30 October 2008

Clang Clang Clang Went the Bike Wheel

Pulling into Ponce de Leon, FL, the war of Man vs. Nature had another ugly battle when I ran over a stick. The stick got angry and decided to break three of my front wheel's spokes. The plan now is to hitch a ride 100+ miles to Tallahassee, get it fixed, then bike out west to meet Michael and Katherine on Saturday to make up the mileage.

Here in Ponce de Leon, I met William and Laetitia, two young people from France who are walking from Miami to the southern tip of Argentina. They have walked all over the world, but they need to do the Americas. Their website can be found here.

Under the suggestion of my friend, I am going to throw a car battery into the ocean when I get there to level the war for our side.

28 October 2008

Alobama [subliminal message]

Just checking in to let you know that we are currently on Dauphin Island, AL. We made it through Louisiana by riding along the west side of the Mississippi River down to New Orleans, and then we rode through the actual state of Mississippi in a day. We might do the same with Alabama.
I need to go catch a ferry off the east side of the island. Tell your parents I say hi.

20 October 2008

Louisiana in Sight...

We're about 15 miles from the border. We are almost done with Texas. I promised myself I wouldn't cry, so I won't.

14 October 2008

Photographic Evidence Part 1

There are several hundred photos. They all need to be converted to actual image files, and as that process takes awhile, I am only posting a few right now.

Click on them to enlarge.

Pacific Ocean dippin'

Sitting on the world's laziest metaphor

Eating outside a fire station with Katherine

"Welcome to the Land of Driver's Licenses That Don't Expire"

Jumping a fence to the interstate when the frontage road decides to end

"Please Film the Next Harry Potter Movie Here. Our State Needs Money."

Make up your own caption, kids

Michael jumping at one of the lower sections of the Continental Divide (presumably to avoid the thousands of locusts eating each other on the ground)

A step up from the fire station

"Welcome to the State You'll Be in Forever"

Surprised to find a roof on top of the house made of paper

red hot chili peppers the popular music band

As we look longingly into the future, my face does an
impression of how I see myself in 23 years

Tilda Halfway

We made it to Austin, and we can say we are roughly halfway through the trip. We took two rest days here, and we'll be taking off tomorrow, venturing into the less hilly but more humid East Texas.
Thanks again to everyone who has donated at this point. If you want to send an additional donation for the second half, I will not try to stop you.

