March 21, 2015
Rode 73 miles
Rode approx. 5.45 hr
Fuck!! I woke up to another flat. I had gotten up before dawn to leave my camp because again I did not know exactly where I had slept, and I wanted to avoid confrontation. So far everything had huge fences and no trespassing signs, and roving patrols because of my proximity to the Mexican border. I remember getting out of my sleeping bag, a design that has no zipper, so you have to crawl through the opening at the hood flopping like as fish on land to get out. This zipper less design caused me some problems in the future. The attempt to get out of my bag caused a surprise, a large amount of moisture had condensed of the outside of flyless tent. It must have been the coverage of the shrubs and the low area I bivied in last night. I thought that moisture odd because it had been so hot and dry up to this point.
The flat tire must have been caused by a random cactus or other thorny plant as I made a mad dash to the concealed camp 30 yards off the interstate behind the scrub bushes. Now I had a head lamp on fixing another flat in the growing light. Everything in the desert was pointy and tried to flatten my tires, even the sparse brown grass had caltrop looking seed pods. The caltrop pods had the same affect on my bike as caltrops did horses in the Middle Ages, slowing me down!!! Flat fixed in no time now almost a pro at it.
I went through all my spare tubes that day one after another. I had 5 flats and only 4 tubes. Feeling overwhelmed with flats, I called my parents. They said something along the lines of you can quit if you want too. I chose this environment and mode of transportation because of its foreign nature to me. I wasn’t about quit.
I had to dump all my water, it was too heavy to carry. I then had to tie my panniers over my shoulder and carry/drag/kick my bike to a gas station. Luckily, one was fairly close. I looked horrible when a stumbled into the gas station. I was covered in dirt, grease and sweat. I am sure I smelled, also. I wore all the tire tubes around my neck like huge black necklaces. A mother pulled her kid out of my way and looked at me like I was a space creature or something. I went to the restroom to use the sink to find the holes in the tubes so I could patch them. Quite sometime later I was on the road again.
I was getting closer to Phoenix, so the traffic was heavier then I had encountered yet. There were lots of on and off ramps. I was in the dark again and this was the most nervous I had been with traffic yet. I felt like I was in the video game Frogger. I went to the first hotel I could find after about an hour of cycling in the dark. It was pricy but I did not really have an option it was too populated and dark to find a place to bivy. The woman checking me in did give me a $20 discount; it didn’t make me feel better. The air conditioning and beer I had that night made me feel better, though.
Stayed in an overpriced hotel just outside of Phoenix, AZ