A Tea Break With Healthy Scones

While bicycling long distances, food is important to fuel the journey. When I think about my around-the-world bicycle odyssey, I sometimes get a craving for the various foods in the countries we traveled through.

“July in Scotland was chillier than expected, so we piled on all the warm clothes we had brought with us. A revolutionary, waterproof, and breathable material called Gore-Tex had come out on the market. Because of the rain, we layered jackets and pants made out of it for warmth. The big highlights of each day’s cycling were tea breaks with scones or biscuits to warm and fuel our bodies. We averaged fifteen miles per the tea and bread.”

I reminisced about my refueling stops on our bicycle journey in England and Scotland the other day. Holding a warm cup of tea and eating scones was a welcome fortification and rest break on a long day of bicycling up and down the countryside hills in Great Britain. I decided to cobble together a healthy scone the other evening after a long bicycle ride on a chilly California day.

Here is a quick recipe you can try when you get a craving for a scone but don’t want all the butter and cream that goes into the usual recipe.

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 T brown sugar or honey

3 T butter or coconut oil

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup blueberries

Mix all the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla (add the honey now if you are using it instead of brown sugar). You may have to use your hands to knead the dough. Add the blueberries last, stirring and kneading gently so you don’t smash them. Shape the dough into circle on a lightly floured surface until it is about one-inch thick, then place it on a non-stick pan, or a  lightly-greased pan. For a sweet treat, mix 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 2 tsp of brown sugar and sprinkle on the top. Score into 8 pieces with a knife. Bake at 425º for 20 minutes until golden. The warm cinnamon aroma will call to you when it is done! Cool for 5 minutes.

Try substituting the blueberries with raisins, currants, or blackberries.

Brew a cup of hot tea and enjoy!

While you sip your tea you can read about my life-changing around-the-world bicycle odyssey in my book.

Bicycle Odyssey An Around-the-World Journey of Inner and Outer Discovery

Available in print or ebook through amazon.com , BalboaPress.com ,  or BarnesandNoble.com .

If you’ve read the book, I would love it if you shared a photo of you with your copy and your tea!

Happy reading!

John O’Groats In My Sights!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Only 5 miles to go to reach John O’Groats, the northern tip of Scotland and the end of my 1,084 mile journey. Yesterday I passed the ruins of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe on my virtual bicycle ride.

This last week has been difficult. Sometimes, when the end is in sight, the effort of the journey can weigh you down. You need to muster up the will to keep going. All that is going on the world now overwhelmed me the last two weeks.  I am in the healthcare field, so you can imagine.

But getting on my bicycle has been my sanctuary. Feeling the clean air against my skin was a purification at the end of the day. The rushing air blew away a majority of the stress. So I forced myself onto my bicycle before the sun sank, coaxing my tired limbs to pedal. I knew I would feel better afterwards even if in the moment I only wanted to curl up on the couch and nap.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There were many days on my year-long odyssey when I felt the same way. I had no choice but to get on the bicycle and keep going. A few times, when one of us fell very ill, or locals warned us not to attempt the road ahead, we took a bus for a short distance. In the end, as we watched the scenery go by and became nauseous from the bus fumes, we usually regretted not biking.

Photo by Dorothy Castillo on Pexels.com

At least twice, we contemplated cutting the trip short and flying home. But we stuck with it and celebrated the accomplishment. The rewards were enormous.

Have there been times when you almost gave something up but persevered? How did you feel?

You can read about my life-changing around-the-world bicycle odyssey in my book.

Bicycle Odyssey An Around-the-World Journey of Inner and Outer Discovery

Available in print or ebook through amazon.com , BalboaPress.com ,  or BarnesandNoble.com .

https://amzn.to/2V9x6Rd

PS. I made it to the end just before posting!

Bicycling along Loch Ness

My virtual bike ride takes me alongside Loch Ness in Scotland for the next couple of days.

