Trip Diary
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12/26 Los Angeles, California

We planned to get up early, run for an hour to breakfast, shower, then go to the Peterson Automotive Museum. BUT . . . when the alarm rang, we were really tired . . . so we slept awhile -- until noon. THEN we ran for awhile, had a late breakfast, and went to the museum.

(Even after all this time, those all-night flights still hit us hard. And we got into a bad cycle by taking such a long nap yesterday. We couldn't sleep at night... so here we are.)

Anyway, the Petersen Automotive Museum was really interesting. (Even Lisa said she was glad she went.) Of course, it's al about cars -- cars in transition, cars in California, cars in movies, and cars in the new Grinch movie. They have the non-movie cars situated in replicas of towns of their time (for example, a typical 1949s Main Street).

Afterward, we jogged over to the Farmers Market (had our first real American apple fritter in a year), then stopped at a drug store, then headed back to our room.

Made a few calls to relatives, then walked to a neighborhood Thai restaurant (Thai food here is not nearly as spicy as it is in Thailand.) Then we walked back to our room and watched American TV.

Love to all,
David and Lisa

12/27-12/30 California, Los Angeles to Anaheim to Burbank

We walked to "Buzz's Coffee House" this morning for a light breakfast, Then went back and packed our gear. Brother-in-law Fred picked us up at noon and drove us to his and Peg's home in Anaheim.

We had a nice visit with Peg and Fred and niece Leah and her family for the next three days.

We went out for a couple of runs, and part of the route we followed was along the San Gabriel River -- the same one that we bicycled down after leaving Pasadena last January 1, 2000! (We thought it was fitting.)

On Saturday, 12-30, we took Peg and Fred out to dinner at the local El Torrito. Then they drove us up to our hotel in Burbank.

After checking in, we picked up a newspaper so we could check to see when Lisa's alma mater, Northwestern University, was playing football. She knew they had tied for the Big Ten Championship and would likely be in a bowl game. We found out that they played today at 5:30. We missed it!

We watched the sports on TV to see if we could catch a report on the game. We did . . . unfortunately. They had lost 66 to 17. "Sounds like the Northwestern I knew", said Lisa.

Love to all,
David and Lisa

12/31 Burbank, California

What a start we got when we got up this morning and turned on the TV. THE ROSE PARADE WAS ON!!!

Did we miss it? Did Tim and the Odyssey riders miss it? What happened???

We watched for awhile as we got dressed and, finally, we found out. A local station was re-broadcasting last year's parade. Whew!

We moved our gear out of the room, then walked to "downtown Burbank" for breakfast/lunch. We ended up at a small Marie Calendar's. A nice place with nice people -- and today was it's last day. At 5 tonight, the place will close forever. We had a real nice server for whom today was her last day of work. We gave her a big tip with a happy new year and good luck!

We got a taxi to take us and our gear over to the Hilton where the Odyssey was ending tonight. Lots of hello's to lots of old friends.

After checking in, we got our bike clothes on and jogged back to last night's hotel to pick up our bike. We rode back to the Hilton. We arrived amid more cheers, welcomes and hellos.

One of Allyson's supporters, Jim Harker, called me in the hallway. He ran up, verified that I was David as in David and Lisa. He recognized me from our website. He proceeded to say what a great thing we have accomplished. Said we probably wouldn't fully realize the magnitude of this accomplishment for years to come. He was incredibly generous in his credits!

Later, we were watching the news when they showed the New Year celebrations from around the world. We were struck because we had visited all of the cities that they showed. I think Harker is right. We will be realizing and appreciating the magnitude of the past year's accomplishments for a long time to come.

At dinner tonight, we saw MORE people who we haven't seen for a month. Lots of memories. Lots of semi-sad good-byes.

Tim talked about how "neat" the trip was and how much he learned and how different it would be "next time" (in 2003).

Karen-Ann talked about how wonderful the staff has been -- both the current and the past, part-of-the-year staff members.

