For eight and a half hours, the car ride was completely silent. No more than maybe 10 words were spoken between us on our ride from the finish line in Jaisalmer to Jaipur. The activities of, not just the last 3 weeks, but really the last 9 months, finally catching up to each of us. It was as if we were being pushed into almost a numbness that required immediate reflection as the driver took us in his white 4-door TATA Sedan to catch our flight back home to the States.
Amazing, how different India looks from inside the comforts of a car verses the 3-wheeled rickshaw. It is almost as if we have already stepped away and are now looking at the country through an aquarium glass. For two full weeks, we have not just traveled through India, but were actually part of it. The rickshaw and everything that encompassed traveling in this manner allowed each of us to actually be an organic part of the country. Not until this very moment did I realize what a wonderful gift that was. and how much I already missed it.
All of our senses are overwhelmed - our entire body covered with bruises and dirt from the challenges we just overcome …I’m almost fearful to close my eyes, because it immediately enables a random memory to once again put me back to the whirlwind they called the Rickshaw Run… Initially, I thought this whole thing started with a friend I have back in New York City, that told me about theadventurists and her experience with their crazy challenges for charity. But now with deeper reflection, it wasn’t really my friend that brought this to be… I mean yes, she absolutely steered us to the opportunity, but personally I have been searching for these types of experiences for a much longer time. An experience that, not only allowed me to truly give back to something I personally really felt indebted to, but also to push myself to the brink of exhaustion, confusion, terror, sadness, happiness, and just the unknown… and, then, hopefully to safety return back to a state of normalcy. This is what they must mean to truly live.
Closing my eyes once again, the memories flowed… Our clutch, why did we fix our clutch! I am still sure there was nothing wrong with our clutch. And now with this new clutch, I can’t get it into 2nd gear! Of course, that is not a problem I can just skip to third, but now I am in a damn circle... cars, pedestrians and cows flying in and horns honking from all various directions and I really need to find 2nd gear!! “You’re coming in at 6 o’clock and leaving at 3!” I hear Joanna yelling at me from behind! “Why are you yelling?"I scream back! “She isn’t!” yells Danny, "just get through this!” My head down, my hands white-knuckled on the accelerator and clutch, my foot lifted so I can reach the brake pedal that is way too high in the air and just driving like I have blinders on through one of the many stressful circles or road diversions we went through on this journey. You immediately learn not to ever stop, nor to look at anyone as you navigate through, by the off chance you catch someone’s eye, which would allow them to convey possible negativity of your driving skills, completely enabling to throw you off your objective... Don’t need that right now….
"Would you people like to stop for Chai?”, I heard our driver ask us. Each of us shaking our head “No, not right now, thank you.” Chai - what an amazing statement that drink has in this country… Always served hot, and in a small cup. Sometimes you paid for it, sometimes it was just offered. Sometimes it was heated on a electric stove, but more often than not, it was being served on the roadside and being heated by wood or charcoal fire. Each time, it was always a little bit better than the last. Although, also each time, you hesitated sipping this milky concoction in hopes that it wasn’t the final trigger of Delhi-Belly....
I remember telling Mila Kiratzova, of TheAdventurists team, on the second day of being in India, how much fun this adventure has already been, without even starting the race yet. There were so many things we had learned over the last 9 months of preparation… Meeting our team at ArtsConnection, learning that raising money for charity is absolutely not as easy as one may think!...Hours of watching Youtube, taking notes as we went along on different things we should remember or purchase to make this journey just a bit more bearable...Website design, short film creations, press releases all in the hopes to raise awareness/money for our charities…The endless glasses of wine and conversations with anyone that would listen, just trying to prepare ourselves for this adventure. For the last few months, it had consumed us and (thankfully) our friends, family and work associates cared for us, just enough to continue listening a little bit more about this trip.