Photo by Callam Barnes on Pexels.com

To inhale fresh, clean air and bicycle around my area with a purpose, I signed up for a virtual mission last spring to walk  the Camino de Santiago with a friend. We both tracked our progress when we walked or bicycled in our neighborhoods on an app with the My Virtual Mission organization. It was a good way to combat the frustrations of not being able to travel during our Covid shutdown. I found myself bicycling more and more and felt so uplifted by the experience. The organization planted trees every time we hit the milestones of 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100%.  We could even log on and see the street view of where we were in our progress and find out what the weather was like! The experience helped combat stress and frustrated wanderlust, so I signed up for another mission when I completed the Camino de Santiago.  

Photo by Callam Barnes on Pexels.com

Today I am bicycling alongside Loch Ness in Scotland as I approach John O’Groats at the northern tip of the country. I’ve come 928 miles and have 156 miles to go. The weather is rainy and it is 33º F (1º C). A big change from the 54º F (12º C) in my town in California!

The organization sends me a postcard when I go through areas of interest and history. Here is my postcard from Loch Ness. 

Almost 30 years ago I bicycled this same route, but on the other side of the Loch! Here is an excerpt from my book, Bicycle Odyssey, about that day.

We stopped at Loch Ness but didn’t see Nessie, the famous Loch Ness Monster—a creature locals consider to be more than a myth. We looked out over the still loch waters and talked with a man working by the side of the road.

“Hello! Have you come to see Nessie then? She hasn’t shown herself today,” the friendly man said.

“Have you ever seen Nessie?” I asked.

He took off his cap and scratched his head. “Aye, many times I’ve caught a glimpse of her. You should have been here yesterday. My neighbor looked out the window as she was cleaning,” he said as he pointed to the house by the loch. “She said she saw a hump of Nessie’s back come right up out of the water.”

Loch Ness, with a depth that surpasses the oceans surrounding the United Kingdom, was connected to the ocean at one time. Over the years, scientific investigations using sonar in the dark mysterious loch have yielded large animate objects. Not a single ripple disturbed the surface for us, though.

I would love to go back and bicycle through Scotland. Until then, cycling through the country virtually will have to do. The experience helps satisfy my desire for travel.

What have you been doing to combat stress and open up in your world? If you are interested in trying a virtual adventure of your own, check out My Virtual Mission. Maybe I’ll see you on my next planned experience, trekking to the top of Mt. Fuji!

You can read about my life-changing around-the-world bicycle odyssey in my book.

Bicycle Odyssey An Around-the-World Journey of Inner and Outer Discovery

Available in print or ebook through amazon.com , BalboaPress.com ,  or BarnesandNoble.com .

https://amzn.to/2V9x6Rd

Bicycling with Scottish Ghosts

When you bicycle you are close to the land. You pick up the aromas of the different landscapes you glide through.

At times you inhale lavender, heather, pine, sage, or unfamiliar scents you can’t identify. Strong winds might buffet your body as they fight to blow you off the road and keep you from moving forward. In turn, soft breezes will caress you and push you towards your destination. We started our around-the-world bicycle trip in England and Scotland. Besides the elements, I learned on this ride that the history of the land affected me also.

From Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, we took a ferry to Ullapool on the main island. Traffic was sparse on the roads. The summer daylight extended past ten o’clock in the evening. With our stronger, more conditioned muscles, we biked easily and hit a good rhythm. I loved the green all around us, which felt exotic and fresh after years of living in dry, brown Southern California. We glided by grand estates, castles, and fields of cattle.

Even though we followed the main road down from Inverness, there was minimal traffic. About five miles after Inverness, an inexplicable mournfulness fell over me in spite of the stunning nature and the occasional stately castle. I thought I suffered alone. Decades later, discussing our trip, we both recalled the deep melancholy that had swept over us at times during our ride through Scotland. I’ve since learned that we traveled right beside the area of the famous Battle of Culloden. Our spirits must have picked up on the sadness that permeated the land from so many souls who had lost their lives there. Highlanders had rebelled against the English for decades in the Jacobite risings during the early eighteenth century. On April 16, 1746, Scottish clans fought in support of Prince Charles Edward Stuart so he could regain the throne. The battle was fierce, bloody, and short. The Highland clansmen lost almost two thousand men in the hour-long battle against the better-equipped English, who lost only fifty men. That was the Highlanders’ last battle.

