Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back in New Hampsha with the Bike Pahked in the Yahd

So we have made it back home to our girls and boys here in New Hampsha!  We are back to sharing our bed with 2 large Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs.  Just like sleeping in a narrow space in the tent, except with puppy dog smell instead of the interesting odor we had emanating from the funkified tent (i think it was Jen).   So a few things from the trail, I believe that the washboarded roads that we encountered quite often were developed by Dentists.  Yea that's right Dentists, because I am certain that my fillings and crowns have been rattled loose and require some dental attention.  I was also able to develop some talent, I was able to master the following while riding:  reading the map; unfolding and folding the map; taking the camera out of the case on my handlebar, taking the lens cap off, taking a pic, lens cap back on and put the camera away (without dropping it); eating; texting; listening to voicemail; talking on cell; drinking; adjusting Ipod; videoing.  List of talents NOT mastered:  no handed riding (almost crashed on the last day); relieving myself while riding (especially into a head wind, what a mess).  
We enjoyed the aspect of being outside everyday and being somewhere different every day and night.  Our focus was where we were going to sleep, what we were going to eat, and where we would find more water.  Our minds and bodies really went into a more primitive state, more of a survival mode.  We got to eat whatever we wanted to eat, all while losing weight.  Move over Biggest Loser, we have a new reality show, Ride, Eat, and Ride Some More...You will lose weight and gain only calluses on your buttocks.  Doesn't get any better than that!
We feel like we are on an award show with all the thank you's we have.  So grab a drink and something to eat and stick around for awhile.  Okay, we don't want to miss anyone so we would like to send out a sincere, BIG THANK YOU to all of you who offered up a donation which assisted in exceeding our fundraising goal, those of you along the divide that we encountered, everyone following our blog, as well as our house sitter Chelsea and her lovely family Amy and Dezi.  We were truly humbled by the generosity of strangers and acquaintances alike, there are some truly good people in this world, those people include YOU!  We feel extremely grateful to have had this opportunity and very much appreciate our employers for allowing us the security of returning to jobs that we both really enjoy...Thank you Louis and Lois!

All in all we had an AWESOME time, what a GREAT freakin ride!!Until next time....remember chamois butt'r is not to be ingested nor used as a facial lotion, it is of course the savior of chafing.  And only apply with your non-dominant hand in order to avoid certain embarrassment of rubbing it on and eating with the same hand.  
It is better to travel well than to arrive.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 49: WOOOOOOHOOOOO We did it!!!!

July 29, Rode the last 45 miles from Hachita to the border at Antelope Wells, NM and were given a red, white and blue Popsicle by the border patrol guards.  This was our treat for riding 2730 miles in 49 days and it never tasted so good.  We finished up at 11:40 am on a sunny hot day, riding it in about 3 hours and 20 minutes.  It was a day filled with various emotions, all in all we are just elated!  We did it!  Thank you to all of our donors, as we were able to exceed our goal which is just freakin awesome!! Soon after we finished we got a text from another couple we know from New Hampshire, that are also riding the great divide and they had just entered the US from Canada.  Go Patty and Chris, you are in for an amazing ride!  Thank you Lloyd and Carolyn for picking us up at the border, so we didn't have to hitchhike.  We really appreciate you doing such a service for riders, you two are wonderful people.  We will do a couple of final posts from home as we fly home on August it is time to relax by the pool and enjoy some down time and margaritas!!  Cheers for now, remember to check back for some final posts. 

Day 48: It's mostly downhill from here

Sunday July 29:  We wanted to get an early start to beat the heat and the storms, though I did not hear my watch alarm and we ended up leaving an hour later.  Lucky for us it still worked out well both heat and storm wise.  We rode 80 miles to Hachita, the last 20 miles were against a head/cross wind.  We could see Hachita for miles and didn't seem like we were getting any closer.  We were able to find Sam's house by memory as we had camped there 4 years ago.  Sam is a nice and generous gentleman, who is a trail angel for the Continental Divide Hikers and Bikers.  Sam gave us some cold sodas and watermelon from his neighbor as we watched smokey and the bandit with him and his dog 'bear.'  Sam told us that about 45 people live in Hachita, which is filled with abandoned houses and a post office that they were able to petition to keep open, because the next closest one is well rather far away.  Sam do take care of yourself. 

Day 47: The breakfast of divide riders...

