Rickshaw Run 2016... Go Time!!

The original Gridskippers

The original Gridskippers

Well... We have done it now! We all have successfully made our preliminary flights to NYC (Danny), finalized all child care arrangements, and have gathered at the JFK airport in NYC! Surviving the two-hour delay of TSA security lines, we are now successfully on the plane and headed to our first stop, Abu Dhabi! This should be a quick 12-hour flight and then, off to Cochin additional 5 hours further. 

Knowing we needed to properly toast this adventure, we had the opportunity to spend a few moments at the Palm Bar & Grill, in the terminal before the flight, to raise it up for a safe and mind-blowing adventure! 



Our new satellite tracking device! 

Our new satellite tracking device! 

So Santa also shared many of the concerns that were voiced by all those around us.... Basically, the fact that any cell and/or wifi service in India would be spotty at best and, frankly, not reliable. Therefore, Santa provided us with a Spot satellite GPS tracker that also enables quick, preprogrammed messages to be delivered.  Also, about every ten minutes, it sends out our current coordinates to a tracker that can be found on the home page of our website

We have two trackers on the home page. We have the Spot tracker showing our location every ten minutes. You can find this by clicking on the banner on the top of the page. THIS IS LIVE NOW!

Or, starting January 1, after the race is on way, you can follow us and all the other 104 rickshaws in this race by pressing the center button on our home page. This will also allow you to read the blogs from all the other teams. Play around with it a bit you will figure it out!


Signing Off for now somewhere above the Mediterranian Sea!! Enjoy your Day! And Go Gridskippers!! 


Merry Christmas!!... Packing is done!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all of our friends, family, and supporters! In less than two days, we will embark on this incredible adventure! A special thank you to our parents that have agreed to take care of the kiddos while we are tuk-tuking our way across India!! 

Also, a special thank you to our workplaces for your awesome donations and support. Especially, our sponsor, Consensus orthopedics (check out our placement on their homepage!! With each of your help and financial pledge we have raised in total over $13,000.00 for our charities!! Amazing and thank you!  

Again.... Happy Holidays from your friends at Gridskippers!!  

Dear God... What have we done?!!

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.

Here is a top 10 list of items that Linda Ripel shared Rickshaw Run 2015 - Holy Cow's post.

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! 


Morning coffee with 2 scoops of anxiety!

Yeah this is really happening!! 

Yeah this is really happening!! 

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 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

Welcome to New York! we've been waiting for you!

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 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 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 



Gridskippers Meeting in NYC!!


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.


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.  Since we are then just a few blocks from Mario Batali's crazy huge shop of Italian specialities, Eately... 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. 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! 


Sunday morning, we got up and began to get ready for the next meeting. This meeting, as most New York meetings should, took place at the Yankee Stadium... :) I am sure this was part of some bucket list for our Texas friends and it didn't fail to impress!


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 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!


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.  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!!!!