Following My Wife 2 (the second half of our ride) is now complete and ready to view and share! Sign up for our Newsletter and I'll send you the link. Otherwise, you need to wait until my Scandinavian Stallion gets back to share it with you here on our blog.
Sorry friends, Ville and I have been buried deep in house projects with no room to come up for air. When we were nearing the end of our ride, we spoke fondly of going back home, being back in our bed again, back with a kitchen, numerous pots and pans to choose from, a hot shower anytime of day, relaxing and seeing friends. Having them just pop in, not having to tell them your life story before parting ways to likely never see each other again, but friends who really know you. Family that has missed you so much and is excited to have you around again. Time to write the book. Put all our thoughts and reflections down on paper. Share our story.
And it has been those things, just slightly off from our expectations. Back two years ago, when we pulled the plug on our house remodel and peaced out to head off on our bicycle journey of the Americas, we left the house in a livable state, rented it to friends and didn't look back. Until the day we walked in the door. And with a hot real estate market and a solidified desire to see and experience more of the world than just Bend, we realized we needed to tackle the remaining house projects, finish it all at once, divide off the second lot we own attached to the property, and sell our beloved home. And it hasn't been easy. This last couple months has been a very emotional and hard road to ride. Ville and I bought this house and tore into it when it made more sense to bulldoze it. But there was history here in this old 1935 Old Mill house. That and we just didn't have the funds to completely start over. So we dug in. With help from friends and family, we made it ours. So finally coming to an end in the journey of this old house and knowing that we will let go of all of what we have done is hard. As hard as letting go of a two year bicycle journey.
To move back in, we had to paint first. To unpack dishes and use the kitchen we had to tear it out first and rebuild it. We spent over a month and a half with our kitchen sink in the side yard and no counters. To get the tub refinished and tile work fixed without our added bathroom quite finished, we relied on our amazing neighbors for showers. Having our plumber, electrician, drywaller and roofers actually show up in this feeding frenzy of building boom in Bend has been a blessing, but has consumed all our early mornings, weekends, and holidays. And the day they finished, is the day the City showed up right outside to tear out the entire water line down the street at 7am every morning with jackhammers. Our home was not little projects either, but big projects. Finishing our kitchen, installing granite, a new sink, lights, adding a whole new bathroom, ripping out and redoing the wood flooring upstairs, trimming half the house, fixing tile, cleaning the stone fireplace, building decks, rebuilding our back porch, painting and installing all our doors, adding doors, insulating, updating electrical, tearing off and re-roofing our entire house, painting, painting again, and painting some more. It's been no joke. And every single step of the way my parents have been here helping. Helping us do it all. I will never be able to thank them enough for all their help! And as our house is FINALLY starting to look like a finished house, and we sit in the backyard under our big apple trees to eat lunch, it saddens both of us to let it go when we will never enjoy it completed.
Along with letting go of our home we love, we have been letting go of our Ride as well. It's been very hard to come back. What do you do after The Ride is over? What do you do after two years of our life has been full, on, in it. Deep in it. A cycling meditation. Every day just waking up and pedaling and each pedal stroke just focused. Being in your breathe. Being on the road. And being in nature. And being surrounded by people on the road. Walking, waiting for a bus, pulling a cart, smiling. Buenos Dias. Animals. The wind. The rain. The sun. And then going to sleep your mind is clear. Completely clear. And you don't think about what your going to do tomorrow. Or reflect on everything that needs to be said or unsaid. To be fixed or not fixed. Your list and how you are going to tackle it. Everything that tumbles around in your head like in a dryer every night. You don't have that on the bike, on The Ride and then one day it's just over. We have come back to "reality" and "reality" is where there is noise, and there is traffic, and there is chaos, and there is bills, and there is work, and there is lots of stress. And I lie awake at night thinking about how much of this stress I have created.
I sat in traffic one day and just began crying from the stress. My stress has been for genuine reasons, running from a bear, dodging traffic on a bike to get through a city, but not this. This stress was overwhelming and it surprised me. Was I really once here? Where it felt normal sitting in traffic, always checking my cell phone, running from place to place, always speaking or being spoken to. What happened to silence? Just listening to the wind? I miss the wind.
As busy as we have been, we have had some play time. Our friends Ryan and Lydia (biked Baja Mexico with us) came for a few days to visit us and we hit up a Critical Mass Bend ride together. Our buddy Marc has drug us out of our dungeon to come out to play. Robin and I went kayaking for an evening and even squeezed in a hike one day. Our little friend Torin did Cupping on our backs to help us heal from The Ride and work. And we walk down to our local coffee shop almost every morning to see our good friend Saracha who is always has a big smile and hug to kick off our day. One of the members of our neighboring art studio, Kinker, decided one morning to paint our beloved work-in-progress and left it for us on our porch. And we continue to make time for speaking engagements at a bunch of the local schools. After so many people took care of us, watched out for us, took us in, and so much good came out of our ride, it's our way to give back. We both feel that it is really important. After so much negativity in news, media, online it feels as if everything out there is overwhelming and scary and we know that is so far from the reality in the world. We know that sharing our story will spread the positive and inspire others. We always leave time for questions and it has, by far, been the best part. How curious kids are! We recommend NOT doing a two year bicycle journey, but ask what their goals and dreams are. Where would they like to go?
For a few weeks in a row, we were asked to join a handful of Mountain View High School students every Friday morning at 6am to bike up the local Pilot Butte in town and it has been inspiring to see so many teens commit to do this every week. That was NOT me. We had a community presentation at one of the high schools and we were excited to see so many came to hear our stories and share in the finish of our ride. We packed in a big bar-b-que and bowling party for Ville's birthday, and it was a huge hit! I mean, who doesn't love to Kingpin every now and again? And Ville has a flare for throwing, flinging really, the ball down the lane as if he is having a seizure and somehow manages to strike about every ball. Don't go bowl with Ville unless you want to demolish your self esteem. It was a heck of a good time with great friends!
And now Ville is gone, I drove him to Portland on Monday, where he flew back to Finland for five weeks to spend time with family and friends. At least the toilet seat will never get left up, but it has been two whole years solidly together and an adjustment being apart. I was fortunate enough to have my parents, our friend Robin and my brother come and see us on the journey, as well as a few stops in Bend along the ride, but Ville has not seen anyone from Finland in over two years! And it's been really hard on him. Missing family and friends is our biggest struggle on our adventures. So he has gone back to enjoy time with everyone and once we sell our house and shift our finances, maybe we can both go. Until then, back in the pile.
Along with being a professional house re-modeler, I am also back working as a Real Estate Broker. And as busy on the house as I have been, I have managed to stay busy helping to sell homes and trying to help friends buy. Before I left on The Ride, I was able to help a bunch of great friends get into their first homes. As the market has climbed, I have returned to a more challenging market to continue to help friends buy in, but nonetheless, there are still deals to be found and I enjoy helping friends find them. And after using only my legs for two years, it's fun to get back in the game using my brain :)
Oh, and Following My Wife 2 (the second half of our ride) is now complete and ready to view and share! Sign up for our Newsletter and I'll send you the link. Otherwise, you need to wait until my Scandinavian Stallion gets back to share it with you here on our blog. Thank you all for following along. I hope to have the much awaited and highly anticipated "Before and After" pics of our house! So until next time, keep on keepin' on ya'll...
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K.G. & Ville
In New Zealand on bikes.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson