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Kim’s TRANSAMERICA Journey Epilogue

“I MADE IT!”

The TRANSAMERICA bike ride ended at 12:30 pm on August 22, when Kim Basinger dipped her front tire into the Atlantic Ocean.

Kim biked approximately 4200 miles in 87 days through 15 states, beginning at Fort Stevens, OR on the Pacific coast and ending at Ocean City, MD on the Atlantic coast.

Truth Be Told took this opportunity to do a little Q&A about Kim’s Journey, which benefited our programs. To support Kim and TBT, please click here to make a donation!

What did you miss least about your “usual life” back home while you were bicycling across USA? What did you miss most?

KB: I missed work the least, and my cat the most.

How long did you plan & prepare for this trip?

I began planning and preparing in April 2011.

Are you finding it difficult to return to living in one place?

It’s not that difficult living in one place – actually kind of nice to be sleeping in my own bed. I do miss the actual biking and adventures that came about each day. Especially seeing places I had never been to before and meeting interesting people that will no doubt be lifelong friends.

What surprised you most on the trip?

How much the trip met my expectations and more. I read several books by others that had made similar trips and I had very similar experiences.

For those who followed you, are you and Randy staying in touch – how’s he doing?

Randy and I have been staying in touch and he is settling back into his routine in Tucson. We have discussed maybe doing another ride sometime in the future, although no specific plans or destinations. During the trip we discussed possibly setting up tours for small groups of 2-4 people that would be interested in learning how to plan and participate in a bike tour.

What’s your next adventure going to be?

I don’t have a specific adventure in mind – I am still processing this trip and all it means to me. I would like to explore the possibility of interviewing for the Amazing Race. I would love to do that. Maybe another bike trip someday.

Do you have a philosophy that explains why you were willing for your trip to benefit Truth be Told?

I know that a lot of people out there riding are doing it to raise money for a favorite non-profit or cause. I felt that if TBT could somehow benefit from my ride, I was happy for them to do so, to lend my name and ride to TBT to set up as a fund raiser.

“Thanks for riding along and sharing in my adventures as I lived my dream. I hope that you are encouraged to discover and live your own dream, whatever that may be. And when you feel afraid, just remember – each and every day ordinary people like you and me do extraordinary things.”

Thanks to my “guardian angel” and dear friend, Randy Garmon. You played a huge part in making every day of this amazing adventure pure joy.

As for me, I now ride into the second half of my life renewed by the Spirit of a strong prevailing tailwind….

Kim Basinger
Ocean City, MD
August 22, 2012

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Jeff Lofton Quartet Fundraiser

Jeff Lofton Invitation FrontSeptember 9th at 7 PM is the date and time for our upcoming fundraiser, featuring the Jeff Lofton Quartet paired with a wonderful five course dinner. Details are found on the invitation below, and on our Facebook Event Page.

“It’s always great to know a performance is assisting people beyond the audience,” Jeff Lofton told us. “I appreciate the opportunity to participate in a program giving much needed help to people in an often over-looked part of our culture.”

To purchase tickets, you may use one of our secure and convenient PayPal methods:

Individual – $135
2-ticket package – $250
Gold sponsor – $2000
Platinum sponsor – $3000

Or, send a check to our address:

Truth Be Told
PO Box 40221
Austin, TX 78704-0221

(Alternatively, our street address is: 2810 S 1st / Austin, TX 78704).  For more information, please contact Carol at carol@truth-be-told.org, or call 512-292-6200. We’re excited about this fantastic event and are very grateful for your support. Please join us for this amazing evening, and to support the transformative programs of Truth Be Told!

Jeff Lofton fundraiser invitation back

Grasonville to Salisbury, MD via Delaware (15th state) – 65 miles

8/21/12 Grasonville to Delaware to Salisbury, MD via Delaware (15th state) – 65 miles


After a sad/happy goodby hug with Amita, we headed out for Salisbury. While a little overcast, it looked to be a good biking day weather wise. Again, I noticed the hint of fall in the air – my favorite time of year.

