The Watercolored Story of Butterbike

Here is the story of my trip told through many of my watercolors made during the trip. I made these mostly at night in my tent, and used them as thank you cards when I stayed with people. Now you can order to your heart's content and continue to help me finance my trip (including this website...) and future trips.

In an effort to finance this trip and future trips I'm selling prints of any (or all!) of these. The prints come on 8x11 heavy cardstock, with white borders to keep images in proportion. Each one will be signed by me, a real life ButterBiker!

Each image is named A-QQ. Prices and how to order at the end of this blog.

 A. I biked 10,201 miles with the migrating monarchs. My goal was to be a voice for the monarchs and see the world they see.

A. I biked 10,201 miles with the migrating monarchs. My goal was to be a voice for the monarchs and see the world they see.

 B. I started at the colonies where monarchs lingered in cold, clusters waiting out the winter.

B. I started at the colonies where monarchs lingered in cold, clusters waiting out the winter.

 C. When the sun broke through the clouds and the canopy of tree branches, the monarchs leapt into flight and splashed orange against the green and blue above.

C. When the sun broke through the clouds and the canopy of tree branches, the monarchs leapt into flight and splashed orange against the green and blue above.

 D. It never got old watching a sky made of orange and blue, while the sound of thousands of monarch wings sang with the wind.

D. It never got old watching a sky made of orange and blue, while the sound of thousands of monarch wings sang with the wind.

 E. I rode between the sanctuaries, interrupting the monarchs drinking from puddles and preparing to fly north. ,

E. I rode between the sanctuaries, interrupting the monarchs drinking from puddles and preparing to fly north. ,

 F. When the monarchs started streaming, like a river of wings, I knew it was time to start heading north too.

F. When the monarchs started streaming, like a river of wings, I knew it was time to start heading north too.

 G. I packed my bike with everything I needed for life on the road, and the monarchs and I headed north.

G. I packed my bike with everything I needed for life on the road, and the monarchs and I headed north.

 H. Since monarchs don't have to follow roads I was on my own through much of Mexico.

H. Since monarchs don't have to follow roads I was on my own through much of Mexico.

 I. Scientists don't know exactly which way the monarchs go from the colonies to Texas, but they think they follow the mountains. Since the roads don't follow the mountains exactly, I dipped between suitable habitat and lonely desert carpeted in yuccas.

I. Scientists don't know exactly which way the monarchs go from the colonies to Texas, but they think they follow the mountains. Since the roads don't follow the mountains exactly, I dipped between suitable habitat and lonely desert carpeted in yuccas.

 J. In northern Mexico, the roadsides began to cut through colorful splashes of spring flowers.

J. In northern Mexico, the roadsides began to cut through colorful splashes of spring flowers.

 K. On my second day in Texas I celebrated finding my first caterpillar of the trip on a striking antelope horn milkweed. Taking pictures of this one, the cops showed up. Someone had reported a cyclist having crashed!

K. On my second day in Texas I celebrated finding my first caterpillar of the trip on a striking antelope horn milkweed. Taking pictures of this one, the cops showed up. Someone had reported a cyclist having crashed!

 L. In Texas and Oklahoma I developed my search image for caterpillars and several types of milkweed, including green milkweed.

L. In Texas and Oklahoma I developed my search image for caterpillars and several types of milkweed, including green milkweed.

 M. I started seeing more and more monarchs. Some ragged from having survived the fall migration, a winter in Mexico, and the spring migration. Others looked fresh, like they were the kids of the migrants, the first generation.

M. I started seeing more and more monarchs. Some ragged from having survived the fall migration, a winter in Mexico, and the spring migration. Others looked fresh, like they were the kids of the migrants, the first generation.

 N. The monarchs were not the only migrants that crossed my path. The breathtaking scissor-tailed flycatcher never stopped amazing me.

N. The monarchs were not the only migrants that crossed my path. The breathtaking scissor-tailed flycatcher never stopped amazing me.

 O. The spring woke the frogs and toads who survived winter not by fleeing but my hiding from it underground.

O. The spring woke the frogs and toads who survived winter not by fleeing but my hiding from it underground.

 P. Scrub turned to corn fields recently seeded. I struggled to find milkweed and monarchs, growing angrier and angrier at the state of our planet and our inability to see the effects of our actions.

