The books are ready
No more riding!
Definite stats to follow soon
B: pancakes with maple syrup.
L: Humus dip, brocolli soup, green salad.
D: Waiting for airplane grub.
S: 2 muesli bars, 1 orange.
Drinks: 3 coffees.
De boeken zijn klaar
Last pictures from USA
LA and the last yards
Weather: Sunny in the morning and fresh in the afternoon. Flat for most of the day with a short climb out of La Jolla. Light Northern headwind all day. Good riding weather. Ride: San Diego – Carlsbad 60km
Weather: Sunny in the morning and fresh in the afternoon. Flat for most of the day with very gentle rolling hills. Light Southern tailwind all day. Good riding weather. Ride: Carlsbad – Long Beach 121km
Weather: Drizzling and overcast all day. Flat in the morning before and after a train ride, then a final 11 km climb from the Ocean to Topanga Canyon. No wind. Good riding weather. Ride: Long Beach – Topanga Canyon 50km
After my last camp in the Cuyamaca’s I have slept in the care of Warmshowers hosts and finally now in Topanga Canyon in the warmth of friends of a Warmshowers host. Baja Bob is a character extraordinaire and Baja California specialist, who hosted me in San Diego. He took me to dinner, to ride to the Ocean and rode with me through San Diego and acted as my tour guide. His friend Christine joined us and we had a great Indian dinner downtown SD. One of the best curries I’ve had.
The next host was Gary and his wife Lee in Carlsbad. A passionate bike rider who was very interested to do a bike tour with his wife in the Netherlands. Happy to help I discussed alternatives, plans and strategies and ate a great tuna caserolle. There was certainly another great connection with these amazing people who allow you into their homes. There is never a lack of conversation.
The next morning Gary rode with me out of town and guided me to the turn-off to Camp Pendleton and the ride to Long Beach. I rode a longer ride and arrived in Long Beach where I was in the care of Carl and his partner Karen. An equally enthusiastic bike tourer awaited me. He had a lot of Australian riding experience and we laughed a lot about the characteristics of “The Aussie”. We dined Italian and wasn’t allowed to pay for anything and back at the house we continued scheming and planning our next rides. Great fun.
Carl also guided me out of town [see below] and yesterday afternoon after my last short ride of the journey I arrived at Bill and Nancy’s place. Artists, writers, designers. Here I have a 1968 old streamlined trailer to my use and it has a heater, tv, wifi and comfort and privacy. We shared a beer, then I showered and we ate Buritto’s in the “Valley” last night. It has been excellent to have these hosts as I dreaded the wide urban LA sprawl and camping on some hostile camp ground with locked up Trekky and sleeping under a pile of my possessions. Passport and shit. At the end of my ride whilst the motels are very expensive and as dead as a nail. I have camped wild and remote plenty and am ready with that. Here I can chill and get ready for the long flight back to Australia.
Thank you all. It has been incredible and heart warming to find such support at the end of my journey.
After my stay in San Diego I cruised via a stop in Carlsbad and Long Beach to Topanga Canyon where I am now and am preparing for the flight home. Time is running out a bit as my host Bill wants to show me LA so I keep a short summary of some things that happened yesterday. I will keep writing this blog until I am home so will return to certain things I that might have relevance to my ride.
Not far out of the camp I passed the San Onofre Nuclear power Plant. It was so close that I could almost touch the cooling towers! Security and cops were on hand as a large blue metal tube was being loaded onto a train and I was amazed I could just ride by without being hassled, and even more that a nuclear plant can be so close to densely populated areas. A bit further I stopped at a display at the side of the road where a mountainbike had been painted white and attached to a fence. Many empty water bottles, some with flowers in it were also attached. I took a photo of it and a pick up came by with the driver making an obscene gesture that I were to go down also and [should] get killed. Nice one. I gave him the finger and rode further into San Clemente and on to Capistrano Beach where I stopped neatly at a traffic light on the busy Pacific Coast Highway. A pick-up [always pick-ups] stopped behind me and the guy yelled out; “hey bonehead!, You are a f……..g bonehead”, then drove off. I kept the temptation for a reply intact and pretended I didn’t see or notice him which hurts their frustration in their fuel guzzling penis extensions most and went further.
