Monday, September 8, 2008

Eric's closing remarks... finally...

Well, the time has flown by since we finished our trip, but I have certainly been reflecting on what an amazing experience it was.  There are so many good memories attached to our trip, and little lessons I learned.  I learned more about myself, what my body is capable of; what can be achieved both physically and mentally.  I learned more about communication.  I learned more about friendship.  I learned more about goal setting.  I learned more about kindness and charity.  I grew spiritually.  I learned more about what is important in life.  I grew in physical shape, and felt the rewards of consistent work and exercise.  I am so grateful for everyone that made our trip as perfect as it was.  I am grateful to have a friend as good as Matthew.  I'm grateful that we decided to keep this blog, and that it provided a way for us to communicate our thoughts and feelings with a larger audience than we would have otherwise.  Some people ask if I would do this trip again, and the answer is a resounding yes- providing I had the time and money.  However, this single trip has left an impact on me that will last for the rest of my life.  I'm going to keep living the dream, no matter where life takes me.        

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Matthew's closing remarks

On July 10th 2008 Eric Brewer and Matthew Case made history by being the first people to ever ride bicycles across the United States of America. I really can't believe we were the first! EVER! (well maybe the first to do it on the type of bike we rode on, being both from N.C., that are latter day saints).
The last few days of the trip where days to be remembered, it felt great to cross the border into North Carolina, it finally felt like we where home, and we felt the end near, but it didn't sadden us, nor where we excited to be done, it was the perfect amount of time. The ride through the Appalachian Mountains in NC was beautiful, despite a little rain we were happy and it was great to have another member of the team with us. Scott (Erics dad) joined us for the NC leg of the trip and kept up well, i was very impressed with his performance and attitude, though he had only been riding a few 30 mile rides a week to train he didn't break on our 70 miles or more days that went until the end of the bike trip. The humidity became thick and we sweat and stank like we had not sweat or stank the entire journey! We hit a pretty bad rain storm the two nights before finishing, it was very violent and because of a series of unfortunate events we were all separated, I spent a little more than an hour under a overpass like some sort of nocturnal animal waiting for night to come. It was a good time to think and reflect on the journey we had embarked upon that would soon be coming to a close.
We were met by a friend that night Gunther Topp who was to join us for the last few days of the trip, he had a truck and was a blessing, because he picked us all up and we sought dry shelter at a motel.

We camped the night before the last day in Lake Waccamaw it was a humid night, but we awoke and after a great breakfast we rode the last 60 miles to Carolina beach. It was a great ride and the biking gods were with us once again preventing the normal strong head wind. We rode hard and then finished with joy and sorrow surrounded by our loved ones. Then a strange thing happened, Eric and I for the first time in over two months were separated, I needed to get back to Greensboro while Eric and his family stayed to enjoy the beach for a while.
After all was said and done I wasn’t tired after our long journey, actually quite the contrary I felt great, I was in super great shape and I was constantly well hydrated, I had plenty of sleep, I had nothing to complain about.

Overall our bike trip was one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. I was honored and delighted to have shared to experience with my lifelong best friend Eric, I friendship withstood a potentially grueling test and we came out victorious. I have a deeper love and appreciation for this Great vast and beautiful country we live in, not only for the landscape, but the history and especially the people. We mentioned it countless times but the wonderful people are the highlight of the journey. I Learned of God’s love for me individually as we were cared for and protected from start to finish. I learned so much, and not just things about biking and exercise, it was a very enriching experience and I could go on and on about that fact, but I will leave that to future conversations with the individuals who are reading this.
I encourage all to follow their dreams, to achieve things in their lives that they feel are slightly out of their reach, do things that will enrich you and make you smarter, find ways of living your dreams and do it! Don’t let anyone, including yourself, stop you! I hope my existence will continue to be filled with the achievement of inspiring goals.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We Made It!

