Sunday, March 31, 2002

La Grange TX- Navasota TX 71 miles
The thunder and hail storms that were supposed to hit nevert did. So, there are no exciting stories about getting crushed in our tent and all that.

It is good to see that Big Jim has joined me my buying a stationary bicycle. Jim if you are going to be just like me you need to sign up to be a mentor with the Youth Assistance Program of Cleveland Co. 704-482-2315!!!!!

The ride from La Grange was great. A lot of rolling hills through ranch land. The roads were good. The temperature was in the 60's.

The wildflowers are out in abundance. Purple, red , pink white, all over the shoulders. Sometimes it gets distracting and I find myself heading into a ditch!!!!

Sunday night we spent at a home in College Station TX. Bryan and Valerie are a young couple who house some college students. One of the students gave up her bed for us.

It worked out well, since my wound on my buttocks from the dog attack two weeks ago has not healed. We will be going to the doctor for some tests. A doctor friend of theirs was over last night and he said that it looked infected, maybe getting close to a bone infection. He said that there was only a 50 % chance of rabies at this point.

Ok, Happy April Fools Day!!! Everything ecxept the last paragraph is true. Have a great day.

Saturday, March 30, 2002

Today I slept in till 8 am. ( My body is telling me it is time to take a break). Then we went and got breakfast and headed to Round Top to check out the antique fair. Lots of stuff!! The rest of the day we will relax.

Friday, March 29, 2002

Lockhart- LaGrange TX

Not a bad day. Good weather. Almost hot but not quite. More rolling hills and farm land. A lot of Texas Blue Bonnets along the side of the road.

We got to La Grange around 3 pm. I decided to call some restaurtants for some donations. We ended up getting a seafood buffet for 2 donated at Olsen's Kountry Kitchen. It was very delicious and appreciated. So if you ever come through La Grange TX, stop by Olsen's Kountry Kitchen for a great home cooked meal. At the junction of hwy 71 and hwy 77!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Campwood TX- Kerrville TX 85 13.1 avg

A slow but very scenic day. We are in the heart of hill country, and it reminds us of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is very pretty and a lot of short but steep hills. The wind is strong but the road winds so much that it does no slow me too much.

The biggest problem I have is my gears shifting on their own!!!

The weather has been good. It was cold this morning, so we started around 9 am.

Tonight it is supposed to get in the upper 30's. The moon is almost full.

Texas has had a cold or something the past few days but is doing much better.

Be sure to check out the web-site to take a look at some pictures.

Monday, March 25, 2002

Del Rio , TX.- Campwood, TX. 81 miles

One of the best days yet. The mildly rolling hills contain more trees that we have seen on this trip. I saw wild turkey, antelope, black squirrel, a zebra, sheep, goats, and cows.

The first 60 miles I had a side/ tailwind. I was able to make great time. The the route turned straight into the wind for the last 20 miles. This slowed me down to 10 mph.

We camped out in Campwood, by the Nueces river dam. We haven't been around much water on this trip either. This is very refreshing to us.

Sharing the campground, are two men, one in his 50's and one in his 70's. They are on a trip to Michigan. They left the west coast in February. They are self- supported , meaning they carry there own gear, and they are going 40-50 miles a day.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

Wow. We have made it to Del Rio Texas. I am so glad. Texas is a HUGE state. I am still having a good time and having adventures from day to day. There is one thing I want to address to all of our "fans" out there. I have been getting some emails asking what I do while I am waiting for Stephen. This is basically what I have been doing. I have been driving east 10 miles and park on the side of the road or in a picnic area. Then I usually get Texas out of the car and leash him to the car or play fetch with him, depending on where we are. I also read my Bible, write in my journal, listen to music (all it has been lately is Waterdeep's worship album), I have been communicating with God alot, I sing, I think, or just sit in the car and wait. These are the basic things that I do while I wait. The time really does not drag by either which is nice. Once I get to where we are staying the night, I usually go get the tent site and set up the tent, or check into the hotel room (which averages about once a week...we need a treat every once in a while :)). **Praise God we have had 3 nights donated to us which is great. He is really taking care of us.** Once Stephen gets to the car, I fill up his water bottles, make him a sandwich, or just stand there and watch him do whatever. Hope this gives you a better idea of what I am doing. Thanks for reading our journals and keep praying for us. We need it. Please pray that God will continue to provide rooms for us for free, friendly people along the way,protection, and good health. I think my body has had a hard time getting accustomed to the water here. But it's slowly getting used to it. Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers. Talk to yawl later.


