Friday, April 28, 2017

Moab to Price

I felt so much better after a day off in Moab it felt like three.  I couldn't wait to get back on the bike.  

I barely minded having to ride on the shoulder of a busy highway.  It was still better when I turned off onto a dirt road.  Many cows were thrilled to see me pass by.  

I made it to Greenriver, had a nice meal, and continued on.  About 4 miles latter I found a pretty good stealth camping spot.  The next section of road would be a highway with few options for camping and a long ride to the next town.  A little rain fell that night, but nothing to worry about.  

High winds were forecast for the next day, so I didn't waste time when I got up.  I was on the road for almost an half an hour when a headwind began to crank up.  Pretty soon I was pedaling down hill in low gears.   

It was 60 miles to Price. I made it 20 miles in two and a half hours.  And I was spent. 

I pulled along side a pickup that was parked on the side of the road.  Were they going to Price? Turns out they were.  Two geologists from Colorado (no, neither of them was named Randy Marsh).  I would have ridden in the back of a horse trailer at that point.  

Sitting in a hotel room in  Price and looking at the weather reports, there is more wind in the forecast tomorrow.  Worse, rain and snow at my next destination.  Waiting a day will make a world of a difference.  

So, after  two days and only 110 miles (including a pickup truck ride), I'm taking another day off.  I'm all for forward progress but day's off are in the budget too. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Days runtogether: Towaoc, CO to Moab, UT

Leaving Towaoc and a very nice room at the casino there, I took a wrong turn.  I blame tiny gps screens, zooming out a long ways is never quite enough.  

I discovered my error soon enough and recovered to find myself on a wide shoulder on a highway that went uphill for miles.  Little villages came and went, never a restaurant, no campgrounds, no stealth camping opportunities.  Finally, the town of Dove Creek appeared with one small but nice hotel.  Apparently that town is also the top of the hill, too.  

I hoped to take a day off there, the miles and climbing of the previous two days had worn me down.  But checking the weather showed I should move on.  Monday off would mean riding in rain Tuesday.  

I climbed on the bike Monday morning with little enthusiasm but the 80 miles to Moab were a hoot.  Over 5400 vertical feet of descending meant I arrived there feeling much better than I had a right to.  I bought two nights at an expensive campground a couple blocks off Main Street and its amazing how much better I feel after a day off.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Gallup to Towaoc

Day 6: Gallup, NM to Towaoc, CO. 

A day off did wonders, despite the crappy room I picked.  If you visit Gallup, get a hotel on the NORTH side of the railroad tracks.  Trust me. 

I've been riding about 60 miles per day and that felt pretty good.  Leaving Gallup, 60 miles wasn't going to get me anywhere.  The land was an Indian reservation, and leaving the road is discouraged with no trespassing signs.  

But 84 miles would get me to the Silver Spring Campground.  Google was a little short of details about the place and I worried it might be full or I wouldn't have exact change.  

I didn't need to be worried.  When I got there, the place had been closed so long that even the driveway to it was gone.  Or it was never there. 

Just 8 miles down the road was the town of Shiprock. Google listed a lot of restaurants but no hotels.  But they were wrong about the campground, and what choice did I have? New total for the day: 92 miles.  

In town I dined at the King of Burgers, searched for lodging every way I could think of, and flagged down a local police officer.  Guess google got that one right.  No camping, no hotels.  Hotels were available in Farmington, a mere 28 miles away but east when I want to go north.  Or Towaoc, 32 miles north.   What choice really?  I held out hope that along the highway I'd see a place where I could duck into the trees and stealth-camp.  Unfortunately, there are no trees in this part of the country.   New total for the day: 124 miles.  Over 9 hours.  And still no camping.  My room at the casino cost more than my two nights in Gallup.  


