Month: March 2014

No need to worry, Mom!

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This sensible advice for the gun-toting camper gives me comfort at the campsites.

And we have only cycled past a few (dozen) signs like these…

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And the water is perfectly safe…

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And, finally, Mom, the bathrooms are clean!

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“So why are you riding 3,200 miles ?” and other FAQs

Q Why are you riding 3,200 miles?

A Well, for starters, since I’m not biking in a straight line but instead swerving to get around countless pieces of shredded truck tires, bungee cords sprung free from who knows what, old shoes, and cans and bottles of all sorts (Arizona – where is your bottle bill?), I’m fairly certain I’m doubling the mileage. That being said, I like the answer one of my bike buddies gives to this question, “Why 3,200 miles?” “Because after that you hit water!”

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Q Are there “up hills”?

A ARE THERE HILLS??? Friday we climbed 5,700 feet in south eastern Arizona!

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Looking back from the top of the pass before whizzing into New Mexico…

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Q What about the down hills?

A Whoo hee!!

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Q How do you like camping?

A Camping is fun! Packing up is NOT :).

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Q Where do you get water ?

Option 1 (This is on the Apache Reservation…)

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Option 2:  Sometimes McDonald’s appears on the horizons… All the water you can drink AND a clean bathroom!

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But the local option is even BETTER….!!!

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Q Does it ever get cold in the mountains?

A Absolutely not:)  (This morning in Silver City, NM – 37 degree low – and chilly yesterday in Buckhorn!)

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Q What are the other people like?

A They also like to eat and camp and laugh (and bike).

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Q Do you take showers?

A I can tell you that my hair looks best under a helmet.  I had to put my “Miss Clairol” back into my handlebar bag:)

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Q  How’s NM?

A Enchanting!!

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A town called Surprise and other surprises in Arizona

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We left Hope for Surprise! I laughed my way through Arizona at the signs…Tomorrow we head into the mountains of New Mexico on our way to Silver City with an elevation of 8,200 feet.

 

 

DSCN1804DSCN1805DSCN1806  A reminder that we are in a retirement state!!

 

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Guess what we found at mile 88?  A HUGE mall and shopping strip!

 

 

 

 

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These brothers had no choice but to continue in the family business…

DSCN1764     This palm is the real thing – but imposters hide access to internet service:)

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This sign says it all! (and how often can you buy ice cream AND leather in one stop?)

 

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I am hoping it only takes me TWO months…!

How you know you’ve reached Arizona…

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We crossed the Colorado River into Arizona, home of countless RV parks and long, dry stretches with lots of warning signs!  Our first Arizona night we camped in Quartzite where there are no fewer than 57 RV parks along one long strip!  Note to self: it’s very hard to pound a tent stake into the gravel ground of an RV park.  We met this friendly, toothless local, Don (below), who told us  countless hilarious stories about his RV community and proudly proclaimed, “This is where lizards come to die…”  Temps get up to 125 degrees!

 

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I stopped at a local book store…where there were more than books.  (This nudist was happy to chat with my biking buddies while I looked for a book to buy! ) And I actually found what I was looking for!  Now I’m reading Steve Job’s biography.  So even if the owner has no clothes, he has some good books.

 

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I ALWAYS stop at the rest areas!  The desert doesn’t make for good alternative options:)

 

 

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How you REALLY know you are in Arizona.  Dorothy, you’re not in California any more….

 

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Crossing southern CA mountains and deserts (Boulevard to Brawley to Palo Verde, CA)

California will soon be behind us after four days of biking in cool mountain terrain, then down into desert heat.  We cycled down several thousand feet on the freeway passing plenty of warning signs.  I would have taken a photo of the sign that said “High Winds Next 12 Miles” except I was nearly blown off the freeway as I hung on for dear life as traffic whizzed by.  

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Camping, while usually tranquil, has its own hazards!

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We hugged the ever-present wall (the long brown snake in the photo below) separating the US from Mexico for much of yesterday. Border Patrol SUVs passed us at break-neck speeds. Today we entered the Imperial Sand Dunes. Wild changes in topography.

At the end of a long, hot day of riding, my beverage of choice…!

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We are off… Dog Beach, San Diego up over the mountains to the Mexican border: ready, set, go!

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We are not going to be hungry! Do it yourself breakfast and lunch fixings.

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First morning requisite dipping of the wheels into the Pacific (and we all got doused by a surprise wave!). What you can’t see are the dozens of dogs running laps around their owners on this aptly named, “Dog Beach.”

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Oops! Bike trouble on the first day as we headed up, up, up out of San Diego by big box, medium box and small box stores, but not a bike store to be found. Finally found a combo surf, skate board and bike shop in the small town of Alpine. Sean, the bicycle mechanic, arrived at 4pm after his landscaping job, adjusted my cable etc., and I finally arrived at camp at 5pm! 8 hours for 50 miles on the first day and I’m hoping bike troubles are behind me.

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Surprise! We spent a few miles on the freeway today and more tomorrow. It’s legal! Can you imagine doing this in Massachusetts?

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Chilly morning at the campground as we start our mountainous day two on our way to the Mexican border.

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My favorite water bottles reminds me of my favorite bike buddies back home.

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Good bye, San Diego! Thanks to my wonderful friends, Alison, Craig, Sadie and Helen for the send off!

Count down: one day until I start my journey across the US!

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day-by-day-southern-tier-03_16_14-to-05_12_141.docxDay by day southern Tier 03_16_14 to 05_12_14

The sun is shining in La Jolla, CA.  (With 101 days running of sunny skies, my friend, Alison, just returned her rain coat with tags still on it to REI.  What’s the point of a rain coat here?! )  Alison took me to a look-out spot where I could admire the 360′ view.  As I enjoyed the rolling ocean to the west, it was nearly possible to avoid focusing on the (large) mountain range to the east . It turns out that our first day requires quite a bit of climbing to the town of Alpine.  Alpine brings thoughts of snow – the stuff I’ve just escaped from!

 

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Cool
surfer mobile at Torrey Pines State Beach.