Frank and Trudy’s excellent adventures
The storm’s whipping 50 mph winds nearly blew Trudy Nye off her bicycle as she pedaled up steep, seemingly endless switchbacks.
The enormous gusts were unpredictable, threatening to blow her into oncoming traffic or toss her onto the narrow shoulder. But no matter how bad it got, she knew that Frank Pedrick was just ahead of her, monitoring her progress in his bike helmet’s rear-view mirror.
Nye met Pedrick in 2011 while on a cycling trip through southeastern Utah. Both athletic and lovers of the outdoors, they hit it off.
Nye, a retired Rohnert Park high school teacher, had also spent years working for the National Ski Patrol.
Pedrick, a recently retired Nevada County eligibility worker, had been cycling for decades — he has completed several double century rides and the infamous Death Ride five times.
The two were married in July 2014, and for their honeymoon they cycled from Missoula, Montana, to Bismarck, North Dakota.
As it turned out, that was just the beginning.
On Oct. 10, Nye, 62, and Pedrick, 65, returned home to Nevada County after a 63-day, 2,600 mile cycling trip from Canada to Mexico.
With elevations ranging from sea level to nearly 10,000 feet at Tioga Pass, the couple averaged 48 miles a day, with the intention of taking one day off a week and maintaining a comfortable pace in order to “stop and smell the flowers,” said Nye.
“The route was incredible, just beautiful,” she added. “The scenic byways and secondary roads were outstanding. The national parks and green forests were amazing. We rode along cliffs — it was phenomenal. We saw so many things you wouldn’t see from a car.”
“Touring is like backpacking on wheels,” echoed Pedrick. “You’re self-sufficient, riding the terrain, seeing the agriculture and sampling the food of each region. We ate from a lot of local fruit stands along the way.”
Despite the dramatic low points, such as the 50 mph headwinds during some of the most grueling stretches, these memories are not the ones most deeply etched in their minds.
Instead, said Pedrick, it’s the people.
“This trip reaffirmed our faith in humanity,” he said. “The kindness of strangers was unbelievable. I guess two people on bicycles aren’t really a threat to anyone. People would adopt us. When we’d stop to rest, a little crowd would develop around us. People wanted to hear our story and offer food and places to stay.”
On their first day, Nye and Pedrick were just 40 miles south of the Canadian border when the first act of kindness kicked in.
As it was getting dark, they arrived at their first campground, which was unexpectedly closed. It was pouring, and they asked a clerk if they could camp on the lawn behind his store.
“No,” said the clerk. “You can stay at my sister’s house.”
Part way into the trip, Nye found two brand new stuffed bears lying in the road, as though they’d just fallen off a car.
Strapped to their gear for the rest of the trip, the bears became the trip’s mascots and ambassadors to children.
Concerned that the stuffed animals didn’t have names, one little girl in a campground thought they should be called Charlie and Rose.
The names stuck. Charlie and Rose appear in scores of photographs along the 2,600-mile ride.
Although Nye found comfort in Pedrick’s extensive cycling experience while on their trip, this winter she’s looking forward to getting her new husband on the slopes — her area of expertise.
Their epic bike trip seems to have only whetted their appetite for more cycling adventures, only this time Nye gets to choose the route.
The south of France or a cross-country trip are possibilities for next year.
“I tend to hunker down and power through — Trudy has helped me to slow down and enjoy life along the way,” said Pedrick. “After our first humongous climb, we agreed we would never get out of each other’s sight, to remember that we’re doing this together. This trip really solidified our relationship — I’m so lucky to have a partner I can share adventures with.”
For more information on the Canada to Mexico bike trip, visit Nye and Pedrick’s blog at http://trudyandfrank.blogspot.com.
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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