P. Scrub turned to corn fields recently seeded. I struggled to find milkweed and monarchs, growing angrier and angrier at the state of our planet and our inability to see the effects of our actions.

 Q. I didn't paint the ugliest, but rather painted my hope. Farmers giving roadside habit to pollinators, and protecting the wild from pesticides, herbicides, and entitlement.

Q. I didn't paint the ugliest, but rather painted my hope. Farmers giving roadside habit to pollinators, and protecting the wild from pesticides, herbicides, and entitlement.

 R. I took strength from the people planting gardens, using their voice to advocate for wildlife, and those helping nurture the scientist and steward in all of us. Visiting schools was my medicine against the dread that welled up in me.

R. I took strength from the people planting gardens, using their voice to advocate for wildlife, and those helping nurture the scientist and steward in all of us. Visiting schools was my medicine against the dread that welled up in me.

 S. I cut through the Midwest, connecting small towns and big cities.

S. I cut through the Midwest, connecting small towns and big cities.

 T. By the time I got to Minnesota I began to find pockets of roadside flowers hosting pollinators including, of course, monarchs.

T. By the time I got to Minnesota I began to find pockets of roadside flowers hosting pollinators including, of course, monarchs.

 U. I chased monarchs through the fields, aiming my camera towards the orange blur in the clouds of flowers.

U. I chased monarchs through the fields, aiming my camera towards the orange blur in the clouds of flowers.

 V. When the monarchs escaped me I often turned my attention to all the other beautiful creatures at home in the petals.

V. When the monarchs escaped me I often turned my attention to all the other beautiful creatures at home in the petals.

 W. From Kansas to Canada I had biked just ahead of the common milkweed blooming. Turning south in Ontario, I was rewarded with the purple flowers finally revealing themselves and painting the air and my route with the smell of a sweet spring day.

W. From Kansas to Canada I had biked just ahead of the common milkweed blooming. Turning south in Ontario, I was rewarded with the purple flowers finally revealing themselves and painting the air and my route with the smell of a sweet spring day.

 X. Hidden between the flowers were monarch caterpillars hard at work eating bite after bite of common milkweed. At a school, I noted this monarch would not be alive if it weren't for teachers, students, parents, grounds crew, and administrators.

X. Hidden between the flowers were monarch caterpillars hard at work eating bite after bite of common milkweed. At a school, I noted this monarch would not be alive if it weren't for teachers, students, parents, grounds crew, and administrators.

 Y. When I saw a monarch in New York City I couldn't believe it. That tiny orange migrant proved that monarchs can thrive anywhere if we give them even just a tiny bit of planet. If you grow milkweed and nectar plants they will come!

Y. When I saw a monarch in New York City I couldn't believe it. That tiny orange migrant proved that monarchs can thrive anywhere if we give them even just a tiny bit of planet. If you grow milkweed and nectar plants they will come!

 Z. I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge alone, but wouldn't be surprised if a monarch was nearby.

Z. I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge alone, but wouldn't be surprised if a monarch was nearby.

 AA. Leaving New York City, I escaped into the rolling hills home to joe pye weed and goldenrod. The color combination was inspiring.

AA. Leaving New York City, I escaped into the rolling hills home to joe pye weed and goldenrod. The color combination was inspiring.

 BB. New York's rolling hills were tough but fun.

BB. New York's rolling hills were tough but fun.

 CC. New York's caterpillars were just as cute as ever, and the milkweed's green patterning as pretty as ever.

CC. New York's caterpillars were just as cute as ever, and the milkweed's green patterning as pretty as ever.

 DD. Just as I never tired of seeing monarchs, I never tire of seeing frogs.

DD. Just as I never tired of seeing monarchs, I never tire of seeing frogs.

 EE. Pedaling south I began to see signs of fall. Butterfly milkweed flashed like hazard lights sparse but strong in fall's browning fields.

EE. Pedaling south I began to see signs of fall. Butterfly milkweed flashed like hazard lights sparse but strong in fall's browning fields.