Carl guided me into purchasing a ticket and I pushed my bike into an empty and waiting train. I parked it in a special section in between the cars where the train swivels when it goes through corners. I took off and rode towards Willowbrook where I had to transfer the bike to the Green Line to the LAX airport. I had not really an idea where to get off with no inside carrier signage and got a bit nervous as I watched the seats occupied station by station with mostly obese black people, Hispanics and others. I called Carl a few times whilst travelling because I needed to know where to get off and when we arrived at Willowbrook I was in for a challenge.
I counted the stops and looked into the aisle. In front of me all seats filled with people. The doorway blocked by a man with a pram who had red tattoos running over his face. Bloods. The seats leading to the doorway where I had to get Trekky out of, packed with 4 panniers, my tent and other gear, all filled. The display on offer was tattoed necks, baseball caps, hoods, rap music coming from smart phones and a collection of love handles, life savers, booties, butts, and extended thighs and hips. I have to go as the train is slowly approaching the Willowbrook station. I apologise four or five times and push, drag Trekky through the meat. Grumpy faces when I look up, nobody happy, snarling teeth. Then something kicked in and I thought “WTF” and I just pushed my wide loaded grey vehicle through the aisle and reached the door. I was prepared to accept a knife in the butt, a machete in the neck, a screw driver in my kidneys. “It has been a good ride mate. Let go. Life is too short and you made the best of it. Nobody will repeat what you’ve done. Rest in Peace!”
But I got out unscathed and pushed Trekmeister into a lift that took me up two floors to a platform. A freeway with mad flying traffic raced past me and a black guy, holding a mountain bike wheel in his hand asked me for a cigarette. I told him I don’t smoke and he started a spin about how he picked up a new wheel after he had got hit by a car. I listened. His story of how he got hit went out of control and his imagination worked overtime as it was clear he’d stolen the wheel somewhere for some cheap cash. I boarded the green line train and a nice Asian man started talking to me and helped me while I looked into the face of a drag queen dressed in a blue paramedic uniform. Botox, face work, lipstick.
The train stopped at “Aviation” station right near LAX and I took the bike out and the elevator down where the man was guiding me to a large roadmap on a display and told me where to ride to. I thanked him and asked where he was from and he answered that he was from the Molukkan Islands in Indonesia! Next thing I’m talking Dutch. But I had to leave his company and started riding under the freeway underpass on the very busy highway with mad traffic racing by again.
Venice, Santa Monica and finishing the ride
I turned right and followed the bike path through a very extravagant marina and crossed into the famous Venice area. The bike path meandered along the wide sandy beaches while the drizzle increased a bit. There wasn’t much ocean side action. Where normally the freaks, the roller skaters, skate boarders, iron pumping black giants, and other parafernalia cruise the bike paths, now it was wet and empty. Except for that I saw a guy who was playing a base guitar, while being pulled by a large dog and standing on a skateboard. Apart from that the homeless ruled the picnic areas and stretches of the sand and often gathered in small groups. I’m sure in summer they are chased off but it seems that the police allows them to hang around these places in winter. Many are mentally ill and war veterans. Here is where you see the stupidity what this country does to its own. I can’t get the deal. What is the benefit of destroying your own men and women? “War on tewwor”. So they end up in South California where they can live in a relatively mild climate. On the streets whilst the ultimate orgasm of the consumer society is not farther away than an extended arm. Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Valley. It is insane.
