Saturday, April 28, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I am beat up from all the roller coaster hills and the heat is only getting hotter by the day. I left my campsite a bit later than normal today but I only intended on going 40 miles. The wind was blowing before I even mounted my bike today. I shrugged it off and just started to spin my legs in the direction of Del Rio Texas. The ride was one hill after another all day. I did have my first bike trouble today. I was spinning along looking around instead of at the road in front of me and I ran over a rock that snake bit my front tire. I was very disappointed that my kevlar tires did not protect me this time. I started to change the tire but I was too exhausted to get the tire off so I just sat down and ate some food, drank some water and rested for a while. When I attacked the flat the second time it was much easier. It took me about ten minutes to put a new tube in it. At the end of the day I patched the other tube so that I still have a spare until I can buy a new tube. I was just happy I did not ruin my tire with my careless sight seeing instead of paying attention to the road. I checked into a hotel in Del Rio because I wanted to get a good night of sleep. I can't afford these hotels but I can't afford to not sleep in them once a week or so just to catch up on my sleep and to be able to shower and charge up all my electronics. Some of my campsites do have showers but not all of them. The next part of the ride goes back up into the mountains and then drops down into the Austin area but not directly into Austin. I am going to go into Austin and get my bike worked on at the REI there. It is only 6 weeks old but it has 2400 miles on it already. The road closer to Austin is the serious roller coaster ride. So far I have only been riding the kiddie roller coaster and that has been killing me. We shall see how it all turns out. There is still about 550 miles of Texas left to get through. I have not been into taking many pics lately. The scenery is pretty repetitive and I am getting over it by now. I have been stuck by enough thorns already. I miss a nice green soft lawn to sprawl out on. More later
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I woke up a bit sore this morning and got a late start for me. At a bit after 7AM, I headed down the road from Caballo to El Paso TX. I had a plan for the day. I would ride without pushing it and when I got to the outskirts of El Paso I would jump on a public bus and ride to the far eastern side of town. I hate riding my heavy touring bike in busy city traffic. It is dangerous and for me pointless. Sure there can be some site seeing but at the risk of getting killed. Not worth it.
So I rode down the freeway for the section they allowed bikes on which was a nice smooth safe ride. Then they kicked me off to a narrow two lane road with almost no shoulder to ride on and a dangerous drop off on the edge of the pavement. There were lots of big trucks going in both directions and I had a cross wind blowing me into traffic. How is that safer than riding on a freeway???? The states need to allow adult bikers on more of the freeway system. Maybe with a driver's license requirement or something because the freeway is way safer to ride on. Or they need to widen all roads so there is a safe place to ride a bike.
I stopped for lunch around 10:30 and ordered a cheeseburger, fries and V8. When I was finished I ordered another burger. The waitress did not believe me and I had to convince her I was serious. They were both delicious and I then ordered a third one. She almost died when I asked for that one. Then I told her no two was enough and she started having a laughing fit. I guess not many people in these small towns mess with their waitresses.
I had a head wind for a couple of hours which slowed me down from 17mph to under 10mph. It really killed my legs and my spirit. I only had one mile more to go to get to my bus stop that I had already looked up on the internet. Then the worst thing happened to me. A big sign that said DETOUR. I tried to go around and get through the closed part of the road but it was impossible to get through so I had to back track and take the detour. In the country a detour can mean a half mile or it can mean 50 miles. This one ended up being about 10 miles out of my way. My tired legs were complaining and my mental state was a mixture of anger and depression or something. When I finally got across the border into TX I could not make myself backtrack to get to my planned bus stop so I went ahead into El Paso thinking there would be a bus stop. I stopped and asked lots of people but nobody knew anything about the bus. I rode on another 10 miles which made my day's ride way too long. Finally I just gave up and checked into a hotel for the night.
I soaked in the tub and showered off all the crusty salt and sun screen. I am windburned which is the same as being sunburned. Not too bad but I was putting sun screen on frequently so it annoys me that I still got burned. If it is going to be this windy here in TX I am going to have to start using zinc on my lips and up my sun screen to spf50.
I feel good now. Did some stretching and realized I need to do a lot more of that. Going to have to work it into a daily routine. Tomorrow I will deal with getting out of the big city. Tonight just sleep sleep sleep...
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I am finally past the big mountains in New Mexico. Emory Pass was 8228 feet. The views from the top were awesome as usual from mountain tops. I just can not capture the grandeur of the vistas with my little pocket camera but I included a few pics here anyway.
I left Silver City right as dawn was breaking. There were two choices for roads. One went to the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the other went by a giant open pit copper mine. I chose the giant open pit mine because it was flatter and much shorter than the other route and I have been to the cliff dwellings before back in the 1970's.
The road was rolling hills with various changes in scenery as I went up the grade. I was getting tired much faster than I am used to but I was climbing and working hard at between 6200 and 8200 feet in elevation where the air is pretty weak to say the least. The weather was perfect. Sunny but cool with a light breeze. I took some pics of the copper mine and then I just got into my work routine of pumping and letting my mind go blank. Letting my mind go blank seems to be getting easier as I go along in this ride. I had to rest a lot and a few times I walked a short distance to get my lower legs some blood. I do not use my lower legs when I ride. I can only push with my heels. I lose a lot of power because of that but it really only hurts me when I am doing a steep long uphill.
I was resting and walking at one point today and a truck stopped and asked me if I wanted a lift. My mind said no, that is cheating, if you take the ride you did not ride across the entire country. My legs however spoke up much quicker than my mind did and said yes right away. So I put my bike in the pickup and took a short ride with them. We stopped for pics here and there but I did not realize that my camera battery was dead so I missed a lot of great pics. It is very difficult to see the screen with my sunglasses on in the bright sunlight and I just did not know the camera was dead. Each time I turned it on it showed the pic I wanted to take and I pushed the button but the pics did not show up on my chip. Such is life. I think I still got enough pics for the day.
I met a Canadian family, Mom Dad and two boys riding on tandem bikes at the top of Emory pass at 8228 feet. They had just come up from the eastern direction which is a single very long uphill climb. We talked for a while as we rested and ate some food. After they left I used the restroom and when I came back out my bag of food was gone. I thought Yogi the bear only existed in the cartoons. I have no idea what or who took the food. It was just some bananas, sardines, candy bars, cookies and a gatorade.
My original plan was to sleep at the top of the mountain but with so many hours of good light left I decided to take the downhill run of 4000' drop in elevation. Now that was fun. The worst uphills are past me now for this ride. Tomorrow I go to El Paso. Maybe I will stop at the Alamo in Texas but more likely I will just pass through the big cities except for Austin which I really like. I am starting to like the lonely time on my bike in desolate areas like I just passed through. Just me and nature...more later