 FF. Smaller caterpillars became hard to find, and instead the roadside ditches were left to large caterpillars and pupas. This was a stressful time to bike, knowing so many of the critters I found would be killed my lawn mowers.

FF. Smaller caterpillars became hard to find, and instead the roadside ditches were left to large caterpillars and pupas. This was a stressful time to bike, knowing so many of the critters I found would be killed my lawn mowers.

 GG. In Kansas the purple asters fed the adults powering up for the long-awaited fall migration.

GG. In Kansas the purple asters fed the adults powering up for the long-awaited fall migration.

 HH. The common milkweed humbly made seed pods, bowing out for the winter.

HH. The common milkweed humbly made seed pods, bowing out for the winter.

 II. In Arkansas, the goldenrod took the wildflower reins and showed us all what the sun looks like through the eyes of a butterfly.

II. In Arkansas, the goldenrod took the wildflower reins and showed us all what the sun looks like through the eyes of a butterfly.

 JJ. I wished the monarchs I saw good luck on their adventure south, and I hoped I'd see them again in Mexico.

JJ. I wished the monarchs I saw good luck on their adventure south, and I hoped I'd see them again in Mexico.

 KK. Fall showed itself in the migrating monarchs, the seeding milkweed, the browning horizon, and the earlier and earlier sunsets. Often I'd see a few monarchs looking for camp alongside me.

KK. Fall showed itself in the migrating monarchs, the seeding milkweed, the browning horizon, and the earlier and earlier sunsets. Often I'd see a few monarchs looking for camp alongside me.

 LL. Crossing into Mexico I was accompanied by a pilgrimage of yellow sulphur butterflies. Never had I seen so many before.

LL. Crossing into Mexico I was accompanied by a pilgrimage of yellow sulphur butterflies. Never had I seen so many before.

 MM.  I took a different route through the mountains of Mexico. Sticking to the greener eastern side, where layers of forest were accented by butterflies of every color.

MM.  I took a different route through the mountains of Mexico. Sticking to the greener eastern side, where layers of forest were accented by butterflies of every color.

 NN.  The riding was steep and challenging, but distractions were everywhere.

NN.  The riding was steep and challenging, but distractions were everywhere.

 OO.  I climbed, observing the wing beats, habitat preferences, and color patterns of so many butterflies. Even a few monarchs wandered into view.

OO.  I climbed, observing the wing beats, habitat preferences, and color patterns of so many butterflies. Even a few monarchs wandered into view.

 PP. On the last climb I reflected on just how far I have come, and how far we have left to go.

PP. On the last climb I reflected on just how far I have come, and how far we have left to go.

 QQ.  The monarchs and I made it!

QQ.  The monarchs and I made it!

SO how many do you want? :)

Prices (include shipping/handling and my super sloppy signature)

  • 1 for $20
  • 3 for $30
  • 6 for $50
  • 12 for $80

How does it work? Fill out the order form. I'll send you an email when I arrive back in the USA in March (at which time I can print, sign, and ship) and you can pay then via my PayPal.  If that makes no sense, don't hesitate to ask questions.

WAIT there is more! Add a hand towel with a monarch sewing, floating by balloons, playing the guitar, dancing with a bean (I love beans!), and of course BUTTERBIKING!! They were custom made by an amazing family at the sanctuaries. They cost $15 each (all money goes to the family) + $5 per order shipping.

 Support my friends at the sanctuaries.

Support my friends at the sanctuaries.

 They are napkins and tortilla warmers.

They are napkins and tortilla warmers.

 AND household bling!

AND household bling!

 Monarchs sewing

Monarchs sewing

 Monarchs dancing with beans!

Monarchs dancing with beans!

 Monarchs playing guitar

Monarchs playing guitar

 Monarchs with balloons

Monarchs with balloons

 Monarchs BUTTERBIKING!!! (blue)

Monarchs BUTTERBIKING!!! (blue)

napkin bici pink.JPG
 Butterbiker on larger design.

Butterbiker on larger design.

 Butterbiker on normal size. This is what the other designs look like too.

Butterbiker on normal size. This is what the other designs look like too.