Jennifer Schofield
Pacific Coast
Republic, WA to Colville, WA

Community.


So I could write about making it to the top of Sherman'sPass, Washington State's highest paved mountain pass today. And how it wasfreezing cold, how I was super tired, and my legs were getting pretty sore.That I was feeling lonely trying to celebrate at the top all by myself. 


Or I could tell you about the Bike Hostel just outsideof Colville. Leaving Colville, there's a giant hill - first time I had to getout of the saddle the entire trip was on this damn hill! I was about a mileaway from the bike hostel, still climbing, and a pickup truck pulled upalongside me. "You going to the bike hostel?" The driver called."Yeah" I said. "You want a ride? I'm heading up there rightnow." I considered this for a minute. Get in a truck with a stranger, vs.riding up hill some more, vs. a chance to get to meet someone and maybe have aconversation?! "Yeah, thanks - I'll take a ride!" 

 

Troy helped me load my bike into the cluttered bed of histruck. He picked up Marge and gingerly laid her down - but derailleur sidedown! I cringed, but said nothing. Looking back, I regret not speaking up. Iwas scared to hurt my new friend's feelings - but I'm generally pretty gentlewith folks and could have taught him a better way. I often find this whiletraveling and being in an unfamiliar group and place. I'm eager to fit in, andso I end up biting my tongue more than I normally would. 

 

I had called ahead to the Bike Hostel and talked withShelley the day prior to make sure they were open, etc. She said yes come bybut that they were hosting a church choir group and the hostel would be full ofteenage boys. I could stay in the house, which would be full of teenage girls,but they had never turned anyone away and would love it if I would still comestay and join them for dinner that next night. 

 

When Troy and I arrived, he helped me with my bike and bagsand then disappeared into the house, helping to move rented tables and chairsout of a truck in the driveway. I changed and pitched in to help set up for afundraiser that Shelley and her husband Barry were hosting the next night. Theysponsor a few clinics and projects throughout Africa. The high school choir wasgiving a performance the next morning, and then would sing at their home aspart of the fundraiser. 

 

Somehow I got really lucky and Shelley gave me my own room!With a big comfy bed!! Then made a huge dinner for everyone!!! Barry is aphysician, and Shelley manages an exchange student program. They filled me inon their latest project in Kenya, and I met several of their friends who joinedus for Friday night dinner. Apparently no dinner is complete without huge bowlsof ice cream. Everyone dug in. And I'm serious, they were big bowls! 

 

The teenagers rolled in pretty late - I had already gone tobed. I was too tired to join in the cacophony but happily eavesdropped as theyplayed the grand piano and sang and talked and laughed all over one another.Barry smiled at me when he caught me standing in my doorway, listening to the kids. 

 

It was a cozy night - I was done with the mountain passes,had a full belly and was surrounded by warm hearts.

 

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Jennifer Schofield

Gear List

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- My Blackburn Gear -

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Jennifer Schofield
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? I'm going to blame my fellow Ranger J.D. Pauls for this one. He told me about a new Trans-Am Race that's happening this June, and hopefully annually thereafter. After seeing 2013 Ranger footage of Nick and J.D. racing their hearts out while Carrie and I cruised down the coast eating ice cream (ok, Carrie rode a damn strong tour and I'm the one who cruised along from ice cream shop to ice cream shop)... and while I know I'm not a front-of the pack race contender, I kind of feel like maybe there's something I missed out on.

    I'm looking for a different challenge this year. One that still involves ice cream, but something that pushes further toward being the strongest version of myself. I learned that phrase at Seattle's Bike to Work Breakfast, listening to a high school senior talk about his recent experiences in Seattle's Major Taylor Project. Before he joined Major Taylor, Brook had never biked out of his neighborhood. He thought that their first organized 10-mile ride around SeaTac airport would surely result in broken bones or some other major injury. But he did it. And then he rode his first century. Then did his first 200 mile ride. Brook talked about how cycling has been a means to becoming the strongest version of himself.

    At the end of last year's tour I was the strongest I have ever been in my life. Physically, mentally, etc. – hands down, I was the strongest in every way. This year it's time to tap into that again, crank it up a notch... and see what happens.
  • Have you travelled by bike in the past? Last year's PCH tour was my first real bike tour. I hope to add to that resume during the summer of 2014 with my new job leading tours at Bicycle Adventures! I understand I’m being made to spend three weeks in the Glacier-Banff-Jasper area… and I’m bragging about that to anyone who will listen.
  • What is your goal for the route? I'm starting in Astoria, Oregon and will go as far as I can in 2 weeks on the Trans-Am route. However far I get, at the end of 2 weeks I'll go to the nearest train station and buy a ticket home.

    Someday I want to do a cross-country tour, and this trip will help me decide if this is the right route for me, and if an event like the Trans-Am Race is right for me. Will I get lonely on a less-traveled route than the PCH? What will it be like with fewer amenities along the way? (Will there be enough ice cream shops!?) I'm most curious about what will it be like to race the clock a little bit.

    During my tour last summer, I set out having just had a lateral appendectomy 6 weeks prior. While I got clearance from my surgeon to do the tour, I still rode conservatively, just wanting to avoid any possible problems. And then mid-way through the trip, I found out a friend would be in the Bay Area for a very limited time, and if I wanted to meet up I would need to ride several very challenging days - 70 to 80 miles over sections of highway with the word "Pass" in the name. I hemmed and hawed and ultimately decided to go for it. It was the biggest challenge thus far on the trip. It was tougher than I imagined - one day after bragging to some fisherman at the foot of Jenner Pass that not only was I going to make it another ~25 miles to Bodega Bay State Park that day, I was going to complete all 5 miles of climbing Jenner Pass without stopping.

    I stopped twice, ostensibly to pee, less ostensibly to catch my breath. But I made it to Bodega Bay. And then the next day, I made the meeting.

    I wouldn't have pushed myself if not for this meeting, this race against time. And if not for the meeting, I wouldn't have realized this new strength. And I wouldn't have gotten to that stronger version of myself -- the one who was shrugging off 80-mile days like they were nothing by the end of her tour.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I took a leadership course with the Adventure Cycling Association last fall, in their office in Missoula, MT. On the wall near the entrance is a photo and essay about an ACA member who has cycled across the country 7 times. His goal in life is to "make every second count." Whenever he feels that slipping away, he gets on his bike and rides across the country.

    There has been a lot of transition in my life recently - going from a corporate desk job to an outdoors lifestyle company was huge. I'm still adjusting. I still spend a lot of time in front of the computer, and at times I still catch myself hunched over the keyboard like a vulture. Some days I struggle to find time to ride my bike. There are still too many "should's" in my mind - how I should (working!) or shouldn't spend my time (goofing off), what I should or shouldn't say, eat or do. I hope to get closer to finding my passion or purpose or true north or whatever you want to call it, that is "making every second count."

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