February 2, 2015

San Clemente to Thousand Oaks... via LA!

Firstly a little something I missed off the previous report....

In San Diego we said goodbye to two dear friends who joined us over the Christmas and New Year period. Firstly, was Stefan from Swizterland who was actually our first ever volunteer on the Swiss TOPtoTOP expedition in 2002. Thank you for joining us again - it was super to see you and have you on the road with us once again.


After joining us in Joshua Tree and saying 3 weeks until Solana Beach, we also bade farewell to our dear friend from Alaska, Ron. Thank you for your kindness, help and everything else inbetween! We all miss you both a lot.

From San Diego we headed up the coast a short 70km hop to San Clemente. Here we stayed with some good friends of Torgen and Lindsay, Gary and Laurie. Whilst here we were joined for the weekend by John, a mechanic and friend we met whilst in Grand Canyon.


Optimised for green living and the environment, Gary and Lauries home was an inspiration. Solar Panels on the roof provided the house with all its electricity needs, and then there was their diesel car, which, no longer runs off diesel - but used oil from local restaurants and cafes! Having had the car smog tested it's omissions are over half than that of a diesel car too! Thank you so much to Gary and Laurie for your kind hospitality and help in co-ordinating future events, your home was a lovely place to rest for a couple of days. Whilst at Gary and Lauries we were also joined by Cori, a world class surfer we were introduced to by Bart. Sabine and Salina were lucky enough to have a surf lesson with Cori whilst in Solana Beach - Thank you so much... we had a blast!!! And thank you for coming for dinner also - it was great to see you again and say goodbye!



We then set out to cycle through Los Angeles, fortunately, being a Sunday, traffic was low and we made the 172km ride, passing newport, long beach and finally making it to the Topanga hills at sunset. Here we met a very friendly bunch of fire fighters at station 69 - thank you for all your help (and letting the kids fire the hose!)


Tomorrow we set off from Thousand Oaks where we have been this week, staying with the Campbell family we met whilst in Joshua Tree who we then travelled to Mammoth with.

Thank you so much for having us! We know we will see much more of you in the future!


Posted by dario at 4:38 AM

February 5, 2015

Hope School in Santa Barbara


We arrived in Santa Barbara yesterday after leaving Thousand Oaks and the Campbells lovely home - thank you again for having us!


We then made a short hop over to Ventura for a night and then onto Santa Barbara. En route we passed a great solution which we'd like to share. (see below)


It's a super system, specifically targeted to schools and homes, for growing salad with very little space needed!

Here we are staying with friends we met whilst in Hawaii a couple of years ago - Jim and Sherry Towells. Since meeting us in Hawaii, Jim and his wife have visited Switzerland and stayed with Dario's parents and we have become close with his son, Tim, in San Francisco! Thank you for having us and setting up the lovely Hope school presentation this morning.


As I said, this morning we visited Hope school in Santa Barbara, to give a presentation to a selection of their k-6th graders. Afterwards the older years joined us on a clean-up of the school playground - we collected a really impressive amount of plastic. The kids seemed to really enjoy it and we hope that this will be the start of a new habit for the school!



We also finished the film covering out journey from the highest point on the continent, Mount Denali, to the lowest point, Badwater Basin.

Check it out!

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Finally a little plea for help;

Any solar panel/wind generator/ electrical experts out there?

TOPtoTOP member Matteo is sailing non-stop around the world with just with wind and solar power from Rome to Rome.

He is about 2000 miles W from Cape Horn on about 54 degrees: https://web.uniroma1.it/eco40/rotta-eco40/rotta-eco40

Here his website: http://www.matteomiceli.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/micelioceanworld

He's having major problems with the current flow from his solar panels which is leaving him without nav, comms and autopilot.

If you think you may be able to help PLEASE get in touch - dario @ toptotop.org or Jenny @ toptotop.org and we can give more info

Thank you so much in advance.

Posted by dario at 2:20 AM

February 7, 2015

Vieja Valley School and Thank you letters


On Friday we were visited the Vieja Valley school in Santa Barbara, both to give a presentation but also to show the students our bikes and try to inspire them to cycle to school. We also of course performed a clean up of the playground!



Thank you so much to Lynn and Kimberly for having us - you have a lovely school and we look forward to hearing of the adventures your school children go on!

We also received thank-you letters from some of the students we visited on Wednesday this week.

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Letters like these really are our fuel, to see children get inspired and want to make changes in their lives really does inspire us to keep going - so thank you!

Posted by dario at 10:56 PM

February 14, 2015

Big Sur

Wow... what a couple of days. Apologies for the radio silence - we haven't had internet all week!


On Sunday we left Santa Barbara and our lovely hosts Jim and Shari - thank you so much for having us. You were wonderful hosts and it was super to spend time with you and your friends Bob and Mindy.

In Santa Barbara we also said goodbye to our teacher Corina who had been with us for a few weeks - thank you so much for teaching our children!


From Santa Barbara we then cycled some of the most beautiful 475 kilometres I think we will ever cycle. We were also joined by Eric and his son, Sorren, good friends we made whilst in Alaska - Sorren (13) is cycling with us for a couple of weeks which is great.

Our route this week has brought us through Pismo beach, then along the beautiful Highway 1, through San Simeon, Big Sur and now to Santa Cruz; where we are staying with Jim and Shari's Son and Daughter in Law, Tyson and Shanda- Thank you so much for having us also!!



Just north of San Simeon we went past Piedras Blancas lighthouse and the beach which flanks it; where 17,000 Elephant Seals now call home. It was amazing sight (and sound and smell!), and we were lucky to be passing at the tail end of mating season so the beach was a hive of activity.


Heading further up the coast, spring very much looked like it had sprung! It was beautiful with rape seed plants lining the streets with yellow flowers, and with the roads quiet and with the occasional migrating grey whale spouting keeping us on our toes it really was a stunning couple of days.


Just outside ragged point we found a state beach to camp on for the evening, after an incredible sunset and then a blanket of a thousand stars to bid us goodnight it was all set to be a lovely evening.... only to be awoken by the most almighty wind storm at 1am - with all the tents trying their hardest to fly away!



After a peaceful sunrise and a further 120kms cycling north we hit Big Sur for the evening and then onto Santa Cruz today for a busy week ahead.

Posted by dario at 5:38 AM

February 17, 2015

We've made it back to Pier 39!

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We have completed the cycle tour, from PIER 39 to Pier 39... It's taken us 129 days, cycling 2,485 miles on our Stromer Bikes, climbing a total of 89,590ft in elevation - that's 3 x the height of Mount Everest!!

For more info, or if you would like to run a story on this leg of the journey, please see our en_2015-02-16_press-release-toptotop.pdf


Thank you so much to the incredible people we have met along the way, who have helped us, opened up their homes, come and cleaned up beaches, mountain tops and deserts with us and of course all the 3000+ students we have visited!


It's been incredible, and now we focus on visiting more schools, and preparing for our next leg, which will take us from POLE to POLE around the two Americas.

Below are a few photos from our couple of days up from Santa Cruz, staying in Half Moon Bay along the way which was stunning!


Thank you so much to Tyson, Shanda and their children Ashley and Tanner for having us to stay in Santa Cruz - it was great being with you guys!


Posted by dario at 12:43 AM