The darkness increased and I followed the bike path through Santa Monica and stopped at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway. In a supermarket I bought some lunch, eating it outside under the roof while the rain increased. A Santa – a Salvation Army volunteer – sat in a chair, greeted every customer with a “merry christmas”. Of the hundreds of people I saw go in and come out of the place only two acknowledged him, put some money into his collection box and had kind word. The rest all looked angry and rushed past. I chucked all my remaining coins in his bucket, mounted my steed for the last time and turned right and rode up the Taponga Canyon. The last climb of the journey, the last 11 kilometers. It was getting wetter again as I ascended. There was no shoulder, it was raining, steep, and my bike creaked and suffered with every pedal stroke. I pushed away some emotion when I realised it was all ending and concentrated on staying alive with manic traffic rushing past in the dark canyon road.
Then suddenly I saw a road sign to my right and knew I had finished.
Pictures from San Diego
Finally here’s the Pacific. I am almost at the end of my journey. A few hundred km’s away from Los Angeles. I really like SD. cool town and I had a great ride into town and down to the beach today.
New sketches are up!
Written at Arroyo Seco camp ground [23/11]
It is 17.20. The sky in front of me has a bright orange glow with a gradient blue above. Photoshop in action. Behind me a 3 quarter moon, already lighting up the place. I had a great day. Arrived yesterday [to get away from thanksgiving madness and delaying the rat race down the hill] and found a gem. Rangers being very friendly and helpful [yet armed] guided me to what they describe as a very remote camp ground. I filled my bottles, paid the fee of that excellent west coast deal “the hike & bike” camps at five bucks and rode out on a very steep dirt track. On the very last pimple before I reached the camp my chain broke. I quickly found shelter behind some huge boulders, repaired the chain, fixed my 11th flat tire [in 6 days] and did cleaning and maintenance on Trekky. I was honestly astounded that I succeeded in fixing the chain. I get anxiety when dealing with breakdowns and felt my heart rate go up and hot in my neck. It took a while but I did it!
In the meantime a very blistery wind had arrived and build and gusts would blow everything I hadn’t secured in the bush. I ate noodles, chucked a can of sardines and some raw onion in it and crawled in the coffin where I did some drawings to kill time. I’m on Pacific time now and it is dark at 17.00. It’s ridiculous.
Today I woke up with the tent still behaving like I was somewhere high up on Everest. My hope that the wind would die proved idle so I gathered my stuff and in about 6 rounds transferred everything to another more sheltered site. It is much more protected here and nicer and it has the desired picnic table. Tour bike riders want these and stack them with gear, food, and junk in no time. I fixed the flat tube, cleaned my burner and had coffee and instant noodles for brekky. The camp is hidden down a small track and in a bush clearance. There’s a pit toilet and a horse corral and judging by the hoof prints there must be a lot of horse camping here also. Kind of cool.
I took my time having decided to stay an extra day here. It’s only 65 km from San Diego and tomorrow I will have an incredible descent from 4000 feet to zero basically. Sketching was the go. Realizing this might be my last camp in the USA on this amazing journey. I was productive and did some nice work. A bushfire raged through here 8 years ago and the skeletons of trees are everywhere. They make for interesting view points in the drawings though. The chain withstood the short test when I went to pay my fee and collect water at the ranger station. No noises, all is well down at the mill.
Today wilderness and peace as I am the only person here. Tomorrow San Diego. I will have to share!
Weather: Warm and sunny weather all day. Flat until Palo Verde followed by ascending undulations to Ogilby Road Camp. Excellent riding weather.
Ride: Ehrenberg – Ogilby Rd Wild camp 89km
20/11 [So far]
Weather: Warm and sunny all day. Undulating [descending] to Glamis. Flattening out. Excellent riding weather.