Other than the traffic, we couldn’t have had better riding  conditions.  A beautifully paved flat road with wide, wide shoulders. I cruised along and thought about tomorrow and all that means to me and others in my life. At one point, while I was stopped at an intersection, this man rolled down his window beside me and enthusiastically started asking all the regular questions. He was very complimentary and wished me the best – said it was his dream to ride cross-country some day and he was jealous. I encouraged him to just do it if that was his dream, and he said hopefully some day. Funny how this trip has changed my thinking about some things – “some day” for me has come to mean now. Living in the present. Life is too short to risk missing out. Randy forwarded this quote to me by Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”

Soon after crossing into Delaware – the 15th state on the trip, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant in Bridgeville, DE. To our surprise and delight, they had really good sweet potato fries. I had to take a picture because you never know – these might be our last of the trip.

After lunch, we cruised the rest of the way to Salisbury in continued ideal riding conditions. On the way to the hotel, we passed a street called Sassy Street. I heard Randy yell at me from behind – “I can’t believe you didn’t stop to take a picture.” I confess the thought did cross my mind, followed  by the realization that I will see my girl in just a few days now. Just hope she wants to come home to Austin with me rather than take up permanent residence in Florida.

We checked into the hotel rooms arranged for us by Amita. Great hotel for a great price in the perfect location for resumption of the ride in the morning.

I have been receiving a number of e-mails and calls from friends re their excitement and encouragement as I head into the last day tomorrow. I have been so emotional the last few days and it is all a little overwhelming  – in a good way. Mostly, I feel overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for so many things.

Tomorrow we will ride approximately 30 miles to Ocean City, MD, where my TRANSAMERICA ride will officially end with the dipping of my front tire in the Atlantic.
I will end here with a quote that I received from my good friend Joe Loiacono this afternoon:

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless.

“We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip.

“Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” — John Steinbeck

Mount Airy to Grasonville, MD – 62 miles

8/20/12 Mount Airy, MD to Grasonville, MD – 62 miles


I woke up somewhat apprehensive because it was quite overcast and the forecast was for 40% chance of rain. Pulled out the rain gear for the panniers, and we started on our way at 7:30 am, hoping to get as many miles in as possible before it rained.

We took the most direct route possible on a state highway designated as a bike route – Hwy 144. Turned out to be a great choice. Although mostly 2 lanes, it had a nice broad shoulder and good pavement. There was rolling hill after rolling hill, but these were not nearly as steep as the day before. I suspect the road was flattening out somewhat as we got closer to Baltimore.

At Ellicott City, we picked up a beautiful bike trail at Patapsco Valley State Park that took us almost all the way to the BWI bike trail that loops the airport. The trail ran through the woods and alongside a creek. At certain points, the railroad ran nearby. Absolutely gorgeous and paved the whole way. Likewise, the BWI trail was paved and took us to a connector over to the Baltimore and Annapolis Bike Trail (B & A) that runs approximately 20 miles to Annapolis. So, most of the day we were on paved, flat bike trails and made excellent time. Throughout the day we met people that wanted to know about the ride and offered helpful directions and suggestions re local places. Approximately midday, the sun came out. No rain for us today!

I had called ahead and made a reservation with a private shuttle service to transport us across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. They met us at Sandy Point State Park and the transfer could not have gone more smoothly. They let us out at the local library on the other side so we could use the Internet to search for a motel in Grasonville, our goal destination for the day. We booked a motel and headed out on yet another beautiful paved bike trail for the 6 mile ride to Grasonville and the Sleep Inn.

Our experience at the Sleep Inn was one of those magical experiences I will never forget. We were  cheerfully greeted by the motel desk clerk, Amita, and her 3 year old son, Ayaan, who was quite the helper. She graciously allowed Randy to use the motel facilities to wash clothes, and hovered over to help him. Since there were no restaurants nearby, we decided to order out and have it delivered. Amita and Ayaan joined us in the breakfast area and we had the best time with them. She is originally from India, and we learned all about her family and she told us a little about how she came to be in Grasonville. She and Ayaan were absolutely delightful. I learned that Amita and I had a lot in common re foods we like and the way we look at things in general. Randy just sort of sat there for the most part, smiling and shaking his head. As we finished eating dinner, Amita asked if we wanted ice cream. Since I hadn’t seen any stores nearby, I asked where we could go to get it. Randy said, “she’s always up for ice cream!” Amita then told us she kept a “stash” just for certain hotel guests, and proceed to serve us chocolate and butter pecan ice cream. It was great! I told Randy that the whole evening felt like we were staying at someone’s house because of the way Amita treated us. She was more like a friend than a desk clerk. I just loved her and her son and wished they could go on to Ocean City with us.

