Flat Tires Day 13


Rode 89 miles

Rode approx. 7.07 hr
I was cruising through a suburb littered with trailers, listening to my iPod, when out of nowhere a pit-bull came behind from my right side. I was so startled I swerved, without looking, to the right. Luckily there was no traffic! I made a jerking movement trying to kick the dog in the face, but to no avail. My feet were attached to my pedals. Therefore, just as my bike started moving to the side, the pit-bulls buddy, in a blur of brown, rushed in and ambushed me. I had managed to free my foot by this time as I started veering back across to the right, I kicked at the dog on the left missing it. I jammed my foot back into the pedals while I was being assaulted from both sides and peddled like I have never peddled before weaving back and forth from the left to right side of the road. Providentially, there was still no traffic as I made my escape sweating feverishly! Even though I had practiced my quick draw mace skill previously on the less vicious tumbleIMG_1624weeds, I was still under prepared for this trap. I think I am quickly becoming a cat person. Biking into town, I was searching for a cheap hotel using Kayak, I found one and booked it. I stopped for my high calorie gas station dinner and beer before continuing to the hotel. When I checked in, I discovered it was cheaper if I would have booked the room without using Kayak. Now I check both online and at the front desk before booking a room. As I was sitting on the stoop of the room drinking my beer and eating my wonderful gas station taco, it actually was good since I was so close to the boarder, a guy asked me if his daughter could ride my bike. In my head hell noooo, she could steal it, wreak it, it’s way too big for her, and it has all my belongings in the panniers. The manager that checked me in must have seen the panic in my eyes as these thoughts rushed through my head. She said, “It’s OK, it’s my daughter and husband.” Well that alleviates all my worries, think… think…, I got it.IMG_1643

“Sure just make sure she doesn’t get hurt. I have these clipless pedals that work with these shoes and they lock you in. I hope she doesn’t fall. She can ride it, just be careful.”

“Oh no, that’s OK, thanks.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, never mind, thanks.”

Stayed in …….TXday 13.JPG

Flat Tires Day 12

March 27. 2015

Rode 45 miles

Rode approx. 6.17 hr

Struggled up Emory Pass. I am not going to lie; I walked on multiple occasions pushing my bike up the 8,228 ft pass, my cleats click against the pavement as I struggled up the mountain. I had another exhilarating downhill after making it to the top.  Bugs kept bouncing off my face; some went down my throat, oh well… extra protein. Wind IMG_6171blowing through my hair, smiling from the exhilaration and freedom. I thought about all the fun and freedom of childhood. Even in high school when asked by my guidance counselor what I wanted to be. I replied “Ski Bum!!” Not only did I accomplish my goal but I excelled at it! I am a ski bum and a whitewater bum!




Spent the night at the bottom of the hill right by the road. All throughout the night cars drove by the campsite and over a cattle guard thump…thump…  A guy in a camper pulled in late in the night. We talked while eating breakfast the next morning, he travels a lot.  His travels are supported by income from Airbnb. He rents his house near Loveland Pass and pays his neighbor to clean it and do maintenance. We talked about skiing for a while. He was on his way to Silver City.


Flat Tires Day 11

March 26, 2015

Rode 74 miles

Rode approx. 7.32 hr

I woke up to a very cold morning, I squirmed out of my bag and exited my tent to retrieve my clothes that I had hung to dry the night before, they were frozen.  I made the executive decision to go back to sleep until it warmed up a little. I couldn’t sleep anymore, but I was not about to leave the comfort of my sleeping bag. Luckily, I had a battery for my iPod and a superfluity of movies to choose from, got to love adventuring in this day and age. I watched about half the Lorax, and then decided it was time to pack up and head out.


I was in for a treat when I left. I had a fun downhill; this is the first time I had to ride my brakes since the interstate incident.  Hair pin turn after hair pin turn, it was exhilarating! My hands got numb from a combination of cold air and the speed. I pulled off at bottom of first hill, just after crossing into New Mexico.

