The Soap Box

November, 2010

Pedaling to raise awareness for organ donation

  PEDAL POWER crossing the USA.

When my husband Ken retired, he and I decided to pedal our recumbent trikes across the United States in an effort to raise awareness for Organ Donation.  We would be riding in memory of my daughter Alex who at the age of 11 was hit by a car and killed.  Prompted by a commercial she had seen on TV, my little girl had told me just six months prior to the accident that if anything happened to her, she would want to be an organ donor.  I honored her wishes and on our journey from North Carolina to Oregon we would meet Dillon, the little boy who received Alex's heart.
 regon nov
Having never done something like this before one could barely even call us cyclists when we left.  Oh sure, we went for bike rides together but touring for long distances is a lot different than cruising through the park, and the ride we were planning would be nearly 4500 miles long and would take us almost 6 months to complete.  This meant that we would have to be very deliberate about what we brought with us.  We would have to pack everything we needed onto those trikes and there would be no room for anything that was not an absolute necessity.  We planned to camp 90% of the time so being self sufficient was a requirement, and we had other priorities as well.

Ken and I try to be very responsible about how and where our dollars go. We prefer to support local farmers and to eat organically whenever possible.  We also like to use products whose impact on our precious Mother Earth is minimal.  Supporting small family businesses is something we believe in and we try very hard not to do our shopping at the big box stores, instead choosing to invest in real people.  It matters where our money goes, and with these things in mind we set about to find the perfect products to take with us on our adventure.

We each got two or three outfits from the local thrift shop and a new pair of shoes.  And since we were taking our dog Simon with us on the tour, we got him a sweater and a fleece jacket at a yard sale so he could stay warm on the cold nights we would spend hunkered down on mountaintops. We got nearly all of our camping gear either used or on sale.  Our trip was funded solely by donations from people who believed in us and what we were doing so we wanted to make smart choices when it came to making purchases with that money.

"What other ways could we save money, be kind to the environment, and support family businesses?" I muttered to myself while trying to figure out how to cram a bottle of shampoo, another bottle of conditioner, and still another bottle of soap into my bag.  When the shampoo bottle came open and spilled it's contents all over my clothes, I knew that was NOT going to work and that there had to be a better way.  But what option did I have?  I was going to be pedaling all day every day and I needed to be able to get cleaned up each night.


A trip to our local health food store solved my dilemma.  It was there that Ken and I discovered J.R.LIGGETT'S Herbal Bar Shampoo .  Drawn to it's neat old-timey packaging Ken picked up a bar and handed it to me.  I held it to my nose and took in the fresh clean earthy scent. I closed my eyes and took another deep whiff.  When I flipped the bar over and began reading the back of the packaging I realized that not only did this shampoo have an amazing natural herbal aroma, but the label said everything I wanted to hear:  No Chemical Concoctions. No Harmful Detergents. No Animal Testing or Animal Products. Completely Bio-degradable. Great for Travelers. And, it even said I wouldn't need a conditioner!  Now that I did not believe.  I have fine hair that has a tendency to be dry and brittle and never in my life have I been able to go without a conditioner.  Never.  Unable to resist the wonderful scent and big promises, I took it home and tried it in spite of my skepticism.  The very next day I took all my bottles of shampoo and conditioner out to the trash.  Never again would I use anything but J.R.LIGGETT'S on my hair (or my body) and now I get compliments all the time about how healthy my hair looks.  And without a conditioner!  When I logged on to and learned more about the story behind this handmade shampoo bar and about what goes into making such an amazing product, I liked it even more.

J.R.LIGGETT'S lathers up great whether you are cleaning up in a river (won't hurt the fishies) or in the comfort of your own home and it leaves you feeling clean and moisturized like those other soaps just can't.  And when I buy J.R.LIGGETT'S products, I know I am investing in a real person who is living his life deliberately, following his dreams, doing what he loves, and who is providing the world with something we can all benefit from.  Healthy, happy hair! 

We completed our ride earlier this month and we are proud to announce that we were able to get over 85 people to register to be organ donors.  And we also got many of those same people to try J.R.LIGGETT'S Shampoo.  When you discover something this great you just want to tell people about it!  We are currently wintering in the town of South Fork, CO.  If you are interested in learning more about our trip please feel free to look at our blog: or to see where we are now you can find us at:


   Jen Ballentine

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