Saturday, March 23, 2002

Marathon TX.- 30 miles west of Langrty TX. 85 miles

I laid in my warm sleeping bag waiting for the golden yellow of the son to light up the side of the tent. It never did. It was then that I remembered the overcast sky at 3 am when I went out to take care of business. It is about 6:30 am. I crawl out of the tent and begin my morning ritual. It is rather cold.

I go ahead and have a Cliff bar. Later we are going to the Burnt Biscuit Bakery. I know to get my real nutrients into my body.

We are aiming for Sanderson 55 miles away, but we end up 10 east of Langtry, 85 miles away. Sometimes we come to a town and decide that we feel good, and that there is nothing here that we want to stay for. Then we move on.

This side of Texas there is not much to move on to. Very desolate. So at 85 miles in the middle of nowhere my body tells me that it is time to stop.

This is one great thing about a supply vehicle. We load up into the car and head 27 miles east to the next town with camping, Langtry, TX. This is the town that Judge Roy Bean " The law west of the Pecos", ran. His sentencing was often something like, " Your fine is $45 and a round of drinks for the jury"! He also owned the bar so this worked out great.

We camped in the parking lot of the community center. We were really roughing it tonite. No showers and the available toilets were open from 8am -5pm. So, I get my first sponge bath on the trip.

30 miles west of Langtry TX- Del Rio, TX

Another uneventful day of headwinds. They are up to 20 - 30 . Hence, my 11.5 avg for 85 miles!!! Long day. We finally made it to Del Rio though!!!

Some good news. I was on the 10 pm news in El Paso on Monday night. I guess now I am famous!!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2002

We generally use the dog's water bowl as an indication of the temperature. This morning the water was frozen solid. This puts the temp between 25-30 degrees. This was later confirmed!!!!

We manage to stay warm but are slow getting started. We only have 55 miles today so it is alright.

We pass through the small town of Alpine and stop at a bakery. It is delicious and the baker ends up donating some goodies!! Yum!!!

I am feeling much better today. I am able to push a little bit and we get to Marathon by 2 pm. We set up camp at a quaint little RV park and then tour the town. That takes 3 minutes. We were directed to a spring fed pond at the county park. Texas went for a swim and loved it.

We finally met the couple on the tandem that we had been hearing about. They are really nice. They are having a rough day though. He has food poisoning and they cracked a rim on a cattleguard.

Things are going really well for us. We should be in Del Rio, Texas in 3 days. We have been covering one state in 4-5 days. Being in TX makes me feel like I am going slow. It will take us about two weeks to get through.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

The ability to leave a comment with each entry has been added. Simply click on the link with each entry labeled "Verbal Support" to leave your verbal support for Stephen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Van Horn TX. - Ft. Davis, TX. 71.58 miles
We are on the road by 9:30 AM. I am really dragging plus the skies are gloomy. Very overcast and a headwind to boot. The first 20 miles is also on I-10.

I make it to the exit alive and the sky starts to clear up. There for a while I considered packing up and driving to a Cracker Barrel!!!

The suns begins to shine and my spirits rise. This area is real pretty. The hill country of West TX. Lots of high hills, cactus, shrubs , grass lands.

Today we pass numerous cattle guards and a sign that says " Loose Cattle". I don't see any though. I do see my first roadrunners dart across the road. We also see what I believe are antelope.

We stop by the McDonald Observatory for a short visit and the head down to Ft Davis, TX. "The highest town in Texas".

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Van Horn TX.
I set out to ride 20 miles so that tomorrow I only have 70 instead of 90 to ride. I have a tailwind so the ride is not bad, my body is tired from yesterday though.

While I am gone Rhonda visits the Best Western in Van Horn TX, we wind up with a free room for the night. How great!!! That makes the rest of the day a chill day. An added bonus is the Dairy Queen across the street!!!!

