Walking together always

I have spent the last weeks in shock, dumbfounded by intensity of the sadness and pain of loss I feel with Mia’s passing.  I thought I had prepared for this, having spent so many years with her in ER’s and hospitals, she had been to more types of specialists and doctors in her short 6 years and 5 months with me than I have seen in 37 years.  I used to expect her to pass on the regular, placing my hand on her curly blond torso for the rise and fall. This so familiar, from nights with pneumonia and chronic bronchitis, surgeries and unnamed scares, that when the breath went out of her the final time in the hospital I found myself utterly unable to fathom that her tiny body was truly still. 

We had dodge death so many times, how did it finally catch us? And how had I been so unprepared to let her go when we lived so vibrantly with gratitude every day.

Read More
Namibia, Hohewarte Guest Farm

After the African Spokes crew departed to the south of Windhoek to traverse Namibia's gravel roads on their way to South Africa I headed to Hohewarte Guest Farm for a few days, to slow down from the perpetual motion and reflect before I headed stateside.

I did not realize that this former Colonial Police Station and Post Office located on thousands of hectares of land at 1400meters above sea level would in itself be such a special experience.

Read More
Camp, Home Sweet moving Home

One of the greatest joys of cycling across southern Africa was camping. Camping out under the African nights, which gold colder the further south we went towards winter, in start contrast to the desert’s hot days. We wild camped some nights and other nights found ourselves in deluxe campgrounds with showers and cold beers.

Read More
Cycling, the Long and the Short of it

Days were measured in kilometers traveled, and wildlife spotted, and the butt pain meter. But most exciting was this day, and the 14 elephant day, including many babies, almost white from the salt pans.  When we passed most they raised their trunks in unison, trying to figure out what we were, bicycles not being very familiar.  For this reason we rode in packs when in elephant territory.

Read More
Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe National Park in Botswana is famed for its abundant wildlife, best seen from a water safari, and is an amazing region where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe all come together along the mighty Zambezi River - the only intersection of four countries in the world.  This is one of many areas I hope to return to, and travel west across the Caprivi region of Namibia.

Read More
Maple Sugar Shack, in upstate New York

On a ride in upstate New York two collies sitting in the seat of a tractor caught my attention and I stopped to meet the pups, Massey and Fergie-named for the tractor they sat in, and their owner Richard, who invited me back to see the maple syrup making process.

Today Ron, Richard and friends from his paper mill days, as well as the new generation, showed me the age old process of boiling down maple syrup into the sweet sugary goodness. 

Read More
Spring comes to New England

I am a major lover of all things winter-in truth my only non favorite New England season is spring (I know this is incorrect grammar, as well as an unpopular opinion) because around here it is mostly a long winter followed by mud season and a week of spring before summer.

But as the weeks tick down to my departure for Africa I must admit I am chaffing a bit against our weekly storms, and the indoor bike, although I owe Keith Kelly a huge debt of gratitude for the gear which has allowed me to ride many miles to high octane films in my dining room.

Read More
Portillo : The warmest kind of winter

My father and I arrived at Portillo Hotel on a Saturday in July amid full blown arrivals and departures chaos in the chalet style hotel lobby which felt more reminiscent of summer camp than anything we had ever seen at a ski resort.  Although my father had been following the snow forecasts closely for weeks in anticipation of our trip (it was one of the worst seasons on record) we knew little about the resort culturally, other than the obvious.  Portillo has long Chilean heritage, as it was build in the 1940’s and sits at 9,450feet in the Andes roughly two hours from Santiago Chile, making it one of the prime southern hemisphere ski destinations in July – August, which usually is peak snow season.

Read More
Roadtripping, Part 3, Heading up the Bay of Fundy

When a road appears passable on google maps only half of the day, and is "subject to extreme tidal conditions," meaning underwater, you have to drop everything and head to this road! 

So Mia and I headed straight for the road to Minister’s Island, in Saint Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick.  She was far less excited than I was by driving out into the Bay of Fundy, but by this point had gotten into the spirit of the trip fully.  As 90’s baby in an 80’s Mercedes came on the radio, we rumbled out across the cobbles of the “road” and enjoyed the otherworldly aspect of a road which is underwater and then not. 

Read More
Roadtripping, Part 2, Crossing the Border into Campobello Island

When we crossed from Lubec, Maine onto Campobello Island, New Brunswick we discovered that it was Canadian Thanksgiving Day, although I had not realized when I decided to head to the island and Canada for the day.  There was something so apt about this, and it is beautiful the way life speaks up when you let go and listen.

The border patrol agent just after the bridge over the Lubec Narrows greeted us, and also let us know much of the island was closed for the holiday.  I showed my passport and Mia’s vaccination papers, and then went on to the tourist center, the sole visitor there. We were arriving right one time.  I picked up a map and asked about place off the beaten path with remote beauty (as if we hadn’t already arrived there.)  If there was a bumper sticker, or life goals club around this, I would definitely be in this, if not a chapter leader.

Read More
Roadtripping, Part 1, All the Way Downeast

On a Sunday afternoon last October, I packed up my rescue pup and about month of camping gear in the trusty Volvo and headed to Northeastern Maine, or in local terms, as far Downeast as one can go. So far in fact that we lost all phone signal and this was the goal.  The road, my pup, nature, time, and freedom to just be.

Read More
Julianne Gauron