And now, the news everyone's been waiting for... drum roll please... we finished our trip! We made it to Carolina Beach on July 10th to be greeted by a nice welcoming crew of our families. We just wanted to let everyone know that we made it- we'll put up some photos of our spectacular finish, and some closing thoughts in the next few days.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The final days...

Wow! The past week or so has really flown by- we've been in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and now the wonderful state of North Carolina! We just had time to put some photos up the other day so here's a summary of the past little while. Matthew got an awful flat tire as you can see in the photo... we patched it three times and the patch didn't hold, so we decided to just camp out for the night since it was starting to get late. Luckily, we were right next to a cattle farmer's house named Richard who let us camp in his yard and brought us out some tasty bologna sandwiches and chips. In the morning he brought us to the next town in his truck so we could go to a bike store to get a new tube (we had used up our last one after Matthew's tire popped during his wreck). So we got a new tube and I got a new front tire because there was a marble sized bulge coming out of my old one from the nail I ran over back in Idaho, and I didn't want my tire to explode as I was flying down a hill. However, the duct tape and dora the explorer band-aid had held my tire together for quite a while. Anyways, we put in a lot of miles and rode through some really beautiful parts of Kentucky and didn't run into any crazy bike hating rednecks, for which we are grateful. Then we rode into Johnson City Tennessee just in time for Independence Day which also happens to be my Mom's birthday, and met up with my Mom, Dad, Sister, Aunt, Uncle, and Grandma (the last three all live in Johnson City). We got some good food, saw some nice fireworks, and listened to a little live bluegrass music. Coming back into the south has kind of been like entering a foreign country, but it's been pleasant. So my dad is riding with us for the last leg of our journey, and started with us Saturday. We had a very pleasant ride over the mountains, it wasn't hot and we got rained on quite a bit which was refreshing because it wasn't too cool either. Riding down the mountains was amazing, possibly the most enjoyable ride that we've experienced on our trip- it was eleven miles of winding road going down through the lush green landscape. Only one car passed me going down the whole time, so it was very peaceful. We made it into Morganton that night and camped out in a park near the church and then went to church on Sunday. The Wheeler family let us come over to the their home after church and enjoy a large delicious meal, and then brought us by some breakfast this morning because we camped out next to the church last night. My dad is keeping up with us pretty well, and Matthew and I haven't had to do CPR on him yet, so it's great! My legs have felt better than they have the whole trip, they finally feel like they can do whatever I want them to, and I no longer groan when I see hills up ahead. Matthew and I both are planning on making cycling a part of the rest of our lives. It beats walking and paying lots of money for gas too! Well, it looks like we're going to finish on the afternoon of the 10th, but we'll see. Our seminary teacher, Steve Topp, is going to ride the last day with us as well, and we are looking forward to that. We'll try to get one more post on here before we finish. Thank you to everyone who has been following our dream- it wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable without you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