Ride: Ogilby Rd Wild camp – El Centro 90km
For the past days I have been riding through semi desert and yesterday and today through the real McCoy. Rocky, dusty, dry and totally inhospitable places where my first worry was lack of water. I had set out of Ehrenberg on the border and rode to Palo Verde where I made sure I carried 5 litres with me. The anxiety of that was nothing compared to the fear of flat tires. I had another 3 yesterday which makes it 10 in 5 days. Running out of patches and glue! The highway through the black rocks was busy with truck traffic. All day but also deep in the night trucks would whizz past me. Most of them giving me space, the odd angry one hooting as they came by in clouds of grey dust. God knows what they’re carrying in this out in nowhere place. I stopped early on in Blythe and did some purchases in a grocery store.
Generally I am really happy to meet people and to have a chat. Often I am approached at grocery stores where people want to know about my journey and find out how it all went. But I am also aware of negativity that seems to creep into most chats. What is it with people? After my purchase yesterday I chatted to a tall guy who was washing the shop windows. He said he also used to ride through the States in his mid thirties. Instead of chatting about the benefits of the trip, or what he’d seen, he turned it into a risk calculation. “I would carry a little pistol with me”, he said and he followed it by tales of how – as a black man – he got harassed in Mississippi. I told him I had generally speaking been fine and that I could also handle the rest of the journey. Thinking that the worst case of road rage to me happened when somebody chucked a plastic cup of frappacino at my legs. In bloody New Zealand of all places! But the good man couldn’t handle himself until I had enough, thanked him for the chat and pushed off. I had more important things on my mind.
The road initially was rough and undulating with the accent on uphill and I managed to get to Palo Verde, a small town with empty buildings, trailers and car wrecks. In the shop I bought a Gatorade and an icecream and filled my remaining bottle up in the rest room and rode into the desert. I rode a coarse kind of surface with a lot of pebbles debris on the shoulders. The desert is a hostile place. It is strewn with gravel and rocks and very little grows apart from cacti and thorny and tough bushes. I pedalled farther though in patches of thick traffic. It is always the same. Slower traffic holds up a battery of impatient trucks and cars behind it and when they pass me it is always a matter of being concentrated and on guard.
A good hour into the ride and again I felt the back wheel slide. I discovered another deflating tire and stopped at a large space in the rough where an old truck tire served as a table. I couldn’t detect the hole in the tube but put another one on that I had with me and after another half hour in the warm sun I cycled further. Border patrol cars would pass me, just as near the Canadian border in Maine at the beginning of this journey. Sometimes I would spot a group of camper trailers and rv’s parked at the edge of a mountain range in the desert but apart from that it was a very desolate road.
My excellent mood went down a bit after this second puncture. It wasn’t that bad but it worried me, thinking how long I could last on this one. After about 85 km I passed a border patrol post where opposite traffic was being stopped by border guards but I had a free run. I cycled further realizing that the light was setting and that I shouldn’t be out on the highway for too long. The glow can blind cars that come from behind and an accident happens quickly. Another few km’s later I found a dirt road to the right, took it, and pushed Trekky to a sandy ditch amongst the rubble. I had found my camp for the night. Ater I had sat down to relax a little I pushed the rear tire and to my utter disappointment it was half deflated again!
I slept by 20.00 and woke up at 5.30 and started packing straight away. A cold wind was blowing over the mountains and I ate a bread roll with peanut butter and jelly and drank a bit of water. I was on the road 50 minutes later and had 20 km on the clock before 8. I wanted to get out of this desert asap, especially with all the tire problems and knowing that I needed extra time to fix it. Luckily I was near the highest point of the climb to these Black Mountains and descended into a tiny place called Glamis. It’s so hot during summer here that the only shop only opens for winter. I was lucky and bought a coffee and a soda. $2,- for use of the toilets so I declined that bargain.
I descended further into a decadent play pit. Beautiful yellow sand dunes tragically used as “sand toy” area by petrol heads who race dune buggies over these places. Massive rv’s pulling trailers with all sorts of off road vehicles were camping in the sand basically. Not my scene. Traffic still being heavy got now even heavier by trucks carrying these vehicles. A narrow shoulder and some descending made me ride as quick as I could. Brawley appeared and I done a great job. Tonight I have an address in El Centro, 14 miles from here. I will have a few beers and gurgle the sand out of my teeth and fillings.