Monday, March 18, 2002

El Paso - Van Horn 116.89
After a great weekend in El Paso, we head east once again. Our goal today is Sierra Blanca, 80 miles. The route took us through old Sorrocco. It is a cool western town with lots of old buildings. After this we enter the barren desert once more. There are a few small three building towns and farms, but that is about it. Most of these town do have a post office in them. No Starbucks though.

Today the forecast was for winds up to 40 with gusts to 50. Thankfully we did not get those but we did encounter our first rain. It was scattered showers. At one point the wind kicked up a little and there was a shower coming in from the side so I drafted behind the car to get past it. Another time we waited for about 15 minutes under the front porch of a building.

After about 40 miles the route took us onto I-10. The problem was the construction. The left lane was closed and they had the concrete barricade going down the middle. This left the right lane open, but the trucks still had to ride on a bit of the shoulder. And now that you mention it, the shoulder might as well have been a gravel road. Crazy. At our next meeting spot, I told Rhonda that that was crazy and we loaded up the bike. Looking at the map it was only 3 miles to where there was a frontage road, so we drove up to that point.

We arrived in Sierra Blanca which is named for a big white mountain that stands 6,800 ft tall. There is nothing here so we decide to go to Van Horn 40 miles down the road. Everything is going well until I run out of daylight. 12 miles left, the route goes back on the interstate. I go over the pass into the valley and it starts to get dark. 3 miles from the Van Horn exit, I get flat number 3. I am carrying a spare tube and repair kit so I change it right there. 2.5 miles later, I get flat number 4. ARRRRGH!!! I can see the Rhonda up ahead, so I ride on the flat the last 300 yds. I load the bike up satisfied with 116.89 miles, but disappointed that I missed a double metric (120 miles) by 3 miles. Oh well, I'm sure I will have more opportunity to try again.

We get to Van Horn for the night. We will stay here tomorrow, the 19th so I can recover. I will ride 20-40 miles and Rhonda will come out and bring me back. The next town is 75 miles so I don't think I will try for that.

Monday, March 18, 2002

We leave El Paso today after a nice weekend of homecooking. Bob and Carol McDonald took good care of us. We were able to go to Ciudad Juarez and barter with some merchants, they took us out to a great mexican restaurant, and they took us up the Franklin mtns. to the the city lights. Thanks to Bob and Carol.

The next 450 miles to Del Rio has mostly tumbleweed and cattle. Not much else. We are counting on several 70+ mile days in a row just to make it to the next campground. Not only that we will be dealing with wind up to 50 mph. This should be interesting. Have a great day, Stephen and Rhonda

Saturday, March 16, 2002

Las Cruces - El Paso TX 56 miles
The ride went smoothly today. We made it to Texas!!! There was no sign the way we came in so it was pretty anti climactic. Oh well. Today we passed through a lot of pecan groves.

We are staying with some friends of family in El Paso and we will be here unti lMonday when we will head toward Del Rio. We estimate we will be in Texas for 1.5 - 2 weeks. This place is huge.

Friday, March 15, 2002

Arey - Las Cruces 56 miles
I got up a little after 5 am in order to beat the headwinds. It worked. I made it the 60 miles to Las Cruces in a little over 3 and a half hours.

We went to La Mesilla, an neighboring town for the afternoon. It is the town where Billy the Kid was tried to be hanged, but he escaped.

It has been great staying at RV parks. They all varyin quality but every now and then we get on with a hot tub. See the picture on the web-site. They only cost $6-10 a night too.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Silver City - Arrrey
Breakfast at Daylight Donughts. They were fresh and tasty. It turned out to be a mistake though. I felt great for the first 5 miles, and then my body used up all of the sugar. From there it took a while to recover but I finally did.

I had my second flat tire today. The rim tape slipped exposing a sharp edge on a spoke hole. So I filed it down and covered it with duct tape.

The route took us up and over Emory Pass. The elevation is 8,225 feet. This is the highest I have ever ridden and it was quite an experience.

To start the wind was gusting up to 45 miles and hour. This made the wind chill in the teens to 20's. Then there was the lack of oxygen. Whenever my heart rate rose, I started to get lightheaded. A weird sensation with the wind trying to push me over the mountain.

