Sunday, June 24, 2012


alive festival, ohio.

THIS is it.  our very first festival as first-time roadies.  did we think we were prepared?  yes, i believe so.  but were we?  no, definitely not.  we arrived in New Philadelphia, Ohio at midnight without a place to sleep and limited cell phone service.  brilliant.  we spoke of setting our tent up on nothing but a grassy flat spot.  we considered sleeping in our car.  let's call those 'plan B.'  first, we made ourselves familiar with this sleepy town by hopping from hotel to motel to gas station asking for availability and room rates.  we came across a goldmine: $49.95 for a TWO full size bed room.  perfect!  it was THE sketchiest and smelliest motel i have encountered, but it sure was glorious. 
CAMPING. it's living a life of simplicity, right?  oh yeah sure.  but it is ridiculously hard.  with a car packed like a can of sardines and humid weather that drenches you without hesitation, it's difficult to do anything quick and efficiently.  i already miss having a refrigerator.  dumping the melted ice at the bottom of a cooler and re-filling it with a bag of gas station ice (which will inevitably melt in a matter of hours) is slightly annoying.  wearing flip flops to take a shower isn't my favorite thing to do.  going to bed and waking up in a sweat is not so comforting.  worrying about where the heck we put the bug spray is constantly in the back of our minds; the bugs in ohio just won't quit. 

HOWEVER, while we were laying on our picnic table last night/this morning gazing at the stars, we agreed upon one thing: we would not trade this experience for anything.  we are blessed.   

WE met… adorable ventriloquist/puppeteer/model, maegan.  she stumbled upon our booth to escape the wretched humidity, and graced us with her spunky presence!  

...kindness and generosity in the shape of a man named Keith in the form of home-made ice-cream; free all day every day.

...YWAMers:  Andrew, Katie, Bethany, Joy, and Peta.  they were our vendor neighbors with beautiful hearts and souls.  they even brought us doughnuts and blueberry pancakes one morning.

...eric and lisa.  RockForLife vendors who turned out to be our camping neighbors and late night conversationalists.  
IT is such a blessing; to have the opportunity to be the faces of MyFight.  this amazing purpose.  this beautiful goal to help end poverty.  empowering women.  helping them help themselves.  giving them a sustainable gift... just by making and selling one t-shirt at a time.  "do[ing] small things with great love."

WE discovered that New Philadelphia is home to the worst Walmart in existence.  and of course, we visited this Walmart 4 times over the course of our 5 day stay.  we also discovered it is more populated by fireflies than humans.  it only has one semi-legitamte coffee shop, which we visited every single morning for wi-fi, coffee, and THE best french toast you will ever have.  it enjoys blowing our tent over JUST so we have something to do after a long and exhausting day.  who wouldn't want to search for tiny metal steaks and re-set up your tent at 11:00 in the evening??  it introduced us to some charismatic men (drae, sean, michael, and curly) in a laundromat.  New Philadelphia was the setting of a whole new level of exhaustion for me and cate, that of which we have never experienced. 
1 festival down, 4 to go!  
DAILY reminder, for future reference:  stay calm within the chaos. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

sweet [temporary] home alabama

lake martin, AL
ALABAMA provided us temporary relief and gave us a sense of normalcy (in the most extravagant way possible).  cate's grandparents, shoo shoo and pop, are the most lovely of grandparents.  they actually adopted me which was pretty neat, and even attempted to make me an official Stumberg by listing and describing the eligible bachelors of the family.  the freshly brewed coffee every morning didn't just make itself, and the fridge didn't stock itself with countless cans of soda and yoo-hoos, and story time/words of encouragement/vocabulary lessons don't create themselves…we owe them to shoo shoo.  pop was our entertainment for much of our stay.  his jokes came out of nowhere, catching us off guard.  his wit is clever and random.  his smile and laugh is contagious.  we couldn't help but laugh.  

