Thursday, September 27, 2012

Impossible Peak

Today started early and very cold.
We rode out with tire troubles his front and my back tire would not stay pumped. But we rode forth with gusto and mine waned 6 miles in and I sat down on the road for forty five minutes moping. The Western Spirit group riders that we've been seeing for days started to ride past, then Lucy a 68 year old bike tourer rode up. She put me to shame, so I had to go on. I started riding up the 8% grade and was 3 miles from the top when the Western Spirit sag wagon stopped for me. Noah helped me throw my bike in the back and gave me a ride to the top. When we got there we unloaded and he gave me a new tube and pumped my tire up to it's normal 55psi. It was a beautiful cold summit with lots of Aspen trees. Topped out at 9600 ft. I started riding down when all hail broke loose and rain. It was freezing and I rode as fast as I could. It was quite a pull to make it to Torrey on the two apples I had eaten, but I made it. Phil had beaten me there of course, and bought me a sandwich. We sat in front of the coffeeshop at the junction of 12 an 24 exhausted.

A nice lady named Melanie came out from the outdoor store and chatted with us awhile and told us to call Lyman the local warm showers host. I did, because I didn't want to ride just as much as when I sat on the road for awhile and that was before I rode. Phil was thinking about continuing on but we convinced him to settle down and hang out. Lyman met us there and gave us directions to his house. Turns out Lucy and her partner were headed there too so we all rode together till they decided they needed to go back for food.
When we got here I walked in singing my head off because Lyman made it sound like we would be the only ones here,,, haha. Well I woke Brandon and Charlie from their meditative naps. They are also staying and doing a mediation retreat with Lyman.
Imagine some random girl waltzing in singing, "ain't no mountain high enough! No valley low enough!" most of you know how loud I can sing. I hope they will forgive me, luckily they seem to be very zen dudes.

I have had a lot of compliments on my outfits, everyone is saying, "do you really ride in that?" they love my nutcase helmet, knee high boots, leather jacket and visor. I think you can ride in anything or nothing as demonstrated by the popularity of the worldwide naked bike ride. Perhaps they are just shocked I am not wearing lycra with all sorts sponsorships, maybe they are refreshed by it. Today I would have liked a rain jacket but leather works fine and looks more tough. If only I had my pants! I am stuck with my two skirts and bike shorts forever now. We are doing laundry and it is hard to find stuff to wear when you are washing everything. So I am really cold in my cleanest shorts and tank top.
Phil is anxious to be rid of me in Cortez Colorado but he will lose any entertainment factor his blog has.
I will be sad because he makes me laugh, and actually keeps me more more calm than I would be without him. I won't have a tent and he won't have a stove. I'd rather have a tent... I am so SOL it is ridiculous. Please keep the "I told you so's" to yourselves.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Today we spent the morning with Ben at the coffee shop having bottomless cups of coffee. We met a 64 year old guy named Charlie who is also on tour. He seemed to have the best idea about touring, very relaxed, riding when he wanted to and taking lots of rest days. He gave me some advice on my route through New Mexico.
We had a good time all talking to each other about bike touring, I wish we were all going the same way. Michelle at the coffeeshop gave us breakfast burritos when I asked if there was any food being thrown away.
We left Escalante and rode on 12 towards Boulder. It was perfect weather for cycling and we chugged along. We came to the top of a hill and got a great view of what lay before us, canyons! We met some folks at the top on bikes that had an RV sag wagon and were slightly jealous. We blazed down the hill. Have you ever gone fifty mph down a hill with no shoulder on the edge of a cliff? I have and it is both terrifying and thrilling.
The scenery today in Grand staircase Escalante National Monument was breathtaking in two ways, the beauty and the climbs. We zoomed to the bottom of the canyon and then started the long climb out. We stopped to explore a little and ate lunch in a nice little offshoot canyon. It was a hard climb but between being in my lowest gear and walking up the steepest bits I did really well getting out of there. It was so pretty it was probably best that I took my time.
I saw a lot of falcons today, and some lizards. So many pretty flowers, including arnica. We got to Boulder Utah and we explored it a bit. The group of cyclists we ran into two days ago were just pulling into the lodge...looks like we are keeping up with them and their fancy red van pretty well. We went to a small RV spot, gas station place and the lay was really nice let us have a bunch of refills and let us camp in the parking lot. Strangest place we have camped so far. We made burritos for dinner because we love them so much, although our homemade ones were not up to par with the breakfast ones. Now it is 8:30 and I am exhausted just thinking about tomorrow's climb. So I am off to bed to get back to my very important dream life. Tomorrow we have a steep steep climb up Boulder Mountain, it's neighboring features are Impossible Peak and Deer Mountain.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Not a very coherent update. Deal.

