Santa Barbara, CA is this place where dreams are made of. I think for many of us it was our favorite part of the trip because the hospitality was overhwhelming, the views were breath taking and lively, and we came in contact with some of the most incredible leaders in the city that are dedicated to fighting present day slavery.
We were already in high spirits because we flew through the 57 miles that we had that day to Hazards Bike Shop there in Santa Barbara. They graciously allowed our bikes to stay there for our rest day and they so happened to be the ones that hid Savannah and Grace to then later surprise us which left us in tears. We each read a part of a letter that the man, the myth, the legend, our California dad Bill Macfadyen (Shout out Bill: he went above and beyond to make our stay in SB the best it ever could be.) had for us from our founders in the parking lot outside the bike shop. At the end of the letter it said “JK. SEE YALL RIGHT NOW!” We went WILD. Sav and Grace jumped out from around our support car and ran at us. It was unreal.
Each of us went to our own host homes in groups of 2-3 and we were taken care of so well by these families that opened up their homes and took us in as one of their own.
The next day was the most unforgettable. We met with the District Attorney of Santa Barbra, Joyce Dudley, and the Human Trafficking Task Force who tirelessly work to fight this horrible crime in their city (you can read the Noozhawk article written about it here.) You should of seen the look on our faces as we sat around this large round table near the city capital. Being 11 smelly girls, we found ourselves deeply encouraged by them. They shared about what they did, from the courtroom to the streets, and in return, we shared about why we rode. I couldn’t believe they really wanted to know about each of our individual decisions of why we took this on. We didn’t have to prove that we were capable to finish this ride of that we were necessarily qualified. They simply believed in us. Like the girls at The Refuge, we believe that healing will come and that they don’t have to prove their worth. We believe that each individual story is worth listening to. The DA shared profound experiences of restoring life back into the eyes of a survivor. This is what this is all about. I think time and time again I am reminded much bigger this ride is than ourselves. This meeting lit a fire in our team and we all laughed at the fact that the DA offered us a job if we went to law school. I will never forget that I honestly contemplated it. :-)
San Diego is literally happening tomorrow. This isn’t a dream anymore but we are called to remember the things we have experienced on this trip and the people we have met and let the life change of it all set in. I am grateful to be sitting here with my bags packed and bike ready for one last day of riding. Santa Barbara feels forever ago but it will always be an important part of this adventure. It fueled us to keep moving forward and guess what, tomorrow we move forward to the finish line of PTP... but this fight against sex trafficking is far from it. We know more now than ever before that we aren’t doing this alone.
If you would like to make a donation for our last day of riding, visit www.pedalthepacific.com/donate
We would also like to thank Judy, Rob, and Al for hosting our team dinner at Goa Taco, Bill Macfadyen, Noozhawk, and Los Arroyos for hosting our dinner at Impact Hub, and all of the families that hosted the team for our two nights in Santa Barbara!