#8 Kicking the States; turning 30

by | Last modified on Oct 23, 2023 | Adventure, Kicking the States

After a week of feeling tired and fed up with scooting I woke up feeling determined to find new energy and enthusiasm for the last stretch to San Fransisco. It was a long day ahead with 60km to scoot. Anything more than 50 feels like a looooong day.

We set shorter goals to aim for and I used podcasts and audiobooks to distract me. It wasn’t a particularly nice scoot as we were stuck on a busy road with no hard shoulder and no alternative route. The noise of the traffic gets tiring.

We stopped at one point at a service stop and got chatting to a family from Texas. They spotted a rattle snake in the grass right by us!

You can make out the rattle on the tail right in the centre of the photo…

It felt great when we reached Willits and had just 2km left to scoot (all uphill of course…it’s always like that!). I’d posted on Facebook asking if anyone could help us with accommodation and a lady named Tanya had offered us her apartment for the night. It was so luxurious! I took a really long shower. The last week I’ve only had campsite showers which are timed using quarters. They are always so stressful as you never know when your time is going to run out!

Despite feeling relaxed and having a comfortable bed I struggled to sleep. I had lots of thoughts running through my head about the fundraising events, Love Her Wild and blogging. I tried to switch off with a book and meditation but my mind was having none of it. I probably only had 2 hours kip so I woke up feeling groggy but I didn’t mind…I was just happy not to have to put down a tent in the morning!

The easiest scoot day yet

I prepared myself for the days scoot but an hour in almost wept with glee when we passed a sign saying we had 5 miles of downhill ahead. It actually turned out to be 10!! We even had a lane to ourselves as it’d been closed for supposedly non-existent roadworks so we whizzed down at lightning speed. Epic!

We usually don’t finish scooting until around 4pm but today we were done by 12 so we stopped at Chipotle for lunch followed by an ice cream to celebrate this great achievement.

That night we stayed with a warm showers host enjoying a rare nap and then a swim in their pool. I opted to wear a costume even though our host chose to dive in wearing nothing but his birthday suit. It was my second butt of the day as we’d scooted past a couple earlier getting a bit too frisky by the river!

That night we found out that the lovely Texas family had donated $1000 to our fundraising cause. Unbelievable!!

I don’t like cats and can’t understand why they always feel the need to come to me!

Tears and a sulk

We were suddenly in vineyard country which was great. Quiet back roads meandering over gentle hills with beautiful views. This would be the setting for the next couple of days and I was loving every minute.

It was also nice being back in civilisation where we would pass towns and villages daily which meant more food options other than just roadside greasy junk. I’ve put on at least half a stone since doing this scoot despite all my exercise….American food is mega fattening (and I have gluttony tendencies following any form of exercise)!! This will be the first adventure in my life when I will have to diet afterwards but my tight shorts are telling me there’s no avoiding it.

We were aiming for a small town called Cloverdale where we had booked an Airbnb for the night. It was a bit over budget but the next day was my 30th birthday and I demanded a bed for the night!

We briefly stopped in a bike shop who helped Gil fix his wheel which had become slightly stiff – they kindly did it for free.

I was hot and really tired by the time we reached the town but happy that I was keeping positive. I couldn’t wait to shower. We reached the Airbnb and had a code to let ourselves in but when we opened the door we found a tiny room that was dirty and a complete mess. It was nothing like the pictures! I called the owners who admitted that they’d forgotten our booking and said could we go somewhere else now and they’d be back later to sort it out!! Once I hung up I cried a bit…not a helpful response but Hot + Tired + Disappointed = Overflow of emotions! Plus it was (almost) my birthday and if you can’t sulk on your (almost) birthday then when can you?!

I wasn’t willing to sit outside in the heat feeling sorry for myself for the rest of the day so I called Greg – a guy who’d messaged me on Facebook from the area after seeing my post saying we were scooting through. He had kindly offered to take us out for dinner but also said to get in touch if we had any problems. Without a moments hesitation Greg and his wife Julie said we could stay with them. Superstars!!

I got my shower, stretched and instantly felt better as I sat in Greg and Julie’s massage chair with a cold drink in hand.

we were then spoilt to a local beer and a delicious Thai dinner. I was so happy that our Airbnb hadn’t worked out as we had a much nicer evening hanging out with them both, sharing stories and talking adventure. Genuinely lovely people.

We settled in for the night in the lounge where Julie had set up a large air mattress she’d picked up from a friends. In the middle of the night I got up for a pee not noticing that half the air had gone out. Gil fell to the floor with a thump! Rather than fighting the deflating mattress we put up our own air mats. Just as I was drifting off to sleep I replayed the moment when Gil fell to the floor and it gave me a full on giggling fit. This woke Gil up for a second time….he was now really grumpy which just made it all the more amusing.

It’s my birthday!!