Phil and Yuta woke up early Sunday and hiked to Angel's Landing. I stayed behind to sleep in and meditate the morning away.
They found me around 1 pm near the market hanging out with a National Park guide named Ardell. He had lent me a floor pump and advice on our route while I once again changed my back tire. By the evening my tire was once again acting up on me, what futile attempts! I am an absolute pro at changing them though. I cannot figure out why they are losing air, and only enough to slow me down significantly. Every time I immerse the tires to find a puncture it comes up solid. It is endlessly frustrating.
Ardell was a nice guy, he bought me lunch and gave me coffee and we talked for an hour and a half. It would be nice to have his job, rolling around to all the national parks showing people around.
We broke camp and rode towards the tunnel which we had to hitchhike through because no bikes are allowed. A nice local couple picked us up in their truck.
The ride from there was pleasant and I serenaded Phil with a bunch of songs while we rolled down hill. We stopped in Mt Carmel junction where there was a bus load of Chinese tourists. They surrounded us like paparazzi taking a million pictures of us. They stole my helmet and passed it around putting it on taking pictures of each other. Came and posed next to us and our bikes, started shouting at us "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" but even 30 Chinese people shouting that at Phil could not convince him to do it. It was the most hilarious thing that has ever happened to me. They were particularly impressed with my bloody, hairy, scarred and bike greased legs which I noticed some got a close up of. Luckily a biker gang rolled by and we were off the hook for awhile.
Later that evening we found a wonderful campsite that was an apple orchard! The apples were so delicious! We had a nice dinner, a couple gave us some anchor steam beer to go with it, a shower and wifi. It was heavenly.
In the morning we rode out and I quickly noticed it was taking me twice the effort to pedal than usual. Made it to a rest stop and lost hope and moped. Told Phil to carry on without me and that I would never see him again. He left and I called my Grandma and my sister Kate. They gave me enough hope to hitchhike to catch up with Phil who had the proper tools to fix my bike. Not only was it the bike but me that's broken, I feel like I have been hit by a train. It took me a good two hours to get a ride. People drive by and wave or give me a thumbs up, not quite understanding what I am after.
An old guy named Al stopped to give me a lift. He was a sweet guy and told
Me about his 34 grandchildren, bought me lunch and dropped me off 7 miles further than I wanted to go.... Which I didn't realize and just fell asleep in some grass in a park. A little later these two old ladies with bonnets asked me if I was sick, thus waking me. A very good thing because it was late afternoon, I assured them I was fine and got back on my bike. Started riding but took into account what they had told me about the rode to Bryce... "straight up hill Hun."
So I found a nice hitchhiking spot and was once again cheating on the bike tour. This time a sheriff picked me up. We threw my bike in the back and it ripped the upholstery. I was all apologetic and he waved it away with a, "taxpayers will pick that one up."
He took me all the way to Bryce, if I had been able to find Phil I was going to have him pretend that I was in trouble but we couldn't find him.
But I did awhile later and we rode to a
Campsite together looking for someone to let us camp with them.
We found Nitin from San Francisco. He was alone and doing a vacation of a couple national parks. I asked him if he wanted any company in his camp spot and he accepted these hobos. I turned my bike over and fixed my rubbing disc brakes with Phil's help, turns out to have been the biggest problem with my bike. The radish of mine keeps making strange creaking sounds though. We watched the sunset together then retreated to Nitin's tent due to the rain. We had hummus, bread, chips and coronas sitting in his tent. The thunder and pattering of rain made for a pleasant night of sleep, if not a little scary. I am not used to this water falling from the sky.
Nitin left us a gift of grape jelly in the morning, which we were delighted to find and started in on like people coming off a hunger strike.
We lazed a bit in the morning because I wanted to meditate during my sisters operation. I prayed and sent distance reiki. We left Bryce around 11am and started riding towards Escalante.
We passed through a place where they had blasted apart the canyon to make a road and I saw the biggest eagle I have ever seen in my life! It was beautiful. I watched it flying around and imagined myself doing the same and was able to fly through the ride today. We had beautiful scenery and were able to keep up with a group of old cats on their carbon fiber bikes and sag wagon. I think they were sad to find they hadn't beaten us to the top of the pass by much.
We are camped in Escalante next to another bike tourer going east to west named Ben. We spent the evening in conversation over a bottle of wine that I drank most of. also the stove is giving me hell and Phil heard the worst string of swear words of his life while I was starvingly trying to get it to work.... Which I didn't and just rode off on my bike for awhile. Came back and he had made dinner like magic.

Wish you all could see the scenery I have as it changes place to place, best way to see America.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rode through a Hurricane!

Today we rode from St George to Zion National Park. The day started out pleasantly with some coffee and we rode through Hurricane UT. Phil takes my moods a little personally, I just didn't feel like talking. I have a lot on my mind. Also half the time, maybe most the time, he pokes fun at my beliefs. This is incredibly wearing and a huge affront to me but I try not to let it get me down.

