Thanks for joining me!
Cancer is an ugly blight that touches every family, friend, and neighbor. The Pelotonia 2018 event is where I, with your help, intend to take a stand.
The Ride to End Cancer
Thanks for joining me!
Cancer is an ugly blight that touches every family, friend, and neighbor. The Pelotonia 2018 event is where I, with your help, intend to take a stand.
The Ride to End Cancer
Well only two pictures tonight, not because I don’t have some better pictures but because I couldn’t get them loaded. Read on to understand why this has been a real exhausting day.
What would you do answers for last night with the understanding that what I did may or may not be the right thing to do.
Summary: Exhausting day . . . I-8 was the road that I dreaded. It had a 63 mile stint across the desert and then a 38 mile run with no services in between. The temperature climbed to 106 which didn’t help. You could feel the heat radiate from the road. The difficulty started this morning. The back tire was low again. I went to the rest room that had a light on and filled the tire again worried about what might happen since I only had the old tube packed and no other spares.
At mile 30 I noted that the back tire was low on tire pressure again. I filled it up and at mile 50 it was again low. This time it wouldn’t pump back up. I put the old tube in and went the final 65 miles (total mileage today was 112.5 miles). Arriving in Benson around 2:00 I got a tent space reserved and sat down at the gas station/Quiznos/Souvenir shop to do today’s post. When I went out to the bike to get my notebook the back tire was low again. I had no other tube and no patches (fatal flaw in my planning. Had I brought patches they would have easily fixed the small wire holes and I would still have two spare tubes). This was troubling since Benson was still a remote area with the next service area 28 miles away and no guarantee that they would have any patches or tubes. Even worse, the internet at Benson kept going up and down which meant I might not be able to get a map for the tomorrow’s ride.
So, what do you think I did? I first filled my tire with air again to see how long it held it while the bike was stationary and then pulled it and myself to the front of the gas station. Any truck that came through received this question from me, “are you going west on I-8. You got it, MG and I started hitch hiking to make up for my planning flaw.
Thirty minutes went by when I asked Henry this question. Turns out that Henry is a professor at ASU. He and his compatriots readily agreed to take me all the way to Yuma 67 miles away. Again the generosity of people is amazing. On the way we discussed the politics around the indigenous (the work “Indian” is a pejorative word which I never knew) people that live in the west and the fact that you need to think different about biking in AZ as even the plants will get your tires. The discussion was very insightful for me on both topics. They dropped me off at a Yuma Walmart, I picked up tubes with stop leak in them and will shortly replace the back tube.
So I did make it to Benson today across some of the hottest, most desolate pieces of earth I have ever crossed and learned a valuable lessons on tires, tubes, and patches. Once again I was very lucky because if the old tube had not held air for 50 miles of riding or refused to fill up I would have been a very unhappy young man (all because I chose not to pack tube patches I have in the garage.
Would also like to take a moment to point out bad behavior. When I had to stop and change my tube a couple of guys on the other side of the rode saw that I had a problem and honked their horn laughing at my dilemma. With all the goodness I find in the world around me I still have a difficult time understanding the few morons that I chance to meet. It takes all kinds I guess.
I am 268 miles from Newport Beach at this point. Will be mapping out the route shortly. Still don’t know where I will be sleeping tonight but that will come after the post, mapping, and tube replacement.
Will do a better job with tomorrow’s post. Hopefully I will have an uneventful day!
Good night and God bless!
Life is again good. We made good time today with no struggles. Arizona countryside views continue to amaze me with the variety (mountains, canyons, cactus, and just beautiful vistas and I am now only 460 miles from Newport Beach, CA. Let me explain the pictures and then to a new category that I call, “What would you do?”
What would you do. . . So in the last couple of days I have been faced with some decisions that had to be made. Curious what you would have done in the same situation and if you agree with what I did.
NOTE: How I handled these situations will be revealed tomorrow if I remember that I promised to do so.
Tough, tough day. It started out good enough as the wind was behind me and I was again in my top gear letting the miles flow by. This lasted about 45 minutes when Myriah (remember the wind) decided I was having too much fun and didn’t want to give me a pass two days in a row. I was even thinking that I might try for South Tucson today which would have been about 140 miles – what was I thinking?
