Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tornillo, TX to Sierra Blanca, TX (61 miles)

Great day of riding. We had a tail wind that pushed us back up to 5500 ft or so  to Sierra Blanca. As we continue to hug the Mexican border there is no shortage of border control vehicles passing us on the road. We counted over 20 today!! We even had to pass through a border inspection station on the highway this afternoon.

It is amazing how just about every town we pass through is abandoned. You can see the ghost town we had lunch in in the first picture.

We have continues to cross paths with another man named Greg who is also riding the southern tier route. He splurged and got a motel room tonight and let us all stop by and have a shower since we are camping in the town park. That is where I noticed the little critter in the second photo....a scorpion eek! Once we were all smelling a bit better we hit the town for some fantastic Texas BBQ at a place called Curly's (mom you would be so proud; we used a coupon!).


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

El Paso, TX to Tornillo, TX (30 miles)

Short day today. We ate enough Mexican food that we weren't even hungry for dinner. We actually tried two different restaurants for lunch.  Both had amazingly fresh tortillas that wrapped up $1.95 burritos.

Tonight we are camping at Hideaway Lakes RV Park which is only about 0.5 mile from the Mexican border. What a rip off this place is. $8 each and there aren't even showers. It is a building with a disgusting bathroom in the middle of a farm. Not quite the same as the pool and hot tub we got last night for the same price. AVOID THIS PLACE AT ALL COSTS if you are planning a cross Texas cycle trip! Surprisingly we are the only people here...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

UNwelcome to Texas

Las Cruces, NM to El Paso, TX (66.5 miles)

We were very disappointed today when there was no sign to welcome us into the fourth state of our journey. This disappointment was followed by yet another, endless miles of pecan groves and NO pecan pie.

After several failed attempts to get pie, Joe decided a doughnut would fill the sugarless black hole in his stomach. doughnuts in El Paso either. More disappointment. Only this time, a new plan was formed. Gerry Frank shared some wisdom with his young,  naive son in law; "why not give up on doughnuts in Texas and eat a burrito every time you get hungry?" Genius. Over the next 3 weeks we will see if it is actually possible for Joe to become sick of burritos. I highly doubt it...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Caballo, NM to Las Cruces, NM (68.5 miles)

Mmmmmm, New Mexican breakfast. Kept us full all morning. Well until we got to the milkshake shop that is.

We said a sad to goodbye to our new friend Jochen this morning. He is heading north and making his own way to the east coast. It was so great getting to know him and hope the rest of his journey is safe and fun!

Staying at a warmshowers host's house tonight and heading into Texas tomorrow. Woohoo state #4!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Silver City, NM to Caballo, NM (75 miles)

We took yesterday off at the Silver City KOA campground. The couple who own it are cyclists and spoiled us rotten. They gave us cookies the first night, ice cream the next, and made us an extra round of pancakes on the house for breakfast this morning. All and all it was a restful and relaxing day.

With our fresh pair of legs we tackled the highest climb of of trip to date. In fact, it is the highest elevation we will reach across the US at 8300ft(2500m). The views from the top were breathtaking! From there we began our decent, steep and windy to start then straight into Caballo with a very strong wind at our backs.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blackjack campground, AZ to Silver City, NM (74 miles)

Today felt really tough after the climbing yesterday, but somehow we managed to make it to Silver City.

We rode into New Mexico in the first half hour of the day, and the terrain there was immediately different. Instead of the desert we'd been riding through for most of Arizona, there were rolling hills covered with golden colored grass and trees.

We each managed to get a flat tire today, mine was from a thorn, Gerry's was from wire, and Lidsey's glass. Hopefully that's it for the flats in New Mexico.

We crossed the continental divide just before we hit Silver City - now time for a day off!

Thatcher, AZ to Blackjack Campground, AZ (54 miles)

Yesterday we climbed from 1800 feet up to 6300 feet - with an extra 2000 foot climb thrown in too.

The main climb was beautiful, views back over the Arizona desert with the road winding back down around us.
Happy to say we made it all the way up without stopping, and Lindsey even sung for a bit of it (it was our first experiment with listening to our iPods while we ride).

Gerry summed the day up as 'It's miserable but we're sure having fun'

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Globe, Az to Thatcher, Az (76 miles)

We're down to four riders again now as Blaise is heading back to Phoenix to get a bike with gears - the idea of tackling the upcoming 8300 foot pass mustn't have sounded too good on a fixie! He plans on catching up with us again later in our ride, fingers crossed.

