Catch Up, Photos Later

k2Gh22
Peach Springs
Hi again.
Why the delay? Well, remember the air conditioner problem I mentioned? It deserves the blame.
I set out from Kingman for Peach Springs, what is essentially an Indian town of slightly less than 1,000. Aside from continuing heat, and what was no doubt the residual effect of overheating on my previous ride, it was really pretty uneventful. I rode alone because Nick was suffering from severe chest congestion. I rode expecting the SAG to join me in Peach Tree that evening. Only the Air Conditioner wasn’t fixed so Nick, Ale and Sarah spent another night in Kingman while I was in Peach Springs.
That was somewhat inconvenient because I had nothing with me exceot the clothes on my back. I was able to buy a T-Shirt in the gift shop, but that was it. When I asked where people bought clothes, I was told in Kingdom. Well, I had no desire to ride 50 miles to get back there. So I washed out my bike shorts and tried to dry them with an iron and hair dryer. When I went to eat I wore my riding socks – a gift from Annie and Paul – that are, to say the least, colorful, as my shoes so I didn’t have to traipse around in my bike shoes. I did get a compliment on them. No blog that day because I didn’t have access to anything I needed.
Check out was noon the next day so I brought my bike into the lobby and staked out a place. But there was nothing to do. There was no place in town to buy anything to read except travel guides. So I sat and waited. And waited. Then Nick told me that the truck wasn’t going to be ready and that he extended the rooms in Kingman another day. Easy for him to say with all of his clothes, etc. So I called the mechanic and was told it should be ready by 4 unless the part he received was defective. That didn’t seem likely so I called back and said not to cancel our reservations at the Grand Canyon. Well, the truck finally arrived and we got to the GC just before sunset. It was spectacular. Since I was the only one of the 4 of us who had seen it before, I wanted to see the others’ reactions. All I can say is that if you haven’t seen it in person, you should. Pictures, as beautiful as they might be, don’t do it justice. No blog that day because we didn’t get back from dinner and get unloaded until nearly  11:00.
The next day I set out for Flagstaff (Nick was still trying to get rid of his horrible cough). I even had the SAG lead me out for the first couple of miles. It left me at the start of a bike path that even a local maintenance person said was the right way to go. And he was right if I had had a mountain bike because the pavement ended and I had to walk some stretches where the geavel got too deep. Thankfully that didn’t last long and I got on the highway.
That was frustrating because although the surface of the highway itself looked good, the shoulder wasn’t and there was enough traffic that I didn’t often get on the road. That lasted around 50 miles. And then – I can do this without Nick’s help – I missed a turn. I had hoped that the SAG was going to be ahead of me in case I needed support or some direction but since they didn’t leave the hotel until after noon, that didn’t happen. So I ended up riding 95 miles. That wouldn’t have been too bad under most conditions. For one thing, the constant head wind didn’t help. But the major problem was the condition of the shoulder. I don’t often swear but one wouldn’t have known that yesterday. Much of the ride was so rough that everything hurt: my hands, my arms, my neck, my feet and my butt. Glad I don’t have to do cobblestones!
The saving grace was that about the last five miles into town had a good surface. With nothing else different, that let me increase my speed about 5-7 mph, both up hill and down And it was comfortable and fun. That is the riding that I love.
We are in a beautiful house in Flagstaff (I got i\t in exchange for the use of my LA condo) and will drive to Sedona today to do some exploring. I also hope to finally buy some more bike clothes.
Because we are heading out, I am posting this without photos. I hope to post some after we get back.
Oh, I forgot to mention. The temperatures were greatly improved and were, relative to the last couple of days, comfortable with nothing over 101 and as low as the high 80s. I had to continually remind myself that I still had to keep on drinking.
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Another Typical Day (In Hell?)

We scrupulously followed Google Maps and headed north on a paved road that was said to go for a number of miles. We were doing a constant 1.5 to 2% grade which was really pretty easy, especially since we were taking it very easy in deference to the weather.

