I guess the first part of this adventure was getting ourselves and our bikes to Seattle! 

We were so fortunate to get a world of help from our friends at the bicycle stand in Long Beach.  Nicole, Evan and Bruce were essential in getting our bikes in shape for our big endeavor.  
I love this little bike shop.  It’s a sweet little gem hidden on Broadway and Cherry.  The space is very open and welcoming with vintage road and racing bikes hanging on the walls with old european bike posters, and a little Pee Wee Herman above the door (which I took as a great sign, since we did a screening of Pee Wee as one of our fundraisers for the tour).  
Evan and Bruce thoroughly went over our bikes, checking all the parts to make sure everything was working smoothly, and helped us change out the brakes, brake cables, levers, shifters, tires for some better  quality parts than came with the bike.  They took the time to explain the difference between what came with the bike, and the type of wear and tear we would get on our particular tour.  Nicole helped us pick out and order our panniers and racks, and even did extra research to help us find the ones that would suit our purpose within our budget!  Evan designed and built a custom rack for my guitar, which I’ll show in detail in another post.  They even let us come in after hours a few days before we left and gave us some tutorials and helped us disassemble and box our bikes for the flight to Seattle, and prepped us for what we would need to to do put them back together once we arrived. 
We are so thankful for Evan, Nicole and Bruce, not only for being so thorough, and helping to answer all our questions, and order all our gear, but also for all their support.  They truly believe in us, and what we are doing, and are excited to be a part of the adventure.  They made us feel confident and safe.  I totally trust us to get ourselves home after getting so much support and tips from them.  That’s what counts.  Nicole and Evan said, “We just want to make sure you’re all safe and self-sufficient on the road, just like we would prepare ourselves.  Because, if we weren’t here at the shop, we’d be having some big adventure like this and doing the same thing.”  
The Bicycle Stand
1824 E. Broadway Long Beach, CA 90802
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10:00am – 7:00pm
Once our bikes were boxed up and ready to go, all we needed to do was get ourselves to the airport, hop on the plane and go.  Bela and Jenny, our bosses at Viento y Agua, the coffeehouse we work at, offered to take us to the airport.  I love working for such a wonderful and supportive small business.  While we waited for Jenny to pick us up from Sarah’s house, I let Sarah practice henna on my hand.  Not bad for the second time ever!  It makes me smile to look down at her art on my hand while I’m riding.  It’s also neat to be able to have henna AND colored nail polish, since I won’t be working at Disneyland for 6 weeks, and can stretch outside their dress code for the first time in 4 years!  
Jenny picked us and our boxes up.  We had each of our bikes, and Dustin’s trailer in a separate box, and packed most of our gear and the panniers in the boxes, too.  All I had for my carry-on was my guitar and handlebar bag.  We flew Southwest Airlines, which we chose because they were super bike friendly, and the cost of the ticket and bike-box fee ended up being the most cost-effective.  The bikes were considered an over-size item, and were only $50 each to take as a checked-in bag. 
The flight was great.  Sarah took some tips from the Bixby Knolls Ranger, and did some Sudoku to prep for the ride.  The flight was overbooked and a little understaffed.  At the beginning of the flight, the flight attendant continually suggested that everybody take a nap over the intercom.  “Feel free to take a nap during the flight.  We won’t bother if you take a nap.  Please take a nap. PLEASE take a nap.”  Then ended the flight with this message, “Thank you for flying Southwest Airlines, nobody loves you and your money like we do.” Verbatim. 
As we rode that crowded Boeing 737, somewhere over the cloudy, rainy mountains of Oregon, I wrote this:
“This is the moment of limitless possibility.  This is the moment before our feet touch the ground.  This is the moment, when our dreams and fears can swirl around the sunny side of a rain cloud.”
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About the Author

Alyssandra Nighswonger

Alyssandra is known by her community and everyone she comes in contact with as inspirational, a dream-pusher, limitless. She has the divine craftyness to make anything she imagines a reality. This is expressed through all of her art forms; singing and songwriting, poetry, painting and performance. A local legend in Long Beach, she is a hub in her community, constantly realizing new ideas and events to gather and bond her fellow citizens.

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