Originally Posted February 28, 2007
Alpine - 29.51 miles
How do I explain the day's events? We're staying in an under-construction adobe because of Dr. Bronners. At the Alpine Library I overheard that the Agave Natural Foods was having their grand opening even though it had been in business for three years. I inquired, because I needed a refil on my soap.
"What kind?" she asked.
"Yes actually. I use it to brush my teeth and wash my hair."
"Well I have a bunch do you want some?"
"If it's no trouble."
She went off and returned 45 minutes later with her quarter full gallon jug. She filled up my bottle and somehow she offered to let us stay at the adobe. No showers, but it has a toilet and a wood floor. She, Tanya, was at the library with her brother, Dominique, and after we had settled our business on the internet, he showed us the way to the adobe.We followed him and his wee daughter, Lila, carrying a stuffed cheetah she nearly forgot in the library, in their jeep. Lila was from his second marriage. Later we all went to Blues (minus the children). It was while I was playing pool with Dominique that I asked him why he went through wives like most people go through cars. Good conversation followed and I kept losing even though Dom wasn't much more skilled than I. The happy birthday song played and we decided it was time to head to bed. We've been feeling a little sleep deprived. Tanya pointed us in the direction of home. This meant climbing down under the train tressle. A locomotive was stopped on the tracks and would be for hours as border control checked its contents.
10.0 ave - 42.2 max - 1118.9 odo - 2:57:00 time
It was the middle of nowhere West Texas and we hitched a ride skipping 20 miles and at least 1000 feet elevation gain. Do I feel less like I rode my bicycle across the country? No. Should I? Maybe. Do I care? Nope.
Originally Posted February 27, 2007
Fort Davis- Davis Mountains SP - 32.59 miles
Today happened so fast and I felt tired the whole time. Morning came too early in the dilapidated shed after a fitful night of sleep. Something ran across Jon's sleeping bag. We left Kent after inquiring about its lack of inhabitants. In the process I met the one resident. I thought his house was abandoned. Then we stared towards the observatory. Against the wind with 2000+ feet to climb, we moved at about 6 mph. We came across a man from Dallas hunting for some sort of ship temporary separated from his partner. Since El Paso, he probably was the first really friendly person we chatted with. Everyone seems hesitant. A few hours after deciding we would like to hitch a ride, someone actually came along that could pick us up. Johnny has three kids and was heading to the observatory to pick up payment for some cafeteria machinery. I felt like I was on the top of the world and we got there so quickly. We cheated 20 miles. I slowly became disillusioned with the "star party " and we decided to descend to camp. In the restaurant I told Jon to stop telling me to get a spare tire. In exchange he can leave me in the dust if one of my new tires blows.
8.0 ave - 37.2 max - 1089.4 odo - 4:01:57 time - 20 mile cheat
I took a course in college that included a survival overnight. We layered up our clothes and built shelters to sleep in. Southeast Alaska was cold, wet, and on the edge of snow much like it is right now in Western Washington. Despite the thick layer of soft hemlock boughs beneath us, we were still cold and struggled to sleep. I remember walking up and down the forest service road to keep warm shrouded in a plastic bag. Then we’d be too tired so we’d lay down and sleep. Then we’d get cold and start walking again. We went on like that for a while. Our instructor ended the exercise in the middle of the night and took us back to school. They weren’t trying to torture us and we’d had an effective enough learning experience.
On my bike tour there were several nights like the one in Kent where the accommodations were less than savory. There were times we didn’t get good sleep. Certainly there have been times as a parent that sleep has evaded me. But these have just been moments, not a way of life.
Nights like tonight I think of the people in our backyard that are pacing the path half asleep half awake trying to stay warm. The lack of sleep will make it hard to think clearly in the morning. Anyone would struggle to put their best foot forward.
The exercise in the woods was meant to teach us to survive in the wilderness, but perhaps it taught me something else as well.
Originally Posted February 26, 2007
Jon is already trying to sleep. Yesterday at this time we were just getting to Van Horn. We left at about noon after stopping at the hardware store. Jon did something and I got pipe insulation for my handlebars. They are quite cushy now. The man who I would guess owned the shop had an impaired walk and a drop clung to the tip of his nose. I bet he has a story. We stopped at a truck stop restaurant for lunch. Grilled cheese and blackberry cobbler a la mode... The waitress had a cast on her arm and she was out of lemonade. I picked up some more postcards in Kent, but there isn't anything here. Less than 20 years ago the last folks left. There's a squatter in the shell of a school. The post office is padlocked. There are turds all over the floor of the house we're at. I preferred the lean-to. The glass is minimal and effectively blocks the wind.
