April 1, 2016
Longtime Adventure Cycling member Emery Callus is a big fan of the Open Road Gallery black-and-white portraits that appear in Adventure Cyclist magazine. “One of my favorites was Blaine Bare,” Emery said, “the guy who bicycled across the country with a push lawnmower on a trailer and basically funded his trip by mowing lawns.” The piece really inspired her, Emery said, leading her to chew over the possibility of earning her own way across the country. “But I don’t think there’s any way I could tow a lawnmower over the Rockies,” she said.
Meanwhile, Emery added, she was barely making ends meet with her work at the Nine Inch Nail Salon in Berea, Kentucky, feeling frustrated as she watched TransAmerica Trail riders stream through town every summer.
Then it hit her: “Maybe I can’t haul a lawnmower, but I can sure do a great pedicure, and I can do it with just a small bag of stuff. Not everybody has a lawn, but almost everybody has toes.” So, last summer Emery fulfilled her dream by crossing America on the TransAm Trail and paying for it by doing pedicures. Every time she came to a town at the end of a day’s ride, she would park her bike and put up her sign at a location that looked promising.
“Most of the places where I got set up were miles from the nearest nail salon,” Emery said. “My overhead was practically zero, so I didn’t have to charge much at all. Actually, campgrounds were the most lucrative. Nothing like a relaxing pedicure next to a slow-burning fire.” Her trip was so successful that she is planning a tour of Southeast Asia this coming summer. “Everyone there wears sandals,” she said, “so their toes are always showing. It’s a no-brainer.”
Greg Siple photo.
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