The pavement then turned into hardpack which wasn’t comfortable but really wasn’t bad. After a couple of miles we came across a sign that said the pavement was going to end in 600 feet. I was surprised because I thought the pavement had already ended a few miles ago. What it really should have said is, “Road Conditions To Further Deteriorate.” Which they did.

And then we hit sand. First I went down and, not wanting me to feel alone, Nick followed suit. We then got off and started walking to the crest of a hill. Nick said that if we had to continue walking over the crest, we should turn around. Unfortunately, the sand ended at the top – the top of that roller, not the top of the road – and we got on and kept riding. You have probably guessed why it was unfortunate that the sand ended. Because we continued riding down a road that would never get where we wanted to go. We found that out after about 14 miles. Fortunately a truck was going our way and Nick asked him about where we were headed. When he was told he should turn around and go back to where we started, Nick told him that his buddy was up the road and asked him to stop me. So a honking truck came up behind me and pulled me over and told me we were headed in the wrong direction. He then gave me his last bottle of water after having given Nick a couple bottles. Thank you Steve, His canine companion was so hot that he really wasn’t interested in saying hi.
Oh yes, “hot.” Well, at that stage hot was a constant 114.
So, we turned around and headed back to Goffs, which is where we started the day. By the time we got back to Goffs, Nick’s competitiveness won out. As I had mentioned, I had fallen in the sand a couple of times, once on the way to 29 Palms and once today. And Nick had fallen once on the way out. But when I stopped, he mentioned he had fallen a couple more times. But he didn’t get the scrapes that I had. And oh, he also leads in flats, 4-0.
Nick decided that continuing to ride in those temperatures didn’t make sense so we called the SAG for support. Nick, perhaps exercising better judgment than I, got on board.
After loading up on ice and water, much of which I poured over myself to get my body temp down some, I got back on and headed toward Needles. I didn’t intend to ride to Kingman, our original destination because that was another 90+ miles away (the ride had been scheduled at 77 miles).
Now is when it really got hot. 117. 118. Up to 123. Most of the time it wasn”t too bad, but at times there were gusts that felt like they burned my hands and uncovered legs. After about another 15 miles, I called for help. But the drivers had been overly ambitious and were a long way ahead. So I kept riding. It was hot, but my legs really felt pretty good so I was at 17 to 21 mph.

And then, after about another 5 miles I started feeling hot and pulled over and got off. The only shade was the width of a sign post and I stood leaning with my helmeted head on that, waiting for the SAG. Finally I sat, leaning on the post. I guess I looked so spent that Lowell pulled over in his pick up and insisted that he take me and my bike to the closest service station\C-Store. At first I declined, saying that I was going to be picked up. But thanks to his insistence – including stating that I could die in 10 minutes (I was HOT, but not THAT hot) I finally agreed and got into his truck , while he put my bike in the back while giving me a huge bottle of cool water, much of which I poured over myself. His air conditioner had blown, but the ride to the service station was greatly appreciated. For a while I sat on a bench outside. It felt so much cooler, and my thought process was apparently sufficiently impacted, that it took me a while to think to go into the air conditioned store. That delay was pretty dumb because the cooler air helped me get a bit closer to normal.

Unfortunately, my ride with Lowell wasn’t the only unairconditioned ride I was going to have. Because although I had had my air conditioner rebuilt for the trip, it went out yesterday evening. The estimate looks to be north of $900 with no assurance it will be ready tomorrow. We hope so because Nick and I intend to head out to Peach Springs tomorrow on what is supposed to be a 49 mile ride but, as things have gone, who knows?
Today I did 56 miles; 77 had been scheduled, but not many were the miles we rode. According to Google Maps, our ride was not going through Needles, but that was not what any of the locals told us. (After we got back to Goffs, we saw a road that another Google route had suggested and we could see the end of that road; that would have been WAY better than having to ride 14 miles before discovering the error.) Oh well, that, and the 123 degrees, is all part of the adventure.
Keep the comments, and donations coming. We truly appreciate your support.
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Endless, no pavement                                              Thanks, Steve & friend                                       Thank you, Lowell!