12.4 ave - 36.2 max - 1056.8 odo - 3:11:02 time
The paint set on my desk includes 28 different paints. I've found that I like my paintings more when I use a limited palette of just 3 or 4. The colors coordinate with each other better and I'm not overwhelmed with color choices. When I have just 4 paints, I have to rely heavily on mixing. Mixing actually gets me way more then 28 different colors. So I've decided to practice with just these 4 paints from Daniel Smith for a while. I'll fill up some full pans to put in my urban sketching kit and I'll even have the chance to pre-mix a couple of colors in the pan. I'm thinking I'll try pre-mixing a green and a grey. That should save me some time when I am out and about.
Averaging fifteen miles per hour, the fact that we didn't leave until noon didn't pose a problem. We loaded up on pecan cinnamon rolls and welcomed the press on our backs. Stopping was the only time the wind chilled us. Once we started moving, the wind disappeared. Logically it makes sense but it was a weird sensation. We made the 60 miles by 4:30. We stopped in at the library. I blogged while Jon busied himself outside. I tapped him out and called home for the weather report. The 29 degrees overnight didn't sound exciting so we investigated the Economy Inn. Ironically, the heat didn't work. Jon compromised and we went to Pizza Slut. We ordered a large deep dish supreme. He punctuated his sentences with his straw hitting the ice in his root beer. He thought it would be a ginger brew. Ginger is a root. Root beer always gives him a chuckle because root means something different in Australia. "Isn't all beer root beer?"
776 ODO - 4:12:27 TIME - 15 ave - 25.4 max
The clouds on the way to Lordsburg were some happy clouds. I love me some good clouds. So it was high time that I have some fun painting them. First I put down some water on the paper where I wanted there to be blue sky (wet on wet) and put down some fountain pen ink with a brush. Then I added the gray undersides of the clouds and the land with watercolors. While it was still a bit wet, I added in some black lines with a fountain pen.
Lordsburg - 58.02 miles
30.8 max - 9.7 avg - 711.8 ODO - 5:58:02 time
I was just coming off completing a degree in Outdoor Leadership when I took this trip. Something that was seriously drilled into our heads was that cotton kills. In Southeast Alaska, where I studied, it rains and rains and rains. Cotton provides zero insulation when wet. Even without precipitation, perspiration can cause problems that lead to hypothermia. For this bike trip, I primarily wore synthetics designed for the outdoors. They wicked moisture, kept me warm, and were moderately stylish. If I were to do this trip again, I would go wool. Wool has gotten popular lately and it just doesn't hold on to a body's stink like synthetics do. It also still insulates pretty well when wet. Cotton also does a good job with the smells, but I still like to be alive.
Three Way - 34.79 miles
4:04:13 time - 8.5 avg - 38.4 max - 653.7 ODO
Safford - 10.67 miles
"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing to hard for me?"
But apparently spelling is still beyond their reach.
Thatcher - 75.21 miles
11.8 average - 608 ODO - 34.9 max - 6:20:43 time
Globe - 26.87 miles
34.2 max - 7.2 avg
Superior - 46.18 miles
The other bonus about waiting until February is already having updated return addresses from all those cards and letters. I do mail out to a ton of people that never mail me anything. Sometimes I hear back and it is rewarding to reconnect with friends and family. Sometimes I never hear back. I hope that the news from our lives brings some joy to yours.
Mesa - 49.69 miles
11.1 avg - 4:26:24 time
PAP Previously Adventurous Person
PEP Previously Energetic Person
PCP Previously Carefree Person
PHP Previously Happy Person
I know it is easy to get hung up on the past and think that the best is behind us. It is also easy to think that the best is yet to come. I recently watched the movie Hector and the Search for Happiness and it reminded me that happiness is in the pursuit.
As long as I'm not a PLP (Previously Living Person), I'd like to embrace what I am:
CCP Currently Creative Person
COP Currently Organized Person
I'm probably also a CTP Currently Tired Person otherwise I would be able to come up with better acronyms.
