getting my ass kicked by a 2.1 mile bike ride

After a well-needed getaway with my husband and dog, I’ve slowly realized that I have to get serious about my training. Today is the day to get back into shape, and not overindulge in drive-up windows, and greasy burgers (our all-time favorite In-and-Out). I’m not gonna lie we’ve frequented the joint twice over a 4-day getaway, and don’t get me started on the other overly processed food gingerly heated on a campfire. You know the usual suspects, canned beans, pork sausages accompanied with cold beers to wash all that down.


It’s getting serious I told myself, swim, bike, then run- ugh. So I tested myself once I got back to town, a shortstop to the bank, then to the market, no problem right, I’ve even googled the route. No biggie I told myself, I could maybe squeeze a swim and test out my lungs. Well as it turns out, I was in no shape for a quick dip in the pool.  My little bike ride to the bank totaling 2.1 miles nearly knocked the wind out of me. This was when I realized that biking is going to be my weakness, not even a weakness but can I bike 56miles on a hilly terrain. All this after a swim that’ll be over one mile- one whole mile just thinking about making me want to hurl!

And I’m not trying to be modest, trust me if I was peddling up and down Lombard Street than I would have a story to tell. What I thought to be a very easy, no, leisurely ride to the bank turned into a chest pounding that I was not ready for and the calves were not happy with me either. On the bright side, I’ve noticed my running is getting a slightly higher boost from all the cross-training. I think all the lung pumping from the bike is growing my capacity to grasp for more air, can’t remember the last time I ran a mile under 10 min. Some of the runs are coming around 9:20 and 9:30, when I ran in New York most of my times were under 11min and on good days just below 10.

So not everything is a bust in these beginning stages. More updates to come and my thoughts on a new bike. But for now still going to lug around my hand-me-down bike that I’m ever so grateful to inherit from my friends.  As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

One Woman’s Travel Loo

It’s no secret I am scared of bears, rats and yes the occasional raccoons pretending to be bears. And it’s no secret of mine that I have the smallest bladder in the world, and it’s especially no help to me when it comes me fancying a drink. So it’s with my great regret that we’ve haven’t had many camping days in a couple of years because let’s face it ladies and some of you gentlemen out there, camping is not for all of us.

I like what’s call Glamping, as defined by Google, “it is the way to go if camping ain’t your thing… yet you love waking up in the great outdoors… you love a hike in the hills… you love getting out of the big city. With Glamping… your tent is replaced by a cedar cabin, or a safari tent with wooden risers.” Side note a personal toilet just steps away from you cozy room, if not within your safari tent, is my personal touch to my Glamping.

Buttermilk Falls State Park

And, yes I know bears don’t give a damn about me, and yes I know that we can camp out to the nearest bathroom, and I know there is no ghost out there. However, I have a very vivid imagination, a tiny bladder, and I don’t want to wake up my husband (dog in tow) to go to the loo 3 in the morning and once more for good measure at 5 am. Don’t judge; we’ve all got our issues, so after years of turmoil I’ve finally come up with a solution.

Watkins Glen State Park with WIKI

What does one Luggable Loo and one Giga Tent equal, you get yourself a nice one women attempt at a travel bathroom? It takes no time to set up and travels with you, and I don’t have to harass the husband or the dog for our unruly walks 3 in the morning. It’s vaguely charming if you grew up with a porcelain chamber pot. My grandmother had one, and it was for those late nights when you didn’t want to put on your shoes and fuss about in the dark, trying not to fall into the deep dark abyss.

My personal throne

Without getting too graphic, granny had an outdoor “bathroom” with a huge hole in the ground, yes Y’all that’s how we rolled back in the days. Just imagine all the fun things a young mind could and would conjure, as you would have guessed it I used the portable chamber pot with my eyes closed – literally. So the portable loo is comforting in some ways, and the only ghost I have to fear to haunt me is my grandmother, but if that were the case I’d welcome that any night.

Circus Circus Prostitute

“Don’t go out there!” my older sister shouted, “why not” I sneered back, “because…they’re going to think you’re a prostitute!”. I persisted, rolling my eyes back at my older sister, I unlocked my parents beat up Korean BBQ van and dashed out.
Wanting some fresh air, I ran to the open part of the Circus Circus Parking complex; I can’t lie the wind on my face felt good. But I did wonder what if I too had to escort older men, becoming their Asian companion. I looked nothing like Julia Roberts, what with her big eyes, big lips, and big horsey laugh that’s so famously her own. I couldn’t carry a laugh like that even if I were born with luscious lips like hers.
While pondering if I would make for a decent China doll, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the glittering lights of the Reno strip. This 12-year-old was blind to the dilapidated signage, the rundown roads and the faded colors of the Circus Circus mascot. The light engulfed me; I only saw possibilities, imagining all those little specs of lights as if they were people hustling. Hustling to win big, so they could treat their kids to an all you can eat buffet, or finally allowing themselves to buy the Russian porcelain doll to add to their collection. But how was I to live out my big dreams, stuck in a Korean BBQ van with my little brother and my snarky older sister always ordering me around.