We all went to a coffee shop for breakfast which was such a nice way to start the day. Greg also decided to join us for our 28km scoot to Healdsburg. I thought there was no way he would make it the whole way but he just didn’t stop – I was so impressed! It was a slower pace than we’d normally go but I liked going easy and properly taking in the views. We had some great conversations along the way.

We parted ways with Greg around 2pm and agreed to all meet up again in 2 days time.

We scooted through the centre of Healdsburg – a very upmarket town – and to Cheryl and Steve who’d offered to host us for 2 nights. We had a very lovely welcome!

they showed us our own studio at the back of the garden and I was speechless when we got a tour of their lush garden (complete with bee hives and chickens) and their house which was crammed with homemade art, antiques and sculptors. A cool couple living in a cool place with the coolest car I’ve ever seen in my life!!!!

That night Gil took me to the ‘movies’ to see the new Jurassic Park film (my fav films!). Throughout the evening I managed to consume 2 brownies, a cupcake and a milkshake (I’m starting that diet tomorrow).

The next day we had an interview with the local paper in the morning and then Gil surprised me with a spa day and massage at a posh hotel….it was a terrible experience.

To top of a great birthday, our hosts took us out for a delicious tapas dinner with friends followed by a drink at their local music joint.

It had been a perfect way to celebrate turning 30!

A tough goodbye

It was so hard leaving in the morning. I’d grown very fond of Cheryl and Steve (and Becky the chicken) and would have gladly moved in permanently. To make it worse we also had a scorcher of a day ahead reaching 40 degrees!!

My body felt so good after my massage but it didn’t take long for my hips and knees to start aching again. I guess now I’ve left my 20’s behind that’s it….it’s all stiff joints from here on in…

As we neared Santa Rosa we saw evidence of the terrible fires that had hit this area last year. We’d spoken to people who’d been amongst the thousands who had lost their homes and all their worldly possessions.

Downtown was busy as protests were out shouting about Trump and the ridiculous situation with the children being separated from their parents. Good on them! We met up with Greg, Julie and their son Will. This wonderful couple have already done so much for us but they insisted on treating us to a tasty Ethiopian meal.

We parted ways in hope that we will see them again before the end of our adventure.

The 13km following the meal was a killer. The sun was unbearable and we were stuck next to a noisy busy road. Not a good combo. Starbucks was our saviour where we were picked up by Bill and taken back to his house for an amazing home cooked meal and a comfy bed for the night. He is the brother in law of the awesome Stephanie who hosted us in Eureka. These last few days have been an example of people who really have gone above and beyond for us on this trip.

The Beach Boy

Dropped back at the same Starbucks the next day we headed on our way in good spirits, stopping a few times to chat to passer by asking about our scooters.

My notes from today’s scoot were – long, hot, repetitive…you get the gist!

We were staying with a warm showers couple for the night – Jon and MC – but couldn’t meet them until after the fireworks at the local San Rafael County Fair as they were attending. I’m usually in bed by 8.30 and asleep by 9pm so this was way past my bedtime….but this was an American experience not to be missed!

we arrived at the fair mid-afternoon. The fair was fun if a little tacky. We did the Ferris wheel and wandered around looking at the exhibits. We also visited the farm section which just left me feeling depressed. Seeing them all tied up in such heat and busy crowds was not nice. This is not entertainment!

The evening closed with a set by The Beach Boys…or rather The Beach Boy as there was only one standing. Honestly the concert was one of the worst I’d ever seen, sung almost entirely out of tune. But I had a beer down me and loved the familiar tunes so I was having a great time.

We met up with Jon and MC to catch the firework show before heading back to theirs. Asleep at 11pm….that’s the latest yet on this trip!

We are doing this expedition to raise money for Africa’s Children in Education. Please help us build a school in East Africa by donating here. Thank you…..your support means a lot!!! Make sure you are following our journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This expedition is being supported by Vivo Life!

Bex Band

Bex Band

Welcome to my blog! I'm an award-winning adventurer, bestselling author and founder of Love Her Wild. My work and adventures have featured in BBC, The Guardian and Condé Nast. I love nothing more than travelling and getting outdoors on solo and family adventures. Using my years of experience, I provide advice and inspiration on various topics, including wild camping, charity challenges, glamping and travel itineraries.


  1. josypheen

    Happy Birthday!! I am so glad to hear people are looking after you both and spoiling you.

    I also love that photo of the cat! <3

    • Bex Band

      Thank you! I’ve been spoilt rotten. Lol…those cats can’t stay away!!

  2. Suzy mcdonald

    Happy belated Birthday. Sorry the food is so unhealthy and the roads so tough. I am glad you are meeting people who are treating you well. Try to keep the positive in you. Hi to Gill.

    • Bex Band

      Thank you suzy!! The people we are meeting along the way make it all worth it.
      Gil says hi back 🙂


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