One For The Heat; Make Up Photos

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Sarah’s stud                                          Hollywood Blvd.                                                  Universal Studios

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Last sighting of Rick’s bike clothes                     Venice Beach                                                  Going to San Bernadino

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L.A’s China Town                                                 San Bernadino                                 Hiking in Palm Springs

We beat the heat yesterday by finishing our ride and even adding on some extra miles. But Mother Nature always wins and the heat got a point back by causing me to cancel my ride today. Nick wanted to attend mass this morning so had decided not to ride. I thought I would go by myself. However, although my legs feel ok, I woke up feeling a bit light headed and concluded that it was a hangover from yesterday’s heat. So, figuring that discretion is the better part of valor, we decided to just push things back a day so that we will head out for Kingman tomorrow. The casualty is likely to be the rest day we had scheduled for the Grand Canyon, both because we couldn’t get 2 rooms for the 2nd night and on the theory that one can see the canyon in an hour or so if you aren’t hiking down into it. However, the fact that we are to ride 113 miles to get to the Grand Canyon may have us rethinking giving up that rest day. We will see.
I don’t know about Nick, but I am at the stage of riding where the miles have somewhat of a cumulative effect. So, rather than getting stronger, I start out the day a bit weaker than when I am fresh. I hope that at some stage that turns around so that I get progressively stronger. However, at the pace we are riding, the strength is likely to be in terms of endurance, not speed or power because we aren’t riding fast or with much power. Just keep pedaling along. And drinking. And drinking some more. Though I am convinced that having cold water to pour down your neck is also important. Speaking of which, at today’s breakfast, Nick heard that the area is having its worst heat wave in 30 years. Thanks a lot, global warming!
I had said that I would use a rest day to catch up with the photos so I will post some today.
Oh, yes. The photos are going to force an admission. Those of you who ride with us may notice that I am wearing one of Nick’s jerseys in one of the photos. That is because on our very first day – while getting started on our drive to L.A., the “casket” (as Nick has colorfully christened our roof top carrier) flew open because I hadn’t properly latched it. We knew that we had lost a step latter and Nick’s sea weed iron supplement, but it was only on the 3rd day of our ride that I discovered that the bin with all of my bike clothes had also been a casualty of my locking efforts. So, until we get some place with a store with some decent bike clothes – hopefully in Kingman – I will supplement the 2 kits I had set out to start the ride with Nick’s extras and frequent trips to the laundry. Even more than the cost of what I lost, I mourn the 6 jerseys that came from various rides I have done over the years. Those I can’t replace.
As a heads up, one of the photos is a close up of Sarah. If you look carefully, you may be able to see the nose stud she got at Venice Beach, something she had long wanted to do. At least one of us will be able to say that their body was changed by he trip, though both Nick and I hope that our changes are due to losses, not additions. Yes, we both hope that the ride lets us shed some unwanted weight.
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Enjoying a sushi lunch                                                                  Brie, our sushi waitress                                  The start of endless roads
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More endless road                                                   Finally, an anticipated change                           A route seemingly to no where
May the next posting be of us conquering the heat. Or at least peacefully coexisting with it.
Keep your comments coming, they are appreciated! (As are your donations. of course.)

