Reasons I love Silver City New Mexico

I think we’ve reached phase two of the trip. 

Oops. Uploaded in reverse chronological order. 

   

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Traumatized but Alive 

Yesterday I had a beautiful day riding. I again was blessed, I can think of no other word, by the people I met, the mesas and river beds I ran through. I was about to leave an oasis of an Apache rest stop on the ride between Globe and safford. I met Cedric  and an Apache man Bernard. The world was so beautiful. 

Cedric and I parted when I stopped at the dollar general about 12 miles before Safford. To call my mother, to buy some cold drinks and cool corn. The heat continues to be hot. 

Six miles later a wolf looking wild dog attacked chasing as I weaved around the center line at who knows what speed. If I hadn’t have been on a busy road, I am certain I would have been mauled. Angels were watching over me. 

Never have I experienced fear, adrenaline and afterward emotional shock as I did yesterday.  

Don’t tell my mother any of this.  

I wasn’t mauled by a rabid wild animal. I wasn’t struck by the traffic that saved me. The same thing had happened to Cedric 30 minutes before. 

Love you all. 

So many people responded kindly and helped men through this. Brandon below drove me the remainder of the route to my campsite. Special thanks to this Kind young man. 





Goodnight. 

Tomorrow I will carry my pepper spray around my neck on that orange shoelace.  

Ps. I’m almost certain it was Mexican wolf, a lobo. From its erratic behavior I’d wager it was rabid. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_wolf

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Tempe to Tonto Basin, AZ, & Patty’s Blog

I could write all day about today and I could write all day about yesterday l, but I can’t. There aren’t enough minutes  in the day. 

My post from the other day with photos of Patty’s jersey covered with names of people living with or who have died of cancer was part of a quick turtorial I gave her in the WordPress app. 

Here’s a link to her blog. Her blog style reminds me of my own  

https://3160milesacrossamericabybike.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/day-6-quartzsite-ca-to-salome-az/#comments 

It’s a real treat for me to read what she writes about the days I drive the van rather than cycle.   

Here’s a photo of the moon right in front of me where I’m writing right now. 


Here are a few photos from today and then two photos of special people I met yesterday on our rest day when I didn’t leave the area immediately around our Motel Six. 


I want these for Christmas or better yet our anniversary. Used after posting above.  

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Resting in Tempe

Feeling much much rested after dinner out with brotheriun law and sisterinlaw and then 8 solid hours of sleep. 

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Salome AZ  – Sunset, full moon and coyotes

My tent at Centennial park right outside of Salome. Out in the field where annoying fellow campers with zipping and unzipping and messing with my plastic bags is minimized. Makes for calmer times getting up in the middle of the night. As I write a pack of coyotes howls.


I’m not very far really from the rest of the tents.


Tonight Evan and I cooked together, another successful cooking duo. All the riders including my co- leader Jared and me pair up and make dinner for the group. Tomorrow night will finish our first cycle of cooking. Then we take two nights off cooking for our rest day in Tempe. After that we mix up the pairs and start again. That’s Sally, our UK cycles, reheating some leftover veggie curry.

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Back in AZ

Memories flooded back as Fuat and I cycled over the Colorado back into Arizona. The desert scent brought me back to moving to Arizona post undergraduate degree to a year at Arcosanti  and then to graduate school in Tucson.  The creyote bushes, palo verde trees, ocotillos and saguaros. I had forgotten I even knew those words. 

Talked to Richard back home in GA for an hour tonight, more than we have spoken since I flew to San Diego last Thursday. Told him about all the incredible meals I’ve eaten this first week on the Southern Tier. It is only a week but I see already the specialness of riding cross country with a group  — a different kind of specialness than the one of riding solo. He was a little incredulous that our group had coalesced so strongly in such a short time but we have. A week in the road together equals the closeness of a year of riding with road bike group. 

Here are a few photos from my phone. Most of my photos are on my Canon Powershot Elf that I take  photos from while riding. Btw, these uploaded in reverse chronological order. 

[Bob Ambrose, there IS another epic poem in this trip. I didn’t know. ]

Two men Fuat and I shared a picnic table with at the I-10 rest stop. Both are Iraqui immigrants, Al who lives in Kansas City and his relative who just was resettled here though what was our refugee immigrant program. His name is in my notebook back at my tent.

A new state. Back in AZ after many, many years away. Got my masters at the home of the Wildcats in Tucson.

Crossing the Colorado from CA to AZ.

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Intense but Incredible – Palo Verde CA

No time to write these days but after 4 days together, we are already feeling such a strong bond. The power of working together on a shared goal. Already I could write dozens of blog pages. 

More words and photos later when I have more time. 

[As always, when on the road, I’m in even more forgiveness for typos, auto spell errors, and uneven style and story recounting .]

Our first day riding dipping our wheels into the Pacific in San Diego. 4 days later and we are sleeping out last night in CAL. Tomorrow we cross the Colorado and enter Arizona.

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San Diego

I made it. Once again the preparation is over. I’m in the experience itself. 

I arrived yesterday and got settled into the hostel where my bike group will meet on Sunday afternoon. The group has already started to form. I almost immediately met Sally from the UK who is starting yet another phase of her world wide adventure, having just spent time in Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. Then today Andy, Robin, Doug, and Sheri arrived as well as my co-leader Jared. We are all giving ourselves time to acclimate.

