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We heard about a bed and breakfast in Hindman, KY back in our first week, so we decided to check it out. After pushing our bikes up “The Challenge” hill, we were greeted by David, holding 3 glasses of sweet tea with mint and lemon. We enjoyed learning about the bobcats, turtles, snakes, and other venemous creatures that can be encountered in Kentucky. We also learned that stealth camping is frowned upon in eastern Kentucky and that the rumors about roaming dogs are true (we were later accosted by a pack of 9 beagles who made us ride quite a bit faster).

We had planned a visit to Homegrown Hideaways, a growing farm and gathering place for sustainable interests. Jessa and Nathan were wonderful hosts, welcoming us onto their beautiful land. We disappointed to miss their upcoming Whippoorwill Festival, where things from bicycle touring to sustainable building workshops were going to be taught. 


We took our rest day in Berea. We were immediately adopted by Ben, a local bike and food advocate, who showed us around town. We enjoyed cooking and eating dinner with food purchased from the local farmers’ market with his friends, Saxon, Kate and Brett. In Berea, we also learned about the dulcimer, a local stringed instrument which plays absolutely beautiful music, and is said to be the easiest string instrument to learn!

Other highlights have been a wonderful dinner with Violet and Bob in Sebree, KY (also celebrating the 1000 mile mark of our journey!) and crossing the Ohio River into Illinois!

We finally got to work with our first Girl Scout camp in Makanda, IL. The girls at Camp Cedar Point were engaged in the activities and we enjoyed hearing about their opinions on school lunches, how to eat healthily, and how they can become involved with their local farmers.

Posted by: localmotive2011 | June 11, 2011

Egg biscuits

We finished the second chain of the Appalachians and rolled into Wythville, VA last week. In Washington County we witnessed the destruction from the tornadoes that hit the South recently.

Trees down from a tornado in Washington County, VA

Outside the library we saw another Surly bike all loaded up, and we knew we had to find the owner. We immediately picked out the spandex and helmet and met Justin from Delaware. Turns out he got his bike from Garrison’s as well! He is biking to San Francisco to raise money for the Food Bank of Delaware, you can follow his adventures here.

The four of us travelled together for a few days and Damascus, VA was one of our first stops. This town is where the AT and the TransAmerica Trail meet so the whole place was just filled with travelers. We stayed at a well-known hostel for AT hikers and TransAm cyclists known as the “The Place” and had a wonderful time sitting out on the porch eating dinner and showering for the first time in… well, awhile.

Damascus, VA hostel

With our bar of Dr. Bronner’s seriously depleted and a meal of Indian curry in our stomachs, we passed out and awoke early to conquer Hayder’s (Our pronunciation: “Hater’s”) Gap. After a four mile uphill characterized by sharp corners and coal trucks that weren’t too keen to share the road, we were glad to find a welcoming church on the other side that provided us with water, cookies, and a pavilion to nap in.

With a thunderstorm approaching, we decided to move on to the town of Honaker to find a place to stay for the night. Unfortunately, the town was not accustomed to hosting bikers and we found ourselves under an overhang outside a laundromat after being kicked off of church property by the police. Thankfully Justin spoke with a nice woman from town who offered to drive us to the next town over (a big hill away) so that we could camp legally in a local park. We learned that her husband was a coal miner, one of the only well paying jobs in the area. At the park we hit a stroke of luck when we found a playground PIRATE SHIP! We decided to sleep in the hold (an obvious choice).

Best camping site ever


The next morning we left Virginia behind after crossing over the Kentucky border near Elkhorn City.

Virginia- Kentucky border

At the Rusty Fork Cafe we said goodbye to Justin who rode off with Team Wooha. Good luck on the rest of your trip Justin! While eating a delicious brunch of egg biscuits (a L0calmotive favorite) we were approached by a local woman who told us all about the area and provided us with some contacts for places to stay. We then headed to Lookout, KY where we stayed at the Freeda Harris Baptist Center. So far Kentucky is still hilly, filled with yapping dogs (people keep suggesting pepper spray), and afternoon storms.