Two For One And An Intro To The Inferno Of Hell

It was late and I had no energy, hence no post yesterday. And the same factors are my excuse for why no photos now because I don’t yet have them. Hopefully I will include some on a rest day. So, I am sorry, but instead of getting the photos that you probably prefer, you are stuck with my ramblings.
So yesterday and today we started out with no directional problems.
Oh, wait. I must be confusing us with someone else. Because both days we added some unnecessary miles. I guess the scheduled rides aren’t long enough.
Yesterday was Palm Springs to 29 Palms. It was hot, but I forget the numbers because today burned them from my mind. More on that later.
The ride was 44 miles with 3,200′ of climb. Not bad, but packed into a relatively short distance. There was wind, but none as scary as on our Cambria to Solvang ride. However, there were times when the tail winds definitely sped things up. So far, the wind has generally been at our backs. Generally, but definitely not always.
We have discovered that a major element in arriving at an ETA is the time we spend stopped rechecking our directions. Or asking locals for help. So far the advice has been right about half the time but we have done a good job of rejecting advice that we later discovered was wrong.
Today started as all of our days have started – except for day 1 when Manuel so graciously guided us – with us missing some turns. Once it wasn’t our fault. Once it was because 2.1 miles got read as 21 miles. That will show you the importance of decimals.
Today was notable for a couple of things (in addition to reading 2.1 miles as 21 miles). One was the long stretches of road that stretched just about as far as one can see. That can play some games with your mind as you keep pedaling and pedaling and the end seems to stay as far away as when you started. But what really plays with your mind – at least with mine; Nick claims to have been unaffected – is when you are riding in temperatures so hot that when I stopped for some water and was told that it was only 103 in the shade, that felt cool. The high that our Garmins registered was 114 and virtually the whole day was spent at 103 to 107, with times well above that.
Drink, drink and drink some more. Great advice. However that doesn’t stop you from getting hot. At about mile 86 I ran out of water after having filled up from our SAG about 35 miles earlier. I pulled into a shop that sells tires – because there was no place in sight that sold beverages or anything you would wand to ingest. The stop proved fortuitous for me because although my legs felt pretty good. I was feeling light headed and a bit queasy. After pouring numerous bottles of tap water (which means it was fairly warm) over my head and sitting and talking to the 2 guys who seemed to run the shop for a while, I started feeling more normal. After a stop at a truck stop for some more cold beverages – contrary to the local’s advice – we were told we had 20 miles to go when we had expected 10. Well, wishing for 10 didn’t seem to have any effect so we had to adjust our expectations and just start riding.
I was feeling fairly strong at this stage – relatively speaking – and the constant 1 to 2% grade was pretty manageable, especially when the pavement improved. However, at mile 98 – 5 miles from the expected end – my Garmin died. Since the finish was in the thriving metropolis of Goffs – population of 23 with no open businesses – this caused a problem because I couldn’t keep track of how far I had gone so that I ended up speeding right past where I should have stopped. I finally got concerned when I was sure I had gone more than 5 miles, which proved to be true. I finally managed to reach Sarah and Alejandra who told me that Nick had arrivved, but from their app they could see I had gone well past town. It was a good thing they located me because my phone died soon after.
So, the total was 108 miles and about 3,500′ of climb. But for me, probably the most significant numbers were the regular readings of 110+ degrees. With up coming rides over the next 3 days of 77 miles, 50 and 113, many in comparable temperatures, this week is going to be a challenge.
I have to express the thanks here that Nick and I have expressed directly. Ale and Sarah have done a great job. When we get to our room, all of our bags are waiting for us and drinks are in the fridge. And I have had my first ever – and now second – 4 handed massage. Thank you ladies!

An Early Day Off & Miscellaneous

Today we took a preplanned day off, primarily to visitPalm Springs\Palm Desert.
At Alejandra’s urging, we started the day with a hike in the hills of a local Indian reservation. We got a decidedly better welcome this time than we did yesterday, though we were charged $5.00 each to get in.
The rest of the day was uneventful though we got a hint of the heat that is approaching. I heard that 117 is projected in a couple of days. This next week or so is going to be a major test. We have to remember to just keep pedaling. And, of course, to drink and keep drinking. And drink some more.
Since we didn’t ride today, I thought I would fill in with some miscellaneous photos from some earlier days.
Thank you for the continued messages of good wishes, for reading these posts and for leaving comments though I’m not sure where they show up on our website. No doubt all of your attention and support will be in our minds when the temperature makes us wonder why we are doing what we are doing.
Utilizing Manuel's "red carpet" from the Pacific