I can see already that this blog will be different. It has to be.

San Diego is gorgeous, though I’m really away from its skyscrapers way out on its western edge close to Ocean Beach and the west coast’s longest pier; it reaches 900 feet out into the Pacific. I’ve already been out there twice. It is Southern California, surf board, young rosterfarians (sp?), frisbees, dogs and yoga on the beach; pot fragrance abounds.







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Another bike trip across the country

February 17, 2017

Two Fridays from now I’ll be in San Diego getting ready for my next bike trip across the country. The following Monday, we start riding.

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This trip is different than my Northern Trip solo trip. It’s a “we” trip. I will be one of two co-leaders with thirteen paid participants leading a van-supported trip from the Pacific to the Atlantic, ending in St. Augustine, Florida. For me it will be my debut performance as an Adventure Cycling leader. I am very excited.

Here are some trip logistics:

  • Follows the Southern Tier, Adventure Cycling’s southern most cross-country route for 58 days of riding.
  • 3054 miles through CA, AZ, NM, TX (lots of it), LA, MI, AL, FL (over 1100 miles shorter than on the Northern Tier)
  • Major cities we pass through: San Diego, Phoenix, Las Cruces, El Paso, Austin, New Orleans, Tallahassee, Gainesville (FL) and then St. Augustine.
  • My co-leader Jared and I will swap off cycling and driving the van each day.
  • We camp about 80% of the time.
  • Twelve of the participants are older than me, 59-71. One is younger at 54. Jared, my co-leader is in his early 40s.

Adventure Cycling’s bike tours are not high-end luxury bike tours. They are more about giving the participants a real outdoor cycling adventure. The leaders are facilitators who share the trip with the riders. We all share in cooking. It’s about letting the riders have their own experience and helping it be an awesome one, letting them figure things out, and only stepping in when needed to get things moving forward or keeping everyone safe and happy.

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I will use this set-up for the trip. I will be not be carrying all my gear this time but will use the front two panniers for things like my rain gear, on-the-road food, and a first-aid kit. Many of the riders will be on a road bike. 

I have been a bit anxious about taking this all on but am feeling more relaxed and confident as the take-off date approaches. Physically, I feel in good shape. Leading this trip has been an excellent motivator to get me out riding and to the gym. I’m riding up to 150 miles in a week. So, I can check that one off in terms of being prepared. Thanks to my 2015 Northern Tier trip, I feel fine about the camping and equipment. I’ve continued volunteering at BikeAthens and though I am far from an expert bike mechanic, I have a much better sense of how to fiddle with bike parts to get things running smoothly. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve replaced a bottom bracket, repacked a pedal, replaced a shifter cable, and adjusted a back derailleur. As I said to Richard, I have a much deeper understanding about just how many small subtle things can affect gear shifting.

As ACA leaders on their “epic trips,” we work up the itinerary as well using notes from previous tours so I have been working on that a bunch too. I have more time than Jared, who actually works a job, to explore the route and am enjoying do so. As a novice tour leader, investigating the overnight stops has ended up being another task that makes me feel more confident going into the trip.

The big difference on this trip, of course, is that I will be part of a group in a leader role, meaning I can’t be the one to grouch or whine. In the Adventure Cycling leadership training (excellent program), much of the focus is on group dynamics. Makes sense. I’m hoping that my years teaching and being in an administrative position will work to my advantage. A couple of weeks ago, Jared and I split of the list of riders and called them all. I spent almost an hour speaking with each one. I got off the phone feeling very positive about my fellow riders. They were not reluctant students forced to take a writing course or overwhelmed faculty members or bullying upper administrators.

A few people have asked me if I will be writing a blog about the trip. Assuming that I have time, I will post, but I will not have a goal of posting everyday. Plus,  the format/tone will, I assume, be different since I will be leading the tour and this blog is an open public one.

One thing is certain – that preparing for this trip has provided some distraction from what’s happening with our 45th president.  And what’s happening in DC has alleviated any existential angst I have about life after retirement. For the time being, life will be a combination of fighting back, riding my bike, and being there for family and friends.

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Thanks, Richard, for being such a supportive spouse. 

 

 

 

 

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Riding solo on a sunny, cold December Saturday.

Riding along a winter day, an almost 30-mile loop into town and then east to Winterville and back home off College Station. What I like is that riding alone, you can feel strong, even when you probably wouldn’t feel the same riding with others, especially if your others are like my others.

Back in late October, I got a nightly fever that didn’t go away for over three weeks. The cause was an overactive thyroid, which caused some other symptoms that limited my activity level. In the end, I should be back with a normal-acting thyroid and much wiser about how a thyroid controls lots of operating systems in the body.

Now, though, I have to work a little extra hard on getting my body ready for my debut Adventure Cycling leader experience at the start of March, another cross-country ride.  So, at the start of this month, I got the bike out again and tested my body out. After some shorter rides and days at the gym, I worked up to my ride today.

How do I gauge strength — riding up long hills and not thinking about them at all. My eyes look around, my mind follows some thread, and then I notice that I’ve gotten to the end of the hill. There’s no thinking about my legs and my breath and how I don’t have enough strength in either area. My strength today was not gauged by my average speed or how I was keeping up with others. I left my bike computer at home and rode solo on this perfect winter riding day. There were no comparisons. How much easier that makes life on the bike…and off.

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