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Hello from Flagstaff!

Howdy-howdy!  Well, we’ve encountered another change of plans – the train station in Kingman was an “unmanned station,” meaning that there wasn’t anything there but a siding where the train stopped and they won’t allow you to take bikes on at an unmanned station.  So, we rode on to Flagstaff where there was an actual station where we’ve since made our arrangements and the arrangements are…

We’re going to Kansas City!


Yep, we’re taking a major shortcut, having about a half-day at the house where Joel will ditch the BOB trailer, install a rack, and load up the panniers and I will edit some of my gear.  As it turns out, the pants I made ride up while I’m riding (no good at all!) and one of the two sweaters I took is too tight in the sleeves for layering.  I’ve got some other stuff I need to ditch (just not using it enough to justify having it) and a couple of things I realized belatedly that I sure could use. 

Plus, it will be awfully darn nice to see the critters for a brief little while.  I think I’ll see if I can borrow back the dog for a mid-day walk  🙂

So after our brief stopover in KC, we’re taking the train to Sedalia, riding the KATY trail out to its end, then tracking further south.  I think our end goal is now Charleston, SC.  We’d originally been thinking Raleigh, NC, but our little Sierra jaunt has given us impetus to avoid moutains, and the Appalachians are certain to be a butt-kicking range!

So yeah, we won’t technically be riding all the way across the country, but at this point, I really can’t say that I feel at all bad about that.  Long distance touring can get kind of…monotonous.  It takes a long time to get anywhere, so you’re basically looking at the same landscape for quite a while, and long, sustained climbs really grind a lot out of you.  I’m looking forward to riding in a little more populated areas, and also having more of a choice of routes.  Out west, your choices are pretty limited because there just aren’t that many roads, and some of the ones you have available are…challenging.

We’ve been crossing AZ via Interstate 40, and I cannot recommend this course of action!  Sure the shoulder is wide, but it is liberally littered with broken glass and these horrible shards of steel-belted semi-truck tires which are wicked and insidious tire destroyers.  Yesterday I had like 3 flats in under 20 miles!  We had to institute a policy of stopping to check our tires for debris every 2 or 3 miles.  Talk about a nuisance!  No more Interstates if we can help it.  It’s better than one of our CA stretches where we had to share a narrow two-laner with semis and large farm trucks, but we both went through far too many tubes this past week!

So…my impression of long distance touring to this point is that it’s not strictly a barrel of laughs.  It’s had its high points – we’ve seen some beautiful countryside (and some very desolate countryside, too) and had some highly interesting campsites.  I’ve gotten shockingly good at being primitive.  I can see doing future bicycle tours, but NOT this kind of epic thing.  I definitely miss my routines, friends, the critters, and the normal comforts of home.  I’m looking forward to the next phase of this Big Bicycle Adventure, but I’d be lying if I tried to say that I wasn’t also looking forward to the end of it and getting back to normal life.

One last thing: peanut-butter.  Peanut-butter is an awful lot like Dwarf Bread, for those of you who have read Terry Pratchett’s novels.  It will keep you going.  It’s amazing the things you will eat alternately when you have the spectre of peanutbutter hovering over you.  Also, on one night we ran out of honey, which is what we typically put with our peanutbutter on sandwiches to make it taste a little more exciting.  So that time I put some sliced up sour green apple on my sandwich, and Joel put Cheeto crumbs on his.  Not a satisfying dinner.  A lady in Benton, NV gave us the apples – she couldn’t sell them…they were AWFUL.  They were pie-apples anyway, and picked before they were ripe.  They were the most inedible fruit I have experienced in years.  But thinly-sliced awful apple was better than just a plain PB sandwich!

Goodness knows where I’ll be the next time I log in and update…somewhere very East of here to be certain.


11 Responses to “Hello from Flagstaff!”

  1. Sara says:

    This is kind of like reading about the pioneers barreling across the country. I’m happy you’re getting to stop at home to take a break. I worry. 🙂

  2. JerseyDude says:

    Interesting read so far. Actually, two things you’ve discovered seem to be common themes in all the long distance bike touring journals I’ve read todate:

    1) Take the absolute MINIMUM amount of gear.

    2) Riding a bike through mountains, or sparsely populated flat states, sucks shit on ice.

    If you do decide to shoot for NYC, let me know, and I’ll tell you the best way to approach coming up from the South.

  3. jagosaurus says:

    I’m so impressed by this whole venture, and the dwarf bread reference cracked my ass up.

  4. melissa says:

    Just caught up on both your blog and Joel’s blog – you guys are awesome! Trains, bikes, whatever….you are making a trip across the country and that itself is just so exciting!! I’m glad it worked out so you can check in for a bit on your furry critter friends at home (and restock on supplies and gear too)! They will be so happy to see you! Give Ruby a good ol’ scratch on the head for me and Sage. Enjoy the Katy Trail. I’ve heard it’s a great ride. And getting over more east will hopefully keep you out of that weather that apparently is coming in over the west this week anyway (apparently there is some SNOW rolling in Colorado already?!). Be safe and I’ll look forward to more updates when you can! – m

  5. Audrey says:

    Charleston is a BEAUTIFUL city, it will be a wonderful ending to your Big Bike Adventure. Matt and the kids and I got to visit a few years ago. We were in Flordia to visit the in laws and drove up to Charleston where Matt’t good friend Logan lives (He’s the guy that made my engagement ring and wedding band). The beaches are nice and the town is just chocked full of wonderfully perserved historical archetecture. You’ll love it!

  6. kismet says:

    Oh, but the Appalachians are so beyootiful! East TN, Western NC…ever so much nicer than the flat red dirt of north GA and western SC. Just sayin’, north Georgia makes me think of coyotes.

  7. planetmort says:

    Dude, you can ride on interstates? I thought that was verboten….

  8. Possum says:


    I need to get ahold of the 8 foot lesbian! I may have a deal on an Anvil jig and all the fixturing for him! If you catch this have Joel call my cell eightonesix-686-threefourfivesix.

  9. sadiejane says:

    heya dudes
    so glad to read yr words
    yup i know r pal christi luvs
    like LUVS
    the desert
    but im with ya
    no need to cross it ever again in this life

    hope the train rides well
    wish i could catch a glimpse of u guys
    when ya roll into kc

    nanc and i just got back from the pacific nw
    my sorta clime

    we thought bout u lots
    wondered where in the world ya might be
    we didnt have internet access
    til returning home

    bonzo n courtney say hey
    wish you well on yr journey
    me too
    more honey than pb

  10. Audrey says:

    Mom wanted me to let you know that they made it home safely from CA. Oh, and that your green bowls (or was it dishes) are safely in her hands. She is doing her usual, worrying and sending you guys her love!

  11. meetzorp says:

    Possum, we’ll give ya holler when we’re back-back – I didn’t get a chance to check my e-mail until now and we’re in St. Louis heading for points south and east.

    Planet – actually there are some Interstates that you can ride on the shoulder. The question is, do you want to. The answer is: probably not really.

    Jersey – thanks for the offers of info and assistance, but NY is out of the question for this trip. Our tickets back home are awaiting us in Charleston.

    Sis, thanks for the tips and for relaying Mom’s messages. I had a good chat with her while we were in KC.

    Everyone – it’s good to see messages from friends! It helps ease the homesickness to log on and get greetings from all these good folks in my life!

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