In Part I of Two Boomers, One Bike, Ken and Francie Gass — married 43 years and both celebrating 70-something birthdays in 2021 — detailed the training, equipment, and teamwork required to complete a six-week cross-country trip on a tandem bicycle.
The trip tested their fitness, stamina, and trust in each other.
While their bike (which they dubbed the Momentous Green Goddess) was well equipped to survive an arduous road trip across the Southern Tier of the U.S., the intrepid couple still faced an obstacle course of steep hills, bumpy roads, strong crosswinds and headwinds, and saddle sores as they pedaled from San Diego, California, to St. Augustine, Florida.
Here’s Part II of their epic journey:
By Ken and Francie Gass
When my wife and I completed a 40-mile bike ride down the Jersey Shore from Ocean City to Cape May, NJ, one morning some years ago, we were quite pleased with our accomplishment.
Then we met up with my old boyhood chum, Ken Gass, and his wife, Francie, who stopped in Tucson earlier this year while biking their way across the United States, and found that 40-mile morning workouts were easy days for them — they would average almost twice that, day after day for six weeks, pedaling from San Diego to St. Augustine.
And they were doing it on one bike, which presented its own share of challenges and rewards. Here is Part I of their entertaining and instructive tale of adventure, grit, and how to keep a marriage together on a bicycle built for two:
By Ken and Francie Gass
For 44 days — from the end of… Continue reading
The country of Laos, along with some other Southeast Asian nations, was on my radar as a possible destination for this year. I was especially interested in taking a river cruise on the Mekong and visiting Luang Prabang.
Alas, it was not to be, but contributing writer Robert Waite did make it there this January, which now seems a lifetime ago. But the portrait he paints is of a “tranquil gem” that I hope will be waiting when safe travel again resumes. And according to Bob, the Laotians are anxious to greet us.
By Robert Waite
Luang Prabang, Laos – It is dark and just a touch chilly. You’re seated on a stool on the road clutching a wicker basket filled with sticky rice, trying to remember the instructions you have just been given. Ball the rice… Continue reading
What, a place in California where there are hardly any people — and yet is so strikingly beautiful that it’s been called the Switzerland of California?
OK, I’ll ‘fess up — I’m the one who called it the Switzerland of California, as I hiked recently along a mountain trail bordering meadows blanketed with wildflowers and sporting gorgeous views of 11,000-foot peaks that still displayed pockets of snow in early August.
And its very name — Alpine County — certainly evokes Switzerland as well, as does its semi-official nickname, the “California Alps.”
The area was first explored by non-native Americans when John C. Fremont and his scout, Kit Carson, passed through in 1844. Soon after came contingents of Mormon settlers and gold prospectors, and much later still vacationers and second-home owners.
Alpine County isn’t very large — it’s the eighth smallest… Continue reading
Most of us probably don’t travel for our health — but generally speaking, it’s a very good perk, especially for baby boomers.
Studies have shown that leisure travel can be good medicine.
There’s straight-up wellness travel, of course, such as visiting a health spa to lose weight.
But travel in and of itself can also do the job.
- Travel helps reduce stress and promote relaxation by taking a break from routine.
- Travel usually results in greater physical activity, particularly walking. But you might also learn tai chi in China, practice yoga in India, or bicycle around Europe.
- Travel promotes brain health by challenging us with new and different experiences and environments. It can potentially help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Travel can also help ward off depression… Continue reading
According to a recent survey of 40 countries around the globe conducted by motor home rental site SHAREaCAMPER, the Netherlands has the most adventurous people per capita, followed by Australia and Sweden.
The survey tabulated the number of online searches in each country for such adventurous activities as skydiving, bungee jumping, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, BMXing, and caravanning — the latter being what Australians (where SHAREaCAMPER is partially based) call traveling in RVs, campers, or motor homes.
Strictly in terms of sheer numbers of total searches, the United States placed first, but of course has a much higher population than the other countries. The U.S. finished ninth in the per capita rankings.
While the Netherlands was outdone in skiing by Norway and Australia in surfing (no surprises there), Switzerland in… Continue reading
The infographic below from the UK-based TravelSupermarket.com came across my desk recently and I thought I would pass it along as a public service. It’s essentially a compendium of Extreme Adventures around the world that I can cross off my bucket list even before trying them.
Oh, I might try riding the Alpine rollercoaster in Austria or give the world’s fastest zip line in Wales a shot at pumping my adrenaline to warp speed.
But bungee jumping into a volcano in Chile, cliff camping in Colorado (yes, that means sleeping on the edge of the cliff), or riding a bike along Bolivia’s notorious Death Road?
Thanks, but I’ll leave those to another lifetime, which I would probably be starting soon if I succumbed to the temptation to try any of them, which… Continue reading
In a previous post last summer, I wrote about how my wife, Catharine, and I liked to ride the Cape May-Lewes Ferry — which crosses Delaware Bay to connect northern Delaware and southern New Jersey — just for fun when visiting the Jersey Shore.
Unlike most passengers, who are actually trying to get somewhere — holding 100 cars and other vehicles, the ferry provides a relaxing alternative to traffic-choked I-95 when traveling up or down the East Coast — Catharine and I just enjoy being out on the water. So we’ve taken the 34-mile, nearly three-hour round-trip voyage from Cape May, New Jersey, across the bay to Lewes, Delaware, and back strictly as a day trip.
It’s essentially a “cruise to nowhere,” and on a beautiful sunny day it’s a delight to sit up on deck and just watch the… Continue reading
“The Savvy Path to Breathtaking Travel, Without the Hassle”
“Less Planning, More Experiencing”
“A Journey of a Thousand Smiles Begins With a Single Click”
These are some of the taglines that express the essence of the new travel website, StrideTravel.com, where I worked for more than a year as Content Director. (My job is now in the capable hands of Content Coordinator Samantha Scott, who, together with co-founders Gavin Delany and Jared Alster, comprise a formidable team.)
In practical terms, Stride aspires to be — and in many ways already is — the best place on the Web to survey the wealth of multi-day, pre-planned trips that are now available from hundreds of travel suppliers around the world.
“Pre-planned trips” may encompass guided group or private tours as well as independent journeys… Continue reading
It was news to me, but National Grandparents Day is on Sunday, September 13th.
According to Family Travel Association:
- 50 million U.S. households are now led by grandparents, forecasting a continued travel boom by this large group of baby boomers.
- Today’s grandparents are far more active than their parents were, spending lots of time planning trips around specific activities.
- As a result, multi-generational adventure travel is up 30% year after year. (Multi-generational travel is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry and tops the list of travel trends, according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report.)
- More grandparents are traveling with just the grandchildren, leaving the greandkids’ parents’ behind.
- 22% of all grandparents traveled with just their grandchildren in the past year.
Here are a few suggestions for multi-generational travel, whether it’s… Continue reading