Thursday, December 11, 2008

When all I said and done...

From Longview it was 2 more days to home. The first day was my coldest yet as I got rained on from Vader to Chehalis and my right foot fell numb and white for several hours (I have since bought rain guards for my feet for future rides). My buddy Dan "the Great Gormbini" picked me up and took me to his new home. Thx Dan!

I left the next morning for my last ride of this journey. I had dry clothes and clear brisk sky to work with. It was truly a beautiful winter day for my arrival. I couldn't be happier.

I saw this placard in a hotel back in Rio Dell California. It made me laugh. Because most of the time it is probably very true. But for this trip I didn't say much... and I got a lot done.

Oregon to Seattle

In Crescent City California I had some choices to make. I wanted to be home by December 7th, but it was clear that I wasn't getting the miles in to make the timelime. I was about 2 days behind.




EXPLICIT *** I was also bleeding badly after riding. My urine the night in crescent city was a completely red. It was significantly worse than any time before. I had been bleeding for several weeks but the visible blood seemed to go away by the next morning everyday. I felt fine and never weak nor did I show sign of fatigue, until my ride to the Oregon border.






I left from Crescent City and rode inland toward Grants Pass Oregon on highway 199. Narrow cliff side roads overlooking the white water rapids of the Smith River were chilling. The deep caverns sometimes led to open pools of crystal clear water. I could only imagine how cold it was.





But the breathtaking scenery would only take my motivation so far. I was weakening and my legs were not performing as usual. I was nautious and terribly stiff and needed more regular breaks to manage the inclines over this pass. Was is just the cold getting to me? Or was this bleeding something serious to be concerned about? Insecurity about my condition began to accellerate worries about a kidney or urinary infection. I had some abdominal pain as well. It was time to think about health and some rest.





Luckily, I have a long time friend Ericka in Medford Oregon. Even more fortuitous, her father Jerry was in Cave Junction, 30 miles ahead of me on business. Ericka and I weren't sure if we would see each other on this trip since Medford was off my direct path, but the stars aligned and my health concerns warranted the break. So I met her father at Cave Junction and we drove back to Medford and I had dinner with the Burns family.





Ericka has been ill for quite a while and I wish her the best in her recovery. We were sick buddies together the next morning each in our own recliners watching trash TV. It was fun to see her, her bright smile and her parents once again. Thank you guys for the hospitality and needed recovery.





Because of the cold and expected conditions, I decided to take a train from Medford to Portland
Oregon. This would put me back on the timeline for arriving in Seattle on December 7th and it would afford me another days rest for me to recover. I had never taken a train that I can remember (I bet mom corrects me on this though), so it seems like a decent alternative and memory for this trip.





















I arrived at Portland's Union Station around 4 PM December 4th and thought I would get a workout at the local Gold's Gym just a couple of miles away. After that I would get a short night ride out of the city to a hotel before tomorrow's ride to Longview Washington. The workout proved a great idea and the ride of 25 miles at 35 degress was a little longer than I anticipated. But there isn't much outside of Portland travelling north on highway 30. I stopped at a little bed and breakfast called the Scappose Creek Inn.

The bleeding was bad once again, however, I had an appointment in Longview to see a doctor for a urine and blood test the next day.






Lee and Deborah have been longtime friends from the early 90's and my college days. Their daughter Faith and I bet high stakes on a game of pool. I put up 100 million and she gambled her college tuition. When I won I settled (out of court) for a piece of Hubba Bubba chewing gum.

I saw the doctor and was told to rest, but most importantly, I had no infection. This likely culprit was diagnosed as "exercise induced hematuria" that would diminish after I took some time off.


... So I stayed an extra day to watch the complete destruction of boxing legend Oscar de la hoya by the mexicutioner Manny "Pac Mac" Pacquiou. Thanks Lee and Deborah. I always feel welcome at your home. See you after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The final two weeks revisted...

...so I have heard from many of you that I didn't update the last two weeks of the tour. For that I apologize. I was exhausted from the arrival home and I just wanted to let everyone know I made it.

So here are details from Thanksgiving on...




Arriving on the west coast was special. Seeing the Pacific triggered emotions of completion and accomplishment that were mine to relish for the chilled moments I stared over the cliffs in complete awe of how far I had come.




