Indianapolis and Musical Dreams

Yes, I am in Indianapolis, pursuing my dreams. I announced it on Facebook and other social media, but not here.

Anyone watch the movie Legally Blonde? Well, there’s a scene where Reese Witherspoon walks into her academic advisor’s office and declares that she’s going to Harvard Law School. Her advisor wears a grin of disbelief and says Harvard is a top 5 law school, “What are your back ups?” Reese, without a beat, replies, “I don’t need any backups; I’m going to Harvard.”

Well, let’s just say I feel like Reese’s character right now. I have big dreams. I need to work hard to achieve them. Maybe impossibly hard… But that’s not going to stop me from trying.

For the people back in Columbia, I will be home to visit my mom, so we can still connect. For the people all over the country who helped me successfully make it across the U.S., I salute you and thank you with all my heart. Please message me and let me know how you’re doing!

jbrzr3@gmail.com

I am going to write again tomorrow. I am going to start with Pennsylvania and take you from State-to-State. So many magical, scary, and fun things happened on my trip.

BTW, Fiji is settling in well. She is a bundle of energy!

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Value

People keep asking me how cycling across the country changed me.  Well, living off three pairs of clothing for the last six months will definitely alter one’s perception of material needs.  The fact that I lived simply on the kindness of others, the little possessions I could fit in my panniers and a visit to the thrift shop once in that time shows me it’s not the materialistic contents of life that matter, but rather the itinerary.

Never once did I feel embarrassed about my situation because, even so, I was doing something worthwhile. You can have the least amount of money in your pockets, the least amount of clothes in your closet, only a bicycle in your garage, or hey, maybe you don’t have a garage; at the end of the day, it’s what your schedule looks like. When you choose to spend time with the people you love, when you get to go to the job you love, when you get to hug and kiss your adorable doggy, when you get those fleeting moments to just gaze up in the sky and admire the beauty of the tiny galaxy we call home.

With that in mind, I think I can cut my expenses, and double the value of my time left on this planet exponentially.

With that in mind, I want to take chances, try new things, do fun stuff and make spontaneous decisions with a level headed heart.

That’s why I’ve decided to stay in San Diego and pursue a job opportunity near and dear to my heart. I will also be continuing my studies in violin here. Welcome to California, Jasmine! Your journey has just begun.

But, don’t exit scene, yet. I still have a ton of updating to do, and I will give you all more details of my possible relocation and transition soon.  Also, instead of writing a book, I plan to write an in depth report of my journey right here on the good ol’ blog.

 

Miss You

I know it’s been a while. Hold on to your eyeballs! I am now in California.

I have tons of recapping to do which I plan on doing in the next several weeks. So, please come back to my blog for updated stories from the road. However, the journey doesn’t end here. I don’t know as of yet, but I have some big news to announce…or not. It really depends.

So for now, a tale from the farm will have to suffice.

In Grand Junction, CO, we stayed with veteran cyclist, Marie N. She had several animals on her small farm, including goats, cows, ferral cats and baby cows. Fiji was unruly. She chased after the cats, and barked and growled at the cows. She also tried to jump into the goat pin!

Fiji stares at the goats moments before trying to jump over the fence.

Fiji stares at the goats moments before trying to jump over the fence.

Fiji barks at and runs after cowns through fencing.  Cows leap off.

Fiji barks at and runs after cows through fencing. Cows leap off.

 

I decided it needed to stop. I took chase after Fiji, screaming, “How do you like it?” I looked like a crazy woman. Fiji could tell I was mad, and came up to me with her tail between her legs. I began to train her in proper farm etiquette.

 

I teach Fiji to sit whenever she sees a cow or other animal. Cats are a no-go. She will also take chase.

I teach Fiji to sit whenever she sees a cow or other animal. Cats are a no-go. She will also take chase.

Baby cow and Fiji.

Baby cow and Fiji.

Progress...

Progress…

 

Success!

Success!

 

I hope to upload my news in a few days. Be on alert!

Also, please send any donations to Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation. Be sure to put “FiJaBAM: Jasmine Reese” in the donation comments box, so they know the donation came through my referral.

 

 

 

Begin Again

Today, my journey restarts, but I’m feeling a little down. I will miss small town Coolidge and all the people who came to my aid. What a great group of people (excluding the horny old guys)! Tomorrow, it’s back to the unknown. Where will the road lead us? Will we have enough money for the week? Will anyone take us in? Who will we meet? What will we see? Some days are full of worry, and other days are filled with awe-inspiring sights, sounds and persons. I am excited for road life again, but as I look at the clouds on the Horizon and realize they’re actually mountains, will I be able to make it?