Apparently Karen-Ann has been riding every day since Singapore because she is no longer with TK&A management. Too bad. As we've said before, she's a fun lady with some great talents. She was just in the wrong place on this trip.

We have to be up at 4am tomorrow to prepare for the parade, so we'll sign off on our fantastic Odyssey with a wish and a thought.

We send to our families, our friends and our many known and unknown readers our wish for all of you to have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.

And finally, we recognize that this past year, we've been on a really special and unique "odyssey". But we also recognize that we're all on odysseys every day of our lives -- odysseys filled with ups and downs, exhilaration and disappointment, challenge and growth, and hopefully, much joy. So be flexible, go with the flow, remember what really matters, and enjoy your personal odyssey to the fullest!

Love to all,
David and Lisa

01/01/01 Epilogue

Though our Odyssey officially ended last night, our adventure continued.

We were up at 4 a.m. this morning to catch the last TK&A breakfast. Dressed in our new, black "finisher" tee-shirts and jerseys, we braved the frigid weather (but not as cold as last year!) and boarded the yellow school busses for the trip to Pasadena.

We arrived about six. It was still really cold! We unloaded our bikes and made sure they were ready to ride. Then we stood around and talked, chatted, and reminisced about the past year for about an hour.

Finally, the "men in white" (parade officials who run around in white suits on white motor scooters) and the "men in blue" (Pasadena Policemen on rose bedecked motorcycles) came for us. They escorted us to the parade start point.

There, we waited in the cold for another 45 minutes or so. The sun came up. It got a little warmer. We watched the blimp, the helicopters, and the sky divers plane circle overhead.

We noted the change (for the better) in Tim. While last year he was running around totally stressed out, screaming orders, and stressing EVERYONE out, this year he was completely relaxed, just hanging out with us, chatting, joking, taking photos, etc. Much more enjoyable.

Then, at 8:56, we moved out. We followed the police motorcycle "sweep" team as they (and we) slowly cruised down the parade route.

Just as last year, it was fun -- lots of people, lots of cheering and lots of litter along the route. And, just like last year, we were NOT covered by the major networks -- apparently because we were the VERY FIRST unit in the parade. We even preceeded the "official" parade opening vehicle.

But it was still fun and exciting! This year were took an hour to traverse the entire parade route. (Last year it was 20 minutes.) And, unlike last year, no flats!!!

We shuttled back to our room, picked up our bike, and rode over to downtown Burbank to pick up some snacks for our game watching this afternoon. THAT'S when we got our annual New Years Day flat!

What an end to an extraordinary year!!! And even with our very short look back, we are aware that we are only just beginning to realize what a marvelous year we've had.

As this is our last journal entry, we want to acknowledge the many people who made it possible for us to make this incredible trip:

  • Son Douglas Valkenaar, who created, produced, edited and managed the website, recorded the journals, inserted the pictures, received and stored many packages and sent us many more -- and did all this while his wife was diagnosed with cancer, went through the full range of treatments, and is now coming out the other end;
  • Daughter Christa Schiebly, who received all our mail and took care of anything that came up in that area -- including TWO calls to jury duty;
  • Daughter Laura Van Cleave, sister Lauren Lempert, sister Peggy Gibson and mother Adele Watt who, along with Christa, Doug and his wife Mary, all kept us up-to-date on goings on in the "real" world while we were chasing pavement around the world. More importantly, they provided "grounding" -- we knew they were always there for us;
  • Friends Tom Ford, Ken Feinstein and Nancy Stender for taking care of financial and property management matters for us;
  • We would be remiss if we didn't mention Tim, Karen-Ann, Brit-Simone and all the volunteer support people on the Odyssey, without whom the whole adventure would have literally been impossible.
  • And last but not least, the relatives and many friends, old and new, who have sent us messages with thoughts, ideas good wishes and encouragement throughout our odyssey. Many times, those messages have bouyed and encouraged us in times of stress and personal anguish.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all of you!

Love to all,
David and Lisa

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