These waters would also mark the beginning of a distinct climate shift. No longer would the sun provide warmth and comfort. And the daily ride became more a quest of survival toward the next evening shelter. My endurance would soon be tested on greater levels.
For the next two days I passed through several coastal communities climbing up down the mountanous cliffs. The views provided by the assortment of rock formations accompanied by the endless sounds of the saltwater's powerful force smashing against the beaches seemed infinite. Every angle looking at the same formations transformed the spectacle of beauty into a new perfect image. I couldn't stop enough times to capture the complete beauty and enormity of California's north coast.
At Westport California, the road turned inland to a 3000 foot climb toward the redwood forest. I was looking forward to speeding through the Avenue of the Giants. I remember as a child and then again as a teenager, from a car, the ride through the massive trees. The ride on the bicycle prove to be even more humbling. The roads were narrow and the trees passed by more slowly. Some of the giants encroach into the road and completely shadow the light from the sun. Its cooler and darker here and quietly surreal. I made it 95 miles this day to a motel in Rio Dell California, just outside the southern redwoods. Tomorrow I would be in Eureka.

On my way to Eureka, I suffered my second crash. This time I could only laugh. I was pedalling about 8-10 mph up a straight slow incline on a busy narrow single lane two way highway. The shoulder was useless to me because it was a soft dirt and rock mixture my tires were far to narrow to glide over. I caught the front edge of a small L shaped piece of tree branch with my front tire and it flipped up into my spokes, halting the bike as I quickly squeezed onto the brakes. The wood jammed between the spokes and the front forks elevating the weigth of my pack and the rear of the bike over the top of the front wheel. But it all happened in seemingly slow motion because of the relatively slow speed I was travelling. I felt like I was suspended for a moment, balancing on the front wheel before gently laying the bike in the soft shoulder as the rear of the bike rolled over on top of me completing the full sommersault. Luckily, I fell away from the traffic and not into the congested road. Once again, I found myself laughing at the moment. I picked up the little 6 inch stick that stopped over 200 pounds of momentum in split second. Then I looked at the front wheel expecting spokes to be bent or broken. Absolutely nothing. Wow! I wish I could have seen the crash from the 3rd perspective's point of view. I put the stick in my jacket pocket... I will burn it later.

I wasn't quite in the clear from the crash. My front wheel was no longer round but it was ridable. It would be nearly 60 miles and a day later that I would find my way to Adventure's Edge in Arcata California to replace the wheel and get a few necessary tune up repairs.
The cold weather would prove to test my resolve the next day as the winter air in the upper 30's numbed my hands and feet quickly. My tires struggled to maintain tire pressure as well, and I found myself fixing 4 flats in the 1st 20 miles. I needed a break and the Palm Cafe had the warmth and friendly people I needed to cheer me up. It was Betsy's birthday so it was eggs, bacon, hash browns, pancakes and birthday cake for breakfast. Two hours later I was on my way to Crescent City, anticipating my next ride to the Oregon Border.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Home - whatever that means

I'm home. After arriving at dusk on Monday the 8th, enduring a rapidly decreasing temperature, I sat on the porch at my friend Junior's house. I just sat down absorbing the moment trying to contemplate the fact that my journey was complete. There would be no getting up to ride tomorrow. Exhaustion overwhelmed the moment from the 90 miles I just pedalled through the a cold winter day. I collapse backward, resting my wool hat covered head onto the deck, and fell asleep...

Home is an elusive word for me right now. I don't really now where it is. There are many places I am welcome but no place any longer I want to call home. Much of this tour has turned out to be a discovery of what "home" will be for me in the future. The good thing is that I have a options. Great options!!!

So there isn't much else to say now that I am finished. But there will be another adventure to follow soon. I promise you.

Thanks for being here.
Travis

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Thanksgiving Feast

For those of you who I talked with before Thanksgiving, there was little doubt from you I would find an appropriate Thanksgiving celebration. But I wasn't so convinced. There were few towns and few people in those towns as the coast and highway 101 has entered its offseason. About 3PM and 60 miles after Tomales I found myself in Gualala, tired and in need of some warmth.
Coastal biking is not easy. The road is a consistent hillside leading to the cliff that looks over the ocean. Then it turns inland down a steep slope that eventually turns shaped like a horseshoe and circles back up to another hillside and repeats the pattern over and over. The hillside is steep and slow and brightens as it faces the ocean and open skies. The horseshoe turns cold and dark and misty as the downward slope propels the bike faster toward the next rising hillside. It is repetitively breathtaking.