Saturday July 28, woke up early to some drizzle, decided to wait it out before embarking on our short 30 mile ride into Silver City, NM and to a cyclist only lodging at William's house.  Getting ready to eat our oatmeal for the upteenth morning, we were generously offered some eggs and bacon by Bob Barker himself.  We fried the eggs in the bacon fat, sure to give us the energy we needed for a climb out of Lake Roberts.  Eggs fried in bacon fat never tasted so good!  After scarfing that down, we went back to packing up our stuff, typical morning routine, when we heard Joe yell 'come and get your breakfast.'  He had made us an egg, sausage, bacon and cheese burrito, yummy!  Thank you again to Bob, Joe and Sara Jean for your hospitality and food, it was much appreciated and assisted us with the climbs we had to do that day to get to Silver City.  Bob also gave us some ham to make sandwiches to take with us.  We rolled into Silver City around 11 as it was paved all the way with a couple of hills along the way.  Did laundry at William's house and stayed in his guest home.  William, we really enjoyed your company and simplicity, hope you had a good 3 day ride!  Made some final preparations for the shuttle service and to camp at Sam's house in Hachita the next night.  The anticipation of the end is building. 

Day 46: Come on down, you are the next contestant on the ...

July 27:  57 miles from Beaverhead Work Center to Mesa Campground at Lake Roberts.  Today I will say I actually felt like I was loosing weight as we rode, this was probably the hottest day thus far and a few times the wind stopped and the sweat saturated our jerseys.  This was a hard day, lots of climbing, took us 7 hours 30 minutes to go 57 miles.  We rode through some beautiful country in the Gila Wilderness with tall ponderosa trees and a lush forest, thanks to the fires they have had in the past.  So we get to the campground, wanting to go to the store we ask our camp neighbor, Bob Barker, that's right folks, Bob Barker was at the campground!  He told us the store was another 4 miles down the road and generously offered to give us a ride as well as offering up a burrito for dinner and allowed us to use his gas stove.  Thank you Bob you are a kind hearted person and very welcoming, we enjoyed the company.  We also went to another camp neighbor who had ridden his bike to silver city and then back the next day.  Albert is a retired teacher, just getting into some bike touring.  It was nice talking with you Albert.  The next morning Albert presented us with a check for a donation to the ADA, thank you soo much Albert, let us know when you make it to New Hamsphire!
After eating Bob's burrito and some of our own food we were also invited over to Joe and Sara Jean's camp for some burgers and dogs.  You two are some kind souls thank you for the great food and the company.  It was nice to be around all these nice and generous folks, what an uplift for the last 160 miles. 

We could have just taken the bus out of Pie Town....

Though I think the bus had a foul odor coming from it and seemed to have some crappy service in which it would run from behind at least once or twice a day.  

Day 45: Thursday July 26...Game of the mountain lion vs the divide riders

In this episode of divide rider vs mountain lion, the mountain lion are the storms that continue to happen in the afternoon.   We rode 71 miles into the Gila Wilderness to the Beaverhead Work Center.  At about mile 56 or 57, we again ran into storms with lightening and rain.  We rode as fast and hard as we could to reach the trees, so we weren't the tallest thing around and the rode had remnants of previous attempts of people trying to ride and drive through the mud.  The roads here become impassable with too much rain and the only thing you can do is sit in your tent and watch the road dry out.  I mean as fun as it sounds to watch dirt dry to mud, we decided to do all we could to not have this happen.  We were able to ride through the storm and roll into the Beaverhead work station unscathed.  Along the way we again met up with the Danish riders Kim and Anders, who told us how they had eaten the pie at the toaster house that was in the fridge as the note in the fridge said "made fresh Monday" and it was only Wednesday.  They proceeded to tell us that there was another note inside the house they discovered after eating the pie that was dated Monday July 9, apparently that was the Monday that the pies were made (remember it is now July 26.  Anders gave us some water, as each possible water source was nonexistent, even with all the afternoon thunderstorms.  Thank you Anders for the kindness of giving some your water to us, it was much appreciated!  Earlier in the day we were riding along when I let out a falsetto scream as a snake was in the middle of the road and we rode right by it, I think it may have been an anaconda!  (it was actually a baby bull snake, we found out later)
Up until the storms rolled in, the weather was perfect for riding, cloudy and in the 70s.  Our Danish friends brandished enough quarters to buy us a round of sodas at the Beaverhead work station, where we decided to camp with more storms looming in the distance.  The Danes with their fearless optimism rode on after waiting a couple of hours.  They left us some quarters for the soda machine, so even though we don't really drink too much soda at home, out here anything is a treat and will be consumed.  So I decided on a 'wild cherry pepsi' yup that sounds good after dinner.  Put the quarters in press the button and what falls out of the machine but a lemonade.  Did I mention we had bought lemonade powder along the way to add to the water to make it more drinkable and easier to hydrate, and the powder stuff was better, so much for the wild cherry pepsi.  At the Beaverhead Word Center, Michael was the head ranger and told us about the fires earlier in the summer that were only 10 miles to the west and how the area we were currently in was covered with smoke for 10 days with very poor air quality.  Thanks Mike for your hospitality, much appreciated. 