Myriah turned herself around and was in my face all day the early 15.5 or so average decreased over the entire day. How tired was I? When I was in the small town of Wilcox at the 75 mile mark I almost called it a day. It had a KOA, food, restaurants, and my day would have been over. Then I remembered I planned a 109 mile day, any mile I didn’t do today I would have to do tomorrow, and I thought maybe the wind would die down.
Rather than dying out Myriah redoubled her efforts the last 40 miles. To make a bad situation worse the road started a gradually climb at about mile 80 that lasted 10 miles (or so it seemed). I was going no faster than an anemic turtle, I was tired, and had a decision to make. I could either pull into Texas Canyon Rest Stop and have a slug of Gatorade and some munchies or grind out the last 17 miles. I choose (wisely I think) to stop at the rest stop. The food and drink combined with a good ride “down” the hill into Benson worked great.
I decided to get some spaghetti at Denny’s. When I asked that the waitress bring a little extra spaghetti she brought me another whole helping and a salad – Denny’s I love you!
Also got some great news yesterday. An uncle and aunt that had been traveling are back at their Newport Beach residence. He asked if I would like to recharge my batteries at his place for a couple of days – boy would I!!!! So, I will swing up and around Tucson headed for Red Rock, AZ which is about 87 miles. From that point I will wheel to the east on I-8 the following day bee lining it for the coast. My LA target was just a city that was big enough so even my limited navigational skills couldn’t miss it. Now that I have a real destination with “family” waiting, I have now turned into a guided missile and am very excited to arrive.
Need to go find a place to stay. Heading to the Benson KOA to see how to get a tent site.
As always, may you enjoy the peace of the world and the wisdom of the ages.
One word for today, glorious! Many, many moons ago when I was taking MG (Miracle Go) out for our initial training rides I predicted that we could average from 13 to 15 miles an hour when loaded. My reality has been about 11.7 MPH due to the strong Western Winds. Today the wind was sleeping. MG and I completed 120.8 miles in 7 hours and 21 minutes for a 16.5 average MPH. Let me get on with the pictures and then I will tell the story.
The catch word for today was glorious all the beginning of the day was somewhat suspect.
One hundred and twenty miles for me is somewhat of a challenge and the longer I spend on the bike the harder it is. The fact that I will have three days of 100+ biking made me somewhat anxious. Translated this means I didn’t sleep soundly and when I woke up it was hard to go back to sleep because I wondered how the days trip would go.
Gave up all attempts to sleep at 4:00 a.m. I decided I would go to the “Whataburger” a block away and get some breakfast to bring back to the motel room. That way I could watch TV while I was eating and brush my teeth in private. At 5:00 a.m. I headed down the road. This was 30 minutes earlier than any other day but I figured it would be 30 minutes I wouldn’t have to spend in the sun later.
Public Announcement: My friends and advisers in Las Cruces were great. They recommended that I backtrack to a hotel 2 miles up the road. If you know me then you know I hate to backtrack but decided to go with the experts. You see I needed supplies and they put me in a central place so everything I needed was within a couple of blocks of the hotel. Translated I was able to pick up Welsh’s Fruit Snack for bike energy recharge breaks, a laundermat was available to wash my clothes, and a Pizza Hut was available for my large “Pizza Supreme” dinner (which I finished). Getting all the chores done allowed me to stay off the bike most of Sunday afternoon. The rest of the story includes the hotel knocked off $5 since I am riding for a charity and the waitress at Pizza Hut felt sorry for me (not sure why) and applied a coupon to my pizza saving me another $5.
Story continues . . . It was dark but there were streetlights. I had my tail light on so that the few cars on the road could easily see me as I headed to I-10. The first 10 miles to I-10 was on 70 W. All I could think of was “will I be allowed on I-10. The further I went out on 70 W, the more convinced I was that I-10 would be workable. The big sign said I-10 left and the airport road right. I proceeded to I-10 where a big sign said ‘bikes not allowed’. Doomed I thought. Will I be in New Mexico forever? I pushed my bike over some undergrowth to get on airport road. I was hopeful that it would allow me to figure out some options. Shortly thereafter a 70 W sign appeared. The airport road and 70 W were the same thing. I went another 15 miles on 70 W when it ended and pointed to I-10. I again went to I-10 and held my breath. I saw a sign that looked like it was going to forbid bikes when in fact it stated that bikes on the berm were fine (picture 1). I started breathing again.
