December 21, 2014 | Posted in:Uncategorized

As we are reaching the end of our time in Arizona, and therefore, the United States, I have decided that it is also time to give a quick update as to what we have been up to in the past few months, so that this blog can take on a more current status. I have several more in-depth posts in mind about some of what we’ve been doing, but for now, a more succinct update.

My latest post left off in in Seattle where we stayed a few days mainly catching up on admin tasks and hanging out with friends. Seattle seemed like a cool town and one I’d like to spend more time exploring, but we didn’t have much time to do so before going off to cycle the Olympic Peninsula. We didn’t die up there, despite the best efforts of the log truck scum, and we ended up meeting a really nice recently retired fellow and spent some time with him. He took us to Oregon where we did a bit more riding and then spent a week in Portland enjoying the company of some of my old friends from when I lived there. We took a rideshare out to bend, with the bikes in their most precarious position yet, strapped to the roof of a Prius. You can imagine the look on my face when this dude pulls up with a tiny hatchback filled with people and luggage, but it worked!

Our bikes being piled onto the hatchback

Our bikes being piled onto the hatchback

I wrote about the ride from Bend over to my old college buddy, Araby’s place in Corvallis. Once there we were starting to feel the crunch of time with all of the visits we had planned and the Phish shows in San Fran coming up soon. We also found out Araby actually liked Phish, but had never seen a show. It was decided that we would borrow her car to run down the coast to visit some friends and family, and come back in time to take her to her first show at the tour opener in Eugene. This also freed up some time for us to do some backpacking and we spent a couple of nights on the stunning Lost Coast in southern Humboldt County. I will DEFINITELY write about this trip!

Morning mist on the Lost Coast

After the good times at the Phish show, we caught a train down to SF where we hung out with some other great friends and family, all of whom showed us superb hospitality. We had such a good time with everyone down there, and then saw three top-notch shows at Bill Graham, at the same time that the SF Giants were winning the World Series. Somewhere in this SF time we managed to get over to Placerville for a music festival, and down to Santa Cruz to visit my aunt. In a serendipitous aside, I broke my mirror while packing it up for the train, but actually groundscored a functional, albeit cracked, mirror on the ride down there. Sometimes the road really provides exactly what you need.

Up front for Phish at Bill Graham Theater in San Francisco Fall Tour 2014

After SF, we got back on good ol’ Amtrak out to Truckee, famous for the Donner Party, and met up with a friend who took us to Vegas where we stayed at a party house with a bunch of other Phish friends for the Halloween shows. These were epic, obv, and the day after the final show, we finally got back on the bikes to make the ride to Phoenix.

Part of the reason for this trip had been having the freedom to go out and visit and reconnect with people we hadn’t seen in years. On this front, we had done well. Since we quit our jobs we hadn’t spent much more than a week without visiting with some friends or family, even when we were in Hawaii. However, another major point of this trip was for the freedom of open-ended travel. When you don’t have to get back to an airport to get back to a job, you can suddenly go at your own pace and spend as much or as little time as you wish exploring a place. Travel without deadlines is the key. Unfortunately, we’d failed miserably at this. Our hyperactive personalities forced us into creating an aggressive schedule that required us to always be on the go, with little room for exploration. We had fun, but had also built in too much stress. Our schedule was mainly built around music events, and the Halloween shows were the last of them. We were finally free!

A sign in front of a dilapidated motel saying, George Washington never slept here

One of the many shuttered motels on Route 66

The open, easy-going ride to Phoenix was incredible. We met tons of great people and started falling in love with Arizona, much to my surprise. We did it all, gravel, small highways, interstates, Route 66. Phoenix would be our last major stop before we crossed the border, and we limped into town with several bicycle issues to attend to, in addition to some admin things. We actually have several friends, and some family, so we spent quite a bit of time hanging out and getting out of shape. My mother even came for a week, so we rented a krr and got to see even more of the state – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Prescott, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Sedona. BTW, don’t ever use Dollar! We’v had terrible luck with them both times we’ve tried to use them.

Great clouds over the cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. That is a saguaro, not an organ pipe.

We capped off our Phoenix time by spending a few days hiking in the Superstition Wilderness, which was mind blowing. We are now back on the road and heading south, hopefully to some warm nights for a change!

Scorpion on our backpack in the Superstition Wilderness

Yes, you do need to check your shoes and packs.

We have been in Arizona almost two full months and assuming we make it across the border in a couple days, Arizona will be the first state we’ve actually cycled all the way through. We have plenty of stories to tell you about Arizona including tavern camping, sleeping in a winery, riding over a mountain on gravel with a broken rack, Grand Canyon during an inversion, a midnight sock caper, etc… But all that will need to wait until a future date. We have a state to finish and a border to cross!

Awesome sunset

Sunset on Arizona. You saw that coming, didn’t you?

2 Comments

  1. Mike N in NY
    December 21, 2014

    Great post and photos. Thanks for sharing and be safe!

    • Lewis
      December 21, 2014

      Thanks Mike!