The landed flattened as I approched Gualala (pronounce Wallala) and I stopped at the first available open location. It was the Gualala Hotel. Inside were are few vacationers, a happy bartender and a open seat. I took it and ordered the local beer. I asked if the kitchen was open and the bartender let me know the Turkey was almost ready. They had only one meal and it was the perfect Thanksgiving feast.

From Gualala, I woke up the next morning with a Thanksgiving hangover. I can't decide if it was the stuffing or the wine. I'll never know.

From Gualala, I headed to Westport and through Fort Bragg. I enjoyed much of the same coastal scenery I had the last two days. But I knew after Westport I was heading inland to the Redwood forest. So I made several stops to soak in the setting and best implant the memory of these gorgeous days in my mind. California's northern coast is a guaranteed future cycling destination for me to return to.

I arrived at Westport just after dark to meet Otto and get a full nights rest in one of his 6 motel rooms. I would wake in the morning at 5:30 where Otto was already up making coffee. Otto has owned the Westport Inn since 1972 and it is his habit and pleasure to make coffee and invite his motel guests into his home for some of his homemade jam and cookies. It was a real treat to hear is story and meet such a pleasant man. Thanks Otto. I was off by 7AM.

I know by know that heading to the coast and leaving the coast means a climb is ahead of me. And I was right. After several thousand feet of ups and down (mostly ups), with switchbacks and virtually no traffic, I found myself at the entrance to the redwood forest in Leggett California.

I cried pride

Pictures to follow...

I left Tomales as light appeared. There was no rain or much wind to speak of. But it was bitter cold and I was determined to see the coast.

Today was an I-pod shuffle day. My buddy Ben sent me this little blue gadget filled with hours and hours of comedy and music. Today was one of those days where I tune out the other sounds and soak in the scenery motivated by a hard leg pounding ride and rolling hills. I grit my teeth and keep warm by the sheer pace and energy exerted from mashing the pedals over and over again.

As the rising sun glowed through the clouds, the cars passing me were nearly all carrying surfboards. One after the other the speeding cars reminded me I was getting close. I pushed harder and sped faster down the winding hills until a rightward incline opened up the sky and below there was no more land. I was looking over a cliff to the daring surfers below as my ipod blared an appropriate song adding to the magnificence of the storied moment in which I was my own main character. I've travelled coast to coast (the long way) and I cried tears of pride.

I coasted down the cliff road to the parking lot where the surfers were scurring to get out of the water and catch the next wave. The water was 51 degrees one of them told me. Another asked me how far I had been riding. When I said "from Tampa, and this was my first time to see the west coast", he welcomed me with the perfect surfer's response. "Happy f***ing Thankgiving dude!"

My first day of cold rain

...It was really just a drizzle with small spurts of rain. But it was cold none the less. Jason drove me across the Golden Gate bridge to a little breakfast cafe, where I ate a 2nd breakfast and did my best to mentally engage in the cycle weather I was forcing myself to pass through.

San Fransisco is truly a bike friendly community. Beyond just the friendly drivers and the multitude of bike trails, there are actually tons and tons of bikes on the road. San Francisco is the only place in my entire trip where I witnessed a true integration of cycling into commuting life. WTG San Fran.

I sort of weaseled my way through the town of Marin trying to stay close to Hwy. 101, hoping that I would pick up 101 sometime soon after San Francisco to head north toward Eureka. It wasn't to be. 101 is a major highway and not for cyclists, so I change my anticipated route once again and heading west toward the coast.

Of course, this included a challenging uphill just after I past San Quentin prison. For the first time I was swallowed in the canopy of trees with the sound of a rushing streaming to my right. I hadn't seen running water since the bayou's in Louisiana, and it's presence reminded me nostalgically of the streams at home. I was certainly getting close.

