my thirst. I found one just five miles east and spent time sitting on the bank guzzling water as I purified it. I topped off my water bottle and was back on the bike. Conversations with friends helped the miles fly by and I had another 45 miles to make it to my friend John Miller’s house in Steamboat Springs. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it but his home beckoned me to continue on.

As the sun set and the light faded in the sky I received a call from a friend that changed everything. I had 25 miles left to pedal and the conversation led me into darkness. Immersed in the conversation it was becoming night and a change in topic launched a dagger into my heart. I was on the verge of a new type of tears, very different from the tears of inspiration earlier, now tears of sorrow. I pedaled on for miles through the darkness feeling great depths of sadness.

When I ended the call it was pitch black and I texted John to let him know that I am still riding and I will make it to his home tonight. I needed the comforts of a home and a hug from a friend to help cure my sorrows and bring me comfort. As I texted him a great deal of confusion ensued and I realized I was not on the road anymore and I was in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. Very confused but still on my bike I managed to stop safely before hitting anything and simultaneously coyotes began to howl all around me. I pulled myself out of the ditch and continued on. I had no lights on as the batteries were dead and shortly later was blinded by the flashing red and blue lights of a police car.

Wes, the officer, was very friendly and wanted to make sure I was safe but at the same time in my sorrowful state the flashing lights of the police car were not comforting and added to my disorientation. I wrangled up some rechargeable batteries from my pack and was on my way.

The dagger still in my heart, I felt like I couldn’t go on. Hopelessness overwhelmed me. I knew I must go on and I knew a positive attitude and a smile would overcome sorrow and despair. Looking at it from a different perspective I could see light beginning to shine upon me.

Wait, is that a headlight?

No! It is a light representing a new beginning. With every end there is a new beginning. I shed an unneeded weight that was holding me down and now I am free! The inspiration flowed back into my body and a smile grew on my face. Just five minutes prior I felt like my world had ended. This is proof that life is a matter of perspective and as I’ve said before happiness is a choice.

I continued on 10 more miles to Steam Boat Springs through the darkness and the cold and was welcomed by my fellow Wisconsinite, John Miller. He welcomed me into his warm home and I sat down on his comfortable couch where I ended the long day 97 miles down the road from where I had started.

This adventure is now a book! Dude Making a Difference is the exciting and inspirational story of my bike ride across the USA on a bamboo bike. Go to to get a copy or learn more about it. 100% of my proceeds are donated to environmental grassroots nonprofits!