What Success Feels Like

I decided to publish a post I wrote on our family adventure site. It was the day that we officially made it across the country by bike. I edited very little of it. You can read about the entire journey at fourtheroad.com. I hope it inspires you to go further and climb higher.

The post:

So what’s it like to cross the country with a family on bikes?

Don’t be so impatient, I’ll get to that.

We have some other things we must get to first. We have some thanks to offer up. We have the pedaling to the beach to cover. We have some people to share with you. In due time, friends.

In due time.

A hero of mine is named Gil Wagner. He is an adventuring extraordinaire. He is the guy who comes up with brilliant ideas and then has you believing that they were really yours all along. If our trip ended in Florida after meeting Gil, it would have been successful. He offered advice and encouragement early and often. I felt his hand upon my shoulder the entire way. Gil was the first person I called after dipping my tires. When I called Gil he was recuperating from knee surgery. He said that the hospital staff calls it rehab, but Gil calls it training for his bike trip in Europe this summer. My man.

If I wrote a few lines about each person and family that has touched us, it would take several hours. Instead, I will write the names and you can find them in previous posts to see how they impacted us.

Gil Wagner, Ed and Sharon Barger (and their friend Jim), JT Hopkins and Family, Tom, Edye, Bernie and Barbara Walker, Jeff and John, Jeff Ellis (our first awesome host), Linda (Greenville), several churches…several pastors, Pastor Jon in Pearlington, Howard Johnson’s of Fredericksburg, The Burleigh Family, Janet and Paulus, Eric and Yvonne and Family, Roy and Darlene, Terry Brown, The Weis Family, Officer Ken Ortego, the staff at the Chevron in San Simone, Chrysa, Carol Montgomery, Shannon Federoff and Family, John Eyeberg, Raymundo Gomez, Crazy Cat Cyclery in El Paso, Aaron and Bre, Tevin, Mash and Robert, Dane, Dodie and Mike Marrufo and Family, Karmel, Konnie, Mobile Bay Ferry Captain and Crew, Ron Iverson in Benson, AZ, Sybelle and Arnold, Bernadette in Benson, AZ, Lucy Adair, the Yuma Sun, the Valley View, Johnson City Paper, the newest Indian Reservation (Akela Flats), Jackson’s Hide-A-Way RV Park, Virgil and Susan. We will add to the list as we recollect.

We left the Quality Inn in El Cajon after filling up on the complimentary breakfast. We had piled in a good amount of pizza the previous night, but manged to take in some carbs just the same.

Leaving the Quality Inn in El Cajon

Leaving the Quality Inn in El Cajon

Before getting out of the parking lot, we were all standing on our pedals trying to make it up the hill. Then, the climbing got worse. Several people had told us that it was all downhill to the beach once we came over the mountains. Some even said that it was 30 plus miles of downhill. San Diego is basically in the mountains. We can only guess that they hadn’t ever been there (at least not on bike). Or, there had to be a secret road, that was hidden from us and Google. The ‘easy road’. Either way, the ups and downs didn’t much bother us. We have sort of become programmed to pedal in spite of terrain. Besides this was ‘our day’ and we only had 17 miles or so to our DESTINATION. We could have done that if it was all uphill.

Thankfully, it wasn’t.

We were stopped along the road and did a video with a woman named Eutha. Eutha is the only female survivor on her side of the family courtesy of Breast Cancer. We had a pleasant conversation on the road with her and were even offered a place to stay if we needed.

After pedaling on a few miles, we spotted a barber shop that was calling out to Luke and I. Well, at least me. But hey, Luke didn’t shed too many tears as he was being sheared.

It's hard saying goodbye...will it ever grow back?

It’s hard saying goodbye…will it ever grow back?

After it was all said and done, Luke liked what he saw.

After it was all said and done, Luke liked what he saw.


The barbers were Vietnamese. The one that cut my hair was a bit older. He was leaving for Vietnam in a couple of days. He told me that for the last 21 years he had been traveling for about 3 months out of each year. He has been all over. He wasn’t sure how long he would be alive or healthy, so he was taking advantage of now.

Seems about right.

Ho and Rob after a most excellent haircut.

Ho and Rob after a most excellent haircut.

We could have stopped at another barber shop and heard something different altogether, but it was this one we stopped at. We got to hear his story. That sounds about right also.
The barbers mentioned an excellent Vietnamese Restaurant about two miles up the road. Can you blame us for being hungry? We had pedaled 6 miles already.

On the way into the restaurant we spoke with a woman who then invited us to dinner. We had the coast calling, so we took a raincheck until later in the week. We went in and ate.

The waitstaff was attentive and friendly. The food was amazing. The name of the place is Pho Ca dao if you are ever near El Cajon. 5223 El Cajon Blvd. After eating we had to knock out some fast pedaling in order to make it to the ferry to cross onto Coronado Island.

We had been put up for the night at the Marriott on Coronado Island by Karmel (and family). She had offered to put us up on the beach when we got there to dip our tires. After our long journey it seemed a perfect ending to honor her by dipping our tires where she chose.