Later we rode to Hindman, KY along a stretch of main roads that highlighted Kentucky’s coal industry. We saw a mountaintop removal site and several active coal processing operations. It is clear that this area of the country is economically dependent on coal. On the bright side, Kentucky also seems to have an abundance of backyard vegetable gardens and the growing vegetables are tempting as we ride by. We also stopped by a fruit stand on the side of the road and found a bin of ripe perfect peaches that sent juice cascading down our chins. Overall, we are finally hitting our rhythm as a team and the hills, though persistent, are no longer as daunting. We are looking forward to the next few days, pictures to come soon!

From the HIlls of Kentucky,

Katie, Kerstin, and Lauren

Posted by: localmotive2011 | June 6, 2011

380 miles later…

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Last week we took a nice break from biking to visit the first fiber co-op in the United States at Juniper Moon Farm outside of Palmyra, VA. Carolyn and Zach, the farm managers, welcomed us and gave us a tour of the farm. They have sheep, goats, a donkey, and a llama named Jerry, along with chickens and pigs. These two recent college graduates decided to put off grad school for awhile and follow their dream to farm. Luckily Zach used to work in a bike shop, so he was able to tune up some bike issues. We were very impressed by the individual care given to each animal, to the extent that Carolyn and Zach knew every animal by name (we liked Puffin the best). Juniper Moon keeps a blog, where the co-op members can follow the animals and be part the farm community.

After the farm, we headed towards Charlottesville, where we enjoyed pizza at Mellow Mushroom and spent part of the next day writing postcards and hunting down the best ice cream shop. Our plan was to reach Afton that evening so that we could start on the mountains early the next morning. Little did we know that the steepest and longest hill imaginable was coming right up. Gasping for breath, we pulled into Afton and discovered that The Cookie Lady, a TranAm legend, was right there! The Cookie Lady runs an informal hostel that is filled with food and all sorts of memorabilia from cyclists! Surrounded by pictures, newspaper clippings, and a very strange tandem bike, we were encouraged by all of the successful tours that others have completed.

The next morning, we successfully rode through the first set of the Appalachians, enjoying the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and the familiar burning in our legs.

That night we rolled into Lexington, VA to the sound of country music playing in the town commons. Within minutes of arriving we were welcomed by the police chief, who promised to personally watch our bikes; a local family also offered their backyard as a campsite for the night (Thank you Nikki!). We enjoyed the music greatly and all of the friendly people who approached us. Lexington definitely made an impression as a very friendly town.

Later in the week, we were hunting for a campsite around an elementary school in Daleville, when we met Logan. A local eighth-grader, he told us all about his Future Farmers of America group and his plans to become a dairy farmer. He also brought us some bread and peanut butter to help us on our journey, and his family kindly offered us a place in their home to escape a thunderstorm. We have been consistently impressed throughout this journey by the generosity of so many people.

– Kerstin, Katie, and Lauren

Posted by: localmotive2011 | May 31, 2011


We’re into our first week on the trail, adjusting to our routines.  The first two days were easy cruising along the flat coastline…but the hills have started. Here are some things we’ve learned so far:

1. Get up early and stop biking by at least 11am because it is HOT down here.

2. Street signs with names like “Ridge Way” are good clues (surprise!).

3. Those big electrical lines you see crossing through fields and forests are absurdly loud and scary to bike under.

4. It is completely possible to take a shower with a bar of Dr. Bronners and an outdoor faucet.

5. Churches and police stations make great campgrounds, as long as you avoid glaring overhead lights.

6. Keep an eye on the number of Clif Bars Katie is smuggling away into her handlebar bag.

Here are a few pictures from our start and along the way.

Getting our feet wet at Yorktown, VA


We made a stop in Williamsburg.


This was a cherry pit spitting contest at one point.

Home for the night.


One of about a hundred water refill breaks. Did we mention it's hot?

 Until next time,
Kerstin, Katie, and Lauren
Posted by: localmotive2011 | May 28, 2011

To the starting line

Tomorrow morning our 4,000 + mile journey across the United States will begin in Yorktown, VA! Wish us luck as we leave from the Yorktown Victory Monument around 1 PM!

Posted by: localmotive2011 | May 24, 2011

Announcing the Localmotive Scholarship fund!

Currently, the Localmotive Tour has raised all of its budgeted funds. However, due to a continued outpouring of support from others concerned with healthy foods and sustainable living, we are now collecting donations to support one or more local foods projects in the United States. Upon the conclusion of the Localmotive Tour, we will select up to three projects that will be beneficiaries of the Localmotive Scholarship fund, based on their support of our mission to connect youth with local foods initiatives. Thank you for your continued support!