Welcome to Colorado!

Welcome to Colorado!

Celebrate good times, come on!!

Celebrate good times, come on!!

By the way, Fiji’s friend, Max, found a forever home in Garden City, KS. Fiji was so happy and took several  dives into the Arkansas River in his honor.

We hit the road today. After our two week stay, we’re a little tapped out on cash. We appreciate any personal donations! http://www.gofundme.com/FiJaBAM

Fears, Injury, Violin, Self-Esteem

First, let me apologize for not keeping up with my blog. I post daily or more frequently on my facebook page for those interested in the daily happenings of my journey. http://Facebook.com/FiJaBAM Fiji and I have made friends all across the country for the past three months. Sept. 8 will be four months on the road, and our trip has come to a standstill in Coolidge, KS. I’ve been working at the Trail City Bed & Breakfast for two weeks, cleaning rooms, serving food, meeting horses and doing dishes. What a great place to get stranded!

Fiji hides in shower after being scolded for chasing after a skunk. I do not abuse her! She just hates it when her mommy is disappointed. She now goes in the shower to sleep!

Fiji hides in shower after being scolded for chasing after a skunk. I do not abuse her! She just hates it when her mommy is disappointed. She now goes in the shower to sleep!

Where we sleep, eat and work!

Where we sleep, eat and work!

Lori, the B&B owner, and I go to meet B.J., the horse. The first day, we rode our bikes out with Fiji, but Fiji didn't quite like the horses.

Lori, the B&B owner, and I go to meet B.J., the horse. The first day, we rode our bikes out with Fiji, but Fiji didn’t quite like the horses.

 

Although I am super fortunate to be at the B&B with amazing Lori and her mom, Larue, it’s a bit aggravating to be two miles outside of Colorado.  Our town of Coolidge contains a ton of cowboy history, with an old jail, city hall, opera house and saloon. Fiji has made friends with most of the neighborhood dogs and experienced her first encounters with skunks, fire ants and feral cats.

So, here’s the simple story.

I would love to tell you the action packed story about how my bike, after four months of no flats or serious problems, was nearly destroyed. I’d like to tell you that an outlaw group of historic cowboys arose from the Coolidge cemetery and proceeded to trash my bike.  But, alas, my story really begins with a stomach ache.

I stayed at the Syracuse Inn the night before, the only lodging in Syracuse, courtesy of the ministerial alliance. Of course, I appreciate the free stay! However, I stayed up part of the night swatting flies that covered the walls and ceiling and would swoop down to attack Fiji and me. It wasn’t all bad. I had a wonderful dinner with Lions Club members, Fred, Jean, Gerald and Rosemary. We told stories and laughed. The following morning, Fred and Jean planned to take me out to breakfast.

I woke up in the A.M. with pain in my gut. No appetite, I called to cancel breakfast. I decided I could not do the 50 miles I planned for the day, but could not stay in the Syracuse Inn another day. I looked up the nearest lodging on my route, and found the Trail City B&B. I thought I could ride at least 15 miles. I called Lori, booked my room and told her my situation.

“Oh no, you can’t ride over! Let me pick you up,” Lori said.

“Well, that sounds awesome, but I have a trailer, bike and my bags. I don’t think it’ll fit in your car.”

“You’re right. Hmmm…let me call around.” I disconnected with Lori, excited about not having to ride my bike with a cramping stomach.  But I still packed and got ready just in case she didn’t get back to me.

20 minutes later, an officer of the law showed up with a pickup truck. I was surprised and thankful, but I also thought, Oh, I didn’t need an officer to come out.

We loaded my bike and trailer into the pickup. “I’m going to go turn in my room key,” I told him and left him at the back of the pickup. When I got back, he and Fiji were already in their seats, ready to go, so I got in on the passenger side.

We talked about my trip, and he received quite a bit correspondence on his walkietalkie which made me feel worse about taking him away from his duties.

About two minutes down the road, the officer decided to tell a ridiculous joke. “Your bike fell out.”

“That’s not funny!” I said with a smile on my face. That disappeared when I saw he was dead serious. In slow motion, I looked back and there lied my precious Kona Sutra 2013 on the U.S. 50, vultures or buzzards circling overhead. Black clouds gathered in the clear blue sky and my bike’s life flashed before my eyes. I remembered the days on the C&O trail and Great Allegany Passage, how my trusty steed raced me out of the onslaught of mosquitoes. I thought about lugging her in and out of garages, riding her up and down hills, walking her in areas a bike had no business being in. How she resiliently rode through flood waters and mudslides, how she kept my doggy and me safe through her sturdy reliability. At that moment, when I saw her lying on the highway, I felt like a friend had just been seriously injured and I was devastated.

