Sunday, October 20, 2013

Visit from Gypsy Nick and a Global Lael

Ready to embark on the Kokopelli Trail.
I've once again been lax on upkeep of this blog. However, a recent visit from world-cruising friends has spurred me to action. Nicholas and Lael returned from exotic locales to the U.S. at the beginning of the month, and paid us a visit. They have both toured extensively in many places; in my opinion something well worthy of envy, especially from my captive suburban vantage point. Therefore, whenever they hit our town, it's great to catch up with them and benefit from the glow of their journeys.

By the way, those of you interested in tales of distance and daring aboard two-wheels, would do well to pick up the latest copy of Bicycle Times, Number 25, in which Nicholas has a featured story about his travels from Alaska to New Mexico on his purple Pugsley last year.
Yes, that's Nick's story featured on the cover of Bicycle Times.
If you happen to encounter this traveling duo, a tasty dividend may be the reward of hosting them for a night or two. Fresh from a trip to Ukraine, Nick and Lael whipped up a traditional Ukrainian meal, complete with handmade varenyky. Delicious and fun. Big Sis really enjoyed helping them seal potato-based filling into dough pockets. At the end, they made a bolshoi verenyk (correct singular form?) out of the last chunk of dough.

A special treat of Ukrainian chocolate.
My humble bike barn served as R&R facility for their bikes, as the two travelers refitted their steeds for the journey ahead. An unused Salsa Anything cage of mine was pressed into service to replace Nick's cracked equivalent. They left me with a few worn parts that they replaced with new. Their old parts will assuredly find service on one project or another around here.
Nick's Raleigh XXIX+G partway through refurbishment. My 1967 Velosolex 3800 languishes in the background.

A little more than a year ago, I donated a set of NOS Suntour XC Comp shifters to Lael's nascent mountain bike. As of now, they've logged multiple thousands of miles on her Raleigh XXIX and appear to be ready for more.
Once Lael and Nicholas had at least partially caught up on some sleep and had gotten their bikes mostly in order, they were ready for the next leg of their adventures. Watching them pack up, it is readily apparent that they are seasoned and efficient in what they choose to bring and how they carry their gear.
Hard to believe that Nick's bike is loaded with all he needs for daily life, in addition to several bottles of Ukrainian vodka and other gifts for down the road.

Lael's bike has the look of a well-honed machine suited for whatever lies ahead.

As they rode away, Scout looked up as if to ask why we weren't going with them.
As an addendum, Nicholas helped me to hook up with a new-to-me micro four-thirds format Panasonic DMC-G3 camera body coupled with his own well-traveled Olympus 14-42 lens. As is evident on his blog, he has become quite an accomplished photographer in the past couple of years, and with this equipment, I hope to make improvements to my own skills.

Thanks for the leg up, Nick! Happy travels to you and Lael, and we look forward to your next visit.
Panasonic DMC-G3 as shot by my low-resolution phone camera.


  1. Thanks for another perspective on their great adventure.

    1. No problem. They really are living the dream.

  2. Lucky! Love it if they would come through Portland, but it's probably "too Northwest" for them. ;-) I'll just have to settle for owning (one of) Nick's old Carradice saddlebags. Still need to read that Bicycle Times article (my comic New Old Stock got mentioned in there, too.)

  3. Shawn, I saw NOS in Bicycle Times! We ended up carrying three magazines on the Kokopelli Trail. In addition to tons of food and water, it was quite a load at the start. Eventually, we enjoyed reading and browsing in the tent every morning as the sun melted the frost off our gear.

    I'll be through Portland at some point, although not this time of year. Once, Ieft Tacoma on Nov 5th to ride south along the coast to Baja., It rained the entire way, and the temps hovered around 40deg. You know I lived in Tacoma for 5 years-- I've done my time in the NW.