Then first twenty miles of the day where through an Apache Indian reservation, during which we stopped at a stall by the side of the road to try out fry bread. Apparently it's called fried dough on the east coast - we felt the need to try both the bean and cheese one and the honey and sugar, yum!

Shortly after we bumped into two Malaysian guys who are riding their bikes around the world - apparently they've ridden 14k miles already.

Another 50 miles through the fairly flat desert and we made it to our destination; an RV park in Thacher.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Queen Valley, AZ to Globe, AZ (46.5)

We got off to a late start today as Blaise had to do some bike repair after riding over a cattle grate at high speed the night before and braking the axle to his BOB trailer. After saying goodbye to Bob and Donna, we rode out of sunny Queen Valley; whose many types of cacti and rocky hills provided a beautiful backdrop to start our ride.

Almost immediately the climbing began. Over the course of the day we climbed from 1500 feet to 4600. The best part is: what goes up must come down! We coasted down into Globe and found a hidden little camp spot by the side of the road. We shared a bottle of wine with dinner to celebrate the birth of Jochen's new granddaughter and are now snuggled in our sleeping bags hoping to stay warm as the temperature is going to drop to 36F tonight.

Then there were five...

We had a great day off in Phoenix on my birthday. We checked out a couple coffee shops (one had beans from Four Barrel in San Francisco, mmm) and had dinner at a local brewery.

Thanks to mom we got at hotel room and lounged in the hot tub all afternoon. It was such a treat!!

Phoenix to Queen Valley (66.5 miles)

Yesterday we got on the road again, joined by a 5th member!! Blaise, our host in Phoenix decide to join us for a few days. We are expecting to have a team of 10,000 by the time we reach the east coast.

After a very rainy day of riding, through the desert no less, we arrived at another warmshowers host's house. Thanks to Bob and Donna for such a lovely dinner and wonderful stories!

Time to get moving again, lots of hills to climb today.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wickenburg to Phoenix (63 miles)

It's always fun riding into a major city. It feels like such an accomplishment. Tonight we are staying with another host named Blaise. He met us about 30 miles outside of the city and escorted us to his house along a great bike path. After showers and a cold beer we headed to an amaaaazing pizza place for a relaxing dinner with great live music.

Barely managing to keep my eyes open.... Hopefully we can get some photos online tomorrow on our day off.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hope to Wickenburg (63 miles)

Today was spent on the longest straightest road I have ever seen in my life. Over 50 miles and there wasn't even a slight curve or crossroad.

We are very excited to be heading into Phoenix tomorrow!


P.S. Some people have said that they can't figure out how to make a comment. We changed the settings on our blog so that anyone should be able to post now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Palo Verde to Hope, Arizona (82 miles)

Another long day of cycling under our belts. Today was supposed to be an easy 50 mile day but we couldn't waste a good tail wind and ended up going 82 miles. Oops! At least it got us to a campground with hot showers and a laundry room.

Early on we met another cycle tourist, Jochen, who has joined our ranks for a few days. He is 71 years old and plans to cross the country alone. What an inspiration!!

Aside from that, we crossed our first state border into Arizona which is a great milestone.

Better get to bed,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Seeley to Palo Verde ( 92.05 miles!!)

What a whopper of a day!!! We woke up this morning to the most beautiful sunrise over the lake we manage to sneak off and camp by last night. After fueling up on all you can eat pancakes and coffee at Denny's about 8 miles down the road we hit the road running.

About 20 miles in we left the last town we'd see for the day and cruised through the desert. The sand dunes were amazing. Apparently people come from all over the country to ride off road vehicles so there was a bit of a motocross show to see.

Next we gently climbed over the Chocolate Mountains (yes we ate chocolate at the top) then rolled across the hills at the top until our descent into Palo Verde.

We set up camp at a lovely little riverside county park and are about to eat as much food as we can fit in our mouths!

Stats for the day:

  • Miles: 92.05 (our record!!)

  • Max temp: 118

  • Hours pedaling: 7:04:28

  • Pancakes eaten: 17

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 13 - Pine valley to Seeley (70 miles)

What a varied day! We started out with fairly hilly terrain for the first 30 miles, which skirted the Mexican border. Probably saw a hundred or so border patrol cars during the day, along with two checkpoints.

