Saturday, January 7, 2012

Map

Map of where I am.

http://trackmytour.com/hN5Px

Past few days

The days are already starting to blur together. I guess I'm not that great at keeping up with the blog thing! I'll try for. Quick recap that, most definitely, won't do justice to the amazing people and wonderful experiences I've encountered.

Blythe Ca to Tenopah AZ
In the morning I contacted my first warmshowers host- Bill and Camilla at Casa Blanca Hot Spring in Tenopah AZ. It's amazing how at ease I felt after hearing back and knowing I had a place to stay the night!
I rode 100 miles on I-10. It was actually quite lovely: huge shoulder, smooth, relatively flat riding. I just put headphones in as noise blockers and made great time. The hardest part was remembering to stop and eat. I crossed into Arizona and lost an hour to time zone change. I bopped into a rest stop to eat and check in with Bill. It was about 5pm and I was approx 40 miles out. I had a tailwind, and got to Tenopah in 2hrs 15minutes!!
Bill came down the driveway to greet me. I had been a bit nervous as I always am with new experiences, but was immediately at ease with Bill. He was friendly, welcoming and we seemed to be like minded on our ideas of the world. They had tubs out back for soaking in the natural hot spring. It was just amazing- a soak under the stars after a loooong days ride.
I slept SO well that night. I got up right before sunrise, had another as the sun rose. There was a labyrinth by the tubs with bunnies hopping in it, birds chirping, it felt magical. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect experience. Definitely the best night yet.

Tenopah AZ to Apache Junction Az
I was glad to have had a good start to the day because riding through Phoenix was AWFUL! I'm ok with never going there again. It was nearly 80 miles from one side of the urban sprawl to the other. Headwinds the whole way. I got pretty excited when I came across a bikelane..but soon realized that who ever designed them had never actually ridden a bike a day in their life. Riding was slow through the city. I made it to Apache Junction at nearly midnight where I decided to stay the night at a KOA.

Apache Junction AZ to Thatcher AZ
130 miles, lots of elevation gain, headwinds.
Arrived at 130am, crashed at RV site.

1/6/12
Rest Day! Stayed with a family in Safford AZ

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Not so stealthily stealth camp

Well, that was an interesting night! I made it to Blythe at 9 pm. Stopped at kmart to use the restroom and wash the copious amounts of salt off my face. I realized they closed at 9 so I went outside, found a plug to charge my phone and eat! It was pleasantly warm still. I sat there quite awhile trying to figure out where to stay the night. The nearest campground was a KOA 5 miles east...that wanted $30 for a tent site-crazy! I decided to try and stay the night there for lack of options. On my way through Blythe I noticed several empty lots...and a pretty quiet town. I passed the parks building across the street from a large sports field/park. I decided that looked like a suitibly safe out of the way place. I tucked in between a shrubby tree and building. I didn't pitch my tent, instead used it wo the poles as a bivvy. It was quite lovely. I woke a few times, slightly on edge staying where I maybe shouldn't.
At about 130 I wake to a flashlight shining into my eyes...a cop... He was very friendly, I think a bit surprised to happen on me and that I was a female alone. He said there had been report if a break in of the parks building earlier. Asked if I'd heard/seen anything. I hadn't. Then told me I could go back to sleep, he'd wake me later if he had more questions. There was a police car the rest of the night. Very safe! I got up just before sunrise, packed up and left.
All in all not bad for my first out of place night!
Oh, and another beautiful sunrise!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sun, sand, WIND

After leaving imperial valley came more desert. 80 miles between towns/water and serious headwinds. I was averaging about 8mph- brutal! It took much long than expected. After an amazing sunset-chocolate mts in the background- the wind died down a bit and so did the traffic.
After reaching Palo Verde(pop 430) and getting a gallon of water for a quarter out of a vending machine, I decided to press on the 20 miles to Blythe for the night-Palo Verde creeped me out a bit, it was warm and I was feeling good.

January 1st 2012

Quick recap of yesterday. Caught up on sleep and didn't leave until nearly 11am. Sunny. Warm. Steady 20mph headwinds all day. Though, they aren't nearly as soul sucking when it's brilliantly sunny and warm instead of rainy and cold! Rode along the border of Mexico for awhile. Was creepy riding past several border patrol posts and a wall distinguishing US/Mexico. The only vehicles on the road for awhile were border patrol jeeps, and a few giant trucks that said things like "I love America" and "god bless America, Jesus saves". The ride through the Yuha desert- 35 miles of being brutally beat to a pulp by a seriously rough road! was very happy to get to El Centro and turn off that road. It was a short day of 70 miles.

Funny: bought $1 sunglasses at dollar tree, asked if they had sunscreen and the guy laughed-they didn't have any. Hey, I'm from the pacific NW...we aren't accustomed to winter sun! I got a bit burned, I'll search for some thismorning.

To the South

I am continuously getting asked if I am blogging my trip. I had planned on it. But, like many things in my life, I just hadn't gotten around to it yet.
Well, I now have :-)

The start:
After catching the train on Dec 29th, nearly a week later than I had planned, I was finally onboard and headed to San Diego.
Near the end of the 30 hours to LA I met and talked with Dan, who was quite delightful and we had some great conversations about psychology, one of my favorite topics (right up there with bikes!). He really made the ride more enjoyable. In LA I had to switch trains...the one to San Diego was Delayed. I finally arrived in San Diego at 230am and was reunited with my bike- I had night terrors of possibly never seeing her again.
I had thought about crashing at the station to get, at least, a couple hours of sleep. Not so much, they kicked us out and locked up. So, I started on my journey. It was a nice quiet ride out of San Diego. The sun came up and my eyes were drooping. At 7am, after several swerves from falling asleep while riding, I decided to stop. I found a patch of trees off the road and curled up next to my bike. I woke at 830 to amazing sunshine and the start of a hot day!! Back on the bike.
That evening I made it to Boulder Oaks Campground on the PCT. The day was 60 miles and over 6000ft of climbing. There wasn't anyone there and no water or electricity. Only the noises of critters and giant cat paw prints in the sand. (earlier in the day I had met a guy telling me stories of mt lions so my mind was going all sorts of places!) I quickly fell asleep and didn't wake until after 8 the next day. I survived the new year and my first night completely alone! The morning was sunny, birds chirping and it was already warm. At that moment, I was possibly the happiest person alive.