"That isn’t a horn! That is a freaking melody!” I heard one of us say as, once again, we were being over taken by one of the many "Buses of Death" that traveled these Indian Roads. Immediately, your hands would once again go into that white-knuckled grip on the rickshaw steering bar, and the tension in your neck and shoulder would be guitar string-taunt as you waited for this Steel Bus that has just played the most obnoxious 15-second air horn right into your right ear, as it barreled down on our little rickshaw. Always passing close enough that, if you just put your hand out, you could feel the hot steel of the bus side pass by. After about seven days on the road, I really think I understood the melody that blew from these intermittent scares - it was to give the hundreds of cows, sheep, and goats enough time and alertness to get out of the road before they may meet their ultimate doom on the grill of one of these speed monstrosities. Although, it is probably more for the safety of the driver of the bus. It became very well known to us that, if anyone ever killed or harmed one of these sacred cows that populated the India country side, a very harsh punishment was the retribution, which usually meant death. A few times, at some of the check points, the buses slowed down just enough that you could peer inside the blacked out windows that were open to give some sort of air conditioning to those inside. From the windows, always you were given the same look of misery, dark faces worn from the exhaustion and, I am sure. the heat inside. It seemed they no longer had the energy or any reason to flash a smile, just an empty stare.
"We will stop here, I need some chai and you can purchase water," said our driver as we pulled up to one of the many roadside truck stops that we have witnessed on our trip. Noticing that this particular stop was a bit more modern then most that peppered the indian roads (it had a fridge in one of the huts offering cold water! This was a luxury that we had really come to appreciate on this trip). It was these type of stops that really became special to the three of us. The stops always offered a different view point of India and most certain an experience or something would happen that would make each stop special, in its own different way. First, the curious stares of the elders and, then, the children (always a bit more adventurous and daring) would begin to circle the rickshaw, hands out - trying to shake our hand - and learn our name, guessing which country we were from, till we helped them through it. Curiously with our life in Saudi Arabia and our global travels, we knew that, being American and getting closer to the Pakistan border, we were putting ourselves at an unnecessary risk by broadcasting that we were from the States. So, as we did get closer to the finish line (next to the Pakistan border), we kept that information close to our chest. When asked if we were Australian, we all usually happily agreed.
Back in the car, with cold water, salted potato chips and cashew or butter cookies, we were back on the road to Jaipur. These three items really ended up being our daily consumption as we traveled through India. We usually left the more adventurous Indian meals to the evening. The days just brought so many stresses and nuances that eating was the one thing none of us really wanted to risk. I was pretty sure that my bout with stomach issues arrived from the Coffee Day sandwich, I had somewhere earlier in the trip. In hindsight, it was not a very bright move having a sandwich with mayonnaise in the middle of nowhere india. You can promise yourself that there were not many Indians that would order that sandwich, so who knows how old that mayo was. I knew better than that, but after 7 days of the same food options, a chicken sandwich just sounded amazing….
Again my eyes closed, this time bringing me to the beach south of Goa. What an amazing place that was! It was like last resort. We had just caught up with Roel and Bryan again, passing them on the streets. They too were searching for a hotel in this no hotel area. They had decided to bite the bullet and just continue further north, looking for the next town hoping to find possible lodging there. Conversely, we turned back in hopes that one of the earlier places we had passed along the way would offer lodging. All of us agreeing, initially, that Ecostay sounded like a no electricity, no plumbing, type of facility and that was not at all what we wanted! Now that the sun was beginning to set, things were a bit more stressful and our reluctance for this type of non-comfort facility was overcome by the desire to just to find a safe place to spend the night. We turned on a dirt road and traveled another 2 kilometers to the beach curious what we would find at the end of this road. It opened up to a slice of heaven. Approximately 7-10 people were working the grounds and the entire time we were there, they were all doing anything they could to make sure our experience was amazing - hoping that we would write a review about their new hotel on the beach on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor really was review of choice in India. Many times, we were asked by various hotels/restaurants and lodging areas if we could please recommend them on trip advisor. I remember going back to the room looking at the wall with 12 light switches - This was common. Everywhere we stayed always had at 5 to 12 light switches and you would hit each of them just trying to find the one that actually worked and turned on a light. More times then not they really were never connected to anything and the light switch you were looking for was next to bed or other wall.
