As we prepare to pedal across the United States, it has been amazing to feel the support of so many people.  Family, close friends, acquaintances, and even friends of friends have voiced their support or donated to our fundraiser for the Vermont Land Trust.  THANK YOU so much to everyone who has already donated!  In case you haven’t had the chance to watch Aidan’s video, click here for the link.


To give a little background for this adventure, I have to go back to when Aidan and I were six years old.  We both had the good fortune of being placed in Sarah Wright’s kindergarten class, and as we built fairy houses with the rest of our class, neither of us had any idea of the incredible times that lay ahead.  First grade came along, and again we were met by an incredible teacher.  Chris Diehl-Noble led us through the next eight years, consciously creating situations to help the class grow into a group of well-rounded people.  He helped us to develop an appreciation for community, nature, music, and adventure.  When I look back at all the hikes we took throughout our grade school years, the only mountaintop views I can recall are ones of grey clouds and dripping yet smiling classmates.  Mr. Diehl-Noble sent us off to high school after a week of sailing on the ocean in Maine, and we all began ninth grade with the words of our graduation song ringing in our minds – “when negativity surrounds, I know some day it’ll all turn around…” and “in this maze you can lose your way…  it might drive you crazy but don’t let it faze you, no way!”

Aidan and I both immediately joined all the sports teams in 9th grade, and thoroughly enjoyed the physical challenges, and the sense of family that was developed within our teams.  Bet Dews took on the role of class sponsor, and she brought just the right energy to the class.  From math class to class trips to lunchtime snowball fights, she challenged and supported us at every turn.  To balance the hard work we were doing at school, Aidan and I found many opportunities to spend time outside, both with school and on our own.  We skied (okay, yes, Aidan snowboarded) all the time, biked to school, met up at Mt. Philo for little hikes, and went on every outing club trip.  High school brought new perspectives about the world, and we were pushed to discover our personal values.  We learned valuable skills in math, science, humanities, and art.  Most importantly however, all those classes incorporated some aspect of humans interacting with the world, and simultaneously taught us how to grow into individuals.  Our senior projects reflected that, as we both chose very different projects, yet they each helped demonstrate personal values.  Aidan designed and built the interior of his tiny house, and presented about his love for functionality, sustainability, and aesthetics.  I chose wildlife rehabilitation for my project, and spoke about the importance I see in compassion, community, and nature.

Now, coming to the end of our years at Waldorf, Aidan and I have each decided to take a gap year before college.  To continue the pattern of epic wilderness trips, and to accomplish a life goal, we agreed to take the first summer to bike all the way across the country – Portland ME to Portland OR!  Our camping experience through school has included winter camping, canoe camping, backpacking, and as a culminating experience, two weeks in the Andes of Ecuador, backpacking and visiting indigenous villages, learning so much along the way. Thank you to the Lake Champlain Waldorf School and Kroka Expeditions for those incredible experiences!  We have been through a lot together, and are ready for more challenges to come our way!

We’re looking forward to experiencing all the different landscapes on our route across the country, and to meeting people all along the way.  We will be keeping Vermont in mind the whole time, and plan to sport the Vermont Land Trust logo on our biking shirts.  Thanks to Evan Webster for embroidering the shirts for us!


11 thoughts on “Preparations

  1. Nancy Vanderlin May 23, 2016 / 2:05 am

    I’m looking forward to an adventure-filled blog! (Clara’s) Grandma

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Uncle Bill May 23, 2016 / 1:47 pm

    Hi Clara and Aidan,

    We’re looking forward to tracking your progress across the US. It’s an amazing trip and you’re leaving behind lots of anxious and excited (and a little bit jealous) aunts, uncles, cousins and cohorts. Enjoy the journey and treat every mile as its own adventure. The lasting memories will happen when you least expect them.

    Is there any way that we can “live-track” you through map-my-ride or some other app? As I sit in my office it would be fun to be able to check in on you to vicariously share your route.

    Best, Uncle Bill (Powell)


    • bikesoveramerica June 1, 2016 / 11:53 pm

      Hey Uncle Bill!

      I’ll probably be using the app Strava (like map-my-ride) everyday. You could follow us there if you can figure out how to download it/make an account. If you are anything like your brother that may be an issue. Thanks for writing!



      • Uncle Bill June 2, 2016 / 1:05 pm

        If he’s also thinking of acquiring a thumbtack dispensing drone to leave you “presents” along your route, then YES, I am just like him. So pay no attention to the loud humming that you might hear from time to time. Bwa-ha-ha-ha.


  3. Susannah Porter May 23, 2016 / 3:52 pm

    I am so impressed with and so excited for you both! What a wonderful adventure it will be. I can’t wait to read your blog posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Leslie Dunn May 31, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    Hi Clara — What an awesome adventure you have planned!!! To contribute towards your success, I can’t help but pass along the idea that “this too shall pass.” Remembering this idea helps me be in the moment to appreciate positive things when they are happening … and when things get rough, it helps me get through them. Can’t wait to read about your experiences ; ) Leslie


  5. Wendy Bratt June 1, 2016 / 7:22 pm

    HI Clara and Aidan! Can you tell us how we can subscribe to your blog so we can have it pop up on our email each time you write more? Can’t wait to follow! Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Liza Joy Marcato June 18, 2016 / 2:13 am

    I wonder when you’ll be in Chicago. I have connnnnnnectionnnnns there. Free, cool-teenager-friendly connections. Let me know, I’ll hook you up. Probably available tis the third week of July. I realize I have NO idea how fast you two are going. Text me if you want the hookup! xoxo Liza


  7. Bill Marcinkowski June 27, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    Hello Aidan and Clara, Sounds like a wonderful trip. I hope your tires always have air in them and the wind is always at your backs. I noticed the end of your trip looks like Portland. I would suggest you go the few extra miles and see the Pacific Ocean. Illwaco,WA has a nice campground right on the shore. I think you would enjoy it.

    If you are venturing near Kyle, SD there is a Lakota Waldorf School that I’m sure would be fun to visit. It’s in the middle of nowhere but then again aren’t we all.


    • bikesoveramerica June 27, 2016 / 4:52 pm

      Hi Bill!
      Thanks for the good wishes. 🙂 And that’s a great recommendation- we are planning to go a bit further once we reach Portland to dip our tires in the Pacific!
      We’ll keep the Waldorf school in mind, that could be really fun!


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