We rushed back to my girl. I ran out of the pickup, trying to maintain a positive attitude. I lifted her off the ground, and tried to ignore the significant damage to her brake levers, tires and saddle. “Oops, it looks like we forgot to close the door.” No, you forgot to close the trunk. I left him back there when I went to turn in my key. Naturally, when I came back from the office and saw him sitting in the truck, I would assume he closed the door.  But I didn’t say that out loud because the officer had come out and helped me when he didn’t have to. Inside, I silently seethed and wept tears. Despite the officer’s words of reassurance “Oh, the bike doesn’t look so bad” “I’m sure you can still ride it” I knew, as a cyclist and a girl who formed a close relationship with her bike over the last few months, that my bike was not rideable and in great need of repairs.

Long story short, Lori allowed me to stay at the B&B with no money, bless her heart. Fred and Jean heard about the incident and made my case for me. I felt too bad about the whole situation to do it myself. Hopefully, the sheriff’s office insurance will cover bike damages which total $556.50. My girl has a current hospital stay at the Bike Rack bicycle shop in Garden City, KS. She’s been there a week, and I miss her.

I’ve seen other cyclists, flying past on the U.S. 50, and I envy them. Are they headed towards the Rockies? Will they see the famed mountains I feared so much? Yes, I’ve been nervous about tackling the Rockies and desert.  However, I was excited to cross the state line into Colorado and head toward them.

Shortly after my bike, my violin suffered broken string. Two days before Syracuse, I had fallen off my bike and bruised up my leg. Yes, we’re just an injured bunch. Don’t laugh!

Right now, I am lying in bed with a cold, Fiji hogging the covers, while I write this to you. In this small town, I’ve met the sweetest people, the coolest people, and I have a 90 year old male stalker (Long story, go to my Facebook page to get details).

I hear back today whether or not the Sheriff’s office will cover the cost of my bike. If they don’t, I’m up a creek! I’ll have to get on my Kona, injuries and all, and slowly make my way to San Diego. I refuse to let my journey end here.

As a side note, Coolidge is a nice little place to stop in. Next year, Lori will have revived the historic Opera House, and I will be giving a recital in it on opening day. The B&B is beautiful and clean. As a temporary housekeeper, I can swear to that! She double washes everything, even the dishes! For cyclists, you’ve got to ride the 6-mile loop through the Sand Hills. What amazingly gorgeous country. Pics coming soon!

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to play violin. The following video is at the Emporia, KS farmer’s market with Ben Stallings!

More posts coming soon! Please share, like and subscribe! It helps me to raise money for MissourI Lions Eye Research Foundation.

Safety for a Solo Woman

As I think back to my trip overall, Fiji and I avoided and never encountered any bad situations. We really only experienced kind people, beautiful scenery and the occasional muscle aches.

One woman asked me, ” How do you travel alone? How do you stay safe?”

It’s difficult to say. Every cyclist or hiker or runner who embarks on a cross country or world journey has different circumstances, goes down various roads, and takes necessary and unnecessary risks. My decisions on the road could land me in a completely opposite position than another person, based on age, race, gender and other factors.

However, there are two things that all adventurers should follow.

1. Know how to read people.

2. Know your limits.

When on a journey of this magnitude, you’re going to rely on strangers at some point. Your “weirdo” sensor needs to be on.  If you feel uncomfortable, that’s your sensor telling you that it’s probably best to bypass the situation.

Also, you can’t always expect people to help. Know what you can do physically, mentally and spiritually. Don’t set up a 60 mile ride for the day if you don’t think you can do it. Don’t ride in the desert if you’re not confident about it.

Fiji is my sensor. She’s way better at reading people than I am, and I do a good job.  Without Fiji, my ride would be so different–the risk I take, the places I go, the doors of opportunity I walked through, etc….

So, I guess my advice is to follow your heart, but temper it with common sense.

Random Acts of Violince, 2

Practicing string crossings in a friendly stranger’s garage. I literally pulled into the driveway of a beautiful home, sat down in the shade and asked the woman if we could be there. She was super sweet. Fiji got excited when the kids came in, so I had to stop. I’ll upload a full version of the Bach Cello Suite, No. 1 for violin as soon as I memorize and practice it.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel @Violinfanatic!

Also, be sure to donate to the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation. I am 3 days away from St. Louis, MO!