All of sudden, after we realized we had been in the car for now almost 5 hours and not one word had been spoken, I nervously pointed out that the driver must think we really do not like each other. Not one of us were talking at all. I suggested, which I know is true, that we were all lost in our thoughts. All of us let out an exhausting smile, agreed, and immediately went back to our thoughts…
"Really? that is a shaman?” Danny asked. “I don’t know," I replied, "I think so, he is some sort of priest.” We were able to peer into the temple as we walked by. His beard was long and grey, as was his hair, he had a huge amount of beaded necklaces around his neck and his face was painted with a bright red mark on his forehand. He was gently applying red marks to those that walked in to greet him. The activity can be summed up to: take your shoes off, walk into the temple, pay the shaman a donation to the deity he was presenting, and then you would bow as he would gently put a red mark on to your forehand. I immediately was uncomfortable with the scenario. Not that I didn’t believe it was a beautiful process, but it was one that I had no knowledge on, and me entering the temple and replicating the actions I saw others performing made me feel it may be considered a type of mockery. I think it would be very similar to a buddhist going into a catholic church and taking communion. With that, I tried to observe these religious happenings, but not really partaking, forbidden by ignorance in what was really occurring. Also, I am pretty sure my own religion would be a bit curious as to what I was doing. No reason to have to explain to anyone what that was about, so I just took a picture and moved on.
"Stop Stop Stop!” I remember saying one morning on the run. “What is going on there?” Down the slope, you could see what appeared to be possible rice fields and next to them 30-40 women and young girls digging in the dirt, creating more - all of them wearing beautiful bright clothing, but the work was hard and it was so hot outside. I grabbed my camera and headed down the slope. At the bottom, I was greeted by two Indian men. Neither spoke English, but with the smiles I was given, I could kind of make out what was happening. These men were managing this group of ladies, young and old, to create these rice fields. More times than not, we saw this type of gender inequality being displayed in India. Women are absolutely the work horses in the demographics we were exposed to. I motioned that I wanted to get closer the ladies to take their picture. The two men made it very clear that they wanted their own picture taken, not the women. I, immediately, went into the vogue photoshoot scenario allowing the men’s ego to be raised, to see themselves in such pictures. Finally, going back to my original request to get closer to the women. With a slight nod they agreed, and I was off to take more pics closer to these beautiful women that were working so hard to get their task complete. As I walked up to them, I once again was greeted by curious stares and some smiles, although not once did the work slow down or stop. I looked back up to the slope and I could see Danny making sure of my safety, I nodded at him and began walking back to the rickshaw. As I reached the top I saw another rickshaw, with possibly another 12 women inside, drop them off to work in the fields.
"Look at that car”, I heard someone say on one afternoon through the countryside. Here comes a jeep of sorts with possibly 5-7 men on the inside (with heater) and on the roof, in the bitter cold of the Indian desert morning, were 9 women sitting cross-legged, going down the highway! Unbelievable! ...but not uncommon we saw this sight so many times through our weeks in India.
Finally, pulling into Jaipur, we are being greated by 1000’s of kites being flown from the rooftops and grounds - from men, women and children alike. How fitting our last days in India is also during the national kite festival! Every city in India is flying these homemade diamond kites. It peppers the sky like confetti as if wishing us a final farewell! "It is so beautiful,” I hear Joanna say... We actually saw so many beautifully amazing things on this journey. Our minds go back to the ruins, waterfalls, beaches, rainforests, elephants, temples, churches, wells, caves, faces of the people. It was incredible.
We also saw poverty like we have never witnessed: Whole towns without anyone wearing shoes...Children breaking into tears when giving something just as simple as a pencil or baseball cap... Whole towns without electricity or inside plumbing... Women carrying dried cow feces on their heads to bring back home to burn and try to heat the home... Whole villages that were just tents, or even, teepees made from straw. India has shaken us all to the core. It made us experience and feel the pain from some of the stares and handshakes, but then, it embraced us with wonderful hugs and hospitality, all in the hope to learn our name and possibly know what country we were from.
Thank you India!
Thank you theadventurists!
Thank you to all of our friends and family!
And, finally, thank you to my teammates, Joanna & Danny!!
For the last three days, we have been running hard to get to the finish line. However, we have also been able to see some fantastic sights along the way.
At one of the hotels, one of the employees told us that we must see BiBi-Ka-Mukbara.
What we were told is this is another tomb similar to the Taj Mahal. Even with the same type of story. So, knowing we weren't going to see the Taj on this adventure, we knew we should try to spend some time there.
It was great to see this, and the architecture alone was magnificent! Allowing ourselves to explore a bit, we had a chance to go inside and take a peek. Underneath the dome was a large room, below, that people were continuously tossing money in.