Weather: Warm and sunny weather all day. Little head wind in the arvo. Excellent riding weather.
Salome – Ehrenburg 98km
I have finally arrived in California, the last state on my American and Canadian journey. It was a great feeling when I crossed the border after a hectic ride on the shoulder of the manic Interstate 10. Got my 7th flat tire as I was only a few miles away from the border and found a piece of wire sticking out of the rubber. It was fixed pretty swift. I’m getting very good at it. Found a commercial campground across the Colorado river and have showered and will sleep with earplugs as the noise of the traffic wines through the mild night.
It was a good day. I felt rested and strong in the morning and rode well. 4 extremely fast driving cop cars approached me and sped down the highway. Dust came off the surface. Ten minutes after the cavalry had passed an ambulance came by. The highway merged with the Interstate 10 and it was a scary ride. Big trucks, small trucks, RV’s and cars all in the highest speed that was allowed. Cops out for bounty hunting. They had a field day. Arrived in Quartzsite where I’d planned to stay but the town was occupied by fast food chains, Mexican restaurants, and numerous RV parks. The past few days I have cycled passed these camps where the grey nomads sit out the winter or where their RV’s are parked. Out of town I did a sketch of the mountains and the desert. I realized I only needed two colours for the mountains. Brown and Blue. Nothing grows. Dead as an old pancake.
Ehrenberg doomed up and I crossed the border via a footbridge over the Colorado River and felt great for doing so. It was a warm day and my winter gear which I needed so desperately just a few days ago is stored deep in the panniers. This KOA camp is just OK. I ate bread rolls with fish and three bananas. Walked into the kitchen area and was not allowed to cook a meal. “I’m a guest, ain’t I?” “Yes you are but you can’t use the kitchen”. An older man came up to me and said he had a gift. He pushed a Christian message in my hand and I gave it back after which he scooted off.
In the desert
Weather: Overcast and a little fresh all day. Very light head wind. Excellent riding weather.
Prescott, AZ – Yarnell 60km
Weather: Warm and sunny weather all day. No wind. Excellent riding weather.
Yarnell – Wild camp past Wickenburg 45km
Weather: Warm and sunny weather all day. Strong head wind in the arvo. OK riding weather.
Wickenburg – Aguila 81km
The ride from Prescott to Yarnell started late due to excellent coffee and a late breakfast at Raven Cafe in Prescott, rodeo and western town and home of the North Arizona University. I climbed out of Prescott through Ponderosa State Park where many of the tall Ponderosa pines recently had to deal with bush fires. It was still beautiful. I have time on my hand now and have decided to stretch the days a bit and enjoy the hospitality on the road. I rode further and came to the town of Peeples Valley where I stopped at a cafe that advertised internet and coffee. I went in and the brand new owners had to call somebody to find out how an American coffee was made, even though it was on the menu. I was served a weak brew in a soup bowl! But the meatball sandwich made up for it and they were friendly and did their best to make me feel good.
Back on the road it started to get a bit darker and I started to look for a wild camp. That wasn’t easy. The land was all owned by a huge ranch called “Maughan” and signs on the fences told me to keep out. I arrived at the next small town after more climbing and it was called Yarnell. I spotted a sign leading to a park and decided to go for it. It had a large sign saying that camping was not allowed so I pushed Trekky in stealth mode and started investigating. There was a picnic area, under cover, a working toilet and water so it was clear that I was going to take a risk. A lady in a Jeep stopped and let her two dogs out and I approached her to ask if I was allowed to camp there. “Nobody will bother you”, she said and we started chatting about travel and my journey. As we spoke the dogs got all excited and a “javalino” appeared. An ugly hog – wild boar kind of beast. She explained that they would come in groups of up to 12 and she was worried about me camping there. “They will come to you at ground level and bother you again at dawn”. Indeed these guys looked very intimidating. They are grey with bristly hair and the males grow tusks. A heavy punk rock version of a wild boar. Not as big as a boar but certainly of the same fear factor. If there would be pack snooping around my tent and smelling my food I would be in for a very poor night’s sleep with collateral damage chucked in for free. She then invited me to come to her house and use the cabin – guest place – in the back and I couldn’t refuse the offer and followed her down the road until we got to her home. Donna lives by herself and with her two fantastic dogs Zoe and Zenny. I miss Bowie even more now. Thank you Donna!
