Flat Tires Day 19


Rode 83 miles

Rode approx. 9.34 hr

Today was rough, I was exhausted from the two previous days. I had to walk up almost every incline, my legs wouldn’t turn the pedals over. I was still on highway 90, the same road the guy had warned me about looking out for deer.  There were still a lot of deer; the air smelled like spring flowers with a hint of decay or the other way around depending on the road kill to flower ratio. The road was littered with dead deer and vulture parts. The semis where going really fast and when they hit a deer, it appeared it destroyed it totally from the random extremities I saw, a random leg here and another one over there.


Random picture of my dog because I miss him!  

They must have clipped a lot of vultures who were feeding on the deer, also. There is nothing scarier to date than going across a bridge with no berm and a semi passing two RVs coming at you at what appeared to be 100 mph, the speed limit being 75. The RVs looked like they where booking it and on the downhill and yet the semi was passing them, coming at me, and I had nowhere to go! The saddle bags kept me on the white line because they hit the bridge if I try and move right.  I close my eyes and hold the handlebars tight, knuckles turning white, and think no wonder there are deer parts everywhere whoosh and hoooonk and he is by and I am still in one piece!?!  Why do they honk? It makes you jump and when you move, your bike moves? Quit honking! I had to make it to the only service station by 5pm or no water and I needed a refill to make it the 25 miles to camp. I was so tired; I keep stopping to rest in the shade when I could find it. Made it into town at 4:45 pm, well, the outskirts of town and yes one service station. Hamburger, Mtn. Dew, Gatorade;  water filled and consumed by 4:57 pm. Perfect timing almost like I had planned it. I was so tired, made it to camp after dark again.


Flat Tires Day 18



Rode 117 miles

Rode approx. 10.4 hr

I left the Mt. Davis camp site early because I tried to sneak out without paying… didn’t happen. Hey, don’t judge me; I am a poor dirt bag. I also knew I had a long day ahead. Stopped in a town, I don’t remember its name, to fill up my water    and eat. I ate at a gas station restaurant that had surprisingly good hamburgers. I had 40 plus more miles to go and knew it would be dark when I got to my destination. The guy who made my hamburger told me to watch out for deer on the way there, since it would be dark when I arrived; and the cheapest hotel would be on the far side of town. There were a lot of deer both alive and splattered on the road, but I did not hit any. It got dark about 7 miles outside of town. Wanted to book a IMG_1637room but had very limited service. Called Mom to have her get on Kayak to find a cheap hotel. The one that the guy had told me would be the cheapest was $34 on Kayak, Mom booked it. While I stopped, I could hear the coyotes yipping.  The almost full moon was just fully in view over the horizon, highlighting the desert landscape, it was very beautiful and the sounds of the communicating coyotes only enhanced the experience and surrounding vista. I stalled waiting a little listing even though I was pressed for time! Biking at night was a nice respite from the ubiquitous sun and heat. Stopped at the wrong hotel on my way in town. The guy told me how bad the other place was and said if I can get out of the agreement to come back and he would give me a room for $20. The other one was only $14 more so IMG_1649I wasn’t expecting a nice place from either of the prices. When I got there, the guy was asleep, it was about 10 or 10:30. I was exhausted from biking 117 miles and just wanted to sleep! He had to “clean a room for me” it took about 20 minutes. I don’t know why it took so long, it was a double room and only one bed was made. I did not see new sheets on his cart on my way into the room, so I assume he just made one bed without changing the sheets. The tub did not look clean either. Oh well, passed out, woke up early and left after he offered me snacks; chips, water, and crackers because he wanted me to write a review on Trip Advisor.  Twenty five cent crackers and fifty cent water totally make up for a disgusting room!! He even went as far as to follow me and harass me for a picture. He wanted me to post itIMG_1635 and say how great his place was   I will let you decide?????






















Flat Tires Day 17


Rode 90 miles

Rode approx. 9 hr

I sawIMG_1650 a good bit of wildlife on today’s ride.  A rattlesnake was hanging out in the road, a possible roadrunner shot across the road, a javelin pig like mammal from the family Tayassuidae…. not to be confused with the escaped domestic pig which is from the family Suidae. I was told by someone that they were not pigs, he seemed very adamant about this. Now you know, too.