Kate has another "non-invasive" surgery on tuesday. I really wouldn't call it non-invasive, they are going to shoot gamma rays into her noggin.
Tomorrow there is a fast for her, I will be fasting, prayer, good energy, and positive thoughts all help.
She called me and told me her woes of figuring out how to pay for it. I am glad she complained to me because it made feel silly for being worried about not having any money on this journey.

Sadly the gem and rock shop near La Verkin was closed down. My Dad bought me a really fine piece of plume agate there a longtime ago and I set in what is now one of my favorite necklaces.

Right after that is a good hill climb, which would have been a breeze.... But the cars were not giving me any room, zooming very close to me, the shoulder was 3 inches wide and gravel. By the time I reached the top I was choked up in fear, got off my bike and screamed my lungs out.

When I caught up with Phil, he agreed they came pretty close to him too. And I was thinking, •whatever, I was in the rear so they figured out by barely dodging me that there might be more bikes on the road."

I have been very upset today, yet alternately quite happy. It is a roller-coaster ride out here folks.

After that Phil stuck closer to me on the rest of the ride which I was grateful for. Beautiful scenery that my little iPhone camera can't do justice to. I think tomorrow will be grand sight seeing.

We stopped at some pleasant picnic tables next to a pick your own apple orchard where I remember stopping a long time ago. Rode to the gate of Zion where we were greeted by the most gorgeous park ranger I have ever beheld. His name was Lance Cleaver and he let us slip past without paying to see if the campground had spots. Of course it was full and he was just letting us pass because I gave him the eye and he knew I could clean up nice. I almost wanted to go back to ogle more but then I would have had to pay.

Like I said watchman campground was full but we rode around it till I spotted a bike tourer in the walk or bike in section of the campground. I rode up and told him the campground was full and that I was taking over his spot, but he could stay. Kind of like the invasion of Okinawa, but in a nice way. Yuta is from Japan and rode here from Alaska by himself. He was nice enough to give me a hot dog after I commandeered his camp space.

I made couscous which we paired with cheese and a lovely mix of greens Phil picked up. Food tastes wonderful when you are really hungry we have found. Strange combinations of food can be surprisingly good like the Graham cracker, sharp cheddar with salsa on top we had the other day.

There is a group of party animals camped next to us. I want to march over there and tell them I demand a tax of a couple beers for their flagrant blasting of ACDC at 9:30 pm on a Saturday and burning of plastic in their campfire. Alas I am too tired to get out of my tent for beer.... What am I turning into? Then I remember I am not too interested because it is most likely Utah beer. So I am off to my very important dream life.


The expansive black rock range
So cragged and sharp in relief
scares and comforts me.
It has been many miles
Together to get here.
cognizant dissonance has set in.
You are so near,
Yet, far as unreachable.
Gentle as a rhythmic cadence
Soothing babble of a brook
Stony and stoic
Ranges yet to be passed
You've seen where I have eroded
Out under my emotions.

There is no crack in your
Granite face to hold onto.

You have rode so far ahead
I have lagged so far behind.
You have sunk into the heat
Rising off the highway
The mirage of what I need.

Allida September 16th 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blood, sweat, tears and tension.

Lots of tension. Rode out from Vegas into the blazing heat of the desert. Got to Callville Bay and sought shade. Walked to the docks looked at yachts and house boats. Met the Commodore of the yacht club, got to talking to him had some wine, he got a little too interesting. High tailed it back to the parking lot where Phil met us and Mr Commodore gave us a ride 4 miles to the main road, which was nice despite his uncomfortable questions. He seemed to be upset that Phil hasn't been getting laid, said it was a terrible situation for a young man to deal with. Don't believe it's any of my fault.

We rode to Echo Bay that night. It was a fun ride, road to ourselves pretty much. We could turn our lights out and look at the stars, cruising hills at tremendous speeds. When tragedy struck! I lost the Trondheim Rose necklace that my Father gave me. The leather broke and the silver was lost. I immediately started wailing and crying walking down the road. Phil must have thought the Banshee had been loosed on him. There was nothing to be done so we had to carry on. Phil suggested I go to Norway and get another one. HA! Don't foresee my adventures getting me near that part of the world for awhile.

We stealthily camped at an empty campground. The only other guests were some tremendously loud Donkeys, who brayed at the top of their lungs all night like they were mourning the loss of my necklace for me. Needless to say I slept little.

The 20th was a rough day. We rode from Echo Bay to Mesquite. 74 miles we think. Not bad as far as mileage goes but, the heat killed me. Towing a bunch of water, drinking as much of it as we can, sweating more than that total out. I swear. My Brooks saddle also has a sweet patina of blood all over it because you can't wear a pad and cycle over seventy miles.