05 October 2008

Where I Have Been

Day 1: San Diego, CA to Descanso Junction (left Anna V.'s house to go to ocean; climbed up mountains; camped outside church; made dinner in dark)
Day 2: Descanso Junction to Ocotillo (went down mountains; rode on interstate for first time; slept outside bar in pool of my own sweat due to desert heat)
Day 3: Ocotillo to Holtville (got to El Centro by 9:00am to get to bike shop; left there at about 4:00pm; biked below sea level; settled down outside fire station)
Day 4: Holtville to Yuma, AZ (started biking at dawn to avoid desert heat; riding on Old Highway 80 was awful due to the fact that it hadn't been paved in a long time; realized my shoes were too small; pain in feet made me have to drop $120 on a new pair; somehow, I'm a 12 in normal shoes but a 13.5 in bike shoes; rode through sand dunes; found Yuma to be mostly a retirement community, so no RV park would allow tents but one; had to pay $30 to sleep on a gravel spot; decided we didn't like Yuma)
Day 5: Yuma to Dateland (got randomly offered an open house by a woman at a gas station; ate sloppy joe's with olives in place of meat)
Day 6: Dateland to Gila Bend (got another random offering for housing by a librarian; stayed with her and guy, "J," who sometimes rents out room; J is ex-Delta Force who now hops freight trains and uses his military training for a variety of activities that I'm sure he would appreciate me not mentioning on here)
Day 7: Gila Bend to Picacho (woke up at 4:30; biked in 100+ degree heat; had lunch in Casa Grande; stayed in RV park in Picacho on grass for a much more reasonable price than the place in Yuma)
Day 8: Picacho to Tucson (woke up at 4:30 again; biked on a slow incline into Tucson that made me miserable with Burley; had a tractor trailer's tire swipe Burley and leave a tread mark; got into Tucson around noon; got slightly lost due to dead ends not indicated on a bike map; finally found the house of Emily F., a girl I never met from Oberlin who vaguely knew my two riding mates; ate at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant for first time on trip; talked about the like three episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation I've seen in my life)
Day 9: Tucson to Exit 297 of Interstate 10 (slept in until 7:00; left Tucson in early afternoon; went by Air Force field that had thousands of planes in it; realized there was nothing on the road ahead of us for awhile; camped behind a gas station just short of Benson)
Day 10: Exit 297 of Interstate 10 to Willcox (giant grasshoppers/locusts started to become more frequent on I-10; found Clif Bars at a grocery store; watched Con Air with no sound while making dinner; charged cell phone battery)
Day 11: Willcox to Lordsburg, NM (locusts were now all over the place, making an awful crunching sound when I failed to avoid them; rained on us while riding for first time; by the time I got my raincoat on and covered my panniers, it had stopped raining; found a church in Lordsburg; rang doorbell of neighboring house and probably woke up the priest; convinced him to let us sleep in church yard; felt totally scared with cars constantly passing, so clutched bike multi-tool to my chest the whole night, because it has a knife on it)
Day 12: Lordsburg to Deming (I remember nothing from this day; I'll update this later if I remember anything; I assume I rode my bike somewhere; UPDATE: went over the Continental Divide; rode through more locusts; stupidly bought very green avocados)
Day 13: Deming to Las Cruces (had fun riding down hills into Las Cruces; went to library to use computers; got nothing done due to slow connection caused by all the kids streaming video on the other computers; got kicked off due to time limit, vacating computer for a child to use MySpace; went to bike shop to get easy fix for cable tension; mechanic offered his house for the night; went to his home and met his parents and six of what I remember to be ten siblings; his mom made us food; his younger siblings talked about tigers and animated movies with me;
Day 14: Las Cruces to El Paso/Horizon City, TX (woke up and ate more food made by bike mechanic's mother; rode through a bunch of pecan orchards, easily the best leg of the trip; got into El Paso and took the worst possible route through the city for a bike, easily the worst leg of the trip; saw bridges to Mexico; rode on Border Highway during rush hour; did a skid-stop worthy of that part with the kids at the end of E.T. to avoid taking an awful fall, making me feel like a total bad-ass; stayed with retired/sort-of-retired teachers who do bike tours on a tandem bike; ate a good dinner for the second night in a row)
Day 15: Horizon City to Fort Hancock (ate another good breakfast for second day in a row; started to stay away from main roads for the first time in awhile; made the easy ride to Fort Hancock; met Maurice, a guy from England doing the route from San Diego to St. Augustine, FL, a person I'm sure we'll see a lot more times on this trip; met up with couple putting us up for the night; fired a gun at a piece of paper with the outline of a person on it; ate burritos; slept in a bed for the first time in awhile)
Day 16: Fort Hancock to Van Horn (rode up some big hills/mountains to Sierra Blanca; rode down some small hills into Van Horn; noticed I got my first flat, which put me in a rotten mood; saw Maurice a bunch of times; stayed in an RV park owned by a guy who hated Van Horn with all his heart)
Day 17: Van Horn to Marfa (met another Brit, this guy going east-to-west and enjoying all the tailwinds that have been our headwinds; stopped in Valentine and ate lunch outside an abandoned restaurant; got to Marfa, an art town inside a bubble)
Day 18: Rest Day (took tour of Chinati Foundation; ate really good vegan sandwich at a restaurant called Squeeze Marfa; went to pro-choice party at night and realized bubble was even bubblier than I thought)
Day 19: Marfa to Marathon (kept eyes open for Lance Armstrong after hearing rumors he would be training in mountains in area; stopped in Alpine for lunch/laundry; rode 30+ miles into wind without stopping to Marathon; talked to a guy from Minneapolis about to open a restaurant after I heard him listening to a Naked City album; met Guil, a retired airline pilot, and stayed in his top-notch houses made out of some combination of cement and paper; stayed up way too late making a stupid weblog post)

04 October 2008

A Reminder

For those of you new to this buh-log, this is why I am biking across the country. If you want to donate to the cause, please do so.

There's a short article in the Chicago Tribune about Joel's incident in addition to this other one about settler violence.

My second day in Texas

And already...

How about a little fire, Scarecrow?

I realize the irony of shooting off guns on a trip raising money for a peace organization, so no need to point that out.