The canopy protected me from the drizzle, but patter of rain collecting on the leaves and then falling in colletive drops would intermittently strike me as a cold splash to my face. The only exposed skin to the weather on my rain guarded body. But my feet would soon feel the effects of the water seeping through my cycling shoes. And I once again had a new element to overcome.

Once the toes go numb there is little to feel but much to be concerned about (so I hear). It would take nearly 3 hours for my toes to thaw out tonight. I rode through to dark and found myself in Tomales, CA at The Continental Inn. This was a cute colonial like bed and breakfast with a nice lady, Peggy, who I hinted to (and then she offered) to wash and dry my clothes for me. It was just one night before Thankgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Homestretch - Leaving San Fransisco

I was promised rain yesterday by the weather report. It never came. I jinxed it by putting my raingear on in the morning before the rain came. I know, I know. For those of you who know me well, its not like me to be prepared like this. So I just want to illustrate another reason why that sort of prep doesn't pay off. All I did was sweat soak the inside of my raingear and clothes. A drop of rain never fell on the outside.
About 25 miles from the Hotel in Hollister is a little city called Morgan Hill. This is where Specialized (the manufacturer of my bicycle) is based and I called to ask for a tour. I was fortunate on short notice to receive a call back from Nancy, the owner's assistant, who gave me a thorough and friendly solo tour of most of the company's operations. I wasn't allowed to enter the R&D areas even though I electronically signed a non-disclosure agreement. It was very professional and far more of a tour than I expected to receive. Thank you Nancy.






PLEASE BUY SPECIALIZED BICYCLES. http://www.specialized.com/. This company is employee friendly and green. I never saw a person without a smile on their face so you can be sure the product is made with care.






It turned out to be a pleasantly beautiful ride. There was a consisent hint of blue sky peaking through the haze of billowing clouds that eventually succeeded in convering the sun by the time I reached the busy streets of San Francisco's suburbs. I chose the challenge of El Camino Real. About 45 miles of tightly weaving my way through traffic as commuting cars speed by just feet aside me. It was a nice change from the last four days of solitude in the mountains. And the busy streets from Santa Clara to San Francisco welcomed me without a single vicious honk the entire way. San Francisco is definitely a cycle concious and friendly community.






I slept well in a very comfy bed after Jason and Ashley treated me to some sushi and sake. Thank you guys for the fun. Safe travel to AZ and happy Thanksgiving.






Today I cross the Golden Gate Bridge. I am technically further than 3/4 of the way home, but this feels like the kick off of the homestretch. I am a mix of homesick and sort of sad there is an end coming to this adventure. But, for certain, I can look back and be proud of what I have done.






Thank you all for your support and calls and emails. And HAPPY THANKSGIVING TOO!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Time for Raingear

Today was a long day. I had a mountain ride in the dark for a couple of hours last night. And a 7PM when it dropped below 40 degrees, I stopped to camp. I had half a Subway and half a bag of nuts that I ate before I slept.

I woke early and was on the rode by 7:30 AM. It was 33 degrees and I'm pedalling. And yes, this is still fun to me. But I was desperately hoping to clear the mountains and give my weary legs a rest.

No luck. It took me 65 miles and 5 hours of climbing to reach anywhere to eat or replenish water. I did however start talking to the cows, even giving some of them names, as they were my only company during this grueling stretch. I started to repeat a lot things to myself and my legs no longer felt the pain of pedalling. I was reaching for ways to keep enduring the climbs, since each descent only followed another mountain to climb. At one point I was out of water as well and my cell phone was out of service the whole way. In the 65 mile stretch, only 20 or so cars passed me. To add to the allure of the day, my bike computer quit gauging my speed, and therefore the mileage I was travelling became an illusive indicator of exactly how much farther I had to go.

But I made it, of course. All the way to the Hollister Inn in Hollister California. The greatest little hotel in California. I am looking forward to the long rest in the clean room. They allowed me to do my laundry here and I am actually on the laptop of the family that owns the hotel to send you this blog. Thx Sam. Much appreciated. You run a great hotel!!!

Take care all... Be back soon... I hope

Arizona to LA.. ok skip LA. Welcome the mountains











Hi Everyone. I know it has been a while. I am in Hollister California. The last 4 days have been nothing but climbing and decending, climbing and decending. My legs are completely worthless and feel like jello. If I saw another hill right now I might get sick.