We quickly went through the building and then headed back to find our rickshaw and keep on moving. The next stop was about 150 kilometers north, the Ellora Caves. These caves were separated into three different areas. One area was for the Buddhist, another was the Hindu, and finally was the Jain. It all depended on who occupied the area at the time. They were built from the 7th - 9th century. A guy came up to us asking if he could be our guide. Knowing that we really knew nothing about the place, we were in. Afterwards, we all decided that was absolutely the best choice. These caves were amazing and every single room in these huge caverns had a purpose, depending on the religion that occupied at the time. Through out the tour, many Indians, in the habit of our adventure, stopped and asked to have their picture taken with us. We were told that this entire structure and everything within was cut from one large rock that was in the side of the mountain. Once this rock was discovered they pulled back any dirt that could be layering the sides and top and then began carving from all directions. On the way out, we were bombarded by shop owners, begging us to visit their stand to look at their goods. We decided to buy a few things to take home. What we did notice was the "walk away" technique worked perfect in this instance. As soon as they thought you were leaving the shop, the prices dropped dramatically. Usually to almost 1/2 the original offer. As we headed out of the caves, we noticed a few other runners driving in to see the caves including our original caravan partners, "Fire it Up". We got to our destination village late in the evening and, once again, the Here navigation program took us on a very creative route. Next thing we know, Danny is driving through an extremely busy town market. Of course, everyone has to stop and stare or laugh as we tuk-tuk through this area, making his driving job that much more stressful. With a little help from the locals, we were led out of the market before we did any (major) damage to any of the 100's of carts or motorbikes that were completely thrown in to sell goods (we did clip one bike's footrest says Danny.... Joanna and I are sure he ran it completely over and backed up to make sure he bent the frame the first time over....why let the truth get in the way of a good story!)
On the way out of town, this morning, the sun was just starting to light up the city. We quickly got everything on top of the roof, trying our best to get out of town before the city bustling began.
Noticing a small lake on the right, it appeared the road we were on headed towards it and ran along the side. We began to see boys and men carrying buckets, either by hand or balancing them on their head, and walking towards the lake. Curious what they were all doing, we all decided they must be going out to get water and bring it back to their home.
Suddenly, we noticed what appeared to be poop on the ground, swerving quickly trying not to hit it. At about the same time, we noticed a young man appear and crouch down on the road next to his bucket. As we got closer, we realized wait he wasn’t crouching - he was pooping! In about the time it would take you to count to 5, the moans and cries emerged from our rickshaw! They are not going to get water - they are going out for their morning constitutional!. As our eyes, then, focused on the possibly 50 -75 men that were out by this lake (which we now have now coined to be Poop Pond), we realized they all were crouching doing their thing! Ah, yes, and then the smell…. Really, that is enough of Poop Pond. There is really no more to add..But again, this is a great example of the type of poverty we are witnessing going through some of the most rural areas of India.
We immediately got away from that area of the village and ventured further. Quickly, the road began to really deteriorate. I felt it would be much easier to drive on a dirt road than this pot-holed filled attempt of a paved road. It was quickly understood that the only vehicle that could withstand this type of road is one of these wagons being pulled by two cows. This was a common view in our journey and one that many times we had to either avoid hitting or find away around them (as the cows have the right-of-way). The road continued to get worse and I thought if I could slowly get the rickshaw off the paved area and onto the smoother dirt section on the right side of the road, it may be more bearable. All of a sudden, we hit a huge hole and it rocked us back, quickly everyone looked at each other and told each to hold on. As we continued off the shoulder, we hit a rock (we believe) and it bounced our rickshaw to the right. In what seemed like slow motion, the rickshaw then continued this motion and fell completely on her side. Landing with a crash and a poof of dust! We all quickly checked to make sure we had all our fingers and toes and then made sure everyone was safe. It seemed everyone was ok - a bit shaken - but thankfully no major harm. Danny ended with a cut on two of his toes and Joanna had bruised her cheek. As soon as we stood up, we realized we were already surrounded by more than 20 indian men and children all trying to assist us in tipping upright Lady Karma back on her wheels… Within minutes, we had taken about 15 selfies with random people, thanked them for their assistance, and pushed onward now with two goals… One, to get off this darn road and, two, to have a mechanic look at our rickshaw.
Finding a mechanic was fairly simple, conversing with him was much more difficult since he knew very little English and we knew just as much Hindi. We think he told us that that everything was fine but we needed a new clutch and obvious a new right side mirror, since lay down crushed the last one… After a motorcycle ride, many pictures with the locals, and $7.00 for a new clutch and 75 cents for the new mirror we were back on our way!