After a great night with good conversation and a good sleep and an excellent breakfast at a local diner in Yarnell I pushed off at 13.15. Again I had taken my time. I rode half a mile uphill when a serious descent took me out of the colder temperatures and much lower in altitude to the desert. From there I rode a busy and shoulder less horrific road to Wickenburg where I visited the library, mainly for accommodation research, and to buy some supplies at a super. Out of town I started to look for a camp and found a place 5km out in a dry river bed. It wasn’t ideal but it was getting dark so I wanted to be off the road and I pitched the coffin in dry dusty sand and grit. To my horror I discovered that my Soto burner [for the second time] has refused working. Again it is clogged inside. I tried for a long time to get it going and gave up, stuffed three bananas and a few slices of bread down and washed it away with water. At 20.00 I was asleep in the river bed, woke up at 1.30, blew more air in my therma rest that despite fixing it a few days ago again goes flat, zoned back out again and woke up at 7.30, so nearly slept 11 hours! I crawled out of the coffin and checked my tires. The front tire had completely gone flat so sitting on the ground sheet with sand and grit in my ears I took off the tire and fixed another hole. Breakfast was a peanut butter sandwich with water.
This morning at 9 I pushed off and rode the terrible shoulders on route 60. But not after discovering that yet another clip on the Tioga panniers had broken. It seems that all my stuff, including my bike which has two chafing discs and a broken spoke, has had enough of this caper. I hope to make it in one piece to El Centro in California where there’s a bike shop and get things fixed. Even so, I’m sick and tired of these breakdowns and it certainly affected my mood today. The shoulders next to the 60 were broken up, root systems made annoying edges and I had to duck for razor sharp bushes that grew to the roads. After a few hours I had to stop because my rear tire was flat. I pumped air into it and decided to make it to Aguila where I fixed it outside the library, then rode into a serious head wind to Salome where I am now. Research on Crazy Guy had told me about a reasonably prized hotel and sick of the mechanical mishaps I checked in and fixed my tubes. I had a good go at the burner with help from a You Tube video but couldn’t get it to work despite cleaning the thing thoroughly. The room had a microwave so I boiled some water and ate instant noodles with a few slices of bread with almond butter and an orange for desert.
Goodbye and good luck
Weather: Sunny and warm in the afternoon after big descent. Light tailwind. Excellent riding weather.
Ride: Flagstaff, AZ – WC near Cottonwood, AZ 93km
Weather: Very cold at night. Sunny and warm in the afternoon during big climb and big descent. Excellent riding weather.
Ride: WC near Cottonwood, AZ – Prescott, AZ 65km
I am dealing with an oversupply on clothing. My friend Warren left me with a down jacket and his long sleeved shirt. The latter fitting two me’s. It is quite something to look at that strong body of him, especially when riding behind. Anyway, time has come for a ceremony. I will have to say goodbye to three clothing items that have served me incredibly well.
My red Specialised riding shirt. Has been on my shoulders, around my love handles and has performed in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, a series of Asian countries as well as in the earlier stages of this journey in Canada and the US. I am no longer a Specialised boy. Lost my broken Stumpjumper in Thailand and I have donated my Roubaix to charity. That is not the reason for letting go. It is because I have too much volume in my overloaded panniers and because it is getting very sloppy now and ragged around the edges. Goodbye.