Wind had be a factor while on 70 W. My average speed was 12.5 MPH. When I turned on to I-10 I had a slight shift in direction which PUT THE WIND TO MY BACK! All of a sudden things were looking up. Often in the morning the winds are calm and then pick up around 10:00 a.m. This morning the wind kept sleeping. At 9:00 I had completed 45 miles (not my usual 30) and by noon I was at 90 miles (not my usual 60). Does it kinda’ make sense why I choose the word “glorious”!
Tomorrow I will go basically West and then in the second half of the day turn SW for the last time. After tomorrow’s stop at Benson Arizona I will start going NW toward Tucson and Phoenix which should put the wind more at my back.
As always wishing you my very best!
Summary: Tale of Two Cities: The Rant and the Rave
One of my biggest challenges is finding a place to stay. In the East I could find a piece of land and put up my tent and I was ready for the night. In the desert I am a bit more cautious since I am out in the open, the desert stays hot, and the cities don’t have provisions for campers.
If I ride 100 or 120 miles I am exhausted and if my request for a bed is denied then I am stuck since it is late, I am hungry and tired, and try to get the daily post out.
The Rant: I arrived in Alamogordo after doing 115 miles and requested a place to stay. It was a Saturday which means a lot of town officials are off. The person in charge called his boss and got no reply and then made the request of his bosses boss. This gentlemen had the title of Chief. The chief denied the request saying that I couldn’t take advantage of any services (shower or WiFi) since I didn’t make the request in advance and the two people he needed to get permission from (city lawyer and city administrator) were both out. Don’t you think that someone who has a title “Chief”, “VP”, “Executive” or similar title should have the authority to make decisions that make common sense? While the head guys were dealing with the politics “guys that get the job done” provided me with water, directional advice, contacted a couple of churches, and looked up the address of a low cost motel ($40). Ultimately I was turned away from the station due to politics and went to the motel. To add insult to the situation, the motel refused to honor their internet price and charged me $45 for the night. Alamogordo is a city that I hope never to set foot in.
The Rave: I arrived in Las Cruces this morning. I have a 121 mile trip tomorrow with no stops to Deming in the first 60 miles. For this reason I decided to take it easy today, stop in Las Cruces, give my muscles some time to remember what it is not to be on a bike, walk around, restock my mobile supplies and rest up. Stopped at the Las Cruces main fire station (station #1). This group of folks also had to check with their chief to see if I could stay. Again due to politics it was decided that I couldn’t stay but here is the difference. Rather than getting an answer and getting out of the picture, these men decided they wanted to help and took up a collection so that I had money for a motel. They confirmed my route, told me to stay out of a bad part of town, provided funds plus for a night’s stay in Las Cruces, and wished me well. Helping me collect money for the Pelotonia IS NOT THEIR JOB but as human beings they decided to help keep me going.
This world is filled with wonderful folks and I keep finding them. Its as if every day provides me with 10 new friends that believe in what I am doing, what to help strike cancer down and help me go another day.
THANKS TO LAS CRUCES STATION #1!
Great Sunday to one and all!
First the pictures:
Summary: Today I was able to knock out 115 miles. In yesterday’s note I said I would be going to Carrizozo. Turns out in last night’s mapping session, if I got to Carrizozo and then Vaugh, I would have a tremendous amount of traveling with no stores. I changed my destination to Tularosa last night and then, since Alamogorda was only 13 miles away, stopped there. While the wind and hills were a factor most of the day at about 2:00 okay I was at the top of Apache Summit. From there I enjoyed a 10 mile descent where I did very little pedaling and a lot of enjoying. The stops between towns were about 40 miles apart which is longer than I like but I just started stopping by the side of the road eating some trail mix (M&Ms, nuts, raisins, etc) and drinking a bottle of Gatorade to ensure I was fully hydrated.