Utilizing Manuel’s “red carpet” from the Pacific

The start of a ride

The start of a ride

Nick doing what Nick does

Nick doing what Nick does

Nick in the culvert

Nick in the culvert

At Least No One Got Hurt, At Least Not Badly

What started out as a 60 mile ride ended up being 68+ miles. What should have taken 4 to 5 hours took 7 ½.  (And as I re-read this, I see that this posting also ended up way longer than intended.)
Some of the extra time, and miles, was due to us not reading directions well. We turned right when we should have turned left and we rode right by a couple of turns. The first of those only cost us some extra distance and lost time, both in covering unnecessary miles and in trying to get correct directions. The second time introduced us to the only real climb we have had, about 1,000 feet of elevation , much of which was between 8 ½ and 11%. When we got to the top we realized we had missed a turn and had to go back down what we had just climbed. As Nick said, though, if we were going to have to climb as a result of a mistake, better to have the climb before the mistake than after.
Then Google Maps contributed to the fun. It led us right up to an Indian reservation. Unfortunately this was not like the one I visited outside of Taos a couple of years ago. Instead of welcoming us, the guard said the reservation was private property, and was in fact a sovereign nation. My agreement but request for permission to ride across was met with an absolute refusal. Nick pointing out that we got there as a result of Google Maps was no more successful, with the guard acknowledging that that was true but made no difference. So now we had to back track – again – and figure out how to circumnavigate the reservation and get back on track. Easier said than done. The directions we got landed us on a freeway, a place more comfortable when you are in a car than on a bike. We finally got back on track, only for Nick to get a flat.
Thinking that pretty much that could happen had already happened, we set off in what turned out to be a state of ignorance. Because this time we were led to a road that turned to gravel, that turned to sand and then disappeared. The wind had been so strong at our backs that the thought of turning around was pretty unacceptable. We would have had to walk a good distance and given that we had followed the directions correctly – novel as that was on that ride – we had no idea where to go. So we decided to go down into a large culvert that was paved and looked like a good riding surface while appearing to go in the right direction. Besides, given the time of year, how likely was a flash flood? At least we were right about that. But not about the good riding surface because the pavement soon disappeared only to be replaced by sand that our bikes definitely were not designed to negotiate. (At least that is my excuse for the scrapes on my arm and leg from taking a tumble at 2 mph while getting stuck in the sand; hence the “At Least Not Badly” in the title.) Nor were we correct about the culvert going in the right direction because it abruptly ended. Now what to do? Especially since going back looked pretty much impossible because of the sand and fierce wind, or at least way more difficult than we wanted to face. So we picked up our bikes and started walking with the wind literally whipping the bikes around (there was a reason for all of the windmills on the surrounding hills). After about a mile that seemed longer because we were in our bike shoes, through sheer luck we finally found a path that led to a road. And finally we were back on track, though 3+ hours behind schedule.
At least I set a couple of personal records. The first was for the slowest pace I have ever maintained over 30 miles. I know there was some headwind because there was a breeze in my face and I certainly wasn’t going fast enough to generate any wind movement. On a somewhat more positive note, I think that the 34 mph I hit was the fastest I have maintained with only a – 1% and less elevation grade. It is amazing what a tail wind can do for you.
I have to say that if I am going to have such an ill fated ride, I can’t think of a better partner than Nick. He didn’t lose his temper or get overly upset and we were able to joke about this being a part of our adventure of a lifetime. Of course we enjoyed it a lot more once we were finished and had our post ride showers.
It is now 1:30 a.m. and I am determined to post this even if I haven’t downloaded any photos. If I am still willing to think about it, I will add some tomorrow. No, wait; now is already tomorrow. See, I have to get to sleep.
Nick in the culvert