Glendale - 25.25 miles
We're staying at our second warm showers of the trip. Susan and Greg are wonderful and they've left us to go about our business. As we rode through Surprise and Glendale, Jon asked me if my speedo was working. I was confused for a moment until I realized he was refering to my cycle computer. My Vetta wasn't calibrated correctly or I'm not really sure. It wasn't giving me reliable information. So I returned it to REI. As always, they took it back only asking what was wrong. I picked up a wireless cateye. It is a bit more user friendly and it works. I tried to explain to him the dangers of calling it a speedo in the states, but there was too much traffic. I've eaten the ham sandwitches I'd made earlier in the day with the supplies Myrna provided. They were quite wonderful. That was one of the many things I'd done before our 3pm departure. Jon was having technological difficulties and it appeared he was about to have a nervous breakdown. I also took a nap, ate leftovers, ate two ham sandwitches, chatted with Myrna, watched Larry get ready for his softball game and watched him return victorious. All in all it was relaxing day.
Avg. 11.4 - Max 18.6 - Time 2:12:17
Surprise: A day of rest - 0 miles
Surprise - 60 miles
The plant pictured with the bikes is a Joshua Tree.
Aguila - 66 miles
Quartzite - 22 miles
RV's are everywhere. They are on the road. They are in the towns. They are nestled amongst the hills. They are even in the sky. Ok... they weren't in the sky, but a plane dragging a sign advertising RV sales was in the sky. We are staying at an RV park. Camping in Aguila is RV camping. The land is pretty void of vegetation, however we are starting to see the classic cactus... you know the one that looks like a pitch fork.
Libraries. I figure that by the end of this trip I'll have stopped at at least 30 different libraries. Every one that I've been too has free internet. This library has a table full of 16 year olds arguing in a friendly manner while studying for some drivers ed test. They were amused when I asked them if we were in Quartzite. In the end I will be a library internet connoisseur.
Also of note... Quartzite must be where all the fair food trailers go for the winter. There must be hundreds of them along main street. I'm probably exaggerating, but not that much.
Car accidents, church things, walk around town, go to Mc Donalds, talk to strangers, and wait to get killed... that's what these four girls said there is to do around town for folks their age. I hope they were joking about a few of those. Church things are scary.
The librarian is going to kick me out so I must adios.
We do not know what was really going on here. There was a woman alone on the side of the road who looked like she needed help... but she didn't really want help from us. You can read Jon's version of the story here.
Maybe we only narrowly escaped being kidnapped?
Maybe she was a secret agent trying to bait the bad guys into abducting her so they could catch them?
Leave your theory in the comments!
Blythe - 53 miles
Today was relatively uneventful. We descended from the Chocolate Mountains. I took pictures of Palo Verde Peak, agricultural canals, and fields. There was also a phenomenal sunset that was kept away by the fence of the RV park. We had an interesting interaction with a woman on the side of the road 14 miles out of Palo Verde. John's blog of the encounter really does it justice. But in short and until he posts... there was some "business" gone bad with a schizophrenic and a gun. How she is in the desert without water. Here at the RV park on the Colorado River it is noisy, but the water his hot. There's a pool, but it's not worth the trouble. I'm really getting into burritos. I had two yesterday and three today.
That's just your pulse on your pillow.
Chocolate Mountains - 43 miles
The stars are out in full force with the aircraft bouncing around between them. A helicopter was no more than about 100m above us. No doubt it checked us out. I wouldn't be half surprised if a border patrol truck came rolling up in the middle of the night to check us out. Out heat signatures are all over the place.
We went through the sand dunes. On the right were dirt bikes and four wheelers. On the left was vegetation. The difference was quite remarkable and disappointing. The five points on my body that are in contact with the bike hurt. They're still getting broken in.
Then we went over to the sulfur hot springs and soaked in the jacuzzi for over an hour. That was quite nice. Someone should remind me not to post a descriptor like nice. It just doesn't to it justice or anything for that matter. I had a bit of a headache, so I loafed around for a while watching parts of movies on television. Currently the boys are off at the hot springs again while I hold down the fort. It's been great to get some pictures up and on the site. I'm considering taking another shower... There are a few cacti pictured. The two brownish ones I don't know anything about, but the green one is what Patron is made from. I feel like I've been lacking detail, but if you check out John's Blog with the link on the right, he fills in where I don't. It's been fun listening to John and Jean's chatter in the background, but we'll be heading out tomorrow for 18 miles of decent from 2800ft back down to sea level and below. I have 7 maps and tomorrow we'll probably at least finish the fourth if not the fifth of the 15 panels on the first. If that was too confusing, I'm sorry.