We stopped in Overton in the morning to refill water and see the cool Lost City museum. We rode on I-15 which was .... Interesting. Semis blowing past me, road crocodiles everywhere, whole tires and interestingly enough a barbie car wreck. Barbie cars strewn everywhere the victims were not found.
At least 6 spots on the side of the road where cars must have blown up an melted the Tarmac. Haha crazy crazy.
I was relieved to make it to Mesquite whole if not delusional from heat exhaustion.

I rode quickly to Smiths where I used the illegal immigrant way to pick up some money that Scott generously sent me. Western Union is great because you can pick up money without an ID, all you have to do is answer a question. Scott really helped save me, though I am teetering on the edge of being simply abandoned on the road.

We then went to our couchsurfer Giovanni's house. I collapsed on the sidewalk from the tension, till the cool neighbor ladies revived me with cigarettes. Gio was a really cool guy, he turned on comedy central, let us do laundry and I got to sleep in a bed in the first time in forever! Phil started to cook dinner and luckily Gio took over.

In the morning I woke with purpose! I was going to get the laundry out of the drier! Well being a dummy I left it in there! Everything was out of the house and I locked the door turned around and wished I hadn't locked it immediately. That's how things work. You do something so silly and immediately realize how silly it was, there is no lag time there.
Ack! Thanks Gio for letting us stay, sorry we left our clothes.

Anyways. I rode ten miles with Phil to Littlefield where I took some of his gear made him lunch and sent him on his way on 91. I set the intention to hitchhike from there to St George and got a ride in about five minutes while I was sitting in the shade, not trying. Good luck this girl. Tim had a truck and we chucked my gear in. We had a lot in common we talked about Marines we knew, places We'd been, My route, and being LDS. It was a pretty short ride, he dropped me off right in front of my Aunt Christine's sister Barbara's house. Grandma Dee was on it when she texted me in the morning to ask me where I was and where I was going and got me a place to camp out.
Thank you Tim, Grandma Dee and Barbara for working out my pleasant stay in St George.

In the end tension has been relieved a bit through the help of old and new friends. Hopefully the oppressive heat lifts.

Also I think Phil has seen me cry more than anyone other than my mother. That I pretty impressive... I don't cry often but I have gotten very emotional.
So thanks to Phil for continuing to deal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I have the best luck.
We sat around Tony's pool today and once again went through our bags and I managed to rid myself of a couple things. Had some homemade coffee and then rode down the Vegas strip. I wished I hadn't thrown out my lock chain in June Lake or I would have used it to whip cars. We went through it pretty fast, stopping to gawk at the Venetian. Phil was appalled with what they had done with the precious idea of Venice and assured me the real one is much better.

A guy took our picture for us and asked if we were here for the bike convention. No, but it suddenly all made sense. That was why all these people were carrying their helmets around like totems. We didn't spend a lot of time on the strip because it was a little overwhelming and we had a couchsurfer to catch 12 miles away. So we headed one block off the strip where they were unloading bike gear into the convention center.... Right there some angry motorist honked at me and it was very ironic.

At a stop light we saw two bikers, we chatted till the light turned green, they said, "follow us." Then zoomed off at an incredible speed. We followed them to the parking lot where all the bike industry vehicles were. Brian and Dave(hope I got the names right, I was dazed) had traveled from Wisconsin in their cool Winnebago. They had cool electric bikes that Phil and I both test rode. These bikes had massive shocks and lots of power, they looked like i would have an amazing time off roading on them, currently wishing I had an electric assist. Their company is called USE bikes, I think.

We sat and chatted with them for a good while, Brian gave me a new back tire off the tandem they had hanging off the back of the RV and we put it on. While we were doing that Bryan from xtracycle drove by and asked me where Ross was. I had to explain that I had just happened upon all of this myself. He parked his vehicle and hung out with us for a while too. His bike had the biggest tires I have ever seen, very cool custom bike. All these guys had really great pedals, how I like them, big fatty pedals.

Unfortunately it was getting dark and we had to ride away. We put on the reflective Las Vegas Pavement Corp vests that Tony gave us and cycled away.
The ride through Vegas was pleasant enough, I had deja vu and knew we had gone a bit far on a dead end road. Turned around and carried on. We saw the Las Vegas temple and went up the hill to visit it. Eventually we made it to Rob, Destiny, and Dave's house where we set up camp for the night. They have a great view of Vegas from their roof where I slept.

We watched part of a documentary about happiness, simply called Happy. It was very cool, we spent the evening pleasantly in conversation. In the morning we rode to Lake Mead and made it as far as Callville bay. It is blazing hot and Phil is passed out on a picnic table. The desert is just killing us. I am going to try to see if we can get our bikes on a boat to catch a ride north a little to Echo Bay or Stewarts point.