Cycled past the McDonald observatory, it was getting close to dusk. I kept a watchful eye for a stealth campsite. However, none of the scarce vegetation looked appropriate. Not only was it infrequent but the copses were made of scrub brush. I kept pushing on, hoping for a spot.  Started the day off strong, 40 miles in two and a half hours,  then head winds again brought my pace to a slow creeping struggle. Earlier in the trip the highway berm disengaged and all but disappeared leaving behind IMG_1630rumble like strips which caused my bike to vibrate uncomfortably beneath me. Teeth chattering and slamming together, I struggled to keep my bike upright. This must have caused the bolts to come loose on my bike rack and saddle bags. I lost one off the bike and one off the saddle bag.

Found a campground just before dark. I had run out of food except for the oatmeal which l tire of quickly on adventures. I approached and asked a lady, who was car camping in a new red Tacoma with a camper on top, at the campsite beside me if I could buy food from her. She said she would give me some leftovers, it was late and if I would have been here earlier she would have made me a proper meal.  She rummaged through her cooler and proIMG_1627duced a chicken leg and a salad with cheese, salami, and a variety of greens. It was delicious! The cheese, which might be my favorite food, was awesome! I haven’t had either for two weeks. She talked to me while I ate. I had offered to buy the food earlier knowing full well that no one was going to sell food to a person cycling across the United States that looked like he was starving. They were going to give it to me. I offered to pay her again and her response was priceless. “Honey, I live in Jackson Hole.”

Stayed at Mt. Davisday 17

Flat Tires Day 15 and 16


Rode 70 miles

Rode approx. 8.2 hr

Long tiring day!


Rode 35 miles

Rode approx. 3.03 hr

Spent most of the time cycling on feeder roadways. The first time I drove in TX these roads that run parallel to the main road drove me crazy. I missed exits and had to turn around multiple times. On the bike though, I loved them. They kept me out of the main traffic flow; how prospective changes with perception.

“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.”
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

I was on a feeder road that bypasses a border patrol checkpoint. As I peddled by the check point, a patrol car pulled out lights flashing, sirens blaring and pulled me over. I stopped my bike feeling kind of stupid and waited as he ran my plates? Actually, I don’t know what the hell he was doing I don’t have plates.. The bike got heavier and heavier as I waited on him. When he finally approached he said, ‘I pulled you over because you were going too fast.” Seriously!  “ID please. Why were you going so fast?” I am thinking what do you think, “I have a shitload of marijuana I am trying to smuggle and I am going to out run a car… what do you think?” But I said, “I was trying to get to the hotel before dark.” Then he asked if I was American. Okay you got me there; I am pretty dark from riding in the sun for days. Do I not sound like one!? Dammit, got me again. I am from WVIMG_1640 and have a slightly noticeable accent. “Yes. I am from WV.” Of course, he has been to Richmond. People, it’s a whole different state!! He offered me a ride into Sierra Blanca, my destination for a night. I declined as my goal was to cycle across the US, not hitchhike. I finally got into town at dusk after my delay.
Stayed in Sierra Blanca.FullSizeRender

Flat Tires Day 14

3/29/15 IMG_1613

Rode 85 miles

Rode approx. 7.14 hr
Super hot outside! I had to stop and apply layer after layer of suntan lotion because I was sweating so much it was washing off almost immediately. The only shade I could find was from trees that were randomly planted on the city streets. The sun was unrelenting, so I stopped at a McDonalds to get out of the midday heat. I locked my bike to the black fencing surrounding the outdoor dining area, walked inside and felt the wonderful artificial cold coming from the air conditioning. I was in heaven. I sat down spreading some of my gear all over a long table, before I went to order. After ordering I sat in the seat sweat still dripping off my soaked shirtIMG_1619 and shorts.  An older man sat down beside me. Like most old people I see at McDonalds, the only thing he had was a small coffee and a newspaper.  He was the first person who liked Obama I had met on the trip; we talked about how dumb Americans are now. He said, “People used to watch soap operas for entertainment, now they watch Fox News. It’s still just fake bullshit, but they think its important news.” He was an old lawyer, whose hand shook as he held his coffee talking to mIMG_1629e, who was still practicing because he had to give his ex-wives too much money. We also talked about the prison system and how they are sending nonviolent offenders away for life because of the economic incentives. Prison is a huge business. I stayed for hours talking to the guy and avoiding the heat, a huge plus was the vast quantity of food I consumed while waiting for the heat to fade.
Stayed in Fabens, TXday 13

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