Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Hello all! I wanted to share something a little personal today. The wonderful readers that you are deserve to know, so here goes. A summary of the last year.

Last summer, we decided to pack it all up and move to Ireland. It was a difficult time, selling a house, getting all the odds and ends ready for travelling internationally, finding a school from afar, but then, the unexpected happened. My father fell ill.

Neva and Dad sharing a mango lassi at an Indian buffet at Christmas time.

My father, J.R. Dick Fitch, is my biggest fan. He is the one who started me writing and editing at a young age. You see, he was the president, editor, and publisher of a local newspaper in Imperial Valley, CA, and had been in the newspaper business from aged 19-78. When I was 10 years old, he called me into his room to proofread one of his Sunday columns which he wrote weekly.

A proud Papa showing off his granddaughter at his job (one of 3 jobs, that is) at the Kerrville Daily Times. Dad wasn't very good at staying retired!

We both lived in Texas, only 5 hours away from each other, so we were able to see each other on a semi-regular basis. We would exchange holidays with each other, and we would go to him for his classic car club rides, one of his favorite retirement hobbies. The other was writing children's books, which he ended up writing 4 of, his first featuring Neva in the "about the author" section.

Top : Christmas, Bottom Left : photoshoot for "Opposites" about the author page, Bottom Right : Dad about to take Neva for a ride in the classic car.

When I found out he was sick, I went down to see him right away. Things escalated and when we thought he was to be released from the hospital, he went into emergency surgery instead. I had the pleasure and the honor of nursing him back to health from a painful surgery. Flossing his teeth, combing his hair, giving him company when he was awake, all the things he did for me when I was little. After days of getting better, it seemed we were in the clear; but then there was a setback. Dad's 78 year old body was saying go, even though his heart and mind said stay. June 26, 2016, Dick Fitch, Daddy, Papa, said goodbye.

Left : Dad's small family memorial service with a picture of him when he was 19, and some other special mementos of his. Right : One of the last times I saw dad feeling "well". Here he is laughing at the birthday card Neva got him, with donkeys on the front!

All the things that you won't do flood your mind. Dad had wanted to be our SAG wagon at RAGBRAI that year, just the following month. It was Neva's first year to cycle on her own, and he was so proud and excited to drive a car for us, pulling behind him one of his classic camper pods. But then you appreciate all the times you had, and it helps the pain. And I mean ALL the times, even the not so pleasant ones are a treasure when you lose someone you truly love. Remember to gives all the hugs!

It was hard for me to write on this blog, as he commented on every post I wrote, and I knew once I wrote a post, I would expect to see his comment that wouldn't come "great pictures kiddo", "what an adventure!", "tell Neva Papa is proud." None of these will come again. But I decided I'm ready. To share more adventures, tips and tricks. From cycling, to TSA rules, to international moves and laws, I'm ready to share again.

Our "backyard". The start of this trail is a 3 minute walk from our house. This is what it looks like at the top.

Stay tuned as this month will be all about Ireland. The process of moving internationally, Irish customs, hidden treasures in Ireland, cycle commuting and bike culture here, as well as our personal stories. We will see you soon! Or, as my dad would say, "See you in the funny papers!"

Dad giving us a warm farewell as we venture toward the Great Divide from his house in Kerrville, TX.


  1. Glad to see you writing on this site. Love that you will write about Ireland. Give Neva a hug (if she is still into that). Take care! Sue

  2. Great pictures, kiddo. Your Papa would be proud of your adventure. Take care and keep riding, writing and being you.