Let me take you back to Arizona and let you know how things have been going...



I absolutely loved the Arizona ride. It was my favorite. And since I have already seen California, Oregon and Washington, I am going to prounouce Arizone as my favorite part of this tour. I would like to move here.





After staying with Ray and Renee, I went to Surprise AZ and stayed with Mike and Laura Martell for a couple of days. We watched the UFC fights at their friends house, ate some sushi, watched some football and consumed a few glasses of wine. Laura and I are dangerous with a bottle of wine... (scratch that... several bottles). I've known Laura for a while and she married Mike a couple of years ago. They have a made a great happy home and I was sad to leave.










Mike did some good cooking and he sells some real estate too. Laura somehow escaped without a picture for me to post. You are welcome Laura!!!



















From Surprise, I rode my longest day to Quartzsite, Az. After 130 miles and some night riding, I gulped a footlong Subway and crashed in the tent.



The next day brought me quickly to California, which really put a big smile on my face. I should see the coast soon and the signs to Los Angeles began to appear. Wow, I started to feel the overwhelming emotions of actually bicycling coast to coast. I am so proud of myself.










And California couldn't have welcomed me better. After a long long long scenic downhill slope to the border, I ate a great buffet and, of course, then got pulled over. I wasn't even a mile into California when the officer stopped me and went over the cycling rules from the CHP. About 3 hours later I was back on the highway (legally) when another CHP pulled me over, just to let me know I needed to get off at the next exit. These cops are all over it... Except he put me on what he called a scenic frontage road that I should use for my safety. By that he must of meant, let me stick you on a road in 95 degree weather, with no services (including use of my cell phone) and challenge you with the worst road you have ever been on. And by the way, some stretched will be just gravel too. I cursed the CHP for 3 hours and only 30 miles as I gyrated my way through the scenic route. I still got in 95 miles for the day.



The following day I rode into Indio and started to feel the massive traffic invasions into Los Angeles. Palm Springs and Palm Desert couldn't be more rude to the bicyclist. Approaching San Bernardino the next day was no different. I have never liked LA anyway, so I decided to change my route and go north through the San Bernardino Mountains...

What an awesome challenge I would put myself through. And now that I have made it. Once again I am so proud of myself. The next 4 days would be nothing but climbing and climbing, over and over again. My mind, emotions and body would go through nostalgic memories of running the 2001 Chicago marathon and my college wrestling days. And now that I am through the climbs (mostly), I feel like Rocky Balboa. But more like the Rocky in Rocky 6. I can say I still have got it. The stuff in the basement.
This is looking back on some of the climb I just pedalled.








At 4700 feet and hidden on the crest of the San Bernardino Mountains is a little town called Crestline. It is a very cute mountain community with all the needs a family could want. Its a lot like Leavenworth for you Seattle folks. And full of the nicest people.
I stopped for a beer and then another. And then the beer stopped me. To the are some of the folks I met and hung out with for the evening. On Craig and Carolyn (the two on the left) offered me their couch for the evening. We ate and drank and then watched Jeopardy and Survivor. But I fell asleep before Survivor ended... Thanks for the fun and great rest Crestline. I hope to see you again...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Perfect timing in Casa Grande

I arrived at my Uncle Ray and Aunt Renee's house in Casa Grande around 9PM. Just one day before 20 tons of rocks were to arrive for their back yard. It was perfect timing. They needed some muscles and I needed some exercise that didn't include pedalling. It was perfect timing.










This is Pablo from Guatemala. He is working hard but 20 tons. Yikes!!!
















It might look like Ray is working on the yard, but don't be fooled. He just went over and picked up the shovel asking, "What do you call this tool?"














Pablo has the last of the 20 tons in his shovel and we are wrapping things up.
















Big rocks require big efforts... So here I am taking credit for moving this one.




And part of the finished product. It's looks great Ray and Renee... Thanks for good times. See you again soon.













Oh yeah! And this highlight of Casa Grande. Ray and I played 3 rounds of Wii Golf. I only won once as it came down to me blowing a 2 stroke lead on the final hole in the tiebreaker game.
Nice win Ray!!!










The learning curve improves...