 I ate breakfast in the sun trying to warm up, at the edge of a pine forest. I stopped to eat at a gas station in a tiny town called Buck. It was the best pizza in town said the owner, an older gentleman with a huge smile that showed him to be missing most of his teeth. It was the only pizza in town he informed me. Right after that, still smiling he said, “as a matter of fact it’s the only food in town.” He informed me that it would take him some time to turn on the ovens as he did, he told me where the restroom was and said to go ahead and grab snacks and drinks; he would ring me up when I was done. As I downed a Gatorade and soda, he started making the pizza. When it was in the oven, he came out to join me. He told me about how he used to enjoy flying remote controlled airplanes, but couldn’t anymore due to a pacemaker. He mentioned that he would like to try again, anyway. This prompted a sigh and a headshake from his wife who had joined us by then. He has to settle for golf now that he can’t fly his remote control planes she informed me. They talked about and hated Obama, also. His wife had went to check on my pizza and I could hear her make comments every once in a while. I got the large pizza and to my surprise, I couldn’t finish it. While I was checking out, his wife had bagged the pizza in a Ziploc bag for me so I could carry it on my bike.  He was so proud of the fact that Lance Armstrong had stopped there to eat, also. There is race in Silver City and he came to it. The old man said, “most people were worked up and did not want him to race in it.” He and his team did it without being counted in the race. They beat everyone by an hour, but they did not count it. As I cycled out of town, I realized the place I stopped to eat was the only place in town besides a post office.  Stayed at a KOA in Silver City have a huge climb over Emory Pass tomorrow.

Flat Tires Day 10

March 25, 2015

Rode 56 miles

Rode approx. 6.56 hr


There was a climb again today. Why is everything always uphill? This did not help my stomach at all. I noticed snow covered mountains in the distance and I was headed to Emory Pass the highest point on my route, at 8,228 ft.  As soon as I started feeling better, I stopped for a break and started eating my Little Debbie supply. I was hungry all the time. The good news was there were gas stations every day except for the few sections of the route that were around 100 miles. The bad news was there were gas stations. Eating over 4,000 calories from a gas station is easy, just not healthy. Little Debbies, Reese’s Pieces, Oreos, Pringles, Doritos, ……. and the best post ride recovery drink, beer.

At one of the stops when I was eating yet again, a truck pulled up. Two guys hopped out and started brushing the debris from just outside of the white line on the road toward the edge. Where were they when I was getting all the flats? I said, “hi”, they nodded finished sweeping, then walked toward me. One guy said I have those pedals and shoes for my mt. bike. I said, “yea, I took them off mine before I left.”  They commented about the size of my tires, apparently they were too big. I would get these comments a lot, mostly from people who I passed. My tired annoyed reply would be “well I am passing you. If I wasn’t exhausted, I would simply say,” I know it’s what came with the bike. I am raftguide/ski bum and can’t afford new ones.” The other road sweeper asked what type of bike it was. I replied, “the cheapest one that I thought would get the job done.” I got a Novar Safari from REI. I had used my dividends to get it cheaper. I told them about how I used that credit card for all my purchases the prior year, so I could accrue points to put towards a bike. I inquired as to why they were sweeping the road. They told me about a cycling race today and they were cleaning off the berm for the racers. We talked about the race for a little bit, they told me to be careful because a cyclist had been killed by a driver on her phone close to there. I thanked them, we said our good byes then they sped off down the road a few feet, slammed on their brakes then sweep some more. We leaped frog back and forth a few times, at this point I was still extremely nervous about traffic and stayed as far off the road as the berm would allow. The next time they went passed, they swerved onto the berm and slammed on their brakes right in front of me, forcing me out into oncoming traffic. It just so happened that said traffic was right beside me, I sucked in my breath and probably closed my eyes. I know that is counter intuitive, but I am still alive. I instantly thought back to their warning about being careful and thought that ironic. I stopped to let them get far far far ahead and to eat again, okay mostly eat again.

I saw a bunch of racers flying down the hill on the opposite side of me while I was struggling up another climb. I remember thinking how light their bikes looked without the panniers. I had a lot of support that day, everyone was cheering me on as I climbed the hill. After an stop at another gas station for more junk food, the rest of the day was uneventful, just more climbing with the occasional exciting downhill. I did, however, get chased again. This time the culprits were tumble weeds blowing behind me. I grabbed my pepper spray to practice, it was more accessible this time and I had it ready before the tumble weeds caught me. Direct hit they left me alone after that.

Stayed at Coal Creek Campground in AZ at about 5,750 ft elevation.

Flat Tires Day 9

March 24, 2015

Rode 87 miles

Rode approx. 7.43 hr

Since I saw all the homeless people with bikes, I decided to sleep in a park, also. I needed to save money after having to stay in the expensive hotel earlier.

