What did you do this past summer?
For a family in Brooks, it was one big joke.
Joy Hollowell explains…
“Really this was crazy,” says Chris Quimby, sitting at his dining room table in Brooks. “Like all along the way, this idea was crazy but sane at the same time.”
This idea was to travel from Brooks, Maine to Rockwall, Texas, on a bike. Chris Quimby liked to bike, he was between jobs at the time, and his two kids are home schooled.
“So all of those things complied together to form this outside of the box idea to bike to a friend’s house in Texas who had recently been an encouragement to me to try to put more into my comedy and to take more risks,” explains Quimby.
Quimby’s wife, Heather, had a more practical approach.
“I just figured- well, you know what? Either it’ll completely flop or it’ll be really wild and fun,” says Heather Quimby.
“I was excited,” adds Emma Quimby, their daughter, “excited but also wondering if it was actually going to happen at the same time.”
The plan was to bike 2,100 miles in just 8 weeks.
“So I took a map and spent months, it was a full-time job to plan this trip,” says Chris Quimby, “to raise the money for it, to figure out where we were going to be.”
Quimby, a Christian comedian, planned to perform his stand up routine along the way. The Spokes and Jokes tour officially kicked off April 28th.
“We left from the same destination and we ended up in the same destination,” explains Heather Quimby, who travelled in a van with her son and daughter. “I was available for him in-between, should something arise.”
The Quimbys relied on the kindness of strangers for lodging, staying in 29 different homes along the way.
“We had three families we’ve never met, let us stay in their houses while they were gone,” says Chris Quimby. “And the first time I heard that, I’m like- OK, creepy alert, creepy alert. There’s going to be all kinds of micro cameras around the house, I’m going to be taking a bath and there’s going to be pictures of me showing up on YouTube that there’s no market for, by the way.”
Instead, Quimby was overwhelmed by their generosity. Many fed the family, set up gigs for Chris and even donated money towards the trip.
“It’s hard to receive that many free gifts and not be changed,” says Quimby.
He admits there were dark days- sweltering heat, 3 flat tires in one day and just sheer exhaustion.
“There were times I’d wake up in the morning and just think- I don’t want to do this,” he says. “But who doesn’t go through that in their life.”
On June 21st, Chris Quimby arrived at his destination in Rockwall, Texas.
“When he crossed the line, it was a lot of relief like- wooh, wow,” says Chris’ wife, Heather. “It was just kind of a heavy feeling because that was a lot of work, my goodness, the prepartaion that went into the whole trip. And then to see it all come to an end here and then you’re kind of like- Yeah. And it was just kind of this empty ring like- now what? Oh no, we have to go back to our regular life.”
The Quimbys say life will never be the same since this trip. They’ve made life long friends and most importantly, life long memories.
“Even after I returned home, I really don’t believe it happened,” says Chris Quimby. “It feels like it’s in a place in my brain where movies go or dreams that you had.”
To check out the Quimby’s blog from this summer or find out about Chris’ upcoming comedy shows, log onto spokes and jokes dot com.