So its about 50 miles between Tucson and Casa Grande and I am about 10 miles into this stretch when my next adventure began. The other bolt connecting the rack to the bike frame broke and I started wobbling all over the road again. But this time I knew what it was immediately, because I fixed the same problem on the other side in Abilene (by the way Mike. So far so good on our fix... NICE!)


When we fixed the bolt in Abilene, I had the foresight to buy duplicate parts in case the same thing happened on the other side of the rack. And it did, so I felt prepared. However, the bolt was broken in the housing and I had no tools to get it out. So I scratched my head and looked out over the landscape, realizing that I was on a service road and quite far from anything other than intermittently passing traffic. So I did something I have emotionally prepared myself for on this tour and I stuck my thumb out and starting hitchhiking for a ride.


I only thumbed at trucks that were heading in my direction and I would guess I was seeing one every couple of minutes. After about 15 minutes and no one stopping I started to wish I had boobs.



Then Dave and his son Dave Jr. stopped. Thanks guys. I told them an auto parts store would have what I needed and they drove me about 5 miles to Napa Auto Parts. Of course, it was 5 miles backwards towards Tucson.


Dave mentioned he felt a little weird just dropping me off. What a guy. I reminded him that I started in Tampa and that I did this to myself, so it was my own fault. He laughingly agreed.
It started out rough at the auto parts store. The men working were very nice, sympathetic and helpful but just didn't have the tools to get the broken bolt out of the housing.
Then Tom, one of their customers came in and everything started to come together. Here is Tom working away. Thanks a lot to everyone who helped me get back on the road.
It was sundown by the time that I biked back to the spot where I had broken down. But I was determined to make it to Casa Grande. 40 miles later through another 2 1/2 hours of night riding I made it to Casa Grande... SWEET!!!

Arriving in Arizona and the AHP



Arizona has become a special place for me. I arrived on a cool (but not cold) evening and rode a couple of hours in the dark. The sunrises and sunsets are amazing and they last much longer than the rare short sunsets we get infrequently in Seattle. I can see myself moving here.





The ride through Tucson was incredibly quick with a great shoulder and a smooth road.




But it caught up with me. I don't know when it happened but all of a sudden I realized I was in pedalling along with 4 lanes of traffic and I was moving 30+ mph. High rises were in the vicinity and I knew I was past the point where I shoul have exited the highway in downtown Tucson. Then the shoulder started to squeeze my lane as I approached a construction zone. And then I saw them a few hundred yards ahead. BUSTED!!! The Arizona Highway Patrol had me. To my credit, and the officers agreed, there were no signs warning me to get the bike off the highway. So they issued me a written warning letting me know that between Tucson and Phoenix is a no biking zone. Ugh... time to find a new route.

So I winded my way through Tucson. It's a nice town and also on my list of potential places to move to. There is a predominant biking community including the annual Tour de Tucson (www.tourdetucson.com).
But the pace was slow today. I now had a longer route that was less direct to Casa Grande, my expected destination. I also had another flat tire which has become a more common occurrence in the desert. I am not sure why, but I am guessing the changes in temperature from the freezing during the evening and the warmth during the day, are causing greater wear on the tires. I'll try to find an answer on the internet.

Leaving the Guadalupe Mountains




The Guadalupe Mountains and this peak are the highest in Texas. They provide a special environment that allowed more primitive civilization to exist due to availability of water and food within the range.

The famous El Capitan...

Photo Extravaganza 3 The Carlsbad Caverns

Meet Evelyn. She is the Greatest National Park Custodian Ever!!! She's not a bad wine drinking partner too.


I just like this cactus! It was on the park grounds.


This bathroom is 750 feet underground and built within the caverns. It's cool down here at just 56 degrees... You know what that means...eh?
This is the natural entrance to the caves. From March to October at dusk thousands of bats blackout the sky through this entrance as they head out to feed for the evening.
You can see the attractive amphiteatre in the picture that has been built for viewing the bat exodus.



Even nature has a sense of humor.








I took the weight of my luggage off the bike and enjoyed a nice 6 mile climb from the base camp to the cavern park center.


There isn't much color in the desert and this scence was beautiful with the water seeping down the rocks under the red's and greens of the tree leaves.