I scoped the park out after the gentleman from yesterday was done talking to me. I was going to slip into a little alley between an abandoned pool and its pump building. I decided against being cornered, so I slept beside the pump building facing away from a majority of the park.  I did not set up my tent, left my bags fully packed, and on my bike except, for a headlamp and sleeping bag and I didn’t lock my bike in case I needed to make a hasty getaway. I put my bike in-between me and the building.

I settled down to go to sleep, a couple hours after dark a guy walked by mumbling, then he came by again. This time he was close enough to hear him say, “I am the Scorpion King when I come back I will kill them all”, then it faded out again. I wiggled out of my zipper-less sleeping bag, turned on my headlamp, and dug through my bags until I found the pepper spray and my knife. Feeling a little better I climbed back into my sleeping bag. In the sleeping bag now I had to decide where to put my pepper spray and knife. I put the pepper spray in the waist of my cycling shorts I had slept in, in case I needed to make that fast getaway, they didn’t have pockets.  This was becoming a possibility because I could still hear the guy ranting not far away. Holding my knife in my hand an orange letterman “juice” with about a 3 inch blade wondering where to put it. I thought about how useful it would be if I needed it. Not very, I could see it now crazy guy get back or- or I- or I will throw this at you and run. I decided just to let it lay lose in my bag. I thought back to the accidental discharge of the pepper spray on mornimg_1561ing three of the trip and decided to take the pepper spray out of my waist band and put it outside of my bag beside me. The crazy guy’s ranting is getting closer again. I wiggle my upper body out of the top of the bag again. It is closer still, he is now right beside me talking about killing again. When I say right beside me I mean he was past the personal space bubble so close I said, ”hi”, just so he didn’t step on me. He stopped, regarded me for a second, then in non crazy speak asked me for a cigarette. At that moment oh how I wished I smoked, me and crazy guy could be buddies instead I said, “nope.” He went right back to ranting, but at least he was wimg_1526alking away. I went back into my bag and tried to sleep. I could hear him from time to time at varying distances until I feel asleep. Needless to say, I had different nightmares about trying to get out of my sleeping bag and crazy guy, none ended well for me. Sometime later I felt something at my feet, I don’t know how long it took me to realize it wasn’t another nightmare. I started swinging and flopping at the same time, damn zipper-less sleeping bag. When I fought my way out of the sleeping bag, I was relieved to see several javelins, a pig like animal, instead of crazy guy not far from me.  I tried to go back to sleep and had a nightmare about pigs eating me, needless to say I woke up at 4 a.m. put my back against the wall and waited for daylight. Nothing else happened, I could have sleep for a few hours.

I left as soon as it was daylight. Had my first encounter with dogs today, it was a small pack in an Apache Reservation. I found it difficult to pepper spray them while biking. When they first chased me, I had the moment of indecision where I did not know whether to reach for my pepper spray or pedal harder to get away. It was too late, they were on me. I reached for the spray which was in a bag on my handle bars, I unzipped it as they were nipping at my heels. I grabbed the spray and sprayed them swerving all over the place. The spray kept hitting them, but not in face, they were still right on me, then victory was mine they ran off.

I stopped to eat peanut butter and tortillas shortly after the dog encounter, my dietary staple. I finished the peanut butter looking around at all the trash. The Apaches liked their 40 ozs, there were glass bottles from all different breweries littering the landscape. I continued biking. No flats today, the new tubes are working J.

Stayed at a place called Tranquility Springs. I got a tent spot with hot springs for $10, very relaxing. map 9.png

Flat Tires Day 8


Day 8 Bike Ride

March 23, 2015

Rode 57 miles

Rode approx. 6.19 hr


IMG_1592.JPGThe nice gentlemen from yesterday gave me two more Nestle Quiks that morning, he saw me down them all the day before. We talked while I was packing, he was a really nice guy, he cycled a lot but never across the country, it on his bucket list.  I left Apache Junction and started what I knew was going to be a hard day, there was a lot of elevation gain in my future.

I got another flat, everything pokey, sharp and pointy is conspiring against me. I knew for sure at this point. I was ready, however, this time. The day before when I made it to the bike shop, I bought an over abundance of spare parts for these just incase scenarios.  The walk to the gas station just a few days ago had made me paranoid that I would break down again. In this arsenal of parts were the two heavy duty spare tubes. I had planned to put them on last night whenever I had gotten to camp or I got a flat on the way to the KOA, whichever occurred first. Since I am lazy, I mean supper efficient, I never switched the tube at camp but now I had  my chance flat tube and all. Mission accomplished, on my way yet again.  My pannier zipper closed easier after I put the heavy duty tube on the bike, yep it took up a lot of space. They better be bullet proof.