Friday, April 21, 2017

Fence Lake to Gallup NM

Day 3:  Datil to somewhere east of Fence Lake.  Despite a big breakfast in Datil and a big lunch 20 miles later in Pie Town, I never really felt good today.  My pulse was about 15-20 beats lower than it normally would be.  I still managed ride sixty miles, due in no small part to fences.  There's no hotels, no towns, and no campground.  Nothing to do but keep pedaling till the fence moves far enough from the road to provide a suitable camping  spot.  

Day 4: my high-dollar sleeping bag has let me down. Temps in the high 30s last night and I froze.  Also, my ten year old inflatable pillow has developed a leak.  This morning, enthusiasm is hard to find.  

Fence Lake to Gallup. 

I rode about 6 miles on a dirt road, then detoured south to Fence Lake for water.   Ah, optimism.  The only sign of life in town is the chief of the volunteer fire department.  Mercifully, she provided the 3 liters of water I was missing.  

From there it was 63 paved miles to Gallup, NM.  Setting out I felt great and thought it might be an easy ride.  Alas, the start was a slight downhill with a tailwind.  The rest of the route included a lot of ups and downs.  Despite trying to take it easy on the ups, I quickly ran out of steam.  With frequent stops I made it 50 miles to a gas station.  Ice cream and Gatorade got me moving enough to push the last ten miles to Gallup where I found a second wind knowing a crappy hotel room and a day off was waiting.  It would be in the top 3: worst motel rooms ever.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico to Butte, Montana by bicycle

First day: 60 miles, much climbing, some dirt roads, some paved.  Lots of uphill. I passed through Cachilo (no store) stopped at the only store in Winston.  I barely slowed down in the town of Dusty (only one house there, nothing else).  Camping was in the Cibola National Forest but very primitive. 

Second day: another 60 miles.  I started the day with less than 1 liter of water.  Not good, but this is a desert, water sources are rare.  Except for cattle tanks, which there are a few.  I found one as conditions neared "panic" level.  After checking that nothing had drowned in the tank recently, I broke out my filter and got busy.  A few minutes later I was tanked up.  Good thing, too, as my older maps kept sending me down driveways instead of through roads.  

I finally made it to the Very Large Array where I knew the gift shop would have some snacks.  I skipped the tour this time (been there at least twice before).

From there it was a plesant ten-mile uphill grind to the town of Datil where I found my first restaurant of the trip so far.  

A campground was just two miles out of town so in the morning I will backtrack for a good breakfast.  I need it, my gadget says I've pedaled off almost 8000 calories so far.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

How did I go so long without updating this blog?  I’m not really sure.  Time flies, that’s I know.  

Minor obstruction . 
 Since the last update, (in Florida!) I traveled all the way to New Mexico by way of Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.  Along the way I visited some old friends, partied with some relatives, and completed yet another crossing of the great state of Texas.  The Texas-crossing was done in near record time, about 5 days.  I camped near Austin for several days but rain motivated me to move on.  

That's right, Street Road.  

Stoplights placed horizontally to mess with the colorblind.
 Once in New Mexico, I started bicycle riding with a purpose.  In less than two weeks I’ll be leaving the van and motos behind, hitting the road on the bicycle heading to Montana to meet Paul and resume our ride on the Great Divide mountain bike route.  The ride up there will be 1200 miles of endurance training and trying to loose some weight.  Once there, I’ll spoon on some knobby tires and hit the trail for 2000 miles of mud and sweat.  Blog updates will be much more frequent but probably without pictures.  I will be taking pictures and posting them at a later date.  Also, if Paul resumes using his Tumblr account, the pictures will mostly appear there in near real time.
"Dig it all out or go over the top?"  Maybe a bit of both.

Tire getting a little squared but still great grip.

Twisted tree.

Huge ass beads.

Drink till she's cute!

I ate so many of these!

Hatch Chillies 

Loaded and ready to roll.  Tent on the fork, sleeping bag on the handlebar, clothing in the seat bag, assorted stuff in the frame, knobby tires under the frame, water and food on my back.
Check back sooner than last time!  Departure on or about the 15th of April.  Updates as often as possible.