Photo Extravaganza 2


After some great directions from Bicycles Inc, I arrived at Fort Worth near sundown. Fort Worth has a really small and clean downtown area with some attractive buildings. I liked the ride through downtown and I nearly stopped to have a beer at a pub that was packed... maybe next time.











If you have ever wondered where I shower. Here is one of those places. This is a Love's Travel Center. They have Subway and showers available 24 hours. I Love's these places!!!

I arrived at this Love's after bicycling through Fort Worth around 11PM. I received a complimentary showever from my new friend Deanna and rested for a couple of hours. I rode until 3 AM this night.



















Well, it didn't take long for my bicycle to need some new TLC. A couple of blocks before my Gold's Gym destination the bolt connecting my rack and luggage to the frame of the bike snapped. I started wobbling all over the road from the dangling luggage. I walked to the Golds Gym and unloaded my gear from the bike and pedalled on to VT Bike Stuff (http://www.vtbikestuff.com/). Mike (on the right) drove me around town to Home Depot and an auto parts store to make shift a new rig that would hold the rack to the frame. Thank you Tom and Mike for the diligent work getting me back on the road. Muchas Gracias!




Abuelo's!!!!!!


So it was time to celebrate a good work out and freshly healed bike. So I pedalled to Abuelo's, sat at the bar and ordered a tasty dish of tenderloin and shrimp with spinach and a slice of tres leches. YUM!!!! The bar had just a few seat so the bartendress and some of the wait staff were a kick to hang out with. It was halloween night and I had a great time. Thx gals!!! I was invited to a halloween party but elected to ride into the night... HA!



Well, I didn't get too far. This is my camp just a few miles away. Too many complimentary Margaritas. The funny thing is there is another road just 30 feet to the right of this picture. I didn't see it when I set up camp.










The Photo Extravaganza... Catching up!





I have a lot of pictures to catch up on. So in order not to confuse the order of the trip, all pictures on this post will be from the time I entered Texas up to the post about the Texas Canyons (which by the way is not in Texas but in Arizona). I will post 5 or so pictures per blog and call them Photo Extravaganza 2, 3 and so forth...

After that the blog will be caught up with pictures and the typical chronological order will continue.

Let's have some picture fun.

So this picture wasn't included in the original blog. I actually thought the mis-spelled word "Firendly" was a corny way of expressing the local accent as if saying "furrr-rendly". But when I left Texas and looked back, the same exact sign on the other side of the freeway had the spelling correct. So now I just think it was a spelling error.














This was my buddy "Lil". He lives with Ryan and Bridgette in near Dallas. Apparently, Lil likes to growl at boys before getting comfy with their presence. But I never heard a growl from Lil, so I felt special. Ryan is my friend Ben's cousin and I stayed with them for a couple of days before leaving Dallas.
See you guys in December!









On the 26th of October, Cati and I ran in the Muddy Buddy run at Cedar Hills State Park. We had to run and bike and traverse some basic obstacles before running through the mud pit and crossing the finish line. We took 5th out of the 57 teams in our division. Way To Go Cati! The greatest muddy buddy ever.











This is my 2nd cousin Linda Devine. She is a massuese and lives in a cute little community in Arlington Texas. I got a belly full of dinner and then breakfast the next morning before heading toward Fort Worth.


Thx Linda!









This is John (in the middle) and another employee from Bicycles Inc. www.bicyclesinc.com . If you remember from the prior blog. In trying to find this store I had two flats, went several miles in the wrong direction and then finally arrived at their old location (I was using a navigator that didn't have the updated address). However the ride was worth it as I got a new set of tires, a new bike computer and some other needs. Thank for all the help guys!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Texas Canyons to Tuscon




The Texas Canyons were simply to tempting to ride for speed. I had just fixed a flat and traversed about a 900 foot elevation gain. The winds were uniquely calm and I want to make Arizona by sundown.




The cost was I didn't take any pictures through this gorgeous scene of rockery. It is Awesome! So here is a link to check out picture from what I biked through...
From here it was a smooth sailing night ride to the outskirts of Tucson. Today's ride was well over 100 miles and ended when I had a flat after dark. So I pitched my tent and decide to fix the flat in the morning... I slept great!