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”
Well we tried to escape Mammoth this morning but a series of since-remedied technical failures convinced us to stay. Megan has been dealing with some pretty bad joint issues (sound familiar?) and wasn’t really in the mood to ride anyway. The solution was a trip to the local bike shop where they told her to do the one thing that fixes nearly all biomechanical issues: raise the saddle. Now we have a fighting chance of making it across Nevada in one piece.
More Rest Day Mountain Climbing
Continue reading “AMS & DOMS in YNP”
Can you summarize Yosemite in 5 minutes? No you cannot. Here are some pictures.
We crossed Tioga pass today, the highest in the state, and are looking at the vast expanse of the rain shadow cast by the Sierra Nevada range. It was a multi day expedition from the valley to the top but we made it and Toulumne Meadows was spectacular. As we are about to disappear into Nevada for safety’s sake I’ll let you all know that we are taking US-6 to NV-375 and then some more things to get St. George. We might hitchhike to avoid the 100 mile stretch of nothing before Rachel. Any way you cut it, it’ll be hard.
We enjoyed the coast, and I’ll be back later with more stories. For now though we’re taking a load off and celebrating Megan’s birthday in Wine country. Then, Yosemite.
There’s a lot to see out here on the coast, but its covered in a very thick fog most of the day. Yesterday we rode for about an hour in 1/4 mile visibility and threw in towel for several hours because we lost the will to ride. Also it’s rather dangerous to ride in those conditions. We managed to shore up our courage for a bit more riding and dropped anchor in Arcata for a rest day. It seems everyone in this town is as transient as we are, which is how I picture California in general. After encountering no end to really friendly yet suspicious looking people in Oregon I’m trying my best to not judge people on appearance. Sometimes I forget how terrible I look myself; clearly I’m not in a position to be judgemental.
Let’s try a speed update: whoosh! Since last we talked at length I met with Megan, relaxed in Seattle, got a frame swapped in, traveled down the Oregon coast, “detoured” to Crater Lake, and made it back to the coast. Oh, and lost my cell phone. On a trip that never takes the straight route or the easy way (ok I intentionally bypassed Logan Pass over the Tetons Range) there is never a dull moment.
A brief update so you won’t worry. Megan and I are slowly traveling down the Pacific Coast and enjoying most of every minute. There’s much to see so sun up to sun down we’re busy. We haven’t taken much explicit down time so I haven’t had a chance to upload photos. Does anyone really want to read about me riding bikes and looking at the ocean without photos? I think not. Know that everything is going well and the coast is as spectacular as the last time you visited.
In the long term we’re heading towards San Francisco, but starting tomorrow we’re taking at least a week long “detour” to Crater Lake. We hear it’s beautiful but it’s inconvenient. I’ve found that the best places tend to be the most difficult to access, so pack your bags we’re heading inland!
On the road south! Megan surprised me in Seattle a day early and we squeezed inside my one person tent in the back of a strangers yard. Seeing her did a lot to help me out of my funk, as the support of you all, and I’ve been feeling much better. Seattle is a great city and we explored as much as possible on foot while I waited on my replacement frame. As for the bike it’s not the same, but it’s close and I got it on close out so it wasn’t that expensive. We’ll stick to smoother roads and try not to do anything stupid until I either get the first frame fixed properly (maybe) or find something a little burlier. I suppose if I’m going to kill a bike riding it too aggressively off road is an acceptable way to do it. We’re beat so I’ll leave you with some trolls that we found near Ravenna Park in Seattle.
Under three year limited warranty,