We need to get on the road, so i will make this overview of the past week shorter than this past week really deserves. Eric and I are becoming shocked that the bike trip is nearing an end, but much like our missions for the Church it doesn't really feel like the end, because we will still do the same thing all day every day until we set foot in the cool water of the Atlantic Ocean. Its not over till its over, and then even when this adventure ends we have begun the pattern to live life in a legendary way and i hope the passion to live life continues.
Ill try to just explain the photos, they are in a terrible order, I don't believe the emotional impact will be maximized by their order, but oh well. We met an amazing Amish family in eastern Illinois, Ronny the father invited us to eat at his house and stay the night and despite our lack of progress for that day we agreed knowing that it would be a great experience, we learned so much and had wonderful discussions with Ronnie and his family, and will never forget their generosity and hospitality. We entered the God blessed state of Indiana last week and they even customized their state sign for me (as seen in the photo)!! I guess we are getting pretty famous! We had a DELIGHTSOME time in Columbus with old family friends, holding babies at the family reunion we happened to stumble upon and eating till we were full (only about the 3rd time that has happened this whole trip, full is hardly a word used in our vocabulary). It was a great time, i got to see my boyhood home and Eric was a great sport through everything, which i greatly appreciate because it meant a lot to me to be back in my home town, take it the atmosphere there and catch up with people i barely remembered but treated me like family. I got in a wreck the other day, despite the road burn on my arm, a flat tire, and a close call with a semi, it wasn't half bad, we actually got to play 'rock band' with a nice young man that picked us up and took us home after seeing me wreck, I'm not a huge fan of video games, but Eric and i had fun and did ok, we love the nice people we meet! We have been blessed, I think i should have gotten enough injury to end the bike trip in that wreck, we were going down hill at about 25mph, I really didn't get hurt, nor did my bike, thank you everyone for your prayers. This country is so diverse and beautiful! Though the further east we have gotten has provided us with more traffic and small shoulders we enjoy the scenery and still meet tons of great people.
We are now in Kentucky and will be in Tennessee by the time we post again, Keep us in your prayers now more than ever because as i mentioned we are experiencing more traffic than any other part of our trip. Thank you again for your prayers, they have most likely saved our lives a number of times.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life is good....Do I say that a lot?? Well I mean it, last night we pitched our tent in a large field behind wal-mart on top of a mound, in a grove of pine trees, and in the middle of the night i felt a drop of water on my head and we put the rain fly on just in time for a thunderstorm, it was relaxing to go back to sleep listening to the heavy thunder and pitter patter of the rain on our tent.
Leaving Nauvoo was almost as emotional as it was when we entered, it was hard to go, we really loved the people there, our friends, the heritage, the activities, even the feeling of the small city holds you like your mother would and makes you not want to leave!
There are several things that have given us comfort, satisfaction and joy during the bike trip, a few of those things are: gas stations, pillows, grocery stores, and small town parks. We have been blessed enough to have experienced all of these delights this week. I will not go into further explanation now as to why those simple things bring us so much indescribable joy, but if you have to know, and cannot use your imagination, then contact us and we would be happy to give the details.
We have crossed the mississippi river and in so doing it seems as though the towns are getting closer together, which unfortunately makes it less practical to stop in every single one. Also being more east has given us more larger cities which have their blessings and curses. Blessings: bigger food choices, more buffets, bigger grocery stores (with more day old baked goods), bike shops, Wal-marts (wait... Is that a curse?) and plenty of other options to make your head spin. Curses: Busy roads with no shoulders, beggars that think two college students on bikes have money, a lack of the feeling of security that small towns offer, less camping spots, and too many choices. We always experience a large relief to get out of the big cities that we enter.
The biggest city of the week was Springfield IL. We really enjoyed this one (i say after bad mouthing big cites). We actually rode most of the way into Springfield with Dr. White, a kind man whose family we stayed with Sunday night, we had gone to church with them in Macomb IL and then were kindly hosted by them for the night after being fed by the Green Family from the same Church. Well Dr. White is a biker and a very active outdoors man himself, and wanted to taste part of what we are living, so after work on Monday he drove ahead of us and rode with us for a little while. It was great to have a third person riding with us and specifically to enjoy his company and lively personality, he took us out to dinner once we got to Springfield, what a nice friend we made. People just keep giving and giving and Eric and I have had several conversations questioning ourselves why? We are normal people, why do we deserve so much kindness and charity from others? We figured it's pointless to ask....or we are the coolest people in the world, but I vote choice A. We just accept people's kindness and thank the Lord for all that he has blessed us with to make this experience happen and to sustain us richly along the way.
Springfield is of course where Abraham Lincoln lived for a good while, and we had the opportunity to go to the Lincoln presidential museum, it was VERY impressive...One of the better put together museums we have been to. We also went to the state capitol building which was one of the most beautiful we have been to. We didn't leave until the after 5pm! WHOA!! But we still managed 50 miles for the day.
Whelp...we are 50 miles east of the Indiana border and doing well, we love food, our families, kind people, and the late President Abraham Lincoln. I would love to write more but we need to hit the road if we want to meet our goal for the day.