Staying open to the sensations and emotions we pick up as we travel and bringing a sense of curiosity is enlightening. Learning about the history of the places we visit is illuminating. Have you ever been struck by a strong emotion in a place you visited without realizing why at the time? Did you research it and find a correlation with the site’s history?

You can read about my life-changing around-the-world bicycle odyssey in my book.

Bicycle Odyssey An Around-the-World Journey of Inner and Outer Discovery

Available in print or ebook through amazon.com , BalboaPress.com ,  or BarnesandNoble.com .

https://amzn.to/2V9x6Rd

Bicycling Scotland

My virtual bike ride the length of Great Britain during these Covid19 times brought me back to memories of Scotland on my around-the-world bike trip in 1991.

Yesterday, the virtual bike ride took me across Hadrian’s Wall. Romans erected this wall of stones, also called The Roman Wall, in AD 122. The wall stretches 73 miles from coast to coast. The Romans built it to defend the south from the wild northern tribes. Today, Scotland lies a few miles north of the wall.

We started our tour of Scotland in July, but it was so cold that we

piled on all the warm clothes we had brought with us for warmth. The big highlights of each day’s cycling were tea breaks with scones or biscuits to warm and fuel our bodies. We averaged fifteen miles per the tea and bread.

The terrain was deceptive. Our bodies had the endurance to ride many miles in a day, but forty miles in Scotland often included numerous hills and strong headwinds. When we stopped to rest, the midges—tiny bugs that swarmed and delivered a nasty bite—attacked any exposed skin, leaving itchy welts that were by no means small.

We had trained as much as we could before the trip on the trails in the mountains above

our house in California. But nothing can completely prepare you for the journey of bicycling every day for miles. We developed new muscles and built stamina on this first leg of our travels across the Scottish Highlands. When we asked a Scot about the terrain up ahead, he answered with “fairly flat.” We learned that this response translated to “hilly” in our language.

I delighted in the ferry rides to the different Hebrides islands.

We cycled across the Isle of Mull to board the ferry for Iona.The island enchanted us as soon as we docked, and my feeling of melancholy from bicycling in the rain the past few days lifted. The mist descended, and turquoise water lapped the pink rocks in the harbor. We wandered down narrow roads with no traffic. Sheep grazed in vibrant fields bordering the lanes.

Tobermory after the storm

Rain pelted us during the entire sixty miles to Tobermory and really brought me down. But the next day when the sun came out, my spirits soared again. I was amazed at how much the weather affected my mood. The Isle of Skye shone a brilliant emerald in the sun as we pulled into the harbor on a ferry.

The Isle of Skye

Another ferry brought us to the Isles of Harris and Lewis. Immediately off the boat, we climbed a steep two thousand feet. Although we were exceptionally tired, we managed to make it to the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis. The stones stood silent and empty except for a flock of sheep grazing nearby. I gazed in awe at the solid blocks of stone that had stood for thousands of years. As night began to fall, I pressed my palm to the stone’s rough surface, which still held warmth from the sun. I thought about the history. What rituals took place here? What were the people like who participated? I closed my eyes and listened to the stones in silence.

Callanish Standing Stones

Our environment can affect us deeply. Sometimes we pick up on the vibrations of a place without knowing its history and only later, when we learn more about it, have our feelings confirmed. This happened to me a lot on the trip. Looking back, can you recognize instances when this has happened to you?

Our environment can affect us deeply.

You can read about my life-changing around-the-world bicycle odyssey in my book.

Bicycle Odyssey An Around-the-World Journey of Inner and Outer Discovery

Available in print or ebook through amazon.com , BalboaPress.com ,  or BarnesandNoble.com .

https://amzn.to/2V9x6Rd