Posted by: localmotive2011 | May 24, 2011

Goodbye college!

After finishing her last exam of sophomore year, Lauren headed to Maine with a sigh of relief… leaving Katie and Kerstin to enjoy the final week of their senior year preceding graduation on May 22. The two found plenty of time to explore some more cycling spots around Carlisle, including Creek Road and Kings Gap. Along the way they discovered this gorgeous railroad bridge!

The last week was a rainy one and they got caught in several deluges.. realized that their panniers were in no way whatsoever at all water resistant (key to image of Katie’s cellphone sitting in a puddle of water), and spent three days drying out their cycling shoes over an air duct.

Kerstin taking a break before racing a thunderstorm home

However, the two were able to make it to May 22 without too many mishaps and are now proud GRADUATES of Dickinson College! Stay tuned for more updates before the three of us leave from Yorktown, VA on May 29!

Kerstin and Katie before graduation with the other Treehouse seniors

Posted by: localmotive2011 | May 11, 2011

It’s spring!

The Localmotive Tour starts in just under three weeks and we are working hard to finalize everything! Discussions, held late at night after studying for exams, include heated debates surrounding hygiene products (“Does Dr. Bronners really have 18 uses?, “What on EARTH is a pee rag??”) and a whole lot of note taking about daily mileage, gear, and all of the neat places along the way that we just have to fit in.

Late night planning session

We love maps!

On April 30, we tabled at Dickinson College’s annual Earthfest in order to raise further awareness and funds for our journey. The day was wonderful as students soaked in the sun, listened to live music, and participated in a variety of activities provided by student organizations. Professor Greg Howard stopped by to share some bike maintenance tips.

Tabeling at Earthfest

Greg shows us how to fix a broken bike chain and remove spokes

 This week we headed out for a few training rides. To simulate travelling with a full load we filled our panniers with textbooks and hoped for the  best as our legs burned on the big hills. On Saturday a good friend, Avery, showed us one of her favorite 25 mile loops in the area which led us through the backroads and country lanes North of Carlisle. The whole valley is alive and green with the onset of spring. Soon the fields will be planted and another summer will begin. We are looking forward to May 29!

Lauren holding the books she'll use to weigh down her panniers during one of our training rides

Avery comes biking with us!

While trying to take a nice picture Lauren pulls out one of her infamous tickle attacks

Posted by: localmotive2011 | May 1, 2011


We are still looking for a few more summer camps, schools, church groups..etc where we can do our programming! If you’re interested in having us talk with your group (particularly younger kids) and you’re near our trail (check the trail page), please contact us and we can set something up!

Whew, where to start?! The last two weeks brought a myriad of gifts to Localmotive. Our bikes are finally starting to look tour ready- complete with racks, panniers (still waiting on the front ones), and fenders. And of course, we are ecstatic about receiving an $800 scholarship from the Bicycle Touring Pro (see below) which means that we have raised ALL BUDGETED FUNDS FOR THIS TRIP! It seems like yesterday that we deposited our first $100 in the bank downtown all full of high hopes and shining optimism. Thank you again to everybody who has contributed in some way to this trip, whether financially or otherwise. We are so grateful!

Yesterday we headed out for a ride together, hoping to explore the farmland and long country roads south of Carlisle. We made it just out of town before Kerstin’s toe clips weren’t just right, Lauren’s seat needed to be adjusted, and Katie’s seat wouldn’t stop moving from side to side in the frame. Thus, we spent the first hour of our ride camped out in front of the local Walmart adjusting screws, figuring out the use of electrical tape on bike stems, and realizing that no matter how savvy we think we are, we are still very amateur bike mechanics. When we finally got out of town it was just for a short ride but Lauren and Katie made time to stop along the way and present Kerstin with presents for her 23rd birthday!

Happy Birthday Kerstin!

Testing out our new gear

Tonight we are biking to the Dickinson College farm to partake in a community potluck and tomorrow we will be tabling at the Dickinson College Earthfest on Morgan Field to raise additional funds for our trip. We will be selling Localmotive t-shirts and Klean Kanteens. Hope to see you there!

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