memories were made in alabama.  splinters on the bottom of our feet that may or may not ever come out, tan lines, heat rashes, endless supply of vitamin D, the night of reese's peanut butter cups, thunder and lightening, banana pudding, fried chicken, dwayne beau, sweet tea EVERYWHERE, fireflies, screen doors, porch naps, the cosby show, jams/jellies made from every berry/fruit in existence, "boo thang," the eerily frequent sightings of 11:11 & 1:11, frog catching, turtle catching, firefly catching, countless instagram moments.

shoo shoo

poppity pop
AND we're on the road again.  

from missouri to tennessee

gateway arch.  st. louis, MO

cate and i attempt to have a sense of time, but we seem to fail left and right.  so when we decided to make the trek from omaha, NE to Lake Martin, AL in one day…we should've known that was attempting the impossible.  we needed a place to stay.  who do we know in nashville?  nada.  cricket, cricket.  we facebook for help, we text for assistance, we call for ideas.  hours later, cate realizes, "wait, my COUSIN lives in nashville!"  obviously, we ended up staying with him.   

we we arrived in nashville, TN at 10:30 wednesday evening.  ryan and his fiance, veronica,  are a riot to say the least.  so incredibly sweet, genuine, and slightly cray cray.  PERFECT!  we took the fastest showers of our lives and hit the streets of nashville.  what a different world.  the smell of waffle cones and ice cream flooded the streets.  countless country bands performing literally side by side by side.  needless to say, i was in my element. needless to say, cate was not.  and needless to say, we both found a way enjoy our night in nashville.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nate, Beth, Cory, Toby, Madi Sue, Boe

Omaha, NE

Kindness and hospitality should never go overlooked or unnoticed.   It’s the ultimate act of love!  Unfortunately, can be quite hard to find.  LUCKILY, it’s infectious and contagious and grows exponentially. 
Nate, a cyclist from Omaha, Nebraska, was touring the west coast and stumbled into a Starbucks in Helena, Montana.  There, he met Lynn Stumberg.  Lynn, in her usual fashion, opened her home to Nate!  He shared in their family dinner, had a bed to sleep in, and … When it came time for me and Cate to plan OUR adventure, we knew we needed a halfway point to stay for the night.  Omaha, Nebraska?  Sure!  Nate and his family were thrilled to return the favor. 
We arrived in the sleeping town at 1:30am, and were welcomed by three beautiful smiling faces and three eager dogs.  We awoke to a wonderful breakfast of eggs (scrambled for me, over-easy for Cate), the most amazing homemade French toast, and crispy potatoes; with an added bonus of conversation with our new friends.  

mt. rushmore

south dakota
this morning was the beginning to our first OFFICIAL loooooonnnnnng drive.  we started in billings, montana.  at 6:30 in the morning we already had our coffees and baked oatmeal in hand.  our destination? omaha, nebraska: 896 miles away.  according to 'google maps,' that's a 13 hours and 48 minute drive!  but of course, we HAD to make time to see mt. rushmore.  


clearly, it was worth the drive :D

Thursday, June 14, 2012

GOODBYE to montana, home of the wild bunnies, bench advertisements, and giant garbage cans.

hello to wisconsin!  

Jesse Caleb Tyler and Ben

Billings, Montana

I was blown away by the guys on 13th street in Billings, Montana.  This community of men includes [but is not limited to] the four listed above.  It’s a community fueled by acceptance, support, accountability, and LOVE.  These guys effortlessly found a balance of boyish fun and gentlemen kindness that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.  They were constantly offering a hand at the door, a laugh (either genuine or a supportive pity one), a bite of food when they saw that look in our eyes, or musical entertainment. What a pleasant surprise it was to feel at home in a place that is SO far from home. The boys in Montana will forever be engrained in my heart. 

I met them with a handshake, and left them with a ‘this-is-not-goodbye-its-a-see-you-later’ hug.

Michelle Jacob and Owen

Billings, Montana
their home resembled that of every single 'home' picture i've pinned on pinterest

IF you ever asked them, they would describe themselves as an old and boring married couple.  they would support this theory with their daily reading of the newspaper, knitting while watching old PBS television shows, and deciding whether or not cobbler is the winning dessert for the evening.  if you ask me and Cate, we would describe them as selfless, compassionate, and altruistic people.  as individuals, they are unique, quirky, and kind.  together?  they bless the world.