After viewing the ruins in Hampi, we headed back to our hotel to plan our next day's journey. Since we were a bit behind most of the racers that were going straight up the coast, we knew we would have to make up time by driving all the entire next day. So... off to bed at what seems to be our normal bed time since we started this race, 8:30pm.
Waking up bright and early, it usually takes us about an hour to get packed up and our rickshaw loaded for the day. This morning, it was extra chilly so we thought it would be a great day to use our plastic siding. With a little ingenuity and suggestions from my father before we left, we had packed industrial-strength Velcro from USA. The Velcro, combined with the clear plastic sheeting that we found in a fabric shop in Kochi, made for perfect siding to block the cold wind, and possible rain, not to mention the amazing amount of dust that is in places I didn't even realize existed. We were initially planning on using a shower curtain, although now that we have been in India for over ten days it is apparent that the bathroom curtain is out of fashion here. The Indian bathroom shower style is consistently a shower head on the wall enabling you to use the entire room as a shower. This is very convenient if you would like to go pee, shave, and brush your teeth while not leaving the cold water shower that you are taking. The hot water lever is there and even at times is labeled as "hot", although we have found it is usually just there to tease.
Putting up the side curtain, we set off and made record distance for the day, almost 430 kilometers! It was truly a hard day of racing. Although, our curtain kept it warm and almost pleasant.
When we got into the town around 5 pm that evening, we decided it was a good place to rest. However, it was quickly apparent that we would never find lodging. It was a moderately poor area, and absolutely zero English was being used or spoken.
Two young boys on a motorcycle drove up next to us. I asked them if they knew of any place we could lodge and they asked us to follow them and they were off... Weaving through the streets for about seven minutes, we came to rest at a building that had no markings of a hotel but we assured by our two young new assistants that it was. Once we got inside you could tell that, not only was it a hotel, but probably the nicest one in town. We woke up the clerk that was asleep on the bench next to the desk and exchanged our info with the clerk. $17.00 later we all had a room with supposedly free internet (if it ever worked).
Quickly showering, we got ready to explore the town and at least find a bar that we could have birthday celebratory beer. Normally, it would be a vodka or gin & tonic, but, not wanting to test the ice situation after my last episode of Delhi belly, I am sticking to cold bottled drinks.
We grabbed a taxi rickshaw that, with some assistance from others, took us to a local garden bar where we were a bit leered at because we had a woman with us. The waiter was very nice and did a great job getting us through the menu with drinks. On the way home the same taxi driver came back to pick us. I was teasing him because before he dropped us off at the restaurant earlier, he had actually ran into a bicyclist and knocking him to the ground. Obviously this turned into 30-second verbal quarrel until the taxi driver got out of the rickshaw, pulled the man's bicycle from under the rickshaw and tossed it to the side. So, on the way home, I teased him to please not hit any more bicyclists, if he could prevent it. He replied with a huge grin, "My country, mycity!!"
In less then 5 days we begin our journey to the east! Our initial anxiety has turned to just plain Fear! Similar to a hypochondriac with internet access, we scan Youtube, Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook for any unfortunate experiences we should expect during our race through India!
Although, with that being said I think we are ready and itching to go! Our packing list is complete and even a trial run into our new packs has successfully been performed. We have had tremendous support from our friends, families and workplaces! Facebook has given us an opportunity to meet the people we will be racing with and even talk to past racers and learn from their advice on the best way to get the most of this upcoming adventure.
Our top 10 tips from our experience of the Rickshaw Run in January 2015.
1. If you have room, bring a cooler that can fit your gasoline tanks, so you can store them on the roof (the jerry cans are leaking). We bought ours at a fishing shop in Kochi, but it was difficult to find.
2. Buy at least one extra jerry can, so you do not have to stop that often for gasoline and have backup, it is far between gas stations. You will get one from Adventurists. Also, get or bring from home a small measuring beaker for the 2T oil you have to add to the gasoline.
3. Bring a small jerry can for water, not for drinking, but washing your hands. Also, bring heavy-duty wipes for the same purpose.
4. Take some liquid soap or a bar of soap from you hotel to wash your hands and also wet wipes and antibac, when you do not have time to stop and wash them.