My Katmandu sweat shirt was bought in Oz before I started my ride. It has been belted while riding in the wok, tortured and tested in the highlands of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. It has served as a riding shirt, pyjama, and casual street wear but it has so much colour beaten out of it’s fibres that the deep burgundy tints are now light salmon pink. Loyalty to those who have served me kept it in my bag. I could have send it home, have it framed with golden edges and hung it in the dunny.
Brand: XZ1. Dubious. Bought in Yogjakarta and worn so thin that it now holds no more weight and volume than a surgeons glove. Have been patched up but now the ventilation is getting a bit over the top. Chilly so to speak. Permanent grease stains in intricate patterns on the white cotton would make Escher jealous. Walmart had these black and tough black workman’s gloves which now keep my hands warm on the ride. Escher has no business here.
Just chucking these well worn treasures in the bin would be a gotspe. I can’t imagine an after life as a rag or cleaning aid. That’s just not on. Dropping it at the side of the road would be fitting in one aspect but being surrounded by car rubber, plastic bottles, straps and worst of all “rumble strips”, would not. Ethically it would be wrong. A burial might have the right mood but I can’t find a catholic priest in this country so that’s a no zone too.
Therefore, it has been decided, a cremation will take place tomorrow in a wild camp in the higher elevations of Arizona. It will be nice and warm and the flames will take away all fabric and blow it up the mesa. In the after life the gloves will return as a quality bike helmet, the sweat shirt will be a 100 litre expedition backpack and the riding shirt will be worn by the Dalai Lama.
Yesterday my Merry Merida’s finally found their resting place. Quite crude in the bin of the outdoors shop where I bought hilarious and ridiculous light weight runners. The Merida’s, bought in Bangkok had been stitched, glued and stitched again. In the depth of the Utah canyons one could hear me approach from a mile off due to the flapping of the soles against the limestone. It collected more sand than my bike chain and the laces had been re-knotted many times. I considered cooking soup out of them [Tabasco fixes everything] but decided in the end not to do so.
The day started with a broken pannier clip yesterday. The third one on the Tioga’s that I will chuck in he Pacific. I never liked those and hope they will get mauled by great white sharks and pooped out with a huge fart. No ceremony for those black bastards. I bought more straps and fixed the bags to the rack so tight that I nearly lost my finger as I tried to pull it out. At the end of the ride, just before I was about to start looking for a wild camp I felt a wobbly back wheel and saw the tire deflating before my eyes. I rode another 500 metres [naughty] and into a private road that belonged to a large cement company. When nobody was looking I pushed Trekky over and behind a hill amidst the thorns and the cacti and fixed the tube. After I had turned Trekky upside down and removed the wheel I discovered that SPOKE 27 had broken. I pulled a small bit of metal out of the tire. It was getting dark and I pitched the coffin on the same spot.
This morning I had a fabulous long climb through the steep hillside town of Jerome where I had excellent coffee and cake, and after that up to the summit of the Mingus Mountain. Just before a long hairpin I felt again that wobble but this time the tire had gone flat straight away. I repeated the routine. My presence in Warren’s oversize orange shirt pulled in the rubberneckers. They must have seen me, thought photo opportunity, and parked in clouds of dust while I was fixing my bike. A blonde bird, she and boyfriend dressed “neat casual” came out of their convertible and she bossed him around like a babushka on the Trans Siberian Express. In 1977! He did what he was told and off they went but not before another three cars, alarmed by the sudden photo opportunity, had also left me in more clouds of dust. I didn’t tell them what I knew – which was that the photo opportunity was much better a few switchbacks down. Ever seen people photo opportuniting on the sacred, hallowed, silent and pristine floor of a canyon in Zion National Park? “Yes”, you might say. But with an ipad?
I continued the climb with again a chafing sound of break pads against my front discs. I felt great myself and rode one of my best climbs but my material is getting tired I think. “Chin up guys, its not very far anymore”. But then again, “there’s no truth in cycling”.