I finally reached the pass ad put on a fleece jacket which I wore the next 10 miles. I finally got back down into the valley and warmed up. I think aat the top of the pass I might have paid $10 for a fresh cup of Starbucks dark roast.

In Kingston I had my first run-in with some cattle. For days now we had been passing over cattle guards which resemble ten sets of railroad tracks scrunched up into 5 ft of space.

I came around the corner and there were two bulls and a cow. There were guardrails on both sides of the road and as I neared they turned as if to cut me off!!! So I turned around and they started following me back up the hill. It was kind of scary. I didn't know if I could outrun them. Rhonda was only 100 yds down the road watching the whole thing. She ended up driving back up and we rode past the cows side by side, with the car between me and them.

The next twenty miles I had the 40 mph tailwinds pushing me along at 30 mph.

We stopped in Arrey for the night at an RV park.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Buckhorn to Silver City
We got to Silver City, finally. We had lunch, dropped the bike off at the shop for a tune up and lube, then headed north in the car. The destination: The Wilderness Lodge-Bed and Breakfast.

A friend gave us some cash before we left Shelby and said, " This is for you guys, do something not logical with it". Well here we are. Enjoying some hot spring tubs, and a huge bed in an old schoolhouse!!!!

The drive up here was very pretty. The road winds through the high pine forests and into valleys, up onto ridges where you can look down 1000 feet. It is kind of scary.

We stopped at the Gila rive and let Texas run and play. He loved it. The water was chilly and it was good to soak the feet in it.

Today we will be going to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the head back to Silver City.

Monday, March 11, 2002

Safford - Buckhorn 79 miles
Today was great. for the first time on the trip I had a tailwind. How exciting!!!! This does not mean it was on easy day. I climbed two passes, one 5000 ft and the other 6275 ft.

The second one took us up above the desert floor and into a huge pine forest. Then we crossed over into New Mexico and everything opened up into high plains. This is the most scenic day I think we have had. It is very beautiful.

We got to Buckhorn, which is another town with two buildings, one of which is the RV Park we stayed at!!! We walked 200 yards to the other building: "Last Stop Liquor". It was actually a general store with a tack shop and everything.

A guy at the RV park told us it would not get below forty degrees that night. I guess we should have known being at an altitude above 5000. It did get real cold. We stayed warm, but in the morning on the way to a cafe for breakfast, there were a bunch of pretty icicles on a fence where someone had left the sprinklers on!!! Brrrrr!!!

I had breakfast burrito with bacon. It was huge. They must have used 5 or 6 eggs to make it. I finished that off and considered ordering some pecan pie. I still had 30 miles to ride, so I didn't.

Buckhorn was also the place where I got my first flat. I think it happened as I was riding in some gravel going to the camp site.

Monday, March 11, 2002

See a map of the ride so far. (Note: the specific streets and directions presented in the link above do not necessarily reflect the exact route taken.)

Monday, March 11, 2002

We get on the road at the edge of Phoenix and Mesa. Mesa is the longest flatest neighborhood I have ever been in. I rode for about ten miles in a straight line. Amazing.

I rode for a couple of blocks with four kids who of course had a ton of questions.

The scenery went from flat to large sized rolling hills.

We ride to Superior for the night. It is a quaint little town with towering mtns. They also have a Dairy Queen which is refreshing. For dinner we have freeze dried Mexican chicken and rice. It was yummy.

Around 7 pm as I was headed to bed I heard a noise down a couple of sites. I looked up and there was a cyclist with a trailer. I thought at first it was the couple we have seen for the past week, but it turned out not to be. Her name is Stephanie and she is traveling solo. She is with the Peace Corp and visiting Peace Corp people around the nation.

She had been riding in the dark for about the last half our and since it was dark I told her she could pitch her tent at our site, which she did. Then, I headed to bed.

This morning was warm. Around 50 degrees with highs to be in the 80's. We started out thinking we would go 56 miles and halfway through we decide to go all the way to Safford: 102 miles.

