A long road to Chico

Kelly Lee Phipps

Photo By vic cantu

After local astrologer, author and filmmaker Kelly Lee Phipps and his wife appeared on ABC-TVs’ “Wife Swap” in 2009, they realized they were just good friends and ended their marriage amicably. To start anew, Phipps moved from his then-home in Ashville, N.C., to Boulder, Colo. Having no long-term bicycling experience, he decided to take a 3,000-mile bike journey (half of it with his 14-year-old son) starting in June from Boulder and ending in late October in Chico, where he now resides. Retrace his steps on his blog at http://travelingmagi.blogspot.com.

What possessed you to go on this trek?

I needed time to reflect after a four-year marriage. Kind of like the long wilderness “walkabouts” that natives take in Australia to get back in touch with themselves. I wanted to explore lots of places to see which one was best for me to live in. I could do this while traveling because I earn money preparing people’s astrological charts on my MacBook and iPad.

But why such a long trip on a bike?

I was romantically interested in a lady up in British Columbia, Canada, so I decided to go on a Zen-like adventure and bike the 1,400 miles from Colorado to visit her. When I arrived after 35 hard days I felt like, “Ahh, I’m practically enlightened!” After two weeks we realized we liked each other but not as a devoted couple. She was moving to Seattle and invited me to visit, so I followed her again by bike.

What finally brought you here to Chico?

I’d never been to Chico before, but a couple of friends, an astrologer and a yogi in the area, said I would love it and they were right. It’s a very laid-back, progressive town.

How did your son get involved in your trip?

All along the way I had been writing my blog, “Traveling Magi,” which my son Arien had been reading from his mother’s home in North Carolina. When I got to Seattle he was so excited he asked to join me so I flew him out. I bought him a bike, equipment, a clarinet, which he loves, and an iPad for home schooling. He finished the final 1,400 miles to Chico and loves it here. He’s now enrolled at the Chico Green School, a high school that uses iPads instead of textbooks, and he loves it.

What did you like best about your trek?

The freedom of the open road, my spiritual reawakening and getting in great shape—I lost 25 pounds. Sometimes I would be riding in tears from the loss of my marriage, but the long road allowed me to work through it and eventually feel exhilarated again.