Wind was so bad and our sleep so poor that for the first time (well second time, but that was because its illegal to ride through the Zion tunnel) in nearly 12,000 miles I hitched to my destination. We’re cooling our heels in Flagstaff for a bit, and I truly hope to write something substantial but we need to find computer access for great than hour.
Sometimes people insist that I must miss sleeping in a soft bed. Not really, but tonight we’ve sprung for shelter for the first time since Seattle. Why? Exhaustion. We’ve been riding and hiking non stop for a few weeks pushing from Nevada to Zion to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Up and down the grand staircase. At the moment we’re near the bottom, I think, and looking across the start of the Grand Canyon into the Navajo nation.
What next? Before we disappear here’s the plan: ride east to canyon de chelly and then south to Tucson or flagstaff where we intend to hop a train back to Pittsburgh. Originally we had thought crossing the rockies to Denver would be a good idea but the higher elevations are already getting snowed on and we’re not prepared to handle that. It’s just as well because I routinely feel as though I’m on my last legs and so crossing high passes is less appealing than it was in the past. What a year, enough to satiate even my wanderlust and ADHD. Just a few weeks and maybe 1,000 miles to go!
Few places conjured as much dread for me as Nevada. It’s a big, dry, hot, rugged expanse of desert, which makes it a less than ideal place for cycling. Like Texas and Montana people talk about driving across like its a penance for all the things they have done or intend to do in California. Nevada could actually be the death of me.
Still Nevada has its proponents. Over the past year I’ve met a handful of people who have tried to sell me on the idea riding across it. One was a person that hosted me in rural Texas and told me that it would be the hardest ride he had ever done and that I wouldn’t be able to do it self-supported (He was talking specifically about US-50, but I’ll get back to that detail), but that it was a worthy challenge. Just recently I met two people in Mammoth Lakes that insisted it was a great place to ride. One, eyes bleached and skin tanned to leather, told a story of riding 163 miles with a single water bottle because his other had blown away or some such. He loved every moment of it, but he was a certified Nevada desert camel. I’m a wet-lander with skin full of life and water.
You don’t want to live forever do you? Good, point your bike East and bring your shades because Nevada is a-calling.
…and Open Your Third Eye
Continue reading “Chasing Vanishing Points in Nevada”