When Amita heard us discussing possible motel options for tomorrow night, she called the owner of her motel – who happens to own the Sleep Inn in Salisbury – and asked for the best rate he would give us there and had him reserve 2 rooms for tomorrow night. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!

A great day in every possible way – and not a drop of rain.

Hagerstown to Mount Airy, MD – 45 miles

8/19/12 Hagerstown, MD to Mount Airy, MD – 45 miles


The day started out overcast and cool – perfect for riding as long as no rain. The plan is to head towards Baltimore and get as far as we can go before stopping for the night. Want to get to Annapolis on Monday if at all possible.

We were in agreement that the C & O Towpath was out and proceeded on the designated bike route on Hwy 40. Although mostly 2 lanes, the road had a beautifully paved 10 foot shoulder, along with many rolling hills. Some included very steep inclines, so we got a good workout. However, the descents on the other side were exhilarating. The Maryland countryside was lush and green, and a definite feel of fall in the air. All in all, a pleasant ride for me – Randy was still moaning and groaning about the hills. At one point, we came upon a sign with mileages for both Baltimore and Wasington DC and it hit Randy and I at the same time that we really are getting close to the end. So, we stopped and took a picture.

A little further along, we came upon an access point for the Appalachian Trail. I stopped to put a little air in my rear tire while Randy hiked up the path a bit. I took a picture as he returned so that he can say he has been on the trail.

The ride after the access point was mostly downhill all the way to Frederick. We stopped at McDonalds to re-group, grab a bite to eat and figure out how to get through this fairly sizeable town. When we got back on the bikes, it was getting increasingly more cloudy. There was a lot of traffic and the roads weren’t that great. After getting lost a couple of times, we finally found the designated bike route highway and headed east towards Baltimore. About 5 miles out, it started raining. Not a downpour, but a pretty strong steady rain. We took refuge under a porch at a place named Linganore Candles. I visited with the owner while waiting out the rain, and ended up buying some of her little homemade votive candles to give away.

The rain subsided for the most part and we started back down the road. It wasn’t long until the rain started again, and soon we were pretty much drenched. We ended up at a McDonalds in New Market, MD and decided to check out the motel possibilities, since it appeared that the rainstorm was pretty much here to stay the rest of the day. The only place we could find was 6 miles away in Mount Airy, and the online inquiry indicated that no rooms were available. I told Randy to call just in case there were cancellations while I tried to figure out plan B. Luckily, when Randy called there were rooms. So, we hopped back on the bikes and headed out in the rain for the remaining 6 miles up and down the rolling hills to “home.” This home was not the nicest place we have stayed, but I was just so happy to get dry and have a place to sleep I didn’t care.

Tomorrow it is on to Baltimore, then down the bike path to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Still targeting Wednesday as the official “tire dipping” day to end the trip.

Hancock to Hagerstown, MD – 30 miles

8/18/12 Hancock to Hagerstown, MD – 30 miles


After yesterday’s trauma, we decided to make it a short day to Hagerstown, and take a 1/2 day off. I spent probably 2 hours blow-drying stuff just so I could pack it to ride. I asked the desk clerk if it would be possible to use the motel dryer for just 10 minutes because we had been caught in the downpour yesterday and everything got drenched, but she refused because of “motel policy.” So, back to the hair dryer. Needless to say, we were a little late leaving.

The sun was out and it was a beautiful day. Perfect temperature. For the past week or so, I have noticed the hint of fall in the air – the change of seasons coming. Fall has always been my favorite time of year.

One thing I knew – there was no way I was getting back on the C & O trail. I told Randy to feel free to ride the C & O if he wanted, I would meet him in Hagerstown. However, I think he had had enough as well. We were able to take a paved bike trail the first 10 miles, then got on the state highways the rest of the way. It was a really beautiful ride, and although there were a number of rolling hills the shoulder was wide and the traffic not too bad.