Day 44: Wed. July 25....Time to eat some Pie!

We saddled up early at the ranch to rope the calves, actually to get to pie town, nm, where yes they have pies!  For the inquiring minds, the pies came before the name of the town.  We got to the Daily Pie Cafe at 1055am, just at the start of the lunch menu, which is what we wanted.  After devouring a steak sandwich and fries and Jen devouring a gigantic burger and fries, we set our sights on some pie al a mode.  I went with the blueberry and Jen went with the triple berry, yuuuummmmy!  We learned that the pies are made with the healthier lard and not crisco, which is full of unhealthy hydrogenized trans fats.  The pies were delic!  While at the cafe, we met  2 riders from Denmark at the cafe, Kim and Anders, talked with them about our experiences up to this point and about the last couple hundred miles there is to go.  They were some nice chaps and were going to stay in Pie Town at the toaster house, while we were going to put in another 30 miles to the USFS campground.  We stopped at the toaster house to reminisce about our stay there 4 years ago and signed the book.  We ended up riding a total of 60 miles to the Valle Tio Vinces Campground in the Gila Wilderness, where we actuallyhad cell service.  We knew once we reached Pie Town the end was not far and thoughts of finishing entered our minds at times along with the emotions that come along with finishing such an adventure. 

Day 43 Tuesday July 24 Tray of Cupcakes

'Sexy and I know it...I ride my bike'
Grants to York Ranch, 49 miles.  The day started out needing to fix the BOB trailer bearing that was completely disintegrated.  Went to the Diamond G True Value, where Bert was more than kind and generous in assisting us with replacing the bearing.  When he found out that we were riding for the ADA, he told us about his nephew who was diagnosed at 5 years old and had recently passed away at a young age.  He took a break to go home to see if he would have a bearing at home, that he could get off an old bike.  We eventually found one at napa and went back to Bert at the True Value, where he assisted and donated his time to get the reminants of the old bearing out and install the new one.  Thank you Bert for your time and effort, a truly generous thing that I am sure your Nephew would have appreciated you doing for us.  So needless to say, we got a late start out of Grants and again rode into the stormy afternoon towards Pie Town, NM.  Along the way we saw a tray of cupcakes along the road, slammed on the brakes and evaluated the situation for consumption.  Unfortunately the lid was no longer on them or we (well I) would have most likely eaten them, no really I actually still thought about it even though they looked to have been through at least a rain storm.  So we rode on, lookin for some trail magic, when we decided to make it happen ourselves.  Rode into the York ranch in search of some shelter to camp and were offered the barn, perfect.  Mike, a ranch hand at the farm came out to the barn in the evening and generously offered up some of his homemade chicken and shrimp gumbo.  It was perfectly seasoned and delicious!! Thanks Mike!  Slept well on the hay, though Jen's sleeping pad had now developed a leak at the valve, which was not repairable, even with duct tape. 

Day 42: Monday July ...Hitchhiking 101

Leaving Cuba, NM there is an alternate which is recommended if the rains have begun, well the rains have begun and the mountain terrain ahead is reportedly washed out and more rain in the forecast.  So we set off to ride the 123 mile alternate on pavement that takes us thru a Navajo reservation with no real camping opportunities.  We gota n early start, knowing it was going to be a long day, felt pretty good, then hit a wall around 70 miles.  Along with the wall we discovered that I had completely blown a bearing on my BOB wheel, so it was just wobbling around, not good.  We stopped at a convenience store for some grub and cold drinks as the temps were rising up to the upper 80s.  I use the bathroom, my sunglasses on my straw hat, fall into the toilet, before i had a chance to flush.  I grab a handful of paper towels, knowing that I need them, held my breath and went in to fish them out and turned the sink faucet on full blast.  Again we are riding along and the afternoon thunderstorms begin to pop up with lightening, rain is fine, lightening is not.  Realizing we may not get to Grants until really late, if we made it at all with the bearing and the storms and no place to camp, we opted to hitchhike.  Now we have not done this before, which was apparent to the person that picked us up.  He slowed up, had a confused look on his face then ended up turning around unsure what or if we wanted anything.  He told us he thought at first we were just waving then he realized that our hands remained in the air and decided to be turn around to check.  We greatly appreciated ride to Grants.  So we ended up riding 87 out of the 123 miles and we were ok with the one fast forward we took.