Tomorrow I will go to Las Cruces (I think before my mapping) which is only about 65 miles away. I will have to stop there because the next town is another 60 miles out. I don’t want to try and cross 60 miles without any support in the expected high temperatures. Should be out of New Mexico in the next 2 days. New Mexico is giving all of my navigational skills a real test because no roads go where I want them too and I seem to have the choice to backtrack, go where it is really hot, or where it is still likely to be cold. Anxious to get to Arizona!
A couple of you asked what I think about while I am on the bike. Wish I could say I was thinking deep thoughts and solving universal problems. The truth is much more basic. I am trying to keep going. Riding the bike takes a fair amount of attention all the time. You have to stay on the road (dodge automatic tire deflators, stay off the rumble strips, decided whether to be in the road or on the berm, listen for traffic behind you and ensuring you are on the right road). While this might sound easy the road surface and berm size are constantly changing throwing in pot holes now and again. There have also been times when I feel like Han Solo piloting through an asteroid field of glass wondering how in the heck my tires stay intact.
If things are smooth and I am comfortable then the scenario tends to guide my thoughts. The terrain is magnificent and very different than what I know in Ohio. The bird songs, the different animals, the very different plants all cause me to wonder why and how they can live in the New Mexican climate. The scenario also causes me to remember John Wayne movie music which I find myself humming now and again.
I will also think of things I need to get done or think about this post and figure out what I should say. I might see a “blue soccer ball”, “one boot”, or a “hairbrush and wonder how in the heck it ended up on the side of the road.
There are also many, many memorials on the side of the road. I wonder what happened. Was it a kid texting or drinking or just unlucky. I wonder if it was a father, mother, son, or daughter whose life was cut short. Please, please, please, hug a loved one tonight and make sure they always drink safely and in perfect control. Tired of memorials.
Lastly my trip has many similarities to life or to someone that may be going through cancer treatments. When I think along these lines I always resolve things to the point where:
Long winded as always. Going out to pick up some provisions for the coming week and then figure out tomorrow’s trip.
Love everyone out there – my best, as always to you!
Today was a rough one. New Mexico doesn’t really have a great way for bikes to travel East to West. The roads are long, many towns are small or non-existent and if you get on a road without following it through to the ultimate destination, you may have to backtrack which is never fun.
Today’s route was touted to be 111 miles. The first 40 miles had two stops for liquids and there was nothing for the last 62 miles except for wonderful scenario. To give you a feel of the scenery, I kept thinking of John Wayne movies like Chisum, The Shootist, and my all time favorite Big Jake. In the movie Big Jake, John Wayne had been away from his estranged wife for 15 years when his grand child is kidnapped. The scenery made me think of this movie and I hummed the theme song for many miles. For the record, and not to be a spoiler, you don’t kidnap John Wayne’s grand son.
In any case I left 4:50 this morning to go to a McD’s (where I met the nicest people). I got there at 4:55 a.m. and found out the doors are locked till 5:00 a.m. (only the drive up window is open 24/7. I ordered and ate my regular sandwiches and started for 70 W at 5:30. The time change allowed me to get a jump on my travels so I wouldn’t be in the sun later than usual.
The 40 miles went without a hitch and at the 40 mile mark I filled up with 4-48 ounce Gatorades in addition to my two bike bottles that were 24 ounces each. In the next 60 miles I drank ever bit of this liquid and won’t have minded a bit more. The temperature rose to 95 degrees and while the bike keeps the wind coming you could feel the heat rise from the road. By the time I pulled in looking for a place to stay (3:00) I was wasted. Even my legs were telling me that they had had enough.
Ignoring my petty whining the scenery was spectacular. The prairies were huge and went on forever. I was told that the reason there were no towns on the 60 mile stretch was that two rangers owned all that property. I can only imagine how you control that much land.
A fair question is “what do you do when the scenery is the same mile after mile”. The answer is you look around at anything that is strange. Just about every car and truck that went by looked at me. Their faces kinda’ said it all, “stupid kid don’t you know there is nothing out here”! Even the cows looked at me as I went past.
Tomorrow I think I am headed for Carrizozo, NM which is about 89 miles away. I like being able to get started at 5:30 a.m.
See you tomorrow!