Nick in the culvert

Leaving From The Pacific Ocean; Day One Completed

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We got am early start on day one to meet the requirements of the media. Yep, we are celebrities, at least we are if appearing on the Azteca tv network qualifies as being celebrities (Azteca is one of the 3 Spanish language networks, behind Univision and Telemundo.) Well, we were also interviewed for the Lamorinda News and the East Bay Times. Since Nick and Alejandra are our only Spanish speakers, Azteca featured them. I guess my father was right when he used to tell me I should learn Spanish.
Thanks to Manuel Montanez, we got the Red Carpet treatment when it came time to dip our rear wheels in the Pacific for the traditional sendoff. He literally had plywood laid down so we could ride over the sand from the water’s edge. And he swept the existing boardwalk so it would be free of sand.
Also a thanks to Sandi for her heartfelt sendoff prayer. Together with the prayer minister Dave gave at the Launch Party and the warm thoughts and best wishes that so many of you have given us, we should be well fortified for our ride.
More kudos to Manuel and his wife Marguerita and his grandson Oscar for leading us all of the way from Santa Monica to San Bernadino. He chose a route that was free of bad traffic and for much of the ride he escorted us with flashing lights that kept much of the traffic at bay.
The ride itself was an easy 80 miles. There were no big climbs, no suffering to keep up with one of the breakaways that seem to frequently characterize our regular rides and no mad sprint to Rudgear. And the weather was great. The sweltering heat is still in our future. The most difficult part of the ride, and what made it take much longer than it otherwise would have, were the interminable stops and starts for stop lights and stop signs.
But we did finish our first day of riding with no mishaps. Only about 47 or so more riding days to go!
Although I hoped to post here daily, I found that that may be a bit more difficult than I thought. Even after an easy day, the 80 miles didn’t leave me with an abundance of energy, or time. But I will try.
Thank you to all of you who have sent us your encouragement and best wishes. And of course thank you to everyone whose generous donations have given our ride so much meaning.

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Classic Tourists: Beverly Hills, The Grove & Hollywood Blvd.

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How could we not take Alejandra and Sarah to Beverly Hills? Which we did. Many stores were closed because it was Sunday but there were still enough outrageous prices and avant garde styles to be interesting. And oh so horribly ostentatiously American. What a target it would make for Bernie!
From there we went to the Farmers Market at the Grove. Although it has evolved into a huge, diverse food court, the Farmers Market is a long time Los Angeles institution (old enough that I visited while a child). On the other hand, the Grove feels much like a modern version of Main Street Disneyland: lots of activities, extremely clean, interesting people watching and a definite pre-planned feel to it.
We then had to head to Hollywood. In taking us to “Hollywood Blvd.,” our Garmin routed us into the Hollywood Hills where two way roads would have been narrow even if designated one way. However, the views on a clear day – and we were blessed with a clear day – of Los Angeles were fantastic. Unfortunately, none of us had the sense to take any pictures, maybe because we – at least I as the driver – were concerned about a car coming around a blind curve with no place to pass. Although it was an unexpected detour, we all agreed that the views – both from the height of the hills and of many of the homes – made it worthwhile.
We then dropped back down to the Hollywood Blvd. we had been aiming for. And it was what one would expect today: a mass of tourists – to which we contributed – costumed movie and comic book characters, street vendors and artists, tatoo parlors, side walk stars with the names of “celebrities,” some of whom you would recognize and many of whom you would not, and stores into which you shouldn’t take your children.
We have one more day of Los Angeles – with Nick, who is joining us Monday morning – and then the real adventure will begin.