I stopped at a Mexican restaurant to eat lunch and take a break. A group of cowboys sat beside me and started talking to me. They ask what, “we were doing?” I was obviously biking from my attire minus the tight shorts. I had to wear a pair of shorts over the tights. One day I might actually be a cyclist if I could just wearIMG_1596.JPG

these tights without covering them up. They saw a lot of cyclist come through the area. I told them about the maps that Adventure Cycling published and this was on the route for the Southern Tier. They warned me about the coming climb with the narrow road and heavy semi traffic due to copper mines. We talked all through my lunch, they were mostly ranchers at one point in their lives or doing that currently. Most had also worked in a pit mine at one point in their lives. Every third or fourth sentence blamed Obama for something, mostly relating to the hardships they had in finding work. They told me a story about a cyclist that was killed on my upcoming climb a few years ago. On my way out they reminded me again to be careful, wished me luck, and mentioned that it would be safer if we all went up the coming mountain at the same time. It was like they thought I could organize everyone cycling across the U.S. into a group. I found that humorous since I had only met a few cyclists so far and I was by myself.

After saying good bye and thanking them for the conversation I headed up the simg_1575upper sketchy road past Superior. It consisted of a huge climb with no berms and then I had to go thru a tunnel.  It was a heart pounding experience, people kept honking to hear it echo in the tunnel. This only added to my dread. I could see the light on the other side but could not get there quick enough. Hoooooonk,-hoooonk-woooosh,-hoonk. The cars were extremely close when they passed me, the honks were deafening.

When I came out of the tunnel, I noticed that I was “number one” in a lot of people’s minds they kept showing me one finger. I decided to walk since the road was so narrow and there were a lot of semis and barely enough room for two of them to pass. I would pedal looking behind me all the time my head on a swivel back and forth. I would hop off when a semi was approaching, they weren’t going very fast because of the steep incline, and walk until the last second then jump over the guard rail leaving only my bike on the road side of the guard rail hugged against it. This climb took a while

I finally got to Globe and another guy talked to me for a long time.

Slept in a park up against a wall in Globe.map 8.png

Flat Tire Day 7

March 22, 2015

Rode 78 miles

Rode approx. 6.93 hr

With all my tubes looking like Swiss Cheese, I had 30 ish miles to go to get to a bike shop. I really hoped I would make it. There was heavy traffic the whole way, I got off the interstate today in Phoenix, AZ. The population was 1,445,632 so the traffic was still heavy in town. Timg_1569he road changed frequently from bike lanes to no bike lanes and back. There was a lot of honking I knew it was for support ;). Stopped at a Krispy Kream to eat a dozen donuts for a snack, you can do that when you’re biking all day every day. I made it to a bike shop totally pumped from not having to dump my water and walk again.  I bought lots of extra spare bike components I probably won’t need but I got just in case. When I inquired about my tube/flat problem this guy told me about some bomb ass heavy duty tubes, they are heavy but I got tired of changing tubes all the time. I wished the portly jerk form El Centro would have informed me about these tubes.

I was approached by a women today asking for money so she could turn on her electric for her kids. Lady, I am practically homeless. I also noticed a lot of homeless people with bikes around the area. They looked well feed and had some decent bikes. That made me kind of nervous. I wondered what they ate and where they got their img_1570bikes?

I was taking a break filling up my water, the guy that asked if I needed help a few days ago when I got my first flat caught up to me. These stops for bikes were spaced throughout the suburbs. They were really nice and had gazebos, bike racks, and tools along with water.  He said he was staying at the KOA and they were almost full. I rode with him the rest of the day. It was a lot of stop and go riding, lights at every block.  It was toward the end of the day and we were exhausted, this made for hard pedaling, once you got up to speed you had to stop unclip and start again. Push-clip-pedal-unclip-stop-push-clip-pedal-unclip-stop. Met a guy at the KOA who gave us 6 Nestle Quik drinks each, I would like to say I saved some. The best part of the day was a tie between the Nestle Quik and the hot tub at the KOA. No flats today!!!