We stopped for lunch in Clear Springs and pulled the Hotwire trick one more time to get a 3 star hotel in Hagerstown for a great price. We happily checked in early enough to enjoy the afternoon in a rather luxurious hotel. I took a long nap.

A wonderful day on the heels of trauma. It looks like we are now within 4 days of the Atlantic coast, putting us there on Wednesday afternoon. As sad as I am to see the trip end, I admit to a little excitement at getting this close with the end in sight. Again, I can feel that competitive nature kicking in, and I find myself riding somewhat like a horse with the stable in sight – full out.

Frostburg to Hancock, MD – 70 miles

8/17/12 Frostburg to Hancock, MD – 70 miles


The day started off with great promise. A little overcast, but nothing to be alarmed about. We got back on the GAP trail and resumed what seemed like “charmed” bike riding. We were still high enough up to get some beautiful panoramic views interspersed with riding right alongside the railroad tracks. And all pretty much downhill, so we cruised.

The GAP trail ended after approx. 18 miles in Cumberland, MD. At this point, we picked up the Chesapeake and Ohio Rail Trail that runs over 200 miles to Washington, DC. For some reason, I expected this trail to be as well maintained and easy to ride as the GAP. I was wrong. I think it would be fair to say that the C & O is more suitable for hybrid or mountain bikes. Not that you can’t ride a road bike or touring bike, but the trail was quite rough, with a lot of water- filled potholes. The old canal locks were interesting, but it was hard to take in the scenery while trying to hold the bike on the trail and avoid potholes. After about 10 miles or so, I suggested we take a look at the state highway running parallel to the trail. Randy agreed and we got off at the next access point on to highway 50. I loved highway 50. Nice smooth pavement and pretty scenery. There was some traffic, but it didn’t bother me that much. Also, quite a bit of that medium to steep rolling hill activity, but I don’t seem to mind the hills as much as Randy.

After about 10 miles, Randy wanted to get back on the C & O trail, mainly because he didn’t feel safe, plus he will do almost anything to avoid the hills. It was one of the few times we have differed in route preference. So, we got back on the trail. We planned on stopping at a town called Paw Paw for lunch. Back to the potholes and uneven riding. Shortly after getting back on, I noticed that my rear tire was going flat. I stopped and put air in, hoping that the stop gap measure would hold for a while. It didn’t. So, I stopped and started changing the tire. Randy was some distance ahead, so I e-mailed and let him know I had a flat. He came back and helped me finish the repair and we resumed riding. After some time, we came upon the Paw Paw Tunnel,  which is a 3100 ft long unlit tunnel. There is a very narrow path inside along a wall with weep holes and water- filled potholes bordered by a wooden guard rail that I assume is supposed to keep you from plunging into the black depths. It was very creepy and slow-going. After what seemed forever pushing, slowly riding and scooting along, I came out the other side and waited for Randy. The look on his face was telling. The trip through the tunnel was a little harrowing for him also. It was at that point that we pulled out the less than helpful trail map and realized that we had somehow missed the access off the trail to the town for lunch. Another example of a poorly marked trail.

I decided to stop a minute and eat an apple for lunch, since we still had probably another 30 miles or so to go, and I was hungry. About 2 bites in, it started raining. In no time it turned into a downpour and I was drenched. That would have been bad enough, but this was a cold rain. I looked at Randy and we just sort of laughed – I mean, what are you going to do. So, we headed down the trail and rode in the downpour. Only now the trail was covered in water up to 3 inches or so in a lot of places. So, we more or less pedaled through water for what seemed like forever. Eventually, the rain stopped. We took a break and ate some more snacks. My water bottles were covered with this black mud stuff and so I ate a little dirt with my water. Got back on the trail and soon the downpour resumed. It was a truly miserable remaining 25 miles or so. By the time we finally reached Hancock, it was going on 6:30 pm and I was tired, wet and covered with that black trail mud/dirt mixture. Not to mention the bike and panniers. We checked into a motel and hosed everything down. Spent a little time hanging out wet stuff and cleaning the panniers as best I could. Eventually got around to trying to clean me up. By the time we got out to dinner, I was pretty much numbed out by the whole day. One for the books.