Two Very Busy Days

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Alejandra arrived at SFO Wednesday evening and walked right by me at the gate. So much for my photo being memorable. However, I chased her down and, after spending time with her, was very pleased with the team we have put together.
After a Bart ride back to Lafayette, Alejandra, Sandi and I had dinner at Mangia’s. Given the 2 hour time difference, the early start to her day and the plane ride, Alejandra did well to stay awake until we finally got her home to get some much needed sleep.
Thursday was rushed. We started out going up to Skyline but it was so foggy that there was no view. At least I showed her one of the turn out points where people normally enjoy looking out over Oakland and the Bay to San Francisco. (I didn’t mention the other activities that it is known for.) We then made a quick drive around Cal’s campus, drove along Telegraph where I told her of the hippies of the ‘60s – when I was there, but definitely not as a hippie – and then along University Ave. to the freeway and then our beautiful Bay Bridge where Ale took some photos. We drove through SF and made the obligatory crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge. By then the fog had let up enough so that she could actually see something. We then spent some time in Sausalito – though Ale is less a shopper than many – and then returned to Lafayette via San Pablo Dam Rd., both to avoid Hwy 80’s constant traffic and to see the scenery along the Dam road that we frequently enjoy on our bike rides.
In Lafayette we got Alejandra a sim card so her iphone is useable here and ATM cards for Ale and Sarah after we spent some time driving through some of the Lafayette hills.
Then to the Launch Party. Which was great.  Great because of the good food. Great because of the anonymous donor who sponsored what I had expected to be a no host bar.  Great because of all of those whose generosity is making our ride so meaningful and rewarding. And mostly great because of all of the good friends and supporters who joined us.
Thank you so much to all of you who have already made this adventure so rewarding.

Packing

Almost full before Sarah and Alejandra's luggage

Almost full before Sarah and Alejandra’s luggage

Bear enjoying my kits

Bear enjoying my kits

Packing for a 2 month trip takes a bit of planning and effort. On top of the nutrition – much of which was graciously donated by ClifBar – spare parts, extra tubes and cartridges, basic tools, multiple days of riding clothes for dry, wet and hot weather and personal clothes, Bear, a very black cat, decided to join us by cuddling up in one of the containers on my riding clothes. While I am sure he would be good company much of the time, I think we will probably leave him at home. However, I will undoubtedly sport a reminder of him – his black hair – when I wear the clothes he was lying on.

Utilizing all of our space

Utilizing all of our space

So, we are getting close. Nick and I spent some time packing the SAG wagon yesterday and hope that Alejandra and Sarah are more economical in their packing than we have been. Or we might have to have someone ride on the roof or something. Of course, we can say that only we are taking bikes, parts and riding clothes. On the other hand, how often does a man pack more than a woman? Given the lack of space, this better be one of those times. (Though we intend to make room for Sarah’s guitar.)

Above is another photo of the One, my bike that was previously featured as being broken, to show that it is now back in working order. That is a good thing because although I am fortunate to have an outstanding bike as a backup, the One is definitely my favorite.

The Repaired One

The Repaired One

More important than a repaired bike, however, is that Nick is steadily recovering from the extreme blood loss he suffered May 12 that had resulted in 2 days of hospitalization. Thanks to a couple of intravenous iron infusions, and to his determination, he is rounding back into form. He has one more transfusion scheduled, this one being more along the lines of some performance enhancing chemicals. I asked if I could join him for that “boost,” but I don’t think his physician is going to approve. So that will give me an excuse if I don’t keep up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

We also want to thank all of you for your tremendous support. We haven’t yet started pedaling and already you have donated and pledged more than $16,000 (for various technical reasons, the total is greater than the amount posted on our web page). We greatly appreciate your generosity and hope that more of you who follow us will also chip in. Remember, all of your donations go to help those afflicted with breast cancer who are served by the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. That is truly a worthy cause.

We also want to offer congratulations to Mark Ballock and Terry Cunningham of Old Spokes who just finished their own cross-country ride as Cancer Busters.

Thanks, Rick & Nick