After climbing the mountains on the east side of Superior we enter the lush high desert. We reach an altitude of 4,500 ft. the desert up this high is still rocky and barren but it is also more green. The trees and shrubs have a more irrigated look about them. There are several long climbs.

We got to a town called Globe. rhonda was ahead and I was taking my time because the wind is blowing about 20 mph. As I am riding up a hill on the east side of town, I see a boy walking his dog on the sidewalk. Right when I am beside them, the 50-60 lb dog lunges at me. I barely had time to react. I threw my arm up and leaned on my left foot. The dog missed biting me but did manage to get a paw on my right butt cheek. He left a small scratch and ripped a huge hole 8-10 inches in diameter in my riding shorts. The phones weren't working, so I had to ride the rest of the way to Rhonda with one cheek exposed to the public!!!

Since the dog did not bite me, only a small scratch, I didn't call the authorities. We cleaned up the wound and put disinfectant on it, changed shorts and hit the road.

Usually when I ride with friends I tell the dogs to go after them. I gues my turn finally came. We are thankful that there was no severe damage.

Later, we stopped in Peridot for lunch. We were sitting outside a grocery store in the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. an indian walked around the corner and struck up a conversation. He was very friendly, as are all of the locals in this area. He ended up sending his wife in the store to buy bananas, Gatorade and water for us. Thanks Ano Hoffman, my indian friend.

Well, after this we I rode another 50 miles to the town of Safford. Here we treated ourselves to a hotel and buffet at Golden Corral. We will take the time on monday to visit the local bike shop for a tune up and a new pair of shorts.

We should be in New Mexico in 3 days.

Friday, March 8, 2002

Editor's Note: City names have been linked to to show what each leg of the trip looks like (roughly) on a map. Click on the city names to view the map for each leg of the journey.

Friday, March 8, 2002

Wickenburg-Scottsdale: 69 miles, 16.7avg

We woke up today feeling a lot better. Thanks to Ginny's Vitamin Village. And to Best Western, or it could have been the $2.99 Original Grand Slam from Denny's for dinner.

Anyway. We stopped by the Pony Espresso for breakfast. Rhonda had a bagel and tea and I had a latte and Gatorade bar. We were on the road by 8:15 am.

I felt better today than I have in a while. In the first 20 miles I had an average of 19.9 mph. ( it was not all downhill either). The terrain today was more scenic with a lot more knolls, buttes and cactus. The road was very smooth for the first 40 miles and not rolling hills but long ups and long sloping downs. When we got near Phoenix is when things went crazy. Traffic got worse and the road we were on was two lane and had been there for about one hundred years. There were also a lot of semi's, although most of them were very courteous, it is still nerve wracking.

So we get to the Arizona Canal Bike Path which cuts across this city and we part ways. On the path I met another cyclist, Tom, a local vet, who helps me find my way. Periodically on this 14 mile stretch I wonder how Rhonda is doing. At least I don't have to deal with traffic, yet. After about 45 mins. I reach our appointed meeting place and Rhonda is not there. I call on our handy dandy cell phone. We were to meet at Bethany Home rd and 18th st. 18th st. turns out to be one of those roads that is divided in two by neighborhoods and one way streets. If you wanted to travel the whole road in one continuous trip you would have to know how to travel in another dimension.

So, it turns out that Rhonda is on 18th and Bethany and so am I only in two different places?!?!?!

Anyway, we talk on the phones, I ride around and finally find her. By this time I have ridden in traffic 6 lanes wide, not including turning lanes. We decide that it is better to skip the next 14 mile section or the "Phoenix Phourteen", than to risk being crunched under some city slicker's SUV that will never see a dirt road!!!

We load up the bike, get some lunch and head to Scottsdale in the relative safety of the Honda. (It has 2 airbags, my bike only has one).

We are staying with Jim and Susan Hawthorne here. It is great to be in a home. We enjoyed a homecooked spaghetti dinner with peach pie a la mode.

Tomorrow we are taking the day off. We plan on seeing some of the sites here and relaxing.

It is a long way to El Paso where we have another home waiting for us!!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Ehrenberg- Harcuvar AZ 56 miles, 3.5 hrs

Rhonda has had the nasal drip for a day now and I woke up with it this morning. I have headache and sinus pressure. We think it is from the different climate and from the cold nights.