We stopped in Jacumba just before lunch and relaxed in some hot springs and swimming pool (what an odd small town, it's best days are definitely behind it). Straight after lunch we realized Lindsey's tire had a puncture (2nd between us for the trip), so hung around a bit longer to sort it out.

We then had an awesome 7 mile descent at 6% grade (along the interstate - yikes) to take us into the desert.

20 or 30 miles of riding down quiet desert roads and we reached our destination for the day - a park at Sunbeam lake.

Looks like no services tomorrow for about 60 miles - should be interesting!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 12 - San Diego to Pine Valley (50 miles)

Today's ride took us from about 400 feet above sea level to 4000 feet - a real workout for our legs and granny gear!

The first 15 miles or so took us out of San Diego to Mission Trails State Park - which offered a beautiful (and virtually car free) road through hilly terrain covered with large boulders and trees. Seems like it would be a great spot to hike on a future trip to San Diego (except perhaps for the puma some hikers spotted?!?).

Another 10 miles or so down the road and the hill climbing began. The gradient wasn't too bad for the most part - but it was pretty much constant climbing for our final 25 miles of the day.

We made it to Pine Valley around 4.45pm,where we're staying with a friend of Bob's at a
horse ranch. Great to continue our break from setting up our tent.

Days 8 to 11

Gaviota state beach to McGrath state park (72 miles)

McGrath State Park to Hermosa Beach - Los Angeles (74 miles)

San Clemente to San Diego

We made it to San Diego! We're going to stay with Lindsey's uncle Bob, and relax for three days before starting our ride east.

It's been great riding with Zol on the trip, but he has to head back to Emeryville tomorrow. Gerry is here in San Diego
and will be riding east with us from here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On the road again

Day 8: Oceano to Gaviota State Beach- 67mi

Today was quite a bit easier than expected which was a nice surprise. It's amazing what yesterday's day of rest did to recharge us! We are camping out again tonight and are excited for the wind to be at our backs tomorrow as some weather moves through Santa Barbara. Only 2 more days and we should be in L.A.!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Days 3-7

We have had such an amazing week cycling down the coast. It's been tough but the views are worth it ;)

Tues- Moss Landing to Monterey ( ~30mi) We decided to Cut our day short after the tough day before. We stocked up at Trader Joes and camped at Vets Memorial Park at the tip top of Monterey.

Wed- Monterey to Big Sur (~35mi) what a killer of a day. Though we only rode 35 miles, it was through steep hilly roads into a 30mph head wind with gusts up to 50mph. We actually had to get off out bikes a few tes and walk to avoid being blown over. We called it quits at the last point to camp for the day and enjoyed the beautiful redwoods of Big Sur. Though tough and exhausting it was one of the most fun days yet!

Thurs- Big Sur to San Simeon Village (70mi) Another day of steep climbs and fantastic coastal views. We made sure to fuel up on pies and burgers whenever we had the chance. It's great being able to eat endless amounts of food! The last 20 miles were nice easy rolling hills and we had a gentle tail wind to push us into camp for the night. We ha some hungry raccoons rummage through our food as soon as we went to bed. I couldn't believe they were actually able to unsnap our bags. They didn't get too much as big scary Joe chased them off.

Friday- San Simeon Village to Oceano (55mi) our first stop today was in the cute beach town of Cayucos where we had the best cookies ever from Brown Butter Cookie Co. In their cute shop, ladies were smiling and chatting while hand making the yummiest cookies known to man. They sent us on our way with a few extra bags for free. Anyone in the area must stop and try thei honey brown butter sea salt cookie. YUM! We then rode through some beautiful rolling farmland and through San Louis Obisbo. We ended our day in Oceano. It's not the nicest place in the world but it's sunny and on the beach. We share a campsite with a French guy who has been cycling around the world for the past 7.5 months.

Saturday- rest day- my knee an ankle have been hurting a bit so we decided to rest for a day. Joe did some overdue laundry and we got to dry out everything that has been soaked in rain. Joe and Zol are off soaking in some hot springs about 8miles away as I write this. I'm a bit jealous but i have to rent my sore bits for tomorrows big climbs. Tomorrow is expected to be tough, the longest, steepest climbs yet but after that it should be smooth sailing down the coast to LA then San Diego!

Hopefully we can post some photos soon