Stayed at a KOA in Apache Junction.map 7.png

Flat Tires Day 6

March 21, 2015

Rode 73 miles

Rode approx. 5.45 hr

Fuck!!IMG_1568.JPG 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 IMG_1608.JPGbushes. 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.

IMG_1581.JPGI 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, AZmap 6.png

Flat Tires Day 5

March 20, 2015

Rode 83 miles

Rode approx. 7.91 hr

Crossed into AZ todayIMG_1561.JPG

I found myself back on the interstate, I had read on my map this morning that I could ride into Phoenix this way. I chose this option because the berms were wider and I could move farther away from the traffic. I learned much later that this helped to contribute to my flat tire problem as all the debris gets pushed to the edge and that is where I had been riding to stay out of the way of traffic.

My plan to stay away from traffic also was disappointing for quite a few miles. The road was in such disarray that I actually lost some bolts of my rear bike rack. Jarring and vibrating me.



I did notice an amazing amount of bottles with yellow liquids along the interstate. When I say an amazing amount I counted 15, and that’s just what I saw. It appears to me that it is an inconvenience to stop along the road and use the restroom. I understand that there are not many facilities out here but wouldn’t it be easier to stop then go in a bottle? I was postulating lots of semi drives making up time by relieving themselves in a bottle.

I found myself ridding in the dusk again with no place to stay. I ran behind two bushes, when no traffic was coming, that appeared to have some cover. I set the tent up in the dark. I went as far as to cover my reflectors with socks so no one would see me. After all the effort to make a clandestine camp, I discover after the trip while I was coming out off a gas station that my tires had reflective material all around them.

img_1531Months after this incident I busted out laughing for no apparent reason to anyone around, when I noticed my tires reflecting as a car drove by. I thought of this moment and how much effort I put into not being seen and here my tires were like two huge beacons.  Right after I got set up, a car parked right beside me.  I know they could see me. All sorts of scenarios flashed in my mind when they sat there for 10 min. It’s the boarder patrol waiting for backup, it’s drug smugglers, it’s coyotes smuggling people. 10 more min went by, don’t care started to go to sleep.  It ended up they had a flat and called a tow truck to fix it. I realized a short time later when a tow truck pulled up and a guy proceeded to change the tire. They were probably afraid of some guy 30 yards off the interstate sleeping in a tent. No cops came for me, so it was a good night even if it was really noisy.

Stayed along the interstate somewhere south of Hope AZ on interstate 10.map 5.png

Flat Tires Day 4

March 19, 2015

Rode 78 miles

Rode approx. 7.72 hr


I now had a total of two spare tubes again, I patched one last night. Had about 80 miles with no services to go, so I loaded up on water and got set for a long day. Again the campground on the map only took RV’s, sounds like a problem for future me.img_1553

I had called Pat and Deb the night before and told them I wasn’t going to make it because of the previous days flats, this day would be the last day I talked to them, I passed them along the way.

I went through my first border patrol stop today, came flying in hot lights already on because it was getting dark. After saying I was in a hurry to get to town, I inquired if it was safe to sleep along the road and I was informed about flash flooding. I cranked out of the station hoping to get to town before it was completely dark. The train was rolling, but just enough that I had to gear down right before I got to the peak of the hill, I was still maintaining a good pace.

img_1554There were a lot of big rigs on the road, I was kind of nervous because it was dark at this point. On the peak of one of the undulating peaks, I saw a big rig coming toward me and there was one approaching from behind also. As I approached the top of the next hill, I realized they were going to meet with me at the top,did I mention how narrow the road was, I swerved off trying to unclip before I slid down the loose sand embankment. I started fishtailing but I have had a couple of days practicing getting out of these clipless pedals, success! I wasn’t flattened nor did I slide down the hill. I made a mental note to loosen the tightness on the clipless pedals, just in case. I had them as tight as they could go because I was not mt. biking. I had not foreseen the need to unclip with speed. I took this break from cycling to look at my map, the town was too far away img_1556and after that I wanted to get off the road. The campsite/RV park I had called earlier was now my problem. I rode into the place in the dark following the noise of a party. I played ignorant, told them I was cycling across the U.S. and I didn’t make it to town and had been biking all day. Would it be possible to stay? Not only did they say yes but I got a beer and a huge plate of food. I gave the guy $10 he said, “I am not supposed to do this, so don’t tell your friends.” This not being allowed at campsites is going to be a problem. Downed the food, showered and passed out.

Undisclosed RV site, CA

map 4.png