Hence, the ride today was rough. The first half is was on I- 10 east. I had to ride on the shoulder and for about the first 10 miles there were gouges dug across the shoulder to wake up the wandering driver. The gouges were spaced every 20 ft. so every 20 ft. it was bump- bump. How annoying and rough on the tires, bearings, rump!!!

So I decided to ride in the right lane of the interstate. Traffic is pretty thin out here so anytime something was coming up behind me I got over. And here I am, still alive!!!

The route took us up through some low mountain passes and into wide desert plains. It is very beautiful yet desolate. We also started seeing more cactus today.

The ride is mostly uphill, and by the time I reach the Desert Gem RV Park I am feeling quite ragged.

The owner of the park has allowed us to stay for free!!! So, if any of you are ever in Harcuvar, AZ., please stay at the Desert Gem!!!! It does have hot showers.

So, we were in the tent by 6 pm to try to get some good rest.

Harcuvar-Wickenburg AZ

We did rest well and I felt much better this morning. It is only 56 miles to our next stop. And the exciting thing is that we have a free hotel room at the Rancho Grande Best Western in Wickenburg. So, if you ever come to visit Wickenburg AZ, stay at the Rancho Grande Best Western. They have a heated pool and hot tub. The rooms are very comfortable.

The ride today was much better than yesterday. It was only half uphill and the second half was up and down with the last six miles all down!!!

The weather has been great. Highs in the 70's and lows in the 30's.

We stopped at Ginny's Vitamin Village to get some zinc for our colds. The ladies there got all excited about the trip and ended up donating our medicine to us.

The following is from Rhonda:
Hey there everybody, this is Stephen's other half, his wife, companion and support AKA "The Sag Queen". These past 6 days of our ride has been so amazing. The terrain out west is so beautiful and unique. I have been so excited and proud of my husband. His strength in these winds has been so amazing. I just admire his perseverance. I would have quit 5 miles outside of San Diego.

Yesterday was the first day that I actually felt a little bit lonely. We were in the desert, out in the middle of nowhere, all day and spent the night in a Campground....out in the middle of nowhere. It's amazing how people find these places. Anyway, the vastness of the desert made me feel so little and insignificant yet it made me appreciate my life and my home in Shelby, NC. I am so thankful for these opportunities to reflect, which I have a lot of time to do. Today we arrived in Wickenburg and the hotel room has been an oasis. I love camping out but it's nice to sleep in a bed and have a bathroom 5 feet away from it.

Thanks so much for reading our journals and I hope that whoever reads them enjoys them and also learns from them. Until next time......

Tuesday, March 5, 2002

The day starts out like any other day. We make our way to the only Starbucks this side of the desert and drive to Seely, CA. where we stopped last night. Seely is a so-called one-horse town. It is made up of a crossroads, a building on each corner and irrigated hay fields in the background.

We were getting everything ready to ride, when I saw a woman in her 40's pushing a baby stroller. I thought, " How nice". She stopped, said "good morning", and made small talk. It was then that I realized there was no baby but a bag full of who knows what? I figure she is one of the many homeless people that walk this desert. We offered her some Girl Scout Cookies and she accepted. We chatted some more and when she found out that we were doing a fund-raiser for youth she pulled out $10 from her pocket and insisted that we take it. I was torn because I knew that this was probably all she had. She had next to nothing, yet she gave. We said our goodbye's and she walked off. As she was crossing the street, I noticed she was only wearing socks!!! She looked about the same size as Rhonda so I asked her what size shoe she wears. She started to say "seven", and then stopped somewhat embarrassed. Rhonda wears size 7. I turned to Rhonda and asked her to give the woman her shoes. As she accepted them, she said with childlike wonder," Ooooh, I needed some shoes".

What a testimony, she gave knowing that an All Powerful God would provide for her!!!

Well, after that Rhonda and I started on our path. It was a very humbling experience to say the least.

The day started out quite well. No wind!! I made the first 20 miles in 1 hour. As soon as I got out of town the wind kicked up. Our route took us back into the desert!! We passed the Algodones Sand Dunes and headed for the Chocolate Mtn Range.