5. Bring an umbrella! This is excellent to use as a cover if there are no toilets nearby.
6. Girls, bring sports bras! It is a bumpy ride and your boobs will appreciate it.
7. If you are planning to use internet on your trip, get the SIM card as early as possible, it usually takes a few days and a few trips to the phone company to get it to work. We used it quite a lot for social media, google maps and finding good hotels. If you are more people on the tuk or have a locked phone, use one as a router for the other ones. We were surprised at how well the 3G worked. Remember to fill it up before you run out; we used 2G for the whole trip.
8. The pimping: 4 things we found useful; - bottle holders
- funnel and hose for filling gas
- holders to hang on to
- a lock box for the tuks documents
9. You really don’t have to raise any money, you will not even be asked about this later.
10. Don’t expect to get the deposit back anytime soon, it took us 2 months.
Mike Abdul added:
- Also, bring warm clothes, or buy some there. It is going to get cold during the nights and mornings once you get up north.
- Leave your hotels early as you can so that you have time to stop and look around sometimes instead of barreling through the trip in the rickshaw until dark every day.
Thank you again for all the support, love and contributions over the last 6 months! We can not wait to share this adventure with each of you!
Everything is turning into hyperdrive as we take the turn into the last ten days... Our morning coffee and conversations have really been amped by possible travel antics, map reading problems fueled by lack of gps issues, what to pack and or what not to pack, and just general staying alive requirements.... It is about now that we are beginning to get super excited about the adventure ahead yet curiously wondering why we are not just booking a Hilton in Hawaii somewhere!
Quick website update: If you have not noticed we have added a button on our homepage www.gridskippers.com and if you click on the map on the email distribution they both will allow you to follow our progress through this adventure. Each time we find wifi at the end of the day or somehow miraculously on the road. This tracker will allow us to send a quick update and also put a mark on the map of where in the world we could be that day. Enjoy!!
So the plan is... we leave NYC on December 27th, get to India in time to pimp and prepare our Rickshaw, meet other racers and get ready for the big start January 1, 2016.. After that we have 14 days to get to the finish line... #godspeed
I woke up this morning very similarly to every other Monday morning: a quick search for my gym clothes, a final push on my ankle to slide into my running shoes, and a quick walk to the gym. Choosing a treadmill, letting my earphones lock into place, this ritual always ends with a touch of the play button on my phone as I enter into a music-fueled physical trance for the next 30 or so minutes. Thus, letting my mind go where ever the music and the rhythmic beat of my own feet take me.
Today, my thoughts went to a very special group of friends that we have had an opportunity to make since we have moved to New York City, Spring Street Social Society http://www.ssssociety.com. Time and time again, I have found that as we grow and learn from the world around us, many times we are not able to take friends or people we have met and are close with, along with us on our journey. Some may find that they are very comfortable with personal situation or area and allow themselves to remain there indefinitely; or others may also be on their own personal journey and, when the time comes, their path may require them to separate from our ours to go in a different direction. Fortunately or unfortunately, the ability to keep learning and growing from each of our personal experiences puts all of us on our own artisan path or journey…
The path that Joanna and I have taken has put us into so many crazy trials, tribulations, and adventurers. Each turn in the path has been very meaningful and now it has us where I believe we are meant to be, New York City… Being able to call Manhattan home for now going over 4 years, has been terrific for us. We have been able to culturally, spiritually, artistically and personally be enlightened in so many areas. New York is absolutely a place that challenges you every single day to be better then the last. Love it!
That being said… many times paths such as this can be an extremely lonely and even terrifying at times. It is very difficult to find people on a similar path in a world that you have (almost unconsciously, for reasons of trying to be true to yourself) isolated yourself into. This world of ships-crossing-paths-in-the-night is exactly where Spring Street Social Society has expertly come to the rescue. Two best friends Amy Virginia Buchanan and Patrick Janelle, both extremely innovative, talented, and persevering, came together to engineer a society that would bring together these people on such paths…. Starting with a simple, although thorough, application process to help identify people with similar “life paths” that also were searching for a bit more, they were able craft a true society that really fosters New York's best creatives and similar like-minded people all searching for a way to find each other.
Spring Street brings together talents from all over the city from fashion, food and beverage, design etc…. and meticulously puts together an event that one can really never even describe in words other then it is just truly an experience. Here at these gatherings, you will find wonderful people very similar to yourself in that they too have similar interests and ambitions. It almost immediately allows your guard to be lowered and the opportunity to meet and find caring and sincere friendships from all over….