That's mom, me, and my sister playing penny slots
That’s mom, me, and my sister playing penny slots

I huffed and puffed while walking back to the car feeling a little defeated.

“Well, what did I tell you!” exclaimed my sister, “what?!” I shouted back puzzled. Silent, we gave up on our flight, what did it matter anyways we were stuck with one another, till our parents lost all their money.

Moments later my eyelids felt heavy, and all I could do to keep from feeling like a loser was to dreams big, for me that was the All You Can Eat Buffet. Nothing made me happier than to re-stock my plate high, high into the sky. Mixing salty with sweet, breaking all the rules of formal dining, who’s to say I can’t simultaneously eat desert with my entree. In my head I was filled with power, it devoured me just like the glittering lights outside. If that wasn’t living, I didn’t know what was.

Trail running shoe, who knew?!

I took up volleyball thinking I’d be like the beautiful blonds who run around on the beach in their bikini’s and jump around and hit balls. Wrong, I was a fat Korean girl who was born with two left feet, sporting mustard yellow gym shorts trying not stick out during tryouts. Little did I know that running was part of this whole ordeal.

Many moons later I do have all the years of embarrassment to thank for becoming a semi-regular runner in my thirties. Though I was never a star of any of the sports I played from JR High School to High School, you could count on me to show up, do the drills and cheer for my teammates. And luckier for me that stuck with me, now I run 2-3 times a week and try to go to the gym at least once a week.

So when I was considering doing the PCT, I knew I had to step up my game, and the first thought that came to mind was- shoes. 2,650 miles, think about it, that’s about 13,992,000 in feet, so one of the significant gears on this trek would be the shoes. And to be honest with you I have never been a huge fan of hiking shoes, first off they are massive, clunky, and did I mention that I have two left feet.

Shoes have come a long way, however; I didn’t know that trail running shoes existed till I started to search online. There are some differences from running shoes, but very minimum; I tried the ASICS GT-2000 4 Trail running shoes for women, and so far so good. I’ve tested them out walking the dog, running in the park and walking on different types of terrain to see if they would make the cut. I’ve got to say ASICS hit it out of the park, for the running and walking aspect I didn’t forsee any issues. However, b/c there’s no ankle support I had some hesitation. But to my surprise, the support on the bottom of the shoe is stable, enough that my ankle felt sung, like a well-fitted glove.


I’m going to keep testing them out, and want to use them for the El Camino De Santiago; that’s just 500 miles. One pair should suffice for the whole trip, and that would be the ultimate test before the PCT. If you’re like me and want comfort, flexibility, and stability, this pair might be the one for you.

At it again

What’s got me blogging again you say, 11 years after our first adventure driving cross country from San Francisco Ca, to New York City, NY? As some readers may have remembered from 2005, Kenneth diligently blogged our whole trip, zigzagging the United States, from there we lived in Chinatown NY, now in Brooklyn. But in-between those years we’ve adopted a pit bull, gotten married, been through 2 layoffs (one for each of us) and a birth of a small business.
But the one adventure we both cherish the most is the Mongol Rally, where we (including Graham M.) traveled from London to Mongolia in an eco-friendly car that held less than a liter of gas at a time. Once we got back, I thought nothing can ever top that trip, and pretty much laid my traveling hat to rest.


It’s been well over two years now, and I’ve gotten bit once again by the travel bug, but this time I wanted to share all my personal experience along the way. Documenting helpful tips, tools, and besides, I like the idea of trying to keep up this aging body that of my younger years.

My dream is to finish a thru-hike on the west coast, called the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), PCT typically starts from the borderline of Mexico and San Diego and ends at the Canada and Washington State line. The trail is 2,650 miles and it takes about five months. The El Camino De Santiago (The Way of St. James) comes to mind, a 500 miles pilgrimage from France thru mostly trekking in Spain covering about 15 regions, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. “The journey takes hikers over the Pyrenees Mountains, past vineyards, and through lush eucalyptus forests. UNESCO declared the trail a World Heritage Site; the European Union named the Camino its first European Cultural Route in 1987.”

Oh, and did mention, China, Vietnam, Bhutan, Africa, India, and China- come on people it’s the biggest country and most of it, undiscovered by travelers. So, here I am once again sharing my thoughts and ideas, similar to that of, Mongol Rally, and our cross country trip across the US. I guess I can’t help it, I’m a child of the 90’s and by god we are over-sharers.

Drop a note and let me know what you’re thoughts are, and thanks for reading.