ALSO, their son Owen is the most awesomely animated two year old boy in the entire world!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

WE arrived in billings at approximately 6pm (give or take an hour) on friday night.  jesse took us out for probably the second best nachos i've EVER had.  little did cate and i know, he was buttering us up for the night/morning that awaited us.   jesse gets to drilling and glueing and sawing, while cate and i fold laundry in the form of MyFight t-shirts.  i was quickly schooled in the art of MyFight t-shirt rolling. after two failed attempts, i finally learned the jesse's perfect and precise technique that would inevitably be consuming our next 5 waking hours doing; we have the battle wounds and dry hands to prove it.  1am rolls around and its bedtime.  5am rolls around and its get-your-butts-out-of-bed-and-get-to-rolling-more-tshirts time.  

TIME for more buttering up.  we made a pit-stop at HANDS-DOWN the most ADORABLE and KIND bakery/coffee shop (cate agrees) we have ever stepped foot in.  naming her shop after her children, Joni is the epitome of what i have aways wanted to be.  NBD, we had baked oatmeal and it was a party in our mouths.    

OUR first event was at the Strawberry Festival in Billings, MT.  not only are we selling the classic MyFight t-shirts, but Sseko sandals as well!  these eye catching shoes are hand made by women in Uganda with a dream to attend and graduate college.  each pair of sandals has a story and purpose.  they can be stringed an endless number of ways with beautiful interchangable fabric straps. empowerment and college tuition is the end result.  AND the profit WE make from selling them goes directly into funding MORE women in Honduras.  

typical us
the start of our rubber band ball!  with every t-shirt sold, the ball
gets bigger.  we expect to require a second
vehicle to lug this thang around :D

"We had a blast at our first event, smiles were never in short supply. I feel absolutely blessed that I am allowed the opportunity to embark on this adventure, the end goal being a beautiful experience that will better not only my life, but the lives of women worlds away from me. As I walk this road I have to remind myself of the women who walk much longer distances than me and of the feet stronger than my own. I often reflect on the reason I am here, the purpose of my journey and the impact which I may never see or understand." -Cate  

Friday, June 8, 2012

missouri river

WE SHARED OUR THURSDAY WITH THE MISSOURI RIVER. . . AND techno music, "we have to blow it up in sections!", one-size-fits-all life jackets, a friendly game of 'hide the raft', huckleberry ice cream, tailgate dance parties, tanning oil, adventuring through an abandoned railroad tunnel, cliff jumping, car hopping, song singing, memory sharing, memory making, near fatal disasters with sticks and smalls trees, story-time, nap-time, lunch-time, princess sweet petunia, a close encounter with a fly fisherman (he actually occupied our boat), bald eagle sightings, pelican watching, blue skies that never seem to end, rock skipping, rock throwing (with a small child named Mackenzie whose pants were too big for her body).

long story short, it was loveliness.

this is us

same size life jackets, different size bodies     we're gonna keep each other forever
[beau cate BG joshy sara colin benjamin]

work it 

ready. set. GO!

currently, we are packing up our lives and preparing for our trek to Billings.  time isn't really on our side.  we've had some last minute scrambles. our 'to do' list just seems to grow exponentially.  but not to worry.  it will get done... one way or another.

goodbye helena.  you have been too good to us :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

we choose mud


passing the time here in montana is easy. there's always someone to chat with, somewhere to walk to, something to photograph, food to eat, a book to get lost in, a couch to take a nap on, ect…

naturally, cate and i chose mud.


cate takes pictures, and beautiful ones at that. when it came time for MY turn to star in one, we were stoked!  and knowing me and cate, the picture had to reflect us and our personalities. what did we decide to do?  revert back to our childhood ways and jump in mud puddles.

we ventured out to the field (which is actually her front yard) and watered the dirt; making the best mud we could possibly create.  i had no choice but to embrace this moment!  after jumping and stomping a total of maybe 40 times, we were done.  and good thing!  i'm not sure my jeans or cate's slippers could've absorbed another ounce of mud.