It is at one of these gathering we also had met a wonderful adventurer that also was also tackling different paths of sorts. They spoke to us of a few of the last adventures they have taken, one being theadventurists.com Rickshaw Run through India. It took about 30 seconds for us to realize that we knew we must run this race! Also, what a great way to give back to NYC and the Arts programs, the very which have helped us tremendously.
Again, none of this would of ever have been possible without Spring Street Social Society…. As I get off the treadmill today, I realize it is not just New York City that feels like home anymore, it is our time with our friends at Spring Street Social Society. Thank you Patrick and Amy! (instagram/twitter - @aguynamedpatrick and @amyvirginia and @springstreetsocialsociety)
Photos courtesy of www.ssssociety.com
It started as simple as a blip on my phone last Wednesday morning...Our Rickshaw Race partner Danny, who lives in Texas, was trying to schedule an October Gridskippers meeting to help plan and organize... Within minutes, we had successfully pulled in the meeting from October to this Saturday and in New York City. The gathering of miles and additional funds ($$) quickly were arranged and our weekend was set! Normally, this would be absolutely fine, and we would embrace this type of spontaneity... Although since we are moving to our new apartment on Friday, we knew this was going to put a bit of a wrinkle in our packing plans... but in the nature of Gridskippers, we could figure it out!
As soon as they arrived Saturday, we were off to one of our newest special favorites in the city and that is the North River Lobster Company. www.northriverlobsterco.com
This special little find has offered many adventures for us this summer! It is located at Pier 83 and their business plan is spot on. The restaurant is a nice size 3-level boat that sails up and down the hudson for no cost to the patrons. They only ask that you enjoy the food, drinks and sometimes live music along the way! It is a great idea and, since they do not push any of the tables to leave between cruises, we always find ourselves taking a few trips out as we enjoy their tasty drinks and yummy lobster and shrimp!
Here, we toasted the group with a drink of our choice and began the first of many Gridskipper meetings that took place this weekend. Our initial topic started with video and photography requirements... The wish list began to emerge as we discussed camera stabilizers, video storage, ability to edit on site, GOPRO requirements, monopod, lighting, microphones, computers and software etc...
With a list such as this, the conversation then turned to backpack sizes, security, followed by clothing requirements and if we really needed a tent... With that, we took our adventurers to Paragon's Sporting goods. www.paragonsports.com Since we are then just a few blocks from Mario Batali's crazy huge shop of Italian specialities, Eately... www.eataly.com We had to spend some time there! What kind of friends would we be if we did not show them that place!!
As I am sure most soon-to-be rickshaw runners have done from time to time, we retired at our local favorite Indian restaurant, Saffron. www.saffronny.com We discussed our future plans with the server, who then graciously took us on a culinary tour of his own personal recommendations! It was fantastic!
The planning quickly went to pimping the rickshaw and what we need to ensure this little 7-HP vehicle will be able to endure the race and provide enough protection and some comfort to us, so we too can endure the trek.
With all the power that our equipment will need, the Rickshaw will absolutely need a larger battery. With a bit of research, we found how we can add an additional power source with the option of recharging with solar power. Although traveling at night is frowned upon, for us to finish the race in the allotted time, it may be required. For this, we need to make sure have the correct lighting and I believe we may have found it with these new LED options. The only issue now is, we are pretty sure it is too bright and may be blinding for those that may be driving towards it... so possibly a plan B?
We ended this Gridskippers weekend with the New York standards... A quick trip to Coney Island www.nathansfamous.com and then a nice dinner at home with NYC pizza and red wine.
It is crazy we have been here almost 4 years and we have yet to find our "favorite" pizza place. They really all are very good and better then we have had any where else in the world. I am sure the NYC water really has something to do with this! Although this evening, we chose to deliver from Justino's pictured above and it absolutely did it's job! www.justinospizza.com
With that said it was a great weekend and many things were organized and discussed to move the project forward! Please help us by helping us raise money for our charity ArtsConnection. www.artsconnection.org ArtsConnection's mission is to save and preserve the Arts Programs in Public Schools. These programs are essential to children's growth and need all of our help to keep them preserved and moving forward. This entire race through India is for ArtsConnection and the work they do! Please help and support us! Please give a tax-deductible donation as soon as possible. We have a long way to go to meet our goal!!!!