We pedaled through the famed Balboa Park swiftly. We had a couple of stretches that were downhill for a block or more (could this be the famous downhill???).

We made it to the ferry with a few minutes to spare. We talked to several folks who had questions for us about our trip as we waited. The ferry came and we loaded our gear onto it.

Waiting for the ferry with RJ and his pedicab.

Waiting for the ferry with RJ and his pedicab.

Riding across the bay to Coronado Island.

Riding across the bay to Coronado Island.

We arrived at Coronado Island about an hour before sunset. It was a couple of miles to get to the beach on the other side of the island. We were meeting Karmel’s best friend Konnie on the beach for ‘the dipping’.

We arrived at the dock on Coronado Island.

We arrived at the dock on Coronado Island.

We got to the beach and took the handicap ramp to get our bikes and gear down. A sidewalk led us a block closer before ending, leaving us to drag our bikes and gear through the sand. It had been nearly 3 months since we had dragged our bikes through the sand in Jacksonville Beach and dipped them in the Atlantic Ocean. Luke kept smiling and saying, “We did it”. He also made some hooray type noises. Dakota, Gail, and I were content to gather in the moment mostly in silence. It almost seems like a mystery; how little more than determination could have taken us across the country on our bicycles.

We did it!

We did it!

We all took our shoes off and pulled our bikes to the spot the last wave covered, and waited. With the surety of the setting sun, the pattern was copied and our feet and tires got a thorough soaking in the cold Pacific water. Our mission complete.

Our family hug at the completion of our awesome journey.

Our family hug at the completion of our awesome journey.

Bells didn’t ring. Confetti didn’t fall. We took some pictures with Konnie and spoke with her and a few other folks who congratulated us.

Konnie, Karmel’s friend met up with us on the beach.

Konnie, Karmel’s friend met up with us on the beach.

We left the beach the same way we came, by dragging our bikes and gear through the sand. Everything was seemingly the same.

Except us. We were different. The confetti and bells are in us. So are the memories.

This journey of ours wouldn’t have been the same if you hadn’t been with us. We want each of you to know that you have good neighbors on your block, we’ve met some of them.
To the Coast…wherever that may be for you.

Good night friends.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our journey and life.

Live it LOUD!


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21 Responses to What Success Feels Like

  1. Nice post Rob it’s so touch my hearth and great anecdote your story i really amuse to read this post.
    Thank you Rob sharing this part.

  2. Madras Geek says:

    Great post! Inspired me!

  3. Rey says:

    Hey Rob, that was a great adventure. I really wonder how it feels to travel so long with the entire family. I actually want to do something like that with my family too, but I don’t think everybody will give in to my ideas. How I wish I had a family like yours.

  4. Jack says:

    Bike trip has always been an adventure for me. I have done a lot of amazing bike trips with my friends but never really thought of going around with family. But Dude, after reading your article, I think I should not think twice and start planning bike trip with my family. It seems you really had a great time around. Kudos buddy! I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing it and inspiring us to see the beautiful site of life.

    • Rob says:

      Hey Fellow Dude,

      Helen Keller had it right when she said that ‘life was either a daring adventure or nothing at all’.

      True that.

      Live it LOUD!

  5. Martin says:

    Success feels like bliss! I have been to biking trip with my family and it was as amazing as you have described here. Exploring new shops and food during ride, communicating with locals, solving the mystery road – everything feels so amazing. Ahh buddy, I really want to get my bike ready for the next trip.

  6. Stenn says:

    Killer post! Bike ride with family! Sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing. I have started backing my bags for it! 😛

  7. Zoe Fletcher says:

    I define success as a fulfillment in every task you undertake. I feel successful when I’ve done something right for a fellow. I feel successful when I make someone smile with their heart. I feel like successful when mom tells me I’m doing the right thing. I just feel successful when I’m fulfilled.

  8. Kevin says:

    Wow that’s quite a trip. Do you have a map showing the approximate route you took? Just curious how far it was in total.

    • Rob says:

      Hey Kevin,

      The trip was just over 2,500 miles. The map is on our adventure site fourtheroad.com
      Lots of pictures and commentary over there. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Samfrank says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with your family…..Its amazing…I like it…. I have learned a important lessons today on success:Success is so much sweeter when it is a success at conquering a fear

  10. Alex says:

    Exciting post. Wish I could go on a trip like yours. It must been such a fun man? Thanks for sharing your story.

  11. Paul says:

    Well, I am not much into biking, but I love trekking to the core. I am a hard-core trekker and one of my highest peaks accomplished was 3700 feet and 70 foot high waterfall. I never thought I would make it, but I did it. It was the biggest accomplishment or you can say success till date. I still keep on trekking for fun.

    • Rob says:

      Hey Paul,

      That sounds awesome. You have piqued my curiosity about trekking. We gave serious consideration to the Appalachian Trail (as a family) but the time commitment was too great. One cant do everything.

      Keep Trekking!

  12. on bikes? wow. that’s one heck of an adventure.

  13. James Raj says:

    its amazing and adventurous family trip, i will also plan a trip similar to yours in near future, i love those pics….

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