The wind was blowing around 20-30 mph. Nearing the mountains the terrain turned into rocky ravines which caused the route to dip up and down the ravines. The ravines are so large that they could swallow a whole RV and I couldn't see it until it started up the next ridge. And this was only 40 ft ahead!!!!

We finally reached Palo Verde. 90 miles later. I decided to ride to Ripley so I could have 100 miles.

We ended up driving another 14 miles to a very nice KOA campground in Ehrenberg, AZ. Can't beat $10 per night!!!

We slept in this morning, and then went to town for breakfast. We are taking a rest day today. Rhonda drove me to Ripley and dropped me off so I could ride the 14 miles to the campground, where we will stay again tonight.

We are in a beautiful valley, surrounded by a mountain range. Tomorrow we will head to Harcuvar, AZ. We should be in Phoenix in 3 days.

Rhonda is doing well and enjoying seeing the countryside. She will be putting in updates now and then.

Sunday, March 3, 2002

Correction: The smog that I talked about was in Los Angeles not Las Vegas. Las Vegas has very clean air.

3/1 Friday
Friday morning I started riding. We hit the road around 9:30 and within 2 miles I got lost. I found my way though. The weather was good. I had an elevation change of at least 4500 feet. I am sure I climbed more than that because of all the ups and downs.

I think I hit every red light coming out of San Diego. The roads are good with wide bike lanes.

20 miles into the ride we finally got out of the city. I meet up with Rhonda every 10-15 miles to get water and to chat.

We end up with 56 miles and spend the night in Pine Valley. Camp is at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. This means " the place where it rains".

As the sun goes down the cold moves in. The temp. is in the mid 30's. It is a cold night. Around midnight the almost full moon rises. At first I think it is our neighbors headlights.

We both hear strange noises in the night, there are supposed to be mountain lions in the area!!!!

Saturday morning
We roll out around 7:30 and head to Majors Coffee House diner for breakfast. I had some of the best bacon I have ever had, along with hashbrowns, eggs and toast.

As we are sitting in the diner, a couple starts a conversation with us and they end up writing a check to YAP for a donation.

Today the terrain is more mild but the wind is crazy. There are gusts up to 50 miles an hour. The terrain is more desolate, and we see a couple of vagrants with shopping carts in which they keep everything they own.

I get a long downhill but with a 20 mph constant headwind, it is not real exciting. I ride 76 miles with a 14.3 average. riding into the wind most of the day really takes it out of a person.

We stop in Seely, CA and since there are no campgrounds nearby we opt for a Motel 6 in the neighboring El Centro.

Rhonda and Texas are doing well. Rhonda is the best support vehicle driver I have ever known.

Tomorrow we hope to make it to Palo Verde, 84 miles away.

Friday, March 1, 2002

Here we are in San Diego California. I remember when I was thirteen years old. We were living in the Carribean at the time and I had a surfing magazine subscription. I remember dreaming of the beaches and the west coast. The surfers with long hair and beat up cars. It is the west coast, the one the Beach Boys wrote many songs about: California Dreamin', one of my favorites.

Well here I am, sixteen years later. I used to dream of coming here to surf and as we drove down to Dog Beach this afternoon, I had no interest in the waves. We drove all the way out here, over 2600 miles, so that we could turn around and head east. Crazy huh?

San Diego seems to be a nice town. We went down to the Gas Light District for dinner. The restaurants with outdoor seating have gas powered lamp/ heaters to keep the patrons warm.

The trip from Las Vegas was pretty, more desert land. Passing just south of the legendary Death Valley, we came over a mountain pass and saw a huge cloud of what looked like fog. It turns out that it is smog. Welcome to Las Vegas!!

Tomorrow is the day we have all been waiting for. I will start riding at Ocean Beach, also called Dog Beach. We went down there today and Texas really enjoyed it. It is a beach designated for dogs to run without a leash.

We will head east for about sixty miles and spend the night in Live Oak Springs.

This will be the last time for a while that we will be in a hotel. That means that I don't know when we will be able to post newsletters. So, continue to check back and watch our progress.

Have a great day,

Stephen J.

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