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We are supporting Research Autism because my cousin Jamie is severely affected by the disease, and I have seen its effects not only on him but on the whole family." He is 13yrs old, but cannot yet talk.
Just take a moment to imagine not being able to talk.
Imagine understanding everything going on around you, but not being able to comment.
Imagine having to be dressed every morning in clothes you don't choose, and then hurting your parents as you try to tell them you wanted the blue shirt today.
Imagine being swamped by having to hear everything that everyone is saying around you, and not being able to listen to just one thing at once. Jamie loves being in a swimming pool, just floating, legs held motionless by the weight of the water, while he keeps his ears underwater to just relax, hearing nothing.
He understands everything - he appears to have a photographic memory - but can’t get his thoughts out.
Frustration leads to despair, and anger, which is just one of the many things that his family has to deal with.
He has extremely specific eating requirements and requires round the clock supervision. Jamie is at the severe end of the autistic spectrum, but given that one in 100 people suffer from the disease (with varying severity), and that everyone has some autistic traits, it is shocking that so little is known about it'.
Click here to support our cause and donate to Research Autism.
Read the "Meet Jamie" post - the only post in February, for more information about Jamie, and a poem - painstakingly slow for Jamie to type, but ultimately incredible.
June 27, 2010
The Golden Gate Bridge, shrouded in mist, and one of the numerous signs we ignored to cycle into the freezing cold pacific.
Day 64 - Sacramento to SAN FRANCISCO. 110 miles, 2 burgers FINISH! 6292.9KMS
Maybe its because we know we won't have to cycle at all once we are done, maybe its because the air at sea level is easier to breathe than the air at 4000ft (we have been above 4000ft for the last month) or maybe its because we are so damn fit, but we smashed out 95 miles to get to the ferry terminal at Vallejo by 13.30. 150kms in 8 hours including breaks.
We left Sacramento at the absurd hour of 5.30am. To do this we woke up at the even more absurd hour of 4.30am. Thank you so much to Sherri for waking up when we did, and making breakfast, we couldn't have got here without it. Also thank you for bicycling with us to the bike path, getting lost 200m from the house we were staying at is an unpleasant but surprisingly common happening for us.
We were smashing our personal bests all day today, from 20 miles (32K) by 7am, 43 miles (69k) by 9am, 67 by 11, to 95 miles (150k) by 1.30pm. When we left Sacramento, we were aiming to catch the 4pm ferry, but we started so fast that we realized by 10 that we could just scrape the 2pm ferry - the ferry was only every 2 hours.
We stopped only three times in 8 hours, cycling at an average of 22kph for 7 hours. The second time we stopped, we picked up a footlong sub from subway for us to eat on the ferry, there was no time to eat it before. The countryside we cruised through was fantastic - the Napa valley - world famous for its wine, contained not only vineyards but also many colourful ornamental flowers. We saw more flowers in the napa and neighbouring valleys than we have on the whole trip. Great scenery, and plenty of other cyclists out enjoying the sun this weekend - we saw (another new record) 3 tandems!
The weather was awesome, until we got to San Francisco. Apparently San Francisco is always around 10 Celsius colder than the other side of the bay, and so it was - the fog was down over the golden gate bridge, so our first view of this iconic landmark was towers getting lost in the clouds. It was freezing on the bridge, the wind roared through the pillars, and the fog soaked our tired bodies. But it was awesome. I was so excited to be done, that it didn't matter what the weather was like, just that we had finished. Last year, doing more than 6000 kms on a bicycle seemed inconceivable, and now it's done, I'm still in disbelief - what I do know though, is that we have come a long way, seen a myriad of things: from the normal to the nuts - that I will remember for the rest of my life.
But now back to reality, ish... It is Gay Pride Weekend here in San Francisco, and there is a parade to watch - apparently not much normal, way too many nuts on show. We will enjoy San Francisco until Tuesday when we fly back to New York, having found a spot to box up our bikes somewhere between the sightseeing.
Yesterday i had trouble sleeping, finding it hard to suppress my excitement of what was to come the next day. After just two hours sleep we woke at 4:30, so we could complete the final 95 miles to Vallejo, before 4:30, where we would take the ferry over to San Fran. Leaving from just east of Sacramento. We were set on our way with a great set of directions prepared for us by cherri.
Setting out at 5:30, we cycled with the sun rising on our backs, whilst on a fantastic bike path-a perfect start to our last day. We covered 30 miles by 8am and 43 by 9am, so we were making cracking progress. We realised that we could. if we cycled hard, could make the 2pm ferry over to San Fran, which would be much better than the 4:30 one as it would quite simply give us more time in San Fran. We cycled really hard and managed to make the 2pm ferry, cycling 97 miles in 7 hours of riding and doing it over a period of 8 hours.....thats fast!
Arriving in Frisco, we cycled round the bay towards the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. The geography in frisco, is fascinating not only its infamous topography, but also the weather. It is 10 degrees colder than just across the bay in Vallejo, and it is also vulnerable to fog, so as we arrived at the bridge, it was cold and very much covered by the wet fog. Nevertheless we did come great photos and wandered out ont the bridge. Afterwards we headed round towards Golden gate park, so we could complete our adventure and reached the sea. As we got there we renaged on cycling into the sea, until we had had food. So we ate a lavish meal (cost us $80, each burger was $25!!!)
Into the sea we went, the cold sea, filmed by two rather confused and amused tourists, got very cold and wet, but finally completed our adventure in style!! Our contact who we were meant to be staying with, texted saying we could come when we finished work at 11pm, not idea after a 100 mile day and having just cycled into the cold sea. As we were sitting there, trying to sort out a place to stay for the night, a young couple approached us, Claire and Jay who had done a little cycle touring themselves, kindly offered us a place to stay. So we pitched up at their flat, and indulged in a some beers and chatted away with them into the night. Eventually i crashed, and was asleep. Turned out to be a really nice end to our final day.
This morning we woke early to watch the England game, and as i write this it is 3-1 to the enemy and we have been robbed of a goal...oh dear. Lets hope the rest of the day will be better as we go out and explore the city.
June 26, 2010
Day 62 – “Rest Day” – Yosemite National Park – walked 10 miles up 1000ft, 2 burgers
Day 63 – “Rest Day” – Yosemite National Park – 1 burger
The cold woke me up this morning, but kept me in bed slightly longer than planned. I got up at 5.50 to take the cover off the tent and start packing up, and it was only then that I realized that we had camped 3 metres from a massive pile of snow. Definitely a first for both of us! Neither of us can wait to get to proper beds, and a nice lie in. Although camping is great, we were both very happy last night in the knowledge that this was our last night in a tent for quite a while.
We were on our bikes by 6.28 – 38 mins between get up and go, we are getting better – but it has taken 61 days! We cycled 25 miles by 9am, and had a big breakfast at Ham Station – the first breakfast place we came to. The first bit was tough – with a lot of uphill, despite having already past the highest point we’ll reach for the rest of the trip. Although from the start of the day at 7100ft to the end of the day at 30ft, our average speed was slower than it would have been on the flat: the hills down were steep, but very twisty so we had to go slow downhill, and then there were extremely steep, short, sharp uphill’s to contend with. We also had to contend with 0 degrees at the start of the day and 30 degrees in the middle of the day, with a very sudden change between the two. After possibly our last McDonalds for lunch in Placerville – having covered 70 miles to get there, we headed out on the last 30 miles, and were lucky to be helped by a passing cyclist to point us in the right direction to the bike path. We have come out of one hazard – lack of services – and back into the original hazards: getting lost and traffic.
I worked out that we have had 3 roads 96, 56 and lots of 50 for more than half of the last 2000 miles, since Jefferson City in Missouri, so it was a shock today to have to do so many turns (more turns in one hour today than the last month). There were more road changes today than we have done in the last month. It’s an odd feeling and we may have to resort to listing name changes again (like we did in the beginning).
We got to Sacramento to the Brown’s house, and were posed with the question: Shower, Cold drink, or Swimming pool… not many questions I prefer, and the best thing to hear after 8 hours of cycling. The answer of course is all 3, so we duly accepted first the drink, then the pool, and finally the shower.
That evening we started chatting and worked out that we could and should go to check out Yosemite national park. So, plans were changed rapidly, and early the next morning Peter and his daughter Katya, and Alex and I set out to the park. It is a very long way away, so we had to go out overnight to make the most of it. We thought we were done with camping, but the next evening found us back in our tent, camped on the side of the road just out of the park.
Yosemite is a great place, but so big and varied that to fully appreciate it, at least a week is needed. As it was, we had 1 and a half days, and we were too tired to really go at it. We still had a good time, and saw some amazing things. Thank you to Peter for giving us the opportunity to go.
Tomorrow we are up at 4.15 for our last day! We aim to catch the 4.30pm ferry 95 miles away, and then cycle to the Golden Gate bridge, before cruising down the beach into the freezing cold sea. We are sure our jubilation at having completed this will keep us warm against the pacific’s icy tendrils.
June 24, 2010
Today we had the intention of riding roughly 100 miles, so we could reach just east of Sacramento, where we were due to stay with some family friends of Williams. The night was a cold one, but comforted by the knowledge that it would be amongst our last in a tent. To put it into perspective we pitched our tent, which we discovered this morning was surrounded by snow.
We started our big decent. But soon discovered that it was not just down, but a decent followed by a slightly smaller ascent. This set the tone for the rat of the day really. If we cycle the same distance on the flat we would have averaged a higher speed. The temperature change was rapid, and quickly i went from wearing 5 layers, to wearing just a vest. A temperature range of 30 from the start of the day to the end, would be about right.
The days total miles was just over 100 and we finally reached our destination at around 7:30, where we were warmly welcomed by Sherri and Peter. They have kindly offered to take us to Yosemite for a 2 day trip, so although missing out on 2 days in San Fran we will get a chance to see the infamous trees